Devon has dozens of great places to visit packed between its rugged Bristol Channel coast and the golden beaches to the south. Many of these great attractions have won top awards making them particularly worthwhile to visit. Here are some of the best.
Pennywell Farm, near Buckfastleigh, is a delightful Devon farm with more than 20 activities for all ages, plus shows and displays throughout the day. There are always hungry lambs and goat kids to bottle-feed, furry animals to pet, hedgehogs to meet and ponds to explore. Educational yet completely engrossing, expect to say hello to alpacas and miniature pigs as well as the shire horses, Boxer and Fusilier. Ride the railway, hop on a tractor-trailer or try out the Run Rabbit Go-Karts.
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park
With 3,000 animals and five different animal habitats, Paignton Zoo is beautifully laid out in a natural landscaped environment. In fact it won a top national horticulture award in 2011 from the Institute of Horticulture. The zoo minimises the use of cages, allowing unrestricted views of the gorillas, monkeys, orang-utans, lions, giraffes, crocodiles and less well-known creatures. As well as being an award-winning family attraction, Paignton Zoo works hard to support research and conservation worldwide. Ride the miniature train, visit the bird show and learn lots of new fun facts in the interactive Discovery Centre. If you want an unusual souvenir of your day, buy a bag of zoo poo which is sure to make your garden grow!
Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth
Offering free admission (donations very welcome!) this charitable Donkey Sanctuary looks after more than 400 rescued donkeys. Stroll around the fields and pet these docile creatures, explore the maze and learn more about the work of the sanctuary in the video room. Bring a family picnic or support this worthwhile attraction by having lunch at the on-site restaurant.
Exeter's Underground Passages
One of Exeter's more unusual attractions is right below the High Street. Dating back to the 14th century, these narrow Underground Passages were built to house and maintain the pipes carrying fresh water from natural springs into the city. Start your visit in the Interpretation Centre and exhibition before taking a guided tour of this most unusual attraction. Not only was this attraction assessed under the Visit Britain Quality Assurance Scheme it was also Highly Commended in the Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence 2008.
Torquay's award-winning coastal zoo is home to a huge range of coastal creatures from puffins and penguins to acrobatic fur seals. Join in the penguin feed on penguin beach and see what's happening beneath the waves at the sunken wreck. This is a great aquarium attraction with a difference, whatever the weather.
River Dart Country Park
Explore Devon's great outdoors at this Silver Winner of the South West Tourism Awards 2011. Try out the commando assault course, explore the pirate ship, ride the zip lines or take the low ropes course within this 90-acre fun park as part of your general admission ticket. With a host of ladders, chutes, scramble nets and trails through the scenic woodland this is a great place to let the kids run off their energy. Upgrade to one of the Dare Devil activities such as the climbing wall, canoeing, water zorbs and the high ropes course, for even more fun. It will be the highlight of any holiday in Devon!
When you book a holiday cottage in Cornwall, visit some of these great places to make it an action-packed family holiday.