Things to do with kids in wet weather – East Devon, West Dorset and South Somerset
Updated: Jun 7, 2020
Post sponsored by Rosie Parsons Family Photography
Wet weather activities / wet weather things to do with children / rainy day family activities in Lyme Regis, Axminster, Bridport, Yeovil, Chard, Seaton, Sidmouth, Honiton, Charmouth, Dorchester, Exeter, Exmouth, Jurassic Coast, Axe Valley and beyond.
I’m a ‘get out of the house’ person most days, and on rainy days there’s only so long crafts, painting, baking and house jobs can keep us occupied before I feel the need for a change of scene. If you’re itching to get out and about but the weather is looking a bit restrictive, here’s some ideas for places to check out with the kids in the Jurassic coast area and beyond.
From time to time I’ll update this list as I discover new places to suggest, so if you’ve got any ideas please do send them over and I can include them!
Images are credited back to the respective attraction.
L-R: Seaton Jurassic, The Bear Trail Exeter, and Tickety Boo Play Cafe Ottery St Mary
Play cafes/soft play
Soft play can be chaotic on a rainy day but offers unmatched opportunities to tire your kids out while you take advantage of the refreshments and the wifi!! Or if you can’t face a full-on soft play, check out some of these ‘happy mediums’ (purpose-built play cafés and cafes that are simply child friendly.)
Playdome large scale soft play and cafe – Honiton
Barley Mows Chard – farm shop café with little indoor play area/toys for tots
Ocean Exmouth large scale soft play, and ten pin bowling
Jungle Jungle large scale soft play, Yeovil
Tumbles play café Chard, Mondays and Fridays (preschool age)
The Unit soft play and bouncy castles, Thursdays in Chard (term time: preschool only, holidays: tots and older siblings sessions available, check Facebook page for timings)
The Community Waffle House, Axminster – open 2pm-10pm Tues-Sat. Waffle café proving to be a popular haunt for families with young children, and teens. Serving waffles, icecreams, and shakes
Most towns have a swimming pool nearby but here’s some places that have caught my eye:
Jurassic Fun Centre, near Bridport - swimming with slide and splashpad, and 10 pin bowling (closed during school summer holidays)
Ladram Bay swimming pool – has slides etc, and being on a holiday park there’s lots of other indoor amusements to keep kids busy
Ocean Exmouth 10 pin bowling and soft play
L-R: Ocean Exmouth Soft Play & Bowling; West Somerset Railway, Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary
Even if just for the pick 'n' mix and minstrels! I will never forget Darcy's first cinema trip where she discovered there was such a thing as a whole wall of pick'n'mix. Mind = blown. Anyway if you've got kids that will sit still long enough, the cinema is the perfect place to shelter on a rainy day, and the pressure to be perfect cinema guests is less intense at a morning screening (just as well if you're attempting it with young ones.)
Pop in to decorate a plate, mug or a range of ceramic items which you'll get to take home and keep:
Seaton Coastal Crafts - drop in kids' crafting sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays with additional ad-hoc special events and activities, check the Facebook page for updates
L-R: Honiton Milkshake & Pottery bar, Ready2Climb Yeovil, Waffle community cafe Axminster
Indoor climbing looks like a fun way to burn some energy – do check out the websites for age restrictions as it can change session to session
Indoor climbing – Rockburn, Bridport
Shooting target practice at The Tunnel Target Sports Centre, Charmouth (ages 8+)
Horse & pony sessions at Devenish Pitt riding stables (Farway, near Honiton) - stable help, grooming, mucking out and riding lesson (half day sessions available) - please contact 01404 871355 for further info
I've listed some attractions that you can realistically still enjoy even when it's tipping it down:
Pecorama – train-themed attraction with indoor model railway exhibits and modern soft play
Abbotsbury Children’s Farm – all weather attraction, meet the animals and soft play (soft play suited to younger children only)
World of Country Life, Exmouth – all weather attraction, vehicle museum, soft play and large indoor adventure play areas
Seaton Jurassic – underwater/coast- themed attraction aimed at families. I sneaked a peek last time I was at the adjoining café and it looks great, it’s dark inside with lots of lit up ‘under the sea’ type areas to explore.
Charmouth Heritage Centre – fossils, gems, hands on ‘excavation’ activities
Dinosaurland Fossil museum, Lyme Regis
Dinosaur Museum, Dorchester
Bridport Museum – free admission, family ‘we love the sea’ trail, rope making and netting collections and working machinery, fossils, hands on activities
Beer Quarry Caves tour – looks like an interesting underground adventure
Exeter secret underground passages – Tour the medieval passageways that used to transport water under Exeter city centre (age 5+)
West Somerset Railway – take a heritage (steam or diesel) train from just outside Taunton to Watchet, Dunster or Minehead
L-R Beer Quarry Caves, Dinosaurland Fossil Museum Lyme Regis, Bridport Leisure Centre
More an idea than a list of local leisure centres – if you’re browsing this list wondering what to do on a rainy day it might be worth checking out the local leisure centre to see what sports you could do as a family. Aside from swimming, a game of badminton, tennis, volleyball or squash might be fun! Saying that playing ping pong today with a 3 and a 6-year-old wasn’t that productive… ha.
If you don’t mind getting wet…
Sometimes you just need to get outside and blow out the cobwebs. Here's some ideas for the hardy families!
Haldon Forest park near Exeter has some great circular walking routes through the forest that are fairly sheltered by the trees. Closed during exceptionally high winds. There's a lovely cosy café (with a woodburner roaring in winter) at the end to dry off
The Bear Trail, Exeter – muddy ‘assault’ course for kids, teens and adults, only the better for rain!
Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary - don your wellies and waterproofs for a quick mooch around the donkey fields, then take cover in the indoor discovery centre and wonderful modern cafe (offering great kids' lunchboxes!)
Exhilarating beach walk – take your pick of beach, you’ll have plenty of room to explore! Fossil or seaglass hunting on the shore is engaging for all of the family (but only when conditions make it safe to do so, obviously!)
Welly walks – there must be hundreds of routes in this locality but two of our surefire hits for squelchy welly walk are around Langdon Hill (Chideock, not far from Bridport/Lyme Regis) or Trinity Hill Nature Reserve (Trinity Hill near Lyme Regis). I wouldn’t advise either on a really windy day due to trees and branches etc, but if its just wet, the forest provides good shelter on both of these circular routes.
Don't forget to send me your best finds for wet weather activities in the area, I'd love to hear from you!
This post is sponsored by Honiton-based family photographer Rosie Parsons, specialising in relaxed family photo sessions in your home, capturing the beautiful everyday.