I love a family trip to Exmouth. It has an amazing beach, fantastic parks and some very good cafes. Plus it’s very easy to get to from Exeter, either by car or, more commonly for us, by train.
This was the first sunny Saturday of the year that we were in Devon and I wasn’t working so we jumped at the chance to make the most of it with a family trip out.
Family Trip to Exmouth
We headed straight for Exmouth beach today – as far down the promenade towards Orcombe Point as the tide would let us. The sun was HOT despite being the middle of February so the hats, coats and gloves we had come in were soon discarded. Small had her boots off in a few seconds too and made the most of the first sand between toes of the year.
The tide was still coming in and the waves were quite small, perfect for paddling. First it was boots on but soon the call of the water was too much and I got my first paddle of the year. It was quite chilly but actually very refreshing.
Our dog doesn’t like the beach very much. She gets quite stressed in the summer when we go swimming and can’t follow us. So these gentle waves were perfect for her to splash around in.
Sand castles were in order as was lots of general sitting around and enjoying the sun and the view. We even found some beach glass which is quite unusual for Exmouth. About here, my camera ran out of battery, doh, so the photos from now on were taken on my phone.
Bumble and Bee
After we’d all had a good run and soaked up lots of warming rays, we headed to Manor Gardens and the excellent Bumble and Bee for lunch. It’s hard to believe that this bright and welcoming cafe used to be the rather dank and depressing Tourist Board.
Inside is cosy in the winter with their lovely wood burner and in the summer it’s flooded with natural light. They serve excellent coffees and are very child friendly (Poco Drom plays here on Thursday mornings).
There’s a small shop selling local goods, such as Soap Daze soap and Ruby Cubes baskets. Even the loo is lovely. It has a baby change table that drops down and a step stool for little ones to reach the basin.
We chose to sit outside to enjoy the sun and watch the wildlife – both indigenous and imported. Lunch was as lovely as ever – freshly made bubble and squeak, fluffy pancakes and sausage sandwiches. I particularly like the way the children’s sandwiches come with plain popcorn rather than crisps.
Manor gardens are lovely and a lot more chilled than before. I remember them as being quite stuffy, almost as if you weren’t even supposed to walk through them. There’s no play equipment but lots of open space and dinosaurs, sheep and squirrels to hunt for.
As we’d come in the car for once, we headed up to Phear Park (it’s just a bit too far to walk from the train station). It’s a huge expanse of green, with golf course, tennis courts, bowing green, fallen trees for climbing, massive play park and one of the best skate parks I’ve seen in Devon.
The play park has a zip wire, climbing frames, ground level trampoline, swings, rocking chair, see saw and lots of monkey bars. It’s on grass too, so it’s very toddler friendly.
It’s a really buzzy park and it’s lovely to see every part of the community out enjoying the sun. There is a little cafe up at the top that is open in the summer and loos too so you can spend a whole day here.
Getting to Exmouth
We drove this time and easily found parking each time. On the Promenade for the beach and near Sam’s Fun House when we went to Manor Gardens. There’s lots of free parking inside Phear Park.
Getting the train makes the day out even more special. The Avocet Line is 9.5 miles long and takes you though some beautiful villages and gorgeous coastal views. There are regular trains from St Davids, Central and St James train stations and then you head on through Polsloe Bridge etc to Exmouth via Lympston etc.
You can find out more about the Avocet Line here.
The beach is a 10-15 minute walk from the station and Manor Gardens only 5 minutes. Phear Gardens is about 20 minutes from the train station. Doable if you are spending the whole day there but a little too far after being on the beach.
You can also get the bus to Exmouth. I think it’s the 57 that goes from the Bus Station in Exeter, then out via Livery Dole, the Barracks and Icsa school. It takes about 40 minutes and is a pretty good route, it’s just I prefer the train.
It’s also perfectly possible to cycle to Exmouth and it’s on our bucket list for this summer. It’s about 12 miles each way so not really possible with the girls to cycle it AND have a day at the beach. You might be fitter than us though. Do let me know if you have cycled it as we have never gone further than Dart’s Farm on this side of the Exe Estury cycle route.
All in all, we were out for about 6 hours – a perfect Family Trip to Exmouth. Do let me know YOUR favourite spots in Exmouth, I love finding new places to visit.