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7 Easter family meet-ups with pitstops

Looking for a great place to hook up with friends and family, with coffee, cake and pooch-friendly walks on tap? Here's a few of our faves around the county.

Secret Garden Pop-Up, Agricultural Inn, Brampford Speke

What to see: A lovely leafy spot behind the Muddy Award-winning pub, opening up from Easter until September with outdoor eating and teepees too, so whatever the weather you can dine al fresco. No need to book.

For whipper-snappers: It’s Family Fun Day on Easter Sunday, with a bouncy castle and an opportunity to slap on the face paints.

Dogs allowed? Friendly dogs on leads welcome.

Pitstop: Order a drink from the outside bar, and freshly cooked Asian street food from the food truck. Friday 3-9pm, Sat & Sun & bank hols 12-9pm.

Tapeley Park, Instow

Pic credit Tapeley Park

What to see: Plenty for garden botherers, including sculpted Italian terraces, one of the UK’s oldest permaculture gardens, old woodland with a hidden lake and amazing North Devon coastal views. Follow the QR code trail if you want all the inside intel on the historic features. 

For whipper snappers: An Easter egg trail-free zone but there’s a children’s play area, they can search for dragon flies and kingfishers and they’ll be fascinated by the shell house and ice house.

Dogs allowed? Yes, on leads.

Pitstop: Tearooms managed by the the award-winning Glorious Oyster, selling gourmet coffee and ice creams, organic veg and salads from the Tapeley kitchen garden and there’s the Dairy Lawns for an al fresco cuppa. Or bring a picnic rug and your own vittles.

How much? Family ticket £17.50

RHS Rosemoor, Great Torrington 

Pic credit: RHS Rosemoor

What to see: Beautiful blossom, and numerous styles of gardens to inspire your plotting when you get back home, including Mediterranean, Exotic, Potager, Fruit & Veg, but right now the place to be is The Cherry Garden, a riot of pink and white blossom, perfect for a spot of ‘Hanami’, the Japanese name for flower viewing. Open daily.

For whipper-snappers? There’s a play area and until April 24, you can hit the giant painted egg trail which comes with an Explorer Pack, puzzles to solve and an Easter Bunny on hand. With ethical treats from PLAYin CHOC. Free with admission.

On Saturday, there’s a screening of Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway in the Garden Room which will be transformed into a woodland with hay bales and deckchairs for seating, or bring your own picnic blankets and cushions.

Dogs allowed? Sorry, no pooches.

Pitstop: Morning pastries, light lunches, cakes, cream teas and afternoon teas in the Garden Kitchen Restaurant. Just after the sweet stuff? Head to the Wisteria Tea Room.

How much: £12.95pp; £32 for family of four or free to RHS members and children under 5.

Coldharbour Mill, Uffculme

Pic credit: Coldharbour Mill

What to see: One of the UK’s oldest working mills, where you can see heritage spinning and weaving machinery in action, with a WWII Air Raid Shelter, a tall steam chimney, and bobbins galore.

For whipper snappers: Easter Monday is Madhatters & March Hares Day with an Easter egg hunt, and eggs hidden around the estate, Mill Pond or wildlife meadow and 19th century engines in full steam. (10.30am-4:30pm).

Dogs allowed? Grounds, gardens and Café Bar are all dog-friendly.

Pitstop: Sit waterside at the Grist Mill Café Bar and Shop where you can find cakes, light lunches and snacks, with hot drinks and a glass of chilled wine.

How much: Family £44.50, adults £16.50/kids £10, under 5s free.

The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum

What to see: A bijou 10-acre oasis on the edge of the moor, packed with springtime treasures made all the more astonishing for its contrast with its wild moorland edge location. Oodles of hot horticulture to relish now, including camellia, magnolia with blooms the size of dinner plates, azalea and rhodos, plus bridges and brooks and garden rooms to to enjoy. And tempting plants grown locally to buy at the gate. Open all Easter weekend inc Monday.

For whipper-snappers? Kids Eggs-plorer Trail until 29 Fri April with chocolate egg and a free hot-chocolate or milkshake in the cafe included with each trail. £3 per child.

Dogs allowed? Assistance dogs only.

Pitstop: Great little cafe with homemade soups, light lunches and cakes, and when the sun shines, an outdoor terrace where you can scoff and enjoy the flaaars.

How much: £12pp, under 5s free.

Powderham Castle, Kenton

What to see: The Earl and Countess of Devon’s family home, a romantic castle dating back to the 14th century, where you can take a guided tour, or just wander the grounds, which include a deer park, and a Secret Garden with petting animals and a play fort.

For whipper-snappers? Apart from the Secret Garden, kids will love the herds of fallow deer, and until Sunday 24 April there’s a Big Egg Hunt. Collect a free activity sticker book from their newly opened Visitor Centre and follow the trail around the grounds searching for the giant eggs, learning about the birds as they go.

Dogs allowed? Yep for £1, except in the Deer Park and Walled Garden.

Pitstop: Head to the Castle courtyard for a light bite or a Devon cream tea (the Earl is a big fan!) or bring a picnic to scoff on a bench by the lake.

How much? Family grounds only £24.95; £39.95 if you all want to see the castle interior too.

National Trust Knightshayes, Tiverton

What to see: A mix of formal gardens and parkland around the the Heathcoat-Amory Victorian house. Plenty of whimsy here, thanks to fun topiary hedges and naturalistic woods with carpets of spring bulbs and bluebells in spring. Last time Muddy went there was a willow frame for your family snaps next to the formal pond. Get snapping!

For whipper-snappers: Until Sun 24 April, kids can take a nature-themed trail and claim their Rainforest Alliance chocolate egg (or an allergen-free alternative) £3 per child

Dogs allowed? Yes, on leads with some restrictions.

Pitstop: Head to the Stables Cafe for the usual NT fayre, including soups, pasties, sarnies and cake.

How much? Free to members, £30 for family or £18 for one adult and three kids.

Want more ideas for family-friendly Easter meet-ups?

Pic credit: The National Trust

Check out more Easter egg hunts and trails at Devon’s National Trust properties and DO take a look at Muddy’s curated guide to 20+ Easter Things to do with Kids.

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