Family Holidays in Exeter family holiday guide


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


This lively city has tonnes to discover for the whole family and its compact size makes it easy to explore on foot. Exeter’s location in the heart of the Devonshire countryside and nearby to the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, means there are countless opportunities for adventure for all ages! It is the perfect place to try a new activity, or just relax and appreciate the beautiful scenery.

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

  1. Lively city with excellent shops and restaurants as well as historic attractions.
  2. Excellent train, bus, and road connections.
  3. On the cycle trail + numerous walks nearby.
  4. The stunning quay, with family outdoor activities, quirky stores, craft workshops, and idyllic spots for eating out.
  5. One of the foodie capitals of the South West, offering a vast choice of eateries, with a weekly farmer’s market selling field-fresh produce and regular street food markets.
  6. Everything you need on your doorstep with no need to drive.
  7. Surrounded by miles of countryside and gorgeous beaches, perfect for paddling, swimming, or surfing.
  8. Many of Devon’s best attractions are less than a 30-minute journey by train or car.
  9. Lots of parks, kids play areas, swimming pools, tennis courts, and plenty of activities going on during the holiday season.
  10. Beautiful, historical architecture and scenic views over countryside and estuary.


With a fascinating history stretching back before arrival of the Romans, Exeter is one of the most dynamic, beautiful, and historically rich cities. It has a real sense of uniqueness and is celebrated in the South West for its diverse culture, independent arts scene, and as a destination for top sporting events and music.

With spectacular architecture and many heritage visitor attractions, a visit to Exeter is an educational experience for the whole family! Find out more in our short holiday guide below – for accommodation in the area click on one of the holiday properties featured on this page.


  • Parks and Walks. Exeter is surrounded by green space – whether you are looking for a peaceful stroll in the park, a wonder through the beautiful gardens, or a family hike in one of the numerous national parks. Follow one of Exeter’s self-guided trails to explore the tranquil Devon countryside and discover its rich and diverse history, or visit some lovely gardens at Powderham Castle and Killerton Estate. For walks the best options are:
    • Green Circle Walk – discover Exeter’s beautiful valley parks on this 12-mile trail around the city’s boundaries (a long walk, but worth the stunning views), offering something for everybody.
    • Exeter City Wall Trail – learn about the history of Exeter’s City Wall on this heritage tour guided by yourselves.
    • The Grade II listed Northernhay Gardens– enjoy a pleasant walk through the oldest public gardens in England and neighbouring Rougemont Gardens.
  • Swimming. Wind down and relax at the 25-metre outdoor pool at Cornwall House, just a short walk from the town centre. Open seven days a week during the summer and set in a large grass and patio area (including a table-tennis table), it is the perfect spot for relaxing with the family during those warm summer days.
  • Cycle trails. Explore the many scenic cycle routes from Exeter’s doorstep, ideal for families and leisurely days out (most routes are traffic-free). The Exe Estuary Trail is a scenic walking and cycling route which runs along the beautiful Exe Estuary. Bring your own bikes or head down to Saddle and Paddle at the Quay for some great deals – children’s bikes, child seats, trailers, and tagalongs available.
  • Sport. Grab tickets to watch the well-known Exeter Chiefs Rugby team compete in the Premiership, or head to St James’ Park to support Exeter City FC.
  • Exeter Quayside.Perfect for families who love the great outdoors and a little adventure or two. Head down to one of the most attractive areas of the city to relax in one of the waterside’s brilliant restaurants or cafes, or explore the estuary with a few spots available to hire kayaks and paddle boards. Check out the extremely well kitted out outdoor centre at Haven banks and the nearby climbing wall (the largest in the south-west, suitable for aged 4 and up).
  • City Centre. A busy high-street packed with a huge variety of shops, restaurants, and quaint little cafes. Make sure not to miss Gandy Street with its trendy clothes and gift shops. Exeter’s Cathedral is one of England’s most beautiful medieval cathedrals and most remarkable ecclesiastical sights, situated in the lively heart of the city. From here you can walk to Powderham Castle, a 600-year-old castle stacked with fascinating historical interests and plenty of cute animals. Other places of interest include:
    • The RAMMheaps of visual material to excite all ages in Exeter’s largest museum and art gallery – free entry!
    • Exeter Northcott TheatreExeter’s leading professional theatre.
  • Nearby attractions.  For a full day out there are some excellent options just a short drive away. Crealy Adventure Park is the closest at around a 15-minute drive and has plenty to entertain all ages in every weather. Going slightly further afield other options include:
    • Killerton House (25 min drive) – An elegant 18th-century family home with a 6,400-acre estate perfect for the kids to explore and a celebrated historical fashion collection.
    • Pennywell Farm (31 min drive) home to the famous Pennywell Miniature Pigs. Get the whole family involved in heaps of animal activities, various events or exhibitions throughout the day, loads of friendly animals (some of which you can bottle feed), and free rides.
    • The Donkey Sanctuary (38 min drive) – a registered charity that provides sanctuary from suffering to mules, hinnies, and donkeys. The whole family can enjoy meeting some of the many animals large and small – completely free of charge.
  • Activities.  The thriving city centre has an extensive range of activities to offer, from bowling at Tenpin Exeter, to the vaulted passageways of Exeter’s Underground Passages (not for the claustrophobic!) Just a 15-min drive away and nestled in 3,500 acres of woodland, Go Ape Haldon is home to some breath-taking panoramic views. Soar down zip-wires and fly through the air on the huge Swing, whilst witnessing some of Devon’s most incredible scenery. Other options slightly further afield include:
    • The Bear Trail (29 min drive) – an award-winning outdoor muddy family assault course, with one priority above all – to get muddy! The course is filled with many obstacles, creating a space for children (of all ages) to push boundaries and practice teamwork.
    • Exewake (32 min drive) – a water-sports school offering activities such as waterskiing, wakeboarding, and inflatable rides.
  • Nearby places to visit. Take advantage of the excellent transport connections (or simply drive) to explore one of the wonderful nearby beaches or National Parks:
    • Exmouth (28 min drive) this popular seaside resort, with its beautiful sandy beach, is crammed with attractions, bars, restaurants and more. Other highlights include the excellent water-sports facilities as one of the UK’s leading kite surfing destinations and the award-winning River Exe Café.
    • Dawlish Warren (30 min drive) – a stunning location with a one and a half mile long sandy beach, clear Blue Flag Awarded seas and plenty of family entertainment.
    • Dartmoor National Park (30 min drive) – witness the spectacular surroundings of one of the last great wildernesses in the UK. Dartmoor is crossed by many miles of footpaths and tracks, so enjoy walking, cycling, riding, or even canoeing to discover its inspiring landscape and absorb its very special atmosphere.
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