Things to do this winter in North Devon
Winter is a wonderful time to visit North Devon
Whatever the season, there’s always much to do in North Devon.
Many holiday-makers worry about visiting the area during the winter months for a number of reasons; mainly the weather, the thought of attractions being closed and the opinion that there’s nothing to do.
We aim to prove that this is just not true.
From the colder months of November and December, throughout the festive period, all the way to Valentine’s and Half Term in February, there’s always a reason to bring a loved one or family to the region.
See our list of top things to do this winter in North Devon and discover why a quieter North Devon is a great time to visit...
North Devon Attractions open in winter
Come wind, rain or shine, these three attractions are always open and ready to welcome you in. For days out that encompass beautiful sights, nature, history and friendly people, visit these North Devon attractions in winter:
RHS Gardens Rosemoor
Enjoy 65-acres of beautifully planted flower beds, set within a pretty wooded valley. Even in winter, RHS Gardens Rosemoor is filled with seasonal and all year round plants, found within stunning grounds.
Dartington Crystal Factory Tour
Since they began in 1967 Dartington Crystal has developed and grown to be the UK’s leading name in crystal and glass. Their products are sold all over the world, but their factory is set right here in North Devon.
Head over to their Visitor Centre to shop, see their history, have personalised glass gift and engravings made, and take a Dartington Crystal Factory Tour to watch their glassware being made. There is a cafe and a gin bar too!
Coastal villages don’t come any more picturesque than Clovelly. Nestled in the hillside, it oozes charm with a ‘trapped in the past’ feel. No cars are allowed on the cobbled streets. The houses and narrow paths tumble down 400 feet to the harbour. Higgledy-piggledy cottages open up to reveal the stunning views and the ocean.
Walk the streets and learn about the villages pass, whilst chatting to the people who live there. A selection of shops, cafes and mini-museums make great places to duck into between rain showers.
For children and family days out
These family fun attractions are perfect for those of all ages, no matter what the weather is doing. If your little ones are in need of a fun day out, these are the places to visit in winter:
The Milky Way Adventure Park
The whole family will enjoy a great day out at The Milky Way Adventure Park. This top North Devon attraction has been awarded Trip Advisor’s Travellers Choice award 4 years in a row.
There is a wide range of indoor and outdoor facilities mean there is something for everyone, whatever the weather. They are open throughout the winter months, but at various points, the main Milky Way park is open at weekends only.
From the rollercoaster to the giant indoor play area, spend the whole day however you wish. Dodge and crash on the dodgems, fly down the slides, get a fun freight in the Clone Zone - whatever takes your fancy.
The Big Sheep
Another top-notch attraction in North Devon, a fun and unique day out awaits for all the family at The Big Sheep.
Through the winter months, their indoor play area is always open for children to let off steam, and at weekend or during school holidays the rides and other attractions start up again - rides, play zones and entertainment in the form of sheep racing and shows make it a great place to visit.
Open from 10am every morning of the winter season, Exmoor Zoo is a classic conservation zoo filled with protected animals and cheeky characters.
The zoo has played on the Exmoor Beast story, branding themselves as owning the beast itself - the black leopard! In fact, the zoo has the only pair of black leopards on exhibit in the UK!
They are also the home of cheetahs, wolves, African wild dogs, wallabies, lynx, singing dogs, reindeer, a great number of monkeys, a wide range of birds of all sizes and types, snakes, tortoise, reptiles, bugs and much more!
Talks and feeds take place daily, giving you the chance to learn about many of the animals from the enthusiastic staff.
Found in Barnstaple, Air Extreme is a trampoline filled centre of fun, where guests can bounce, bounce and bounce some more.
Extreme Jump Sessions include the use of 8 adrenaline-filled activities such as the Battle Beam, Performance Trampolines, Free Style Bouncing, Dodgeball and Airball - so there's something for everyone.
By booking a set session in advance, you get your own time on the trampolines, for as much space and fun as possible. There’s also a cafe to recharge.
Getting out and about
Sightseeing, wonderful walks, exploring nature - it's all a must do no matter the weather:
Beaches and surfing
We all imagine the beautiful golden sands and blue waters on a glorious summer's day when thinking of North Devon beaches. But visiting outside the summer holidays is just as rewarding.
On a good day, sit back and relax with a picnic whilst watching the waves. When it’s windy or wet, many locals enjoy a brisk walk along the sand to feel revitalised - feel free to join them. Moody weather makes for wonderful photos too.
Saunton Sands, Woolacombe, Croyde, Westward Ho! (with the exclamation point), these are just some of the beaches you might have heard of. There are many more hidden beaches too, the hike to find them is part of the fun.
Or how about learning to surf during winter? The quieter seas mean there are fewer crowds, and if it’s raining, it doesn't matter because you’ll get wet anyway.
What makes North Devon unique is the sheer amount of walks there are, both along the coast and inland through the countryside. Exmoor is a big part of the region, a stretch of moorland connecting Devon and Somerset that makes for a wonderful place to walk.
See our guide on 5 places to visit in Exmoor - each place makes for a stunning place to walk away the day!
Lynton & Barnstaple Railway
With the bold aim of reconstructing the full Lynton to Barnstaple Railway, and run by volunteers, this is rail travel as it used to be - a narrow gauge track with the chug of a real steam engine!
On frosty late winter days, the route is especially pretty too, cutting through some truly beautiful countryside, and ticket prices allow riding all day.
The line runs up to Christmas, then after a break, the popular Lynton & Barnstaple Railway attraction reopens in February to provide a nostalgic ride for young and old alike.
Or simply relax in a cosy Brend restaurant or cafe
If nothing else, winter is an opportunity to relax in on of the many Brend Hotel restaurants or cafes and watch the world go by.
Each hotel has its own unique and luxury restaurant and bar area, and those staying in Barnstaple can make the most of the Barnstaple Collection - which gives you discounts on food and drink at all the Brend properties in town, plus use of the gym and pool at The Barnstaple Hotel.
Whatever your plans for a winter break in North Devon, we know you'll have a wonderful time.