Over 250 square miles packed with fun and interest for families. Walk, stargaze, enjoy days out at local attractions, join in adventure activities and more.
Exmoor National Park, Somerset and Devon
Tel: 01398 323841
Animals, Gardens and Open Spaces, Indoor Activities, Outdoor Activities, Science and Technology
Ages 5 - 12, All ages, Schools and Groups, Teenagers, Under 5s
(free access to the National Park; charges for attractions, activities and parking vary)
With a fantastic range of attractions and activities on offer, Exmoor National Park is a popular destination for families with children of all ages.
Start your visit at one of the National Park Centres – Dulverton (TA22 9EX) and Dunster (TA24 6SE) in Somerset, and Lynmouth in Devon (EX35 6EQ). The National Park Centres have lots of information to help you make the most of your visit. You may find hands-on informative displays about local heritage and the importance of the landscapes, videos, interactive exhibits and a range of publications for sale.
Lying partly in Somerset and partly in Devon, Exmoor National Park contains an amazing variety of landscapes within 267 square miles: there is moorland, woodland, valleys, farmland and the coastline. Make sure you plan at least one family walk. As you explore, see what you can find in the rock pools or streams and what wildlife you are lucky enough to spot.
Favourite family walks include hiking through the beautiful Doone Valley, made famous in novel Lorna Doone, and out onto the moor. For a less energetic day out, why not picnic at the fascinating Tarr Steps? There is also the wooded valley of the River Barle to discover and Dunkery Beacon to climb. Dunkery Beacon is a great hill for families with younger kids – not too demanding but, as the highest point on Exmoor, it offers fabulous views.
Exmoor is the perfect place for stargazing because of its dark skies. In fact, the National Park was Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve. So make the most of a clear night and head for some good spots, which include Wimbleball Lake, Anstey Gate, Haddon Hill and Holdstone Hill. Before you set off to enjoy the astronomical sights, download the new Dark Skies Pocket Guide via the Park’s website or pick up a copy at one of the National Park Centres. At some locations it is even possible to hire a telescope!
With a wide range of outdoor adventure activities available, you will find plenty to keep older children busy. The choice includes mountain biking, climbing, horse riding and watersports such as sea kayaking and canoeing. Family attractions located in and around the National Park include Exmoor Zoo, Dunster Castle, the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway and Exmoor Owl & Hawk Centre. If the children are fascinated by animals, why not treat them to an exciting wildlife safari?
Running through the year are Big Adventures and Family Events – perfect for families keen to discover this amazing location. Please see the National Park’s website to find out more.