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Described as “the Beating Heart of Devon”, Exeter is a vibrant city nestled in the south western countryside, and is the perfect venue for a family holiday in this part of the world.
With one of the world's oldest tourist attractions, and some of the best new ones, Exeter can take you from dinosaurs, to castles, to modern theme parks, all in the space of a few miles.
The range of attractions makes for a perfect UK break, and ensures that visitors of all ages are catered for when it comes to entertainment and excursions.
The best way to see this part of Devon is to hire a static caravan, and the unusual Pound Farm is the ideal place to do this. Sure to appeal to lovers of fishing holidays or relaxing breaks, and those who enjoy being in the countryside.
Pound Farm is just 4 miles (10 minutes drive) off the M5 at junction 28 and 10 miles from Exeter. Ideally situated for exploring Exmoor, Dartmoor and Exeter.
The actual coastline is an ancient tourist attraction. Known as the Jurassic Coast, it was home to living residents millions of years before the human race even existed, and for any kids interested in dinosaurs, this is the perfect place to start exploring.
As the coast itself is 95 miles long, the best starting point is the Fairlynch Museum, in nearby Budleigh Salterton, a superbly named village just a few miles from Exeter.
A huge collection of fossils and ancient rocks help to tell the story of when the continents were joined, and the area you now stand in was joined to France. Not only that, it was a mountainous desert area. So at least the intervening years were kind enough to make this area a little more appealing, in that it isn't joined to France any more.
The end of the Jurassic period wasn't the end of underground activity in Exeter, as not only are fossils and dinosaur bones found beneath the surface, for a it would appear that even human beings are exploring beneath the city.
An unusual network of tunnels runs beneath the city, and have done so since the 14th century. The reason for these passages is simple, they were for bringing in clean drinking water from springs outside the city, which was pumped through lead pipes, which were maintained by workers in these tunnels.
Surprisingly, visitors are allowed to descend beneath the city to explore this unique maze of passages, this will certainly appeal to those with a sense of adventure and a love of history.
After being given a hard hat, you are invited to navigate the narrow passages, and explore the tunnel network. However, these passages can be extremely narrow and claustrophobic, so any young children or people with a fear of enclosed spaces should steer well clear, as a panic attack in one of these tunnels is going to cause a bit of a bottle-neck down there.
If you are still in the mood for a bit of history, but with a bit less peril and dread, you could pay a visit to Drogo Castle, which has the honour of being the last castle to be built in England.
Built between 1910 and 1920, this relatively modern castle has been built in the medieval style, yet has the luxury of being entirely complete, something that those who have spent holidays in the rain looking at some ruins will appreciate.
Despite it's short history, the castle is actually under threat from demolition, and the volunteers on hand will show you the interesting and often fun ways in which they try to raise funds to ensure the future of the building.
Kids will be in their element here, as there are games, puzzles, and secret gardens, complete with original wendy houses. The younger ones may not even that realise that this isn't an old castle, so it may be better not to tell them, rather than dash their fantasies of knights and princesses.
By now, even the most scholarly of tourists will have had enough history for the time being, so to keep the kids occupied for a while longer, this may be a good time to visit a modern attraction, created especially for active youngsters.
A long as they have a head for heights, and are over 4 years old, you can let your offspring run riot at Clip 'n' Climb, Europe's first climbing based activity centre. Here, they can scale the jungle gym, climb the wall following a series of flashing lights, take a speed climbing challenge, or tackle the skyscraper.
Safety equipment is provided, and the budding mountaineers will be supervised by qualified instructors at all times, however, an adult must stay on site, so any plans you had of leaving them to it while you slope off for a trip to the pub will unfortunately be scuppered.
Also, when you see how much fun the kids are having, it will male you wish you could join in, so a trip to somewhere that Dads can get involved (only to supervise of course) may be on the cards.
Quad World is exactly what it says on the brochure, a quad biking centre. This is definitely one for the older kids (and the oldest kids of them all) and a visit here comes with a short one to one tuition, before being let loose onto the ½ mile track.
Anyone left behind can watch the action from the on-site restaurant, and will be able to enjoy a coffee and a sandwich while you realise that these things actually go faster than you expected, and you wish you'd never joined in.
If the excitement hasn't worn you out, and the kids are still full of energy, it may be time to bring out the big guns (not literally, Quad World has a zero firearms policy. Probably) and make the short journey to one of Devon's newest, and most prized, tourist attractions.
The Crealy Great Adventure Park is an unexpected cherry on the top of Exeter's already superb range of things to do. Although terribly named, the Crealy Great park is like a mini Alton Towers, with a huge range of rides and play areas.
The Maximus Rollercoater, the Flying Dutchman and the Tidal Wave all sound like things that should be avoided by those of a more cowardly disposition, but these are the kind of things that can provide fond memories for the more adventurous visitor.
With play areas for younger children, and animal enclosures for those who don't enjoy roller-coasters, or have already been sick, this place has certainly thought of everything.
Those in charge of the budget will also be glad to know that your entry ticket can be reused for the next 7 days, so a return journey here is definitely an option.
The huge range of attractions in and around Exeter is truly breath-taking, but can mean that the town itself is forgotten, but with it's excellent shopping areas, stunning architecture and friendly welcome, the town is certain to be a tourist haven for many years to come.
Not may places can offer dinosaur relics, underground tunnels, unique climbing centres and a state of the art theme park, all within an ancient and attractive city.
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