Pecorama, Beer: a great day out with mini steam trains, model railways, gardens and playgrounds
This is probably about as close as we'll get to going to a theme park, seeing as we’re not really theme park people (long queues, busy - we've tended to avoid the large scale places while the girls are little and instead opted for the easy days out.)
With that in mind, our visit to Pecorama in Beer (on the East Devon coast near Seaton & Sidmouth) was a dream of a day. When I say day, I mean 3 hours, but it was a really successful 3 hours and I honestly couldn’t have asked for more from a morning out with the kids.
Pecorama is what I'd describe as a miniature theme park, starring its very own light railway complete with numerous little steam engines, along with beautiful gardens, picnic spots, some really detailed interactive model railway set ups with things to spot and find hiding in the scenery, and an awesome soft play (sadly the soft-play has permanently closed, from Jan 2021).
There's also crazy golf, table tennis, a large outdoor adventure playground and various café and kiosk options for refreshments (one of which is in a converted Pulman railway carriage). The Garden Room restaurant is purposely family-friendly with lots of room and all of the firm favourites on the menu. There's lots of space to spread out on the grass and enjoy the views if you'd prefer to take a picnic.
Put simply, it’s a train-lover’s heaven, and to be honest I’ve not met many kids who don’t like a ride on a mini steam train. For adults of the not-particularly-fussed-about-trains variety, it’s a nice place to go on a sunny day with views across the sea, palm-fringed gardens to explore and plenty to keep the children entertained.
My honest thoughts are that the soft play will be sorely missed, but Pecorama remains a good family day out with everything else it has to offer. Age-wise, I'd say the attraction would best appeal to tots up to age 11 or 12 (approximately!)
The jewel in Pecorama's crown is its light railway, which circles around the clifftop site. We boarded the train and off we went, with a puff of steam. The kids loved it and neither even tried to jump out of the open carriages in the tunnels, I was very impressed. The ride lasted about 10 minutes and has great views over the gardens and clifftop scenery, if I’m honest I enjoyed it as much as the girls.
Info - Tickets, Opening Times and Access
The site is open seasonally and usually closes for a few months in winter - please check for current opening times here.
The pathways that lead around the site are surfaced and suitable for pushchairs, and baby change facilities can be found at the main toilets near the Garden Room Restaurant.
Ample on-site free parking
Now that the soft play area has closed, Pecorama is mostly an outdoor attraction, though the model railway exhibition and restaurants are the perfect places to take shelter on a showery day.
Please see the website for current entry fees - at the time of writing, Pecorama is closed due to COVID. 2019's ticket prices are pictured to give an approximate idea of cost though these will now be out of date.
After your day out at Pecorama, why not check out what else Beer has to offer - I've written a blog post on it here.