Guest blog by Claire Toze, Visit Exeter
Exeter is a very family-friendly city. There is plenty of green space for kids to run free, and the city’s historic attractions will ignite their imagination. With the River Exe and surrounding countryside on the doorstep, there are also plenty of opportunities for adventure! Here are our five top picks of what to do with the kids in Exeter this autumn.
1. Heritage trails
Follow one of three self-guided heritage trails around Exeter to learn more about the city’s fascinating past, with puzzles and quizzes along the way. The City Wall Trail covers a distance of approximately two miles, following the path of the Roman city wall, of which around 70% still stands today. The Medieval Trail is approximately one mile long, and brings the city’s most turbulent period to life, with stories about the construction of Exeter Cathedral and the gruesome spectacle of the Black Death. The Woollen Trail centres on Exeter’s ‘Age of the Golden Fleece’, when Exeter was a very wealthy city, thanks to the woollen trade. Download a leaflet of your chosen trail then follow the information panels around the city.
2. Exeter Cathedral
A visit to this beautiful and historic building is awe-inspiring, whatever your age. With over 900 years of history, the Cathedral has many tales to tell, such as WWII bombing, myths and legends, and ancient burials. Join a Secret Space tour to explore the space inside the Cathedral that is normally off limits to visitors. You can even take a behind-the-scenes tour up onto the Cathedral’s roof, visiting the roof void high above the Nave, into the south tower, the Lead Room and the Ringing Chamber and (weather permitting) out onto the North Tower to enjoy some of the best views of Exeter and beyond (suitable for ages 8+).
3. Clip n Climb
This indoor attraction offers 26 different climbing challenges suitable for ages 4+. There are multiple routes to try on each wall, including coded easy, medium and hard challenges, and children are free to choose their own challenge, in their own time – this is the ultimate vertical playground! Sessions last approximately 1.5 hours including a half hour briefing session before climbing begins.
4. Haldon Forest Park
Located just a 10-minute drive from Exeter, Haldon offers 3,500 acres of woodland in which to run free! Well-signposted walking and cycling routes through the forest allow you the chance to explore at your own pace, with a range of trails to suit all abilities. After your walk or cycle, visit the Ridge Café for a warming drink and cake while the kids play in the rustic play area. If the kids are feeling really adventurous, book them into the Go Ape Treetop Adventure, an exhilarating high ropes course through the trees with an awesome zip wire ending!
5. Crealy Theme Park
This family theme park on the edge of Exeter is suitable for all ages, with adrenaline pumping rollercoasters and water rides, plenty of attractions for smaller kids and indoor soft play areas. You can also explore the wonky bridges through the forest and meet over 100 animals. Tickets are currently just £15 per person (individuals over 92cm). Kids under 92cms go free.
These are by no means the only things to do with the kids in Exeter this autumn. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum is due to reopen soon, with 16 galleries of fascinating exhibits to explore, or take to the water with canoe or paddle-board hire on Exeter Quayside. Head to the Visit Exeter website for more ideas and inspiration.
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