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May half-term sorted

But Easter was only yesterday I hear you cry! Don't worry, Muddy has you covered with the best family-friendly things to do over May half term in Devon.

Festivals

Take your rumbling tums to Kingsbridge town square for 3 days of foodie fun at the Kingsbridge Food & Music Festival (Fri 31 – Sun 2) with a kids’ zone complete with Children’s Disco for your tiny dancers on Saturday morning. Crafty kids can fashion shellfish-themed headbands with Pom, Stitch and Tassel and bounce their hearts out covered in face paint.

CredFest – always good for a friendly community vibe (1 -23 Jun) – rolls out the festival blanket with a Picnic in the Park at Newcombes Meadow – part of the Eden Project’s Big Lunch – with live music, free open-air zumba, street food and vintage tractors.

In Plymouth, the 16th Flavour Fest (31 May- 2 Jun) brings tantalising sizzles to Plymouth’s city centre piazza, with tunes, a bar, and local chef-cred in the shape of The Barbican Kitchen’s Tanner brothers, Exeter Cookery School and Ben Palmer of The Greedy Goose. Plus Celeb Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain is there on Saturday afternoon. Unleash the littlies into The Kids Kitchen to try their sticky hands at making dips, cakes, smoothies and oooh posh pate.

Tuck into Dartington’s ninth Food Fair (Sun 26 – Mon 27) over at The Shops at Dartington. Forty stalls under one marquee to savour, plus cookery demo’s, live music, magic shows for the teenies and gin sampling for you, from Dartington’s own distiller, Elmhirst Gin (and very tasty it is too, I can vouch). If you’ve any puff left, why not join in Dartington’s Mud Larks Run, a 3k or 6k obstacle course (depending on how much gin you’ve tested) for adults and kids over 8 (Sun 26).

 

Museums

If you’ve ever wondered what’s going inside your child’s head (oh yes), RAMM in Exeter are inviting kids to Step Inside your Brain (Fri 31 May), via an Explorer Dome in the Courtyard where there is promised a kaleidoscope of sensual sights and sounds to help them – and maybe even you – to find out exactly what’s going on upstairs.

And breeeeathe – Torre Abbey are running a Mindfulness Workshop for 7-11 year-olds (Sat 25 May) where parents can join kids in a timely search for calm, focus, rest and relaxation. While you’re there check out the current exhibitions, including The Printed Line, with 60 artists, such as Bridget Riley and Simon Patterson’s witty take on the London Tube map.

Meanwhile over at Morwellham Quay at Tavistock they’ve assembled a motley crew of Ragged Victorians (Sat 25 – Mon 27) to entertain and educate on what it was like in the olden days, back when a shilling was a week’s wage and kids got sent up the chimney.

 

Joy rides

It’s Unicorns & Dragons Week (nothing to with GoT ending) at The Big Sheep, near Bideford. Dress up as one or the other, set the phone to selfie mode and meet the walking, talking Dreckly the Dragon (I’ve met him and he’s a cutie). Plus, all the usual rides, pets corner, lamb feeding and their famous sheep racing.

Head over to Crealy Theme Park & Resort, just outside Exeter, and head over again and again (if you can take it) with their half-term 7 days for the price of 1 offer; a £15 ticket which covers all 60 attractions, including the 12m-high Twister, log flume and Maximus Rollercoaster. Settle any half-term grudges on the water cannons over in the Soak Zone with the Aqua Blasters. Use the ticket once, then return the rest of the week on the same ticket.

For more knee-knocking fun, ascend the zip-wires at Go Ape in the tall trees of Haldon Forest. They’ve changed the experiences to make it age appropriate with shorter challenges for younger children (min age 6) which lasts just the hour.

 

Shows and exhibitions 

Tired of all the bickering?  Give them a proper fight with some Medieval mayhem and a gripping display of jousting courtesy of the Knights of Royal England at Powderham Castle, Kenton nr Exeter, Mon 27 – Fri 31 May.

Get nature-table inspiration at A La Ronde near Exmouth, a National Trust exhibition showcasing how the one-time owners Jane and Mary Parminter brought the outside in to make pictures from seaweed and grottoes from shells and a feather frieze.

Run around the gardens at National Trust’s Killerton House near Exeter then pop indoors for their fashion exhibition Tree of Life showing how different species of tree are used to make paper, dyes, fibre and ‘that new t-shirt you’ve just smeared in chocolate’.

Greenway, Agatha Christie’s holiday home at Galmpton, are celebrating Children’s Book Week (Mon 29 – Sun 5 Jun) with a week-long programme for bookworms aged 3-13 with daily readings from authors, including the co-writer of the Agatha Oddly detective series, Rosie Sandler. Fairy Queen Camellia is there on Sun 26: come in your fairy-best for stories and enchanted craft.

 

Animal magic

Furry frolics now: hoof it over to Muddy award-winning  The Donkey Sanctuary at Sidmouth to stroke the sweet rescue donks and join in The Golden Carrot Hunt (in honour of their Golden Anniversary). Search for clues, learn fascinating donkey facts (great night vision apparently) and take time out *yummy brownies* in their award-winning cafe. 

Shaldon is always worth a trip for a beach-comb, where you can catch the five-minute Teign-Shaldon ferry over to Teignmouth’s back beach and mooch over to the climbing and wet-play fountains at The Den for ice-creams. Stay Shaldon-side and there is the Wildlife Trust with its noisy lemurs and cute meerkats, and the long, snakey Smugglers Tunnel – good for echoey letting-off-steam – down to to Ness Cove Beach.

 

Days outdoors

Fancy a day in Dartmouth but worried parking is a ‘mare in summer? Park opposite at Kingswear and go on foot as a passenger for the 10-minute crossing on the regular car ferry for a spot of crabbing off the sea wall, posh fish and chips from Rockfish or a dawdle round the art galleries. If that doesn’t wear them out, maraud it down to the 600-year old fortress of Dartmouth Castle for some swash-buckling ancient weaponry.

Flex those muddy-green fingers at RHS Rosemoor’s Get Set Sow (Sat 25 May – Sun 2 Jun) – with four packed days of workshops, you never know they might get into weeding and mowing. Plus, when they’ve finished with the dibbers, there’s a garden trail filled with hidden discoveries and an interactive theatre adaption of the enchanting tale of Alice in Wonderland.

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Devon