Things to do in the May half-term in East Devon

With half-term coinciding with the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, there are a lot of things to do in East Devon this year. Alongside picnics and events to mark the Queen’s 70 years on the throne, there are a number of activities to keep your family occupied over the next week.

The weather is improving and the days are longer giving you ample opportunity to make the most of your time here in East Devon.

As usual, do check with the business or organisation running these events to avoid disappointment. Many do require pre-booking before the day.

Things to do this half-term in East Devon:

1. Jubilee Boat Tram Specials – Seaton Tramway: 2-5 June

2. Half-term adventures and fun – World of Country Life: 28 May-5 June

3. The Bear Trail – open every day: 28 May – 5 June

4. Spring Nature Trail – Donkey Sanctuary: until 21 June

5. A celebration of Steam: Pecorama – 2-4 June

6. Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – Bear Town: 26 May- 8 June

7. Nature activities – Wild East Devon: 30 May & 1 June

8. Exhibitions at Fairlynch museum – Budleigh Salterton

Take the special Boat Tram over the Jubilee weekend at Seaton Tramway

1. Jubilee Boat Tram Specials – Seaton Tramway: 2-5 June

Seaton Tramway is running Boat Tram Specials over the extended bank holiday weekend on a selection of departures. The ticket includes a one-hour roundtrip between Seaton and Colyton on the Boat Tram and an All-Day Explorer.

Please note, although you can break your journey at Colyton, this will end your Boat Tram Special as your departure includes one round trip.

Check the booking details for more information.

2. Half-term adventures and fun – World of Country Life: 28 May-5 June

‘Appy Angus, the World of Country Life mascot, will be hosting a week of family fun and adventures. He’s putting on a full programme of daily activities, including walking a goat, riding the deer train safari, bottle feeding calves and lambs, small animal handling, and watching the Hawkridge birds of prey flying display. 

There’s plenty to do in the outdoor play areas with Harry the Harvester, Dougie the Digger, and the Tower of Slides. And if the weather isn’t great you can head inside to the three different indoor soft play areas and the indoor Pirate Ship Adventure.

Inside you can also wander around museums journeying back in time to see how life was like in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and check out working vintage farm machinery in the Museum of Farming. The Hall of Transport has an abundant collection of vintage bikes, cars, buses, and steam engines. Exhibits include cars seen on the hit TV shows Downton Abbey and Mr Selfridge.

There’s plenty to see and do for all family members. Please note pre-booking is required between 28 May to 5 June, but this doesn’t apply to annual pass holders.

Check the booking details for more information.

There’s plenty of indoor and outdoor activities at World of Country Life

3. The Bear Trail – open every day: 28 May – 5 June

The Bear Trail is a muddy assault course suitable for all ages and abilities. Tackle 30 obstacles, including bear nets, zip wires, and tunnels set across a 10-acre site. You can do the assault course as many times as you like and getting as muddy as possible is a key requisite here.

Make sure you wear old clothes and trainers and bring along a towel and change of clothes to get the most out of this muddy experience. At the end of the trail wash off in the new indoor hot shower area before enjoying wood-fired pizzas at the outdoor Bear Cave Cafe.

There are two sessions each day: 10.30am to 1.30pm and 2pm to 5pm and the site is closed between 1.30pm – 2.00pm for a complete clean down.

Everyone over the age of two requires a ticket whether you’re tackling the course or not. Pre-booking is advisable.

4. Spring Nature Trail – Donkey Sanctuary: until 21 June

Take the Nature Trail around the Donkey Sanctuary to find what animals, besides donkeys, live in the various habitats nearby. Along the way you can learn how encouraging biodiversity and maintaining these habitats and natural ecosystems helps contribute to the health and wellbeing of the donkeys.

Discover the habitats around the sanctuary to reveal which animals live there and use the stickers provided to match the animal with the habitat listed on the trail sheet. Once you’ve found them all head to The Shed to claim your prize.

The £5 trail includes a prize and a biodegradable bag of seeds for you to grow your own wildflower meadow at home.

Afterward, head over to The Kitchen for some locally-produced food and drink.

Discover the wildlife and natural habitats around the Donkey Sanctuary

5. A celebration of Steam: Pecorama – 2-4 June 

Enjoy unlimited rides on all the Beer Heights Light Railway (BHLR) locomotives – steam, diesel, and electric – with demonstration goods trains and mine branch shuttle. Trains will run all day from 10am until 3.30pm and a roving entertainer will offer tricks, storytelling, and much more.

On 2 June you can watch the grand unveiling of the new livery of the BHLR Diesel Loco ‘Jimmy’. 

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee why not dress in your best 1950s outfit and pre-book a high tea picnic to enjoy in the stunning gardens. Other refreshments can be purchased on the day or bring along your own picnic.

6. Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – Bear Town: 26 May- 8 June

Celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at Bear Town by joining the mission to locate the missing jewels to receive a royal reward of a jubilee flag to keep. Children can use their flag to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee when they go on their royal march around the town and after when they take it home.

The Town will be decorated fit for a Queen with lots of great photo opportunities.

The Jubilee Celebration will take place during the regular two-hour session times of 9.30am, 12.15pm and 3.00pm.
The activity is included in the standard admission price. Child tickets from just £7.95. 

Join the mission to locate the missing jewels at Bear Town

7. Nature activities – Wild East Devon: 30 May & 1 June

Join the Axe Vale and District Conservation Society and Wild East Devon’s education ranger Penny during an exploration of Colyton community woodland on 30 May. See how many species of wildlife you can spot. An adult must accompany children.

On 1 June you can take part in a morning of nature-based arts and crafts and wildlife discovery at Honiton Bottom Nature Reserve. You’ll have the chance to go bug hunting in the meadow and get creative with natural and recycled materials.

Both activities cost £5 per person and can be booked via the Wild East Devon website

8. Exhibitions at Fairlynch Museum – Budleigh Salterton

There are four exhibitions running at the Fairlynch Museum throughout its opening season alongside its permanent collection. These include Royal Jubilees in the Lower Otter Valley, the Lower Otter Restoration Project, a collection of artist and illustrator Cecil Isabel Elegy, and fashion in the 1950s.

The opening hours are 11.30am-4.30pm Tuesday to Sunday.

If you’re planning to visit East Devon over half term do check out our Eat and Visit pages for more to do while you’re here.

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