View All Blogs

The Great British summer

What to do on rainy days in Devon

The summer season is here

The summer holiday season is almost upon us with the schools breaking up in a couple of weeks and we’re sure that parents across the land are praying for good weather to make those carefully planned family holidays run smoothly.

But, one of the reasons for our ‘green and pleasant land’ being so green and pleasant is because it rains, a lot. Here at Woolacombe Bay Hotel, we feel the rain gets an unfairly negative press when it is largely responsible for the beautiful landscapes, the abundance of wonderful wildlife, the colourful gardens and the delicious local farm produce all of which make the UK and in particular, Devon, a brilliant place to visit and explore.

We accept that when on a summer holiday most people appreciate sunny weather but the British summertime is always a bit of a lottery. While it would be unlucky if your holiday turned out to be a wash out, there’s a high chance of at least one day when the rain sets in. We all know this, so it is best to be prepared with a series of fun days out planned in case the weather turns.

Happily, there are plenty of family friendly fun things to do and see on a rainy day in Devon. Here are our top picks:

The Milky Way Adventure Park
The Milky Way Adventure Park Bideford, North Devon

There is fun for all the family at this award-winning adventure park which was named ‘North Devon’s Best Attraction’ in 2018 and has thrilling rides for all ages and tastes, both outside and indoors. A new interactive ride, Ziggy’s Blast Quest, has been introduced this year which sees visitors battle to save planet Earth from asteroids and meteors in a cyber scooter. The Little Stars play centre will keep the very young ones busy while older children can test their nerves on the rollercoasters and dodgems. With a railway, bird of prey displays, Merlin’s juggling wizardry show, laser target shooting and more, it is impossible to get bored at the Milky Way.

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park Ilfracombe, North Devon

Just a stone’s throw away from Woolacombe Bay, you can marvel at majestic animals great and small at this family run wildlife and dinosaur park which extends over 28 stunning acres within our North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are lions, wolves, sea lions and primates among the wide variety of creatures to admire as well as the life-sized animatronic dinosaurs for which the park is famed. If you need a break from the rain, head inside to enjoy the huge indoor soft play area or explore the ‘critter cabin’ and learn about some of our planets most misunderstood creepy crawlies.

Dartington Crystal visitor centre
Dartington Crystal visitor centre Torrington, North Devon

Learn about the history of glass-making and how it is done today with this famous British brand. The Dartington Crystal visitor centre takes you on a fascinating 50-year journey with the glass maker. You can watch their talented Master Engraver show off his skills before having your own hand cast in glass or having a go at decorating or making your own glass jewellery. The factory experience offers the chance to see the glass makers hard at work and it is completely mesmorising.

Quince Honey Farm
Quince Honey Farm South Molton, North Devon

Visit one of Britain’s leading honey farms for a truly sweet day out. This third generation family business now boasts more than 1000 hives and a wealth of beekeeping knowledge, with the latest techniques in beekeeping demonstrated across the farm. You can take a guided tour of the BeeWorld and see millions of busy bees hard at work, watch a beekeeping demo and even get kitted up and learn about the inner workings of the hive before testing your skills at rolling a beeswax candle and - most importantly – sample the delicious honeys. Quince Honey Farm has plenty to keep the whole family entertained all day. It’ll leave you buzzing.

Affinity Outlet
Affinity Outlet Bideford, North Devon

For the shopaholics among you, a rainy day is a great excuse to indulge in a spot of retail therapy and few places are better for finding great deals than Affinity Outlet – previously known as Atlantic Village. From fashion to furnishing, the retail outlet offers great deals on well-known high street brands all year round. But the real selling point is the outlet’s huge new indoor soft play centre, World of Wonder, which will keep the kids happy for hours, come rain or shine.

Brave the rain on a surfboard
Brave the rain on a surfboard Woolacombe or Croyde beach, North Devon

The way we see it, if you’re going surfing you’re going to be wet anyway! Rainy days can often mean some of the best surfing conditions along the north Devon coast and few spots are better than the beach here at Woolacombe or round the corner at Croyde. Both offering wide open stretches of water, Woolacombe is a beach break which produces some great waves on all tides and good for beginners while Croyde is a heavier, barrelling wave for the more experienced. With so much space, both beaches can be enjoyed by all.

Or a SUP
Or a SUP Lee Bay, Mortehoe, Illfracombe, North Devon

If surfing's too much like hard work, a more gentle, meandering way to explore the beautiful North Devon coast is Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) boarding.

Lee Bay, between Ilfracombe and Mortehoe is the perfect location to start a SUP adventure. Even in the height of summer it's still a quite location. Launch from the bay and paddle around it while you find your sea legs. If you get more adventurous, you can paddle left a mile and half to Rockham Bay in Mortehoe. Or paddle right and head all the way to Illfracombe harbour. Make sure you only SUP when the sea is calm and flat and that you someone knows you are going out.

If a bit of rain doesn't put you off and you want to jump in, check out our Where to hire it page for the best places to rent all outdoor equipment, from boards to bikes.

Or simply stay in and enjoy

all the delights on offer at Woolacombe Bay Hotel

While the temptations of Devon are endless, whatever the weather, there's plenty of places to kick back and enjoy the relaxed beach vibe of our delightful village.

If you fancy a coffee then Meraki Coffee Company would be our coffee shop of choice. While our hotel offers a wonderful array of treats.

Why not view the rain as a chance to stay in and indulge yourself at our amazing new Alchemist Spa, sample our 2AA Rosette restaurant Doyles and cosy up in front of a Hollywood classic at our onsite Neo Cinema.

Neo screens blockbusters daily, with up to three screenings in holidays. Our sofas and armchairs are among the comfiest you’ll find. Forget the chains, this plush hideaway is cinema as you always wished it could be. Toy Story 4 is showing now with Spiderman up next.

Our Alchemist spa offers a tempting range of treatments, using nourishing and ethical Natural Spa Factory products, guaranteed to leave you feeling relaxed and glowing.

If you want a more informal dining experience, the Bay Brasserie serves up pizza, gourmet burgers or local seafood at the bar or in the beautifully lit indoor courtyard. With so much to enjoy in the hotel, you’ll soon be looking forward to the rain.

Book your stay