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To ask whether North Devon or South Devon is the better family holiday option?

(62 Posts)
flipflap75 Fri 24-Mar-17 16:58:55

With two children, aged 7 and 9, neither of whom are particularly 'rugged' yet (in terms of outdoor pursuits)!

I love the South Hams, but that's more from the point of view of adult holidays (mostly walking and pubs).

Any insider info gratefully received.

lessthanBeau Fri 24-Mar-17 17:03:07

I love Devon, we stayed around ilfracomb area, and went for days out to Torquay and Paignton and Warren dawlish too. Kids loved the beach at woolacomb and we enjoyed the atmosphere in Torquay, there's some good theme parks aimed at your age range in the North​.

nonameinspiration Fri 24-Mar-17 17:04:29

Either really. South Devon has the riviera and north has the surf

BeyondThePage Fri 24-Mar-17 17:05:24

North Devon for us. Nice sandy beaches, some with rockpools, most with cafes/toilets etc. Plenty of towns rather than cities, pubs, Exmoor, and it's zoo. We usually stay in a farmy type cottage complex with a pool, games room and playing field - trampolines/swings etc - there's a few about. That way if it tips down, you can go back "home" and still have fun.

flipflap75 Fri 24-Mar-17 17:05:42

Thanks lessthanBeau...I was looking at Ilfracombe but then stressing about my son mentioning wanting to go to Paignton Zoo.

It looks like a bit of a drive, but I guess you break it up with stops to limit the monotony/car sickness on minor roads. I remember those single track, high hedged journeys well from childhood!

Ecclesiastes Fri 24-Mar-17 17:05:53

Neither. East Devon is the nicest part of Devon. South Hams is rammed with tourists and North Devon is like going back to the 1950s, and not in a good way.

I am allowed to say these things because I am a local. (PS West Devon is OK too - one of the most sparsely populated areas in Western Europe.)

flipflap75 Fri 24-Mar-17 17:07:14

BTP, a farmy type cottage complex like you describe sounds ideal.

Much appreciate the ideas/opinions, all.

flipflap75 Fri 24-Mar-17 17:08:23

Fairly stupid, but I'd never thought about looking specifically at East or West! Back to the research...

Bea Fri 24-Mar-17 17:08:50

North Devon!... Lovely beaches!... Beautiful countryside!... Big sheep.... Milky Way... Westward ho! Beach!... Hockings ice cream!... Hartland point!... Gorgeous!!

Sciurus83 Fri 24-Mar-17 17:10:17

Ilfracombe and Woolacombe are lovely

Etymology23 Fri 24-Mar-17 17:10:17

I have a great fondness for south Devon - totnes is lovely and there are some gorgeous beaches and woodlands and rivers. I don't think you'd be disappointed with either part!

Alternatively, Wales is gorgeous too, and houses can often be cheaper to rent but there's a higher chance of rain.

ThePants999 Fri 24-Mar-17 17:10:51

With kids, it's surely south?

Bea Fri 24-Mar-17 17:11:09

... And forgot to mention the Tarka Trail!! Get on your bikes at Bideford and cycle to Instow for beach and ice cream!!

tigerfrog Fri 24-Mar-17 17:18:50

I live in Torbay. When the sun shines, it is the most beautiful place in the world. Plenty of family friendly beaches, restaurants etc. I have a family year ticket to woodland adventure park near Dartmouth, we could go there every weekend and still have fun- children similar ages. Torbay air show is at the start of June which is amazing, carnival week at the end of July and children's week in august. I can entertain my children for the price of parking and an ice cream mist of the summer.

flipflap75 Fri 24-Mar-17 17:31:20

Brilliant idea - thanks all.

I'm really torn. Don't want to plump for somewhere in the middle and spend lots of time driving (went to Majorca last year and seemed to do a lot of drives from lovely beaches in the north to various child-related attractions in the south!).

BBCK Fri 24-Mar-17 17:35:54

I preferred North Devon for the beaches but there is plenty to do in both areas

opticaltrixie Fri 24-Mar-17 17:39:14

Saunton Sands was nice until we discovered used syringes lying in the sand dunes. confused

Hogs Fri 24-Mar-17 17:42:47

Another shout for West Devon. I used to live there and there is far more to do for kids than you'd think. Morwellham Quay, Dingles fairground museum and Dartmoor on the doorstep. Also, Plymouth close by for aquarium, Smeeton's Tower, the Barbican for a lovely mooch and an ice cream.

You can head across Dartmoor to Totnes and take the steam train to the otter sanctuary, visit Dartmoor Zoo (just outside of Plymouth), Wembury beach (also not far from Plymouth).

You're also just a short drive away from Cornwall, if you fancied that too.

Littlecaf Fri 24-Mar-17 17:44:23

South Devon! Kingsbridge is nicer and less 'rah' than Salcombe and no where near as touristy

MumoftheBoyandtheGirl Fri 24-Mar-17 17:45:27

I agree with PP who said that North Devon is like going back in time and not in a good way! I lived there growing up and there is hardly anything for children. I now live in East Devon and it's much more up to date. If you want to do Paignton Zoo (and you should as it's the best in the country IMO) then you should base yourself nearer the south as the north is literally the back of beyond. North Devon is an hour away from the M5 so a real pain to get to especially with holiday traffic as there is one main road in and out.

Hogs Fri 24-Mar-17 17:46:30

Kingsbridge is lovely. Avoid Brixham in the height of summer though!

WildBelle Fri 24-Mar-17 17:48:34

I love north Devon, the beaches are much better. But one of my favourite spots in south Devon is east prawle, it's like being in the med there (right on the riviera). Beaches are tricky to access though so not good for small kids who are likely to fall off a cliff path.

WildBelle Fri 24-Mar-17 17:49:44

And Crealy near Exeter is a great day out for kids.

JohnSAHD Fri 24-Mar-17 17:49:44

I completely agree with nonameinspiration
Both North and South are great but they have very different types of beach. If you want surf go North (my girls love Westward Ho!, Woolacombe and Croyde), South Devon has great beaches such as Sandy Bay but smaller waves. I also love the secluded, pretty beaches in North Devon such as Peppercombe, Greencliff and Welcombe but they involve a 20-30 min hike to get to them which can be a bit of a trial on the way home when the kids are tired and there is all the gear to lug back to the car. Both North and South are perfect for family holidays though so it's up to you.

AlistairSim Fri 24-Mar-17 17:52:00

I love Devon! Don't think we've ever had a less than brilliant holiday wherever we've gone, North or South.
But if I HAD to choose I would say North because I love Woolacombe and the surrounding area. Our children are 9 and 11 and never tire f the beaches etc.

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