Family Holidays in Barnstaple family holiday guide


To view a fantastic variety of family holidays currently available in Barnstaple please scroll down.


Barnstaple is North Devon’s largest town and offers plenty in terms of history and entertainment for family holidays.This friendly town sits to the west of the stunning Exmoor National Park and to the north of beautiful Dartmoor and there are gorgeous beaches aplenty, especially around the areas of Woolacombe. This means there will never be a shortage of sandcastle-making opportunities for the kids.

Here are the top 10 things we love about family holidays in Barnstaple:

  1. The town offers a huge range of amenities within walking distance, including supermarkets and shopping centres, if you don’t want to drive and you want to get those little ones stretching their legs.
  2. Barnstaple remains a thriving market town and boasts a traditional Pannier Market which visitors old and young will enjoy.
  3. The town is an ideal mix of old and new, from its partly pedestrianised high street to its narrow streets, alleys and fine parks.
  4. Plenty of history including remains of a Norman castle and mound, Long Bridge, which dates from the 13th century and ornate and memorable Queen Anne’s Walk which has just be renovated into a restaurant offering delicious seafood.
  5. Excellent transport links in the local area including a train line to Exeter and a plethora of bus routes.
  6. A great base to explore the famous Tarka Country including the Tarka Trail, which stretches for 180 miles. You can cycle or walk parts of the trail or hop on a train along the super-scenic Tarka Line, something which is sure to thrill the youngsters in the group.
  7. Stunning Exmoor is right on the doorstep and covers a huge swathe of North East Devon right into Somerset, allowing plenty of room for the children to roam and explore. Seeing the wild horses run wild will be a particular favourite for children and parents alike.
  8. Easy access to Exmoor Steam Railway, which runs from Bratton.
  9. A short hop to stunning Dartmoor and all the natural beauty and rural culture you would expect from this beautiful National Park.
  10. Close proximity to a host of beautiful beaches, whether you want to surf, sunbathe or teach the kids how to make the most perfect sandcastle.


Barnstaple has plenty of history on offer but also provides 1,000 yards worth of pedestrianised shopping streets for visitors of all ages to explore. There is a theatre, multi-screen cinema, and an ever-growing abundance of restaurants and cafes catering for even the fussiest of little eaters.


    • Parks and walks. There are no less than three parks in Barnstaple for youngsters to enjoy, as well as adventure playgrounds and the riverside gardens. Barnstaple is on the South West coast path and marks the end of the Macmillan Way and the start of the Tarka Trail.
    • Learn the history with a guided tour. There are plenty of opportunities on offer for a stroll or a more strenuous jaunt, along with the chance to join guided walks discovering the history of what is England’s oldest royal-chartered borough. Children of every age can imagine the bustling atmosphere of a 17th century port, learn about skirmishes during the civil war and discover the Norman fortifications.
    • Play areas. Barnstaple’s play areas include the riverside Rock Park and Garden, which boasts everything from BMX dirt jumps and a skate park for the adventurous youngster, to an outdoor gym and tennis court. Other parks include Raleigh Park and Whiddon Park
    • Cycle trails. Barnstaple is on both the NCN 27 and 3 cycle routes.
    • Nearby attractions. There are many local options in Barnstaple. These include:
      • Tarka Tennis Centre – a £5 million tennis complex with 12 courts.
      • Let’s Go Superbowl & Ice Skating – offering ice skating and ten-pin bowling, as well as a Children’s Megazone with laser adventure and Game Zone.
      •  North Devon Leisure Centre – a modern leisure centre with solariums, swimming pool and gym.
      • FunderZone – the biggest indoor soft play centre in North Devon, perfect for letting the little ones let off some steam. There is also a Laser Zone in the evenings for older children and adults to enjoy.
      • Jungleland – a covered jungle adventure with terrapins, fish and birds; guaranteed to thrill the children.
      • Museum of North Devon – a major regional museum with ten galleries. This is also home to a Tourist Information Centre.
      • Treasure trails. Many south-west holiday locations offer Treasure trails and Barnstaple is no exception. There is a Murder Mystery trail suitable for children aged six or over, which is around 1.5 miles in length and takes about two hours to finish.
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