River Dart Country Park was our favourite day out with the kids in Devon!
One of the things we were most looking forward to during our trip to Devon was the River Dart Country Park. I understand, it doesn’t sound much but this award-winning attraction, is set in 90 acres of parkland within Dartmoor National Park and is both an attraction and campsite. We didn’t stay here, but as a family of campers we definitely would – it looks great!
Onto the attraction part. Where to begin … in simple terms this is an adventure playground set around the river. But it’s so much more than that … there are high ropes, low ropes, climbing walls, outdoor climbing spaces that are just fab, from spiders webs to forts, assault courses, zip wires, snake slides and I haven’t even got to the river bits yet, more on that later.
We decided to do the dry stuff first, leaving the river activities for later in the day. You pay a set entrance price which gives you access to an amazing amount of things to do, but then you can buy dare devil tokens for specific activities making it a really affordable day out. The dare devil activities are run by CRS Adventures and include canoeing, high ropes, water zorbs, mega zip wire, indoor climbing and bouldering wall and kayaking. We did the climbing wall* first, which was an area split into two with one side being set out like an indoor climbing centre and the other side looking like rock faces. The boys loved it and exceeded their own expectations in terms of capabilities. We ended up dragging them out as there was so much to do and we didn’t want to miss anything! We started working our way through the outdoor play areas, with the low ropes (the boys weren’t old enough for the high ropes) and the spiders web.
We then stopped for lunch, we was superb! It’s not often that attractions do a really good lunch offering, so my expectations were exceeded! From doggy ice cream(!) to delicious milk shakes, salads, wraps as well as the more frequently seen (but a very high quality) hot dogs and burgers; everyone was happy!
Our journey continued to more outdoor play areas, with a brilliant fort and assault areas which the boys took turns in racing Daddy, this was shaping up to be our favourite day of the holiday! We then decided to go for, what we thought would be the main attraction … water zorbing*! This was a dare devil activity so was extra but I highly recommend it. When I say I, I didn’t actually have a go, but watch this video clip and tell me my youngest didn’t just love it!
As we were now by the river, our next stop was canoeing*. I remember not being very good at this as a youngster so I wasn’t sure how our eldest and I would get along versus Daddy and our youngest – but it was brilliant! We had great fun racing and splashing each other.
By this stage the boys were now begging us to go to the pirate ship which simply looked amazing. I’ll try and explain it; a section of the river has been made wider and turned into the best water playground I’ve ever seen, the centre of which is a massive wooden pirate ship. The only way to get on the pirate ship is through the water, or on the planks. There’s also an island, tyre swings, obstacles … in addition you could hire or buy dinghies (or bring your own) so the river was dotted with boats attacking the pirate ship with water guns … we loved it! There was even an area to the side which was separated as a toddler beach so the little ones could still join in without getting in the way. To the side was a dampool for you to swing off a rope and land in. It was just so cleverly thought out and full of fun for all the kids (and quite a lot of adults too!).
We literally had to drag the boys away at 4.30pm as we had dinner booked later, and they weren’t happy with us! It was by far and away our favourite activity and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I am now trying to find something similar that is nearer to home, as if we lived nearby I can imagine we would spend most of the summer there. Just superb!
*these activities were part of the dare devil and were an additional cost.
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