Yes, you read that right. I went to Devon with a toddler. I think. Well, I didn’t go there with one but I seem to have one now. Almost. Eva has taken the opportunity of a week away to try out this walking thing the rest of us seem to enjoy. She’s not quite there yet, but I think the toddler days are upon us, what with the screaming fits every time Reuben eats something she wants or we try and get her dressed. When your baby cries, it’s because something is wrong (hungry, windy, tired). When your toddler cries, it’s because you are not doing exactly what they want you to do. So, she’s at least a trainee toddler, even if she hasn’t passed her toddling proficiency course yet.
You also read it right that we’re in Devon. In the countryside. I know, I’m not the countryside’s biggest fan but it’s OK for a holiday. True, it smells ropey but with Eva’s prolific bottom on our side, I’m confident we’re giving as good as we get, stink-wise. And I thought while we were here, I’ll tell you some things we’ve found to do In The Country which may or may not be fun with your child who may or may not be a toddler. And the other one who is (gulp!) starting school in a few months. Don’t worry, it won’t be a blow-by-blow account of everything we’ve done on our hols, but just a few tidbits.
(Don’t you just love it when you write something and then it comes to pass, so to speak? Thanks Eva)
Anyhoo…where to begin? We’re staying at Park Holidays Golden Sands, near Dawlish Warren. It’s not to everyone’s tastes, and probably not what Nathan and I would have chosen pre-kids. But these are post-kids times and it’s all kinda convenient. There’s a swimming pool and two play areas, one of which is right outside our door. 19 paces from apartment to slide. And yes, we have an apartment. We don’t really do caravans, after traumatic childhood experiences, and the apartment is pretty nice – double glazing, flat screen telly and occasional wifi. We haven’t done much of the park entertainment stuff, and what we have done was a tad lame (although we won a giant hand at Disco Bingo and were robbed at the Children’s Quiz), but as a base to explore it’s been perfect.
Dawlish Warren beach is very close by and is a nice sandy one, although it’s not as remote as the map would have you believe. In fact, it’s fairly built-up, with amusement arcades, shops and a huge pub with soft play.
That pub came in handy when a beach-trip ended in rain, so I’m not complaining. It’s always hard to know whether somewhere to eat is child-friendly, but when it has a soft play and a pictorial kids menu, it’s a pretty safe bet.
But not all beach trips ended in rain. Look how sunny it was today! (That was Friday…by the time I post this, it won’t be Friday anymore thanks to aforementioned occasional wifi). We stayed there all day, and Nathan even took his top off at one point. You don’t get to see that.
We also got on the beach in Dawlish itself, a spontaneous trip that followed a Devonshire cream tea at the Old Mill House. Reuben befriended some pensioners at the next table by asking them whether they were 17 or 18 years old. Eva just ate a lot of jam.
Then there was a trip out to the World of Country Life, which sounds just about as exciting as watching 2001:A Space Odyssey on slow-motion. But it was great! Three different soft play areas, two bouncy castles, dodgems, go-karts, a whole host of trampolines and two outdoor play areas, one of which had a zip wire. Plus you got to pet animals and watch these amazing balancing goats:
And did I mention the giant pirate ship to play on?
It was awesome. The only downsides were the food was pretty dull, theme park stuff and the mascot was a sickly green moose that kinda freaked me out. And some of the museum bits were a bit dull too, although you have to love a photoshoot opportunity:
ut those are minor things, and it was a really nice day out. Nathan had specified he wanted to go somewhere “not too exciting” i.e. a theme park with rides that Reuben wasn’t allowed on, and this fit the bill perfectly.
So, is that enough to sell Devon to you? There was also a great picnic, BBQ and ceilidh which all seemed strangely packed with friends from London, but I think that might be specific to us…