4 Days in Devon
We’ve had a short break over the school Easter holidays. We packed up the car and the girls and headed down to Bovey Tracey on the southern edge of Dartmoor for a few days.
Where we stayed: Indio Lake, Bovey Tracey
We found this on the Blue Chip Holidays website (www.bluechipholidays.co.uk) and it didn’t disappoint. The property consists of 12 lodges around a small fishing lake that’s teeming with wildlife. Every lodge comes with a hot tub and outdoor seating – which we tried to enjoy but it was a little chilly/drizzly.
The lodge was well furnished with everything we and the girls would expect for self-catering. The added bonuses were; bathrobes and slippers, a bottle of wine and a large box of chocolates when we arrived. The wine was much needed as Mummy can get a little grumpy after a lot of driving.
In all honesty, this was one of the nicest self-catering apartment/lodge we have stayed in with the girls. It got a 4 thumbs up from the girls. (Although we didn’t need it, I did see a cot bed and high chair stored in the second bedroom cupboard which would have been essential for us a few years ago.)
Where we went:
Morwellham Quay (www.morwellham-quay.co.uk) – take yourself back in time to the Victorian era and explore a historic port, village, copper mine and railway on the Tamar River. This was very definitely a case of making the family relive my childhood as I first went to Morwellham when I was about Lala’s age. It lived up to my memories – thank god – and is definitely a place you can spend the whole day.
We first went on a trip into the copper mine. Cue both the girls getting unnaturally clingy – it was very dark in places. Our journey was led by a very informative guide called Rick with an impressive booming voice. He told us all about copper mining and the huge amount of effort needed pre-mechanisation.
During the afternoon we explored, the Victorian school house and yard, climbed aboard a cargo ship, made chocolate lollipops, panned for gold, dressed up as Victorians (well Bebe did but Lala point blank refused) and played in the outdoor play area. There were also a couple of other crafts and demonstrations that we didn’t see. The girls were absolutely fascinated by the school room and wanted to spend a lot of time playing traditional games in the school yard.
I liked being able to go back to something from my childhood and share my love of history with the girls. I also liked the pasty I had for lunch in The Ship, the onsite restaurant.
House of Marbles (www.houseofmarbles.com) – It was a wet morning and all the reviews of Indio Lake said to come here and take a look. Marbles might not sound that interesting but my two girls would beg to differ. They were more than happy to just stand for ages watching marbles go round and round in a marble run. But it wasn’t just marbles. House of Marbles is also home to a glassblowing factory and the showroom has a viewing gallery that kept Bebe occupied for quite a while and me as well. Elsewhere in the building and outside there is a small museum on the history of pottery (the building is an old pottery factory), a jewellery maker’s studio, several retail outlets selling ornaments, traditional toys, sweets and biscuits, a restaurant which we didn’t use but is apparently good as you need to book a table during peak times, and there was also an outdoor marble themed play area.
It’s a good place to spend a wet morning and learn a little bit about marbles – needless to say we were convinced to buy the girls some marbles which have already been used as they got the marble run out at home the minute we got back.
Kents Cavern (www.kents-cavern.co.uk) – more history and learning but this time in prehistoric caves in Torquay. This trip was a chance to relive Himself’s childhood as he had previously reminisced about buying a key ring from here. Kents Cavern is a UNESCO Global Geopark which basically means it’s a site of world historical significance. You can’t just wander round the caves on your own – they’re trying to protect them. We were taken on a tour of the caves in a group of around 20. Alfie our tour guide was very knowledgeable and I was also impressed that he dealt with the many random questions from children in the group so well. The caves are beautiful and it’s a bit aweing to think that thousands of years ago people, and bears, lived in them.
As it was the Easter holidays there was also an egg hunt going on. The girls were looking for dinosaur eggs with letters which would spell out the name of a dinosaur. No extra cost and a packet of haribo at the end was always going to be a winner.
Canonteign Falls (www.canonteignfalls.co.uk) – getting outdoors and visiting England’s highest manmade waterfall. Marvelling at the efforts the Victorians went to in order to prove their estate was better than anyone else’s. This was a bit of an active one and definitely not for people who just like a leisurely stroll as there is a fair bit of up, 90 steps and it’s a bit slippery in the rain. Our girls, 4 and 6 both managed the walk and we did see that you can borrow backpack carriers for much smaller children.
The views are amazing and Himself wanted to take a lot of photos with his new camera. The girls were less impressed with the view but were very definitely placated by not one but two play areas. One of the play areas is an assault course so more suited to older children but ninja Lala threw herself into it as usual (dragging mummy along with her over an A-frame net much to the amusement of other onlooking parents).
We didn’t bring a picnic so took advantage of the café. It was their Sunday Brunch menu so Mummy and Himself got to enjoy smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and eggs benedict. Although it wasn’t on the menu they did very kindly make Bebe a cheese sandwich (Bebe is notoriously picky with food – she basically eats cheese at the moment or a full roast but not much in between).
The sun came out after lunch so we spent a good hour playing. It was great for us to be able to get the girls out in the fresh air enjoying themselves.
We also had a gourmet meal at that well known restaurant chain McDonald’s and a trip to the beach to eat fish and chips in Teignmouth – where Mummy was dive bombed by a seagull who stole some of her salted caramel ice-cream!
Our 4 Days in Devon definitely got the 4 thumbs up from the girls and we got to explore a bit of Devon neither of us had been to in over 25 years.