Top 11 things to do in Exeter with kids

5 August 2022

With its rich history, stunning outdoor spaces, and a multitude of cultural activities to enjoy, Exeter can make for an exhilarating family getaway. From wandering through its underground passages and cruising along the River Exe in a canoe to letting loose at its local theme park, we’ve rounded up 11 of the best things to do in Exeter with your kids, whatever the weather. Whether you’re looking for summer holiday inspiration or ideas for a winter break, get set for an unforgettable family trip.

1. Royal Albert Memorial Museum

With archives of the region’s history, from prehistoric to the present day, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery is a must-see on your family trip to Exeter. As the largest museum and art gallery in the city, it’s full to the brim with fascinating finds covering a range of eras and topics, including the ancient worlds, Egyptian tombs, geology, archaeology, fine art and so much more. The museum makes for an educational yet entertaining excursion in Exeter, all rounded off with cake and nibbles at the museum café. Regularly updated with new pieces and exhibitions, you’re in for a treat when you visit.

2. Exeter Underground Passages

Initially created to transport clean drinking water into the Medieval city’s walls, the extraordinary Exeter Underground Passages are now open to the public to explore. As the only city to have passages of this nature, it’s a super special and rare outing for the family to enjoy. Get your adventure gear on and be wowed by the magic of yesteryear, as you and your little ones (aged five and above) wander through the tunnels on an insightful tour where you’ll learn an array of fun facts. Kids will love the interactive displays and discovering hidden gems in the exhibition.

3. Crealy Theme Park and Resort

Crealy Theme Park and Resort

Children of all ages are in for a treat at Devon’s largest family theme park, with more than 60 rides and attractions to delight in. From roller coasters and log rides to ball parks, soak zones and a junior driving school, at Crealy Theme Park and Resort there’s plenty of fun for everyone. Plus, there are more than 200 farm and zoo animals at the resort for kids to admire. This spot is the ultimate action-packed family day out in Devon, and it’s just seven miles from the city centre. There’s on-site accommodation too, so why not extend your trip to allow for even more adventure time?

4. Go Ape Haldon

Go Ape
Go Ape Haldon

Young adventurers will love a day spent at Go Ape Haldon, located just six miles from Exeter. This exciting escape offers a multitude of activities. For kids aged 10 and above, there’s the Treetop Challenge, where they’re put to the test with tree swinging and ziplines, the Treetop Adventure, with high platforms and tricky challenges, and plenty more paths. There are also junior versions for tots aged four and above or the Nets Adventure for kids aged one or older. If climbing and monkeying around in the treetops isn’t for all of your children, there’s also electric scooters and a children’s play area, plus walking and cycling trails for all the family to enjoy.

5. The Exeter Mystery Treasure Trail

A superb way to explore the city, The Exeter Mystery Treasure Trail is a self-guided and Spy Mission-themed tour for anyone aged six and above. Your family will start just a 10-minute walk from Exeter Central station at Southernhay East, and you’ll be taken on a 2.5 mile journey using the trail booklet provided. Kids will need to don their thinking caps as they’re encouraged to crack the codes along the way and complete the mission. The magnificent feat will also take you past landmarks including Exeter Cathedral, the Catacombs and Rougemont Gardens and Castle.

6. Canoeing down Exeter Quay


Set sail on a picturesque voyage in the great outdoors of Exeter as you leave land for water and hop into a canoe on the River Exe. From spring to autumn, head down to the waterfront and hire a boat or canoe for a sightseeing adventure. Enjoy the day slowly slipping by as your family take in the city’s stunning landmarks and wonderful wildlife. Whether you’ve taken charge of the paddles before or are a boating novice, this is sure to be an entertaining day out in Exeter for families with kids of all ages.

7. Clip 'n Climb

Swap seeing the sights for heights and head to Clip ‘n Climb Exeter. With over 25 different enticing climbs to try, there’s something for everyone, no matter what level you’re all at. From tree climbing and a tricky Twister-shaped course to the Leap of Faith that’ll get the heart racing, the climbing walls will keep you all busy for hours and make for a day out you’re sure to remember. When you’ve finished putting yourselves to the test, refuel with some delicious treats from The Workshop Café.

8. Canonteign Falls

Located 11 miles outside of Exeter, enjoy breath-taking sights and marvel at one of the highest man-made waterfalls in England at Dartmoor National Park’s Canonteign Falls, which plunges a whopping 220 feet.. Kids will also go wild for the play area, featuring wooden ships, trampolines and a mini assault course, with hidden dinosaurs along the way. With seven picturesque lakes, a children’s nature walk and the Canonteign Kitchen to keep you fuelled for this fun family day out, this one’s a must-see.

9. Bear Trail

Bear Trail
Bear Trail

Tackle tunnels, bear nets and zip lines at the award-winning magical Bear Trail in Exeter where little ones can run free and get truly stuck in. Also featuring races, monkey bars and no shortage of mud, the assault course has 30 challenging obstacles to overcome. The Bear Trail is a family-friendly mud run obstacle course set on a 10-acre site. After the incredible adventure, your family will certainly have built up an appetite, so tuck into snacks at the café. Wearing sturdy shoes, such as wellies, is highly recommended, and we’d also suggest bringing a towel, changes of clothes and dry shoes, so that you can get yourself cleaned up in their hot indoor showers with private individual changing rooms.

10. Bear Town

Bear Town
Bear Town

While you’re in the area and dried off from the Bear Trail, head next door to Bear Town – a multi award-winning indoor role play venue for children. Perfect from 12 months up to and including 7 years old, there are 12 unique role play areas for your little ones to enjoy, with each more exciting than the last. Inspire your child to broaden their personal, social and emotional development, expand their communication and language skills all the while gaining confidence and most importantly having fun.

11. The Donkey Sanctuary

Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary

For an adorable day out with the family, while supporting an excellent cause, head to The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. Having homed and cared for over 7,000 animals since it was founded in 1969, the space offers trails, activities, tours and talks to immerse yourselves in. Finish your day with a delicious meal or Afternoon Tea at the on-site restaurant, and consider adopting one of these beautifully docile creatures – every penny goes towards helping donkeys and mules around the world.

Whether it’s tackling an obstacle course or strolling through the city on an exciting treasure hunt, there are plenty of exciting escapades for families to enjoy in Exeter. Get the best price for your train tickets when you book in advance, and when travelling with children aged from five to 15, it may be cheaper to buy an adult GroupSave ticket for the whole group and save 26% off the total. Explore our flexible range of ticket types to find the best one for your journey.