• With Kids in the Westcountry

All aboard the tram - a family day out on Seaton Tramway

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

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It’s probably going to be a recurring theme that most of our days start off with a moderate level of chaos and today was no exception, seeing as I discovered that I’d put my only debit card through the wash in the pocket of some jeans just before we were due to leave. Lucky for me though, I wouldn’t need my card as today’s day trip came courtesy of the generous staff at Seaton Tramway, who gifted us tickets to come and try out the attraction for the blog.

Colyton tram station - Credit Seaton Tramway

Being local to Seaton, I’ve always fancied a trip on the historic tramway and I’m pleased to report that it was so good! There was more to it than I'd imagined and I feel like the £35 family fare (2 adults, 2 kids) was more than justified; working out at £8.75 per person for the return voyage it’s actually not much more than catching a bus in terms of money but so much more in the way of an experience.

The line runs from the historic and pretty village of Colyton to the seaside town of Seaton, and you can either start your journey at Seaton and travel inland to Colyton, or the reverse. We chose to go from Colyton to Seaton as, ever the Scrooge, parking is free at Colyton station and that way we wouldn’t be restricted on time, plus there’s lots to do in Seaton once you’re there.

On arrival to Colyton station we were amazed at the pretty platform and station building, and pleased to discover it’s got a well-kept children’s play area. Trams leave the station every 20 minutes or so (depending on the seasonal timetable) which means you don’t need to worry particularly about getting there for a certain time as there’s always a tram just around the corner, but it’s always good to know you could easily kill any waiting time with younger children with a play in the playground.

There’s a lovely light and airy tearoom/café (I quite fancy popping back in the summer hols for a cream tea actually) – serving well-priced snacks, lunches and an all day breakfast as well as a range of children’s meals for the hungry traveller; as well as an epic gift shop with a huge range of toys, stationery and all sorts of souvenirs. Who knew there’d be so much here at this sleepy little station, I’m thinking it would actually be a good place to visit before Christmas to stock up on stocking fillers!

The ticket lady issued us with our yellow wristbands to be worn in place of a ticket, and also gave us a sheet containing a treasure hunt for the kids, with a certificate to be won if you spot all of the items in and around the station – another thing to keep them entertained while you wait for a tram, or after your journey.

We caught the 10:50am tram and we headed straight to the top deck. We’ve just got past the point of needing to take a pushchair on this sort of day out but a fellow passenger had a fold up buggy which was taken by the cheerful driver and stored in the cabin so taking a pushchair is not a problem – I also noticed that the station buildings at both ends of the line were fully accessible and both had disabled and baby changing facilities in the loos.

I would advise keeping toddlers on your laps if you’re going to sit on top deck for obvious reasons, you do actually whizz past lampposts and trees at quite an alarming rate (probably only about 10mph…) and the edge of the tram isn’t that high so you don’t really want them to be clambering about while you’re in motion. Also – choose your deck wisely according to the weather forecast as you’re not allowed to move between the decks until the tram has stopped fully at the halfway point at Colyford. (As we found out on our return leg when the heavens opened and I spent the remaining part of the journey with Livvie's spare jacket tied around my head like a hood.)

The kids absolutely loved the ride, which lasted about 20 minutes – which I think is about the perfect duration for fidgety ones! On the way you can look out for cattle and horses grazing, and lots of different birds on the estuary at Seaton Wetlands – some really nice views to enjoy. There’s also the odd dinosaur hiding in the bushes along the track as a nod to the Jurassic coast. (Not real, obviously…)

You can also have a go at spotting all of the different tram cars on the way, checking them off the ticklist included in the leaflet given at the ticket office – we spotted about 10.

Pulling into the brand-new tram station at Seaton was exciting, lots of colourful trams lined up ready to go, handy loos and a café offering drinks and snacks to takeaway or eat in, along with a range of kids toys and gifts.

Now, what to do while you’re in Seaton! There’s loads to do in Seaton with children, from a simple walk along the seafront (great place to take kids on bikes and scooters), go to the lovely cafes – my personal faves are Seaton Hideaway and Coast, do some crafts at Coastal Craft Collective, visit the interactive attractions and great play garden at Seaton Jurassic, or have a picnic and a play at the brilliant Underfleet playground in behind the car park behind Seaton Jurassic and my beloved Seaton Tesco. (If you read my ‘about me’ section on my website you’ll know I’m a fan.)

We chose to have a quick coffee and a slab of flapjack for the girls in the café at Seaton Jurassic, which is right next to the Seaton Tram Station – lots of people think that you’ve got to pay to go into the Jurassic themed attraction part of the building to use it but actually the café is open to the public and has a box of handy kids games and books to keep young ones entertained while you fill your face with a quick sausage roll. (Or side salad, as I most sensibly chose.)

Keeping it simple we then headed over to the huge playground behind the long stay car park on The Underfleet road, just a 2 minute walk from the tram station – as far as playgrounds go, this one is amazing! There’s picnic benches and it’s a great spot to take some lunch on a dry day, plenty of space to play football and a separate skate park for scooters and bikes.

When it was time to head back, we noticed a video on the screens at Seaton Tram Station advertising some special themed tram days, including the Polar Express themed rides in the run up to Christmas. I know these theme days are a little pricey but they certainly look like they’d be an amazing way to get into the magic of the festive season so I might look into it this year as a special treat – keep an eye on the tramway’s Facebook page to keep up to date with what’s on.

I noticed that for £10 per adult and £5 per child, you can join their loyalty scheme which gets you 1/3rd off fares and 10% off everything else, including special events and the café/gift shop, so if you’re likely to return, I think this would be well worth doing.

All in all a really enjoyable family day out, would definitely return for a more special day out when family are visiting, and I’d recommend without hesitation to locals and visitors with kids of all ages.

The Hideaway Cafe - at the end of Seaton seafront. (Credit - The Hideaway Cafe, Seaton)