The February 2022 half-term is almost upon us. Here are a few suggestions if you’re planning a mini-break to East Devon or if you live locally and are looking for something to do with the kids.
As always do check with the individual business and organisation’s website to confirm opening times, booking options, and availability.
1. Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Seaton Tramway
2. The Adoption Donkey Top Trumps Trail: Donkey Sanctuary
3. Half-term activities: Bear Town
4. Museum of the Moon: Exeter Cathedral
5. Family Walking Trails: around East Devon
6. Cycling along the Exe Estuary Trail
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Seaton Tramway
The well-known wildlife photography exhibition, on loan from the Natural History Museum, is taking a tour around the country. During the February half-term you can get the chance to view it at the Seaton Tramway.
Having seen the exhibition when it was at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter I can thoroughly recommend spending an hour or so immersed in the natural world. As usual, the photographers have captured some exceptional images of wildlife, animal behaviour, and spectacular scenery. And the pictures tell a powerful story in how we need to respect and look after the planet.
Tickets cost £5 for adults and children go free. The exhibition runs until 8 April and tickets can be booked via the Seaton Tramway website.
The Adoption Donkey Top Trumps Trail: Donkey Sanctuary
Play Donkey Top Trumps to find out which donkeys have the largest ears, make the loudest noise, or who is the most playful. Eight different donkey statistics have been rated and the aim is to find out which donkey trumps the others in each head-to-head round.
Follow the trail around the sanctuary to find out which donkey comes out top. The trail costs £5 per trail and includes a prize on completion. Head to the gift shop to pick up the trail sheet and you can begin. There are eight rounds in total.
Afterward, head over to The Kitchen where you can pick up some refreshments. Breakfasts, lunches, and afternoon treats are served daily and all profits go towards helping donkeys and mules around the world.
The Trail runs until 31 March and more information can be found at The Donkey Sanctuary.
Half-term activities: Bear Town
Bear Town is an indoor immersive play centre where children can learn through play. It will be open daily from 19 February to 27 February for children up to seven years old.
Tickets must be booked online in advance for one of three, two-hour, daily play sessions. These are 9.30am-11.30am; 12.15pm-2.15pm; and 3.00pm-5.00pm.
Booking can be made via the Bear Town website.
Museum of the Moon: Exeter Cathedral
Another touring exhibition is Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon installation which will be at Exeter Cathedral between 3 February and 27 February.
The replica of the moon measures seven metres in diameter and features high-resolution NASA imagery of the lunar surface. The installation has been described as ‘a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones’.
You can visit the moon installation as part of your admission to the cathedral. Adults cost £5 while children go free. Booking is via timed entry slots and more details can be found on the Exeter Cathedral website.
Family Walking Trails: around East Devon
With the days getting longer you may be looking to spend some time outdoors. There is an abundance of walking trails in East Devon, many suitable for families and children of all ages. The East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has put together five family-friendly trails where you can explore the local wildlife and heritage of the region.
Follow in the footsteps of 19th century Beer smuggler Jack Rattenbury as you trek up Beer Head; explore the wildlife on the River Otter; or ramble around the heathland paths on Mutters Moor, Sidmouth.
More details about the five trails – Beer Head, Ladram Bay, Mutters Moor, Branscombe, and Trinity Hill – can be found on the East Devon AONB website.
Cycling along the Exe Estuary Trail
The Exe Estuary Trail is a 16.4miles/ 26 km route that takes you around the Exe Estuary from Dawlish to Exmouth. It passes through a number of villages, including Starcross, Topsham, and Lympstone, and is almost entirely traffic-free.
The estuary is home to many species of birds and the RSPB reserves near Topsham and Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve offer great places to view wildlife, including wintering waders and wildfowl.
Parking is available along the trail, including Dawlish, Exeter, Topsham, and Exmouth while the railway line runs adjacent to the trail.
You can cross the estuary travelling with different ferries from Starcross to Exmouth, Topsham to Axminster, Topsham to Turf Locks, and Exeter Quay to Double Locks.
There are a number of places that offer cycle hire and the Exe Estuary Management Partnership website provides a list of companies.
If you’re still planning what to do with the kids this February half-term, don’t forget to have a look around the rest of the East Devon Excellence website for places to stay, inspiration on which locations to visit, and where to get the best lunches and dinners.