Home » Things to do in Plymouth with kids – family days out for Summer 2022

Things to do in Plymouth with kids – family days out for Summer 2022

The summer holidays 2022 are upon us, so how are we going to keep our children entertained with days out in Plymouth for SIX WHOLE WEEKS?

I’ll tell you how – you’re going to have a little look through this mahoosive list of ideas, and get planning! 

Okay, so it might not be that ‘little’ but there are bloody LOADS of ideas on here to keep every member of the family happy. I hope. There are events, days out, places to go, and new things to try – all in and around our fabulous city of Plymouth.

Some are free (yay!), some are not. Some you can turn up to, some you need to book. And if the weather isn’t looking too great, head to The 20 Best Things To Do Indoors In Plymouth With Kids. So check out the details and have loads of fun!

Whether you’re a Plymouth resident or are coming here on holiday, there is bound to be something new for you and your kids to do this summer. I mean, not even I have been to EVERYTHING on this list. Almost though..

National Trust properties

Cousins in sacks for a sack race at Saltram
Cousins loving the sack racing at Saltram

If you’ve spent any time looking at my social media accounts, you’ll know I basically spend a LOT of time at National Trust properties. (Mainly because I find them the easiest of places to not lose my twins. Apart from that one time…). So I’ll probably see you out and about at any of the following local NT places. I’ll be the one shouting at a runaway child.

Saltram – Full details about their summer activities haven’t been announced yet so I’ll update you as soon as I know them. But the lovely people there have told me a few bits and pieces – there’s going to be a three-part treasure hunting trail which will take place in the House, the gardens and the parkland. They are also going to be celebrating some of Saltram’s lost treasures by inviting visitors to share their own treasures in the space in the Stables. More details will be available soon on their facebook page.

Whatever they do, there’s always fun to be had at Saltram. Plonk a picnic rug down and let them loose on the lawn, take them to the pump track on their bikes (good luck dragging them back up the hill – one of the worse days of my life!), feed the ducks, climb trees, head down to the beach or do the circular walk around the parkland. Whatever you do finish it with an ice cream (that you used all morning as a bribe) and a cheese scone!

Buckland Abbey – A Queen Bee Trail is taking place at Buckland Abbey this summer until August 29. As you follow the trail through the woods, the kids will discover all the important facts about what makes a bee a Queen and how they can help keep bees safe. You can collect your summer trail sheet from the Visitor Welcome centre and fill in the Queen Bee facts. Then head out to spot them!

Cotehele – The Brilliant Bees Trail will take place at Cotehele in Cornwall too. You can pick up a trail sheet from reception at the Mill and explore the meadow to find the 6 different bees hiding among the wildflowers. The trail is available from May 10 to September 4. There is also a ‘Meet The Miller’ event every Thursday and Saturday where visitors can hear amazing stories from the mill’s 300 year history, learn about the milling process from those who know it best and find out about its current weir project.

Antony House – The National Trust are teaming up with Sport England this summer to encourage families to ‘come out and play’ between July 27 and September 1. At Antony House near Torpoint, this will include a family-friendly trail with games, challenges and activities along the way. Kids can complete the activity stops around the garden and tick them off their cards. Challenges will involve using their imaginations, getting physical and even competitive. There will also be some Sports Day classics to get involved including egg and spoon, and sack races, den building, an obstacle course and a mini rope maze.

Plymouth’s Big Hitters

Tinside pool in Plymouth
Pic by The Plymouth Herald

Tinside and Mount Wise Pools – if we’re lucky with the weather and you need cooling down, why not head to either Plymouth’s Tinside Lido or Mount Wise swimming pools. Tinside has a shallow end perfect for kids, and Mount Wise has three pools – a 25m main pool, a fun pool with fountains, stepping stones, a whirlpool and a bubble pool, and there’s a small pool for children to paddle in. Both are filled with salt water so they’d definitely be refreshing on a summer’s day, and are also both perfect spots for soaking up the sun. Oh hang on, you have children. That doesn’t happen anymore. Remember you have to book a session online beforehand. Both are open from 10am to 6pm daily in the summer holidays.

The Hoe – You can’t spend six whole weeks with children in Plymouth and not go to The Hoe, can you? Smeaton’s Tower is open again now and is great fun to go up. You can climb the lighthouse from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm (last entry is at 4pm) with tickets available online here. Due to its historic nature there is limited disabled access, and bear in mind it has 93 steps, steep ladders, low ceilings and small openings inside. Children under 12 need to be accompanied by an adult. 

Other fun you can have on The Hoe includes riding bikes on the promenade, enjoying a game of pitch and putt, having a picnic on the grass, taking a tour of the Royal Citadel or heading down to West Hoe park. What’s not to love about Plymouth’s most stunning and popular spot?

Smeaton's Tower on Plymouth Hoe and overlooking Plymouth Sound
(Fabulous) Pic by Visit Plymouth

The Barbican – If you’re on The Hoe, why not wander down to the Barbican too? Hop on a boat trip (seriously, you can’t avoid doing the Dockyard and Warships one ANY LONGER!), nip across to the National Marine Aquarium, paint your own pottery at Clay Art, visit chocolate cafe Cafe Amor (formerly Choccacino), or if your kids are old enough teach them a bit of history by showing them the Mayflower Steps, Mayflower Museum, or Elizabethan House. Or do what I would do and just buy ice cream! 

The Box – have you been to The Box yet? If not, then summer 2022 is the time to go! There is loads for kids to do there (I mean, seriously, whose children aren’t going to be wowed by Mildred the woolly mammoth?) And this summer they are holding various events including your chance to MEET GUS HONEYBUN! I mean, if you know who Gus is then you and I should definitely be friends. If you don’t, it means you’re WAY younger than me – he was the mascot of Westward Television and Television South West from 1961 to 1992 with his winks, bunny hops and magic buttons. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then check here for dates and head to The Box. 

The museum is also holding ‘Family Fun – Magical Marine Park’ every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday throughout the holidays for families to find out more about the unique project designed to celebrate and promote the history, habitats and industries of our important and visually stunning Plymouth Sound.

Three boys in front of a woolly mammoth at The Box museum - ideas of things to do indoors in Plymouth with kids

National Marine Aquarium – known as a go-to on a rainy day, the NMA is always a great day out. You can join their marine biologists at the beach to discover more about the ocean. Beach Explorers take part in guided rockpool rambles, play some beach games and hold whale teeth and dolphin skulls. These events take place from 11am to 3pm at Teats Hill, Mountbatten, and Firestone Bay on various dates throughout the summer. As well as that, the Aquarium is also continuing its Snorkel Safari sessions every Saturday from Mount Batten beach. Launched last year, these sessions are aimed at those wanting to take the first steps into snorkelling. The Ocean Discovery Rangers are fully qualified BSAC Snorkel Instructors and will be on hand for the one-and-a-half-hour session, where participants learn how to use snorkel equipment, cover basic snorkel techniques and explore the Ocean. Kids must be aged 8 or over to take part, and be able to swim 25 metres, and those aged between 8 and 16 must be accompanied by an adult in the water at all times. How awesome does that sound?

For 2022, you can join an organised hour-long NMA boat trip to explore the National Marine Park of Plymouth Sound on selected dates throughout the year. The aquarium’s Ocean Discovery Rangers will point out British wildlife from big to small, as well as the history of the natural harbour.  Little ones can also get in on the NMA action with Ocean Todds, open to 2 to 4 year olds. Ocean Discovery Rangers put on the hour-long session on a Tuesday morning in the Waves Cafe. There will be adventures around the aquarium, crafts, songs and stories. 

If you have older children aged between 11 and 15 with an interest in the ocean, then sign them up to the NMA’s Ocean Squad school holiday activity club. You can do 5 days or 2 days, and activities will include a behind the scenes tour, meeting the marine biologists, a boat trip to Drakes Island with an island snorkel lesson, ocean science experiments, building beach fires, cookery, beach games and ocean graffiti. 

Sutton Harbour – If you’re on the Barbican or at the Aquarium, take a stroll around Plymouth’s beautiful Sutton Harbour. My boys love looking at the boats (and swans) in the marina, and lunch out at Rockfish, Boston Tea Party or The Stable is always a winner. (Note to readers: trying the flight of cider in The Stable is WAY more enjoyable without kids around though).

Royal William Yard – The RWY is a must for a day out in the holidays, especially on a sunny day. (I used to live there so I’m kind of biased though). And there’s loads going on that kids can take part in this summer holidays.

  • Ace Swimming: Kids Sea Safety and Swimming sessions take place on Saturday July 23 through to Saturday August 20.  The group is aimed at children aged 7-14 years old to teach swim safety in open water and runs from Firestone Bay. It’s a 30-minute session that includes safety and rescue information, an open water swimming session, fun activities and games.
  • South West SUP: Junior Club is for children in school years 6-11 and you can sign up for single session bookings (rather than the normal 3-week sessions) through the summer, which gives families the flexibility to try something new in the holidays. It will run on Sundays July 24 and 31, and Tuesdays July 26 and August 9, 16 and 23. The classes focus on developing stand-up paddle boarding skills, water safety and confidence, and meeting other children with the same interests.
  • Native Makers: Saturday August 6, from 10am-5pm will see the makers market in the Yard’s creative hub, Ocean Studios. And then on the weekend of August 27 and 28 there will be a weekend of markets and workshops at Melville building. Run by mums and creatives, Lucy and Stevie, these are family-friendly markets with a dedicated activity and crafting area to keep little ones entertained.
  • Ocean Studios: Weekly Mini-Makers sessions will run from 10am-12pm on Saturdays. These will be arts and crafts sessions at the makers table where parents can take advantage of the adjacent café area. (We do love a cafe, don’t we?) Also running is Junior Print Holiday Club from July 27 to August 31, which is suitable for all ages but loosely aimed at 5 – 11-year-olds. There are 12 spaces available per workshop and it will run from 10am to 1pm and 2pm- 5pm. This is a series of print fun days across the summer holidays as part of Print in Action print festival.
  • Free family-friendly trail… watch this space but a little bird told me that coming soon is a new trail around Royal William Yard that will keep fossil-hunters happy and help you uncover secrets of Plymouth’s ancient past. I’ll let you know when I know more. And if you don’t fancy any of the above just have a wander – my boys love running around on the green, then head to one of the awesome restaurants for a bite to eat.
Deckchairs and a coffee van at the Royal William Yard in Plymouth

Plymouth Life Centre – as well as all the usual activities available at the Life Centre, there will be a Fit for Sport holiday camp running from July 25 to September 2. Divided into school year age groups (5-6, 7-8 and 9-12) activities will include super sports, fit factor, thrive time, learn zone, creative zone and wellness zone.

Market Hall – One of Plymouth’s newest attractions, only opening last year, the Market Hall is a world-class space for digital innovation and learning in Devonport. It has a state-of-the-art awe-inspiring 15m dome – the first of its kind in Europe, which invites you and the kids to explore immersive realities without the need for a VR headset.

After its success of last summer, Sea Monsters – A Prehistoric Adventure is back from July 16 to September 3. Visitors get to travel back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the seas and meet Dolly, a curious and adventurous dolichorhynchops – as she travels through the most dangerous oceans in history. Along the way, she encounters long-necked plesiosaurs, giant turtles, enormous fish, fierce sharks, and the most dangerous sea monsters of all, the mosasaur. 

A four year old boy watching an immersive dome experience at Plymouth's Market Hall

This CGI animated adventure, suitable for all ages, will take you and the kids to paleontological digs around the globe, introduce you to the scientists working as detectives to uncover the secrets of this ancient and mysterious ocean world, and under the surface to meet an incredible cast of characters. My dino-mad boys loved this last year.

Another film to watch in the immersive dome this summer is Legend of the Enchanted Reef. It’s about the clumsy and energetic reef fish Shorty, his smart sister Indigo and Jake, a daring sawfish, who live in a colourful coral reef. When an enormous trawl devastates their reef, the three friends have no choice but to set out on an adventurous journey to find a new home. Full of humour and imagination, this film for the whole family raises awareness for the acuteness of marine conservation and is on from July 15 to September 3.

We Are Aliens takes viewers on an epic ride in the hunt for evidence of alien life, until September 2, and if you go between July 22 and 31, you can catch 321 Lift Off which is about Elon a hamster scientist who lives in a dump yard and one day finds a damaged robot inside a crater which fell from a spaceship. It’s an adventurous animated film about courage and wits you need to have to get in space and back. Other family-friendly events at Market Hall this summer include a series of Lego clubs and a junior intro to print workshop. Find out more here.

Plymouth Parks

West Hoe Park – You can’t live in or visit Plymouth with kids and not go to West Hoe Park. Mainly because it’s home to THE BEST THING EVER – the Gus Honeybun train. (Are you sensing a Gus Honeybun obsession here?) You can’t possibly call yourself a Janner if you’ve not been on it either as a child yourself, or with your kids. But it’s also got a Treasure Island Pirate themed park with trampolines, crazy golf, karts, remote control boats and cars, as well as a play park, bouncy castle and tea cup rides. Sold!

Central Park – head to Plymouth’s largest park for a fun (and free) day out with the kids. Enjoy a picnic on the grass, a bike ride or the newly revamped play park. Since reopening in June 2018, the new-look park has been redesigned into three key areas based a on birds, bees and butterflies theme. The first two are fenced and include sand and water play, multi-person swings, a roundabout, balance beams, water pumps and huge sandpit. The third area is open and includes a huge climbing/sliding frame, a low ropes course, trampolines, hammocks and double zip wire. The makeover also included the skate park which has got bigger and better adding a snake run for skaters and BMXers.

Obviously there are great parks all over Plymouth (they’ve not all got Gus Honeybun though, have they?!) but these two are always great. Others we like are Devonport Park, Freedom Fields Park and Victoria Park – mainly because they have cafes. Anywhere I can buy a coffee to recover from regular search and rescue missions on climbing frames, is always a winner for me! Or if you just want a run around and aren’t bothered by the cafe or play equipment Radford Woods, Cann Woods, Hardwick Woods, Plymbridge Woods, Dunstone Woods and Ham Valley are great fun.

And tucked away in the rapidly growing new town of Sherford is a new skate park, complete with ramps, rails and ledges – suitable for all ages and skill level. Created by skater-run business, Maverick, the park is for skateboards, scooters, bikes and rollerblades. It’s next to a playground with an array of equipment, woodland play trail and shady picnic spots – and also within a couple of minutes walk to Sherford’s Country Park in one direction, and family-friendly café – House of Brews – in the other. And it’s approximately 5 minutes from my house so you’re bound to see my boys here at least once a week throughout the holidays!

Twin brothers on their bikes at Sherford skate park in plymouth
Loving life at Sherford skatepark

Plymouth’s Big Events

British Firework Championships – If your children are old enough (or you’re prepared to have to leave early when they whinge!), the British Firework Championships has got to be a highlight of any summer in Plymouth. Head to the Hoe, Jennycliff, Devils Point, or anywhere you can basically find a postage stamp of space around the waterfront to watch this awesome event. Last year I took the seven year old to Burrow Hill in Plymstock which was popular. Six top firework companies will be battling it out over two nights on Wednesday August 17 and Thursday August 18, 2022. More details are being published soon about it by Visit Plymouth. But get it in your diary now!

British Fireworks championship in Plymouth
Pic by Visit Plymouth (and obviously not by my iPhone)

The National Marine Park Big Blue Splash is a new event which will celebrate Plymouth’s recently-awarded Marine Park status by holding a bumper weekend of free activities for all the family to enjoy. Taking place on July 23 and 24 at Tinside, The Hoe, Mountbatten, Firestone Bay and Mount Edgcumbe, there will be something for all ages to try. Activities will include taster sessions of stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkelling, rock pooling, art workshops and a new thing called ‘plogging’ – a combo of jogging and litter picking!

Outdoor Cinema – If you fancy catching a movie in the open-air there are plenty to choose from this summer. A series of showings will be taking place at Tinside Lido over three weekends in the summer. Films include:

  • West Side Story
  • Top Gun (the original)
  • The French Dispatch
  • Mamma Mia
  • Withnail and I
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • Blade Runner
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Cabaret

There will also be outdoor showings of Dirty Dancing and Disney’s Encanto in the gardens of Saltram House in Plympton in September. My boys can’t wait to get their onesies on and take their camping chairs and popcorn to Encanto. So long as they don’t talk about Bruno, right?

Great Britain Sail Grand Prix is set to see tens of thousands of spectators around Plymouth Sound for the world’s most exciting racing on-water event on July 30 and 31. Sail GP will host the event for the second year running, and it will see 10 international teams battle it out in the natural amphitheatre of The Sound. Eek, it sounds amazing!

Sail GP race in Plymouth Sound
Pic by Visit Plymouth

The Big Tribute Fest – brand new for 2022, this festival of tribute acts at Central Park looks awesome. Taking place over the weekend of August 5-7, organisers say it will offer entertainment for the whole family. Acts include tributes to Taylor Swift, Little Mix, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande and Katy Perry on the Friday. Saturday will see tributes to superstars including Robbie Williams, Michael Jacskon, Cher, Madonna, and the Spice Girls. Then acts taking off stars including Take That, Whitney Houston, UB40 and Abba will perform on the Sunday. Other entertainment will include face painting, a bouncy castle and fairground rides.

Rainbow coloured PRIDE word with silhouette of Plymouth's Smeaton Tower
Picture by Visit Plymouth

Plymouth Pride will take place on Saturday August 13 and Sunday August 14, 2022. For the first time in its 10 year history, it will be a two day event and take place at Plymouth Albion. The colourful, loud and proud Pride Festival will be celebrating and promoting the diversity that exists within the LGBTQ communities. More information will be released soon.

Love Summer Festival – is taking place on August 5 to 7 at Newnham Park Estate in Plympton. It’s an independent family friendly music festival. Children’s zones include pottery, circus skills, arts and crafts, Aardman model making workshops, DJ Academy, Animal HQ and graffiti.

West End Carnival – if you’re looking for some free family fun, then get yourselves down to Frankfort Gate and the Market in Plymouth’s West End on Saturday August 27. Organised by Plymouth City Centre Company and Plymouth Market, there’s set to be a full day of carnival flair. Expect live music, street performers and free children’s activities to enjoy.

Plymouth Bike Day – if your kids are into motorbikes then take them to the Plymouth Bike Day on the city centre’s Piazza on Saturday July 23 from 9am to 6pm. Organised by the Plymouth Motorcycle Club visitors can see a selection of old classic motorcycles, scooters and modern and electric motorcycles from local motorcycle dealers. There will also be Plymouth based South West Blood Bikes charity and other local public road safety groups.

Local festivals, fun days, summer fairs and other events

Park Fest – Devonport Park will be playing host to Park Fest 2022 on September 10 – to celebrate all things park life! This year there will be two stages showing off the talent the South West has to offer, from chilled out to hard rock. And to make it even better, the event is raising money for the Brain Tumour Cancer Charity.

Victoria Park Summer Fayre – Kids are bound to love this event on August 21 because they are being encouraged to go dressed as superheroes! From 11am to 4pm entertainment will include Whizz Kids fun, inflatables, entertainers Emazdad and Add Pixie Dust, a dog show, archery, carnival games, face painting and crafts, gifts and food stalls.

Poster for a summer fayre at Victoria Park

Tamar Bridge Visitors Centre – Seadream Education are holding some free fun family activities at the Bridging the Tamar Centre on August 18 from 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm. Kids can learn about the Tamar River and its habitats and looking at what creatures live in the mud. Just drop-in, no booking required.

Buggy Walk at Hartley Park – Mannamead Wellbeing Hub and Barnados are teaming up to hold 2 buggy walks on August 11 and 25 from 10 am to 11am at Hartley Park. Meet at the Wellbeing Hub at 156 Mannamead Road, and dress appropriately for the weather. Call Danny on 07305006511 for more information.

Buckfast Abbey’s summer fair – Children will have loads of fun at this summer fair with live entertainment, a family treasure hunt and kids’ zones. It’s on from August 4 to 6.

Inflatable Fun – Bouncy Castle Hire Plymouth is involved in two events in the summer holidays. Baby Bounce at Manadon Sports and Community Hub on July 29 from 9.15am to 10.15am will see inflatable fun from Bounce Plymouth in partnership with Plymouth Argyle including bouncy castles, diddi cars, play park and ball pool. Then an Inflatable Fun Day will take place on August 14 at the YMCA. This will involve bouncy castles, an obstacle course, mega slide, toddler play park and castle, and diddi cars.

Relay for Life Plymouth Inflatable Fun Day – If more inflatable fun is what you’re after, head to Tor Bridge High in Miller Way, Estover on July 30 for an inflatable fun day. Check out the facebook page for details. They will also be held in Looe and Callington if you want to go further afield. We did one in Ivybridge earlier in the summer and it was great fun!

Yelverton Free Fun Day – take your kids to the airfield at Yelverton on August 3 for a day of free entertainment. There will be sports, crafts and other activities aimed at primary aged children or younger. Older kids will also love an assault course, games, races and crafts.

Out and about near Plymouth

Twin four year old brothers cuddle a baby pic at Pennywell Farm

Pennywell Farm – If your little ones love animals, a visit to Pennywell Farm near Buckfastleigh is an absolute MUST this summer. All three of my boys love it there, it’s a great day out. Activities are scheduled throughout the day such as egg collecting, goat milking, meet a hedgehog, ferret racing, pond dipping, bottle feeding, pony rides, shows and the popular miniature piggy cuddles and piggy racing.

But if you don’t want to be tied to time, your children will love cuddling a pet and meeting all the animals, as well as the tractor-trailer ride, red rocket ride, and run rabbit go-carts. Our favourite has always been the Rainbow Railway – unless you’re 8 months pregnant with twins, then it’s a bit of a struggle to get out again! If you’ve not been, add it to the list! And luckily they’ve now scrapped the morning or afternoon sessions they had after reopening since Covid, and you can now spend all day there this summer. Hurrah!

River Dart Country Park – Slightly older children will love all the activities on offer at River Dart Country Park. Set in 90 acres of parkland within Dartmoor National Park, the tourist attraction has an adventure playground, agility trail, Anaconda slide, bike trail, climbing pods, commando assault course, low ropes course, dam pool, mini zip wire, obstacle course, pirate ship, and Wooden Fort. For the little ones there’s a Toddlers’ Beach and Toddlers’ Playground. They also have a campsite and holiday park if one day isn’t enough!

Crazy Golf – got yourselves a budding Tiger Woods in the family? Take them to Woodland Adventure Golf at China Fleet in Saltash for an 18-hole round of crazy golf. Or if the weather isn’t looking too great, head to Paradise Island Adventure Golf for a choice of two 18 hole courses – all indoors!

Crownhill Fort – If your children would enjoy stepping back in time at one of Plymouth’s best preserved Victorian Defences, head to an open day at Crownhill Fort. Owned and managed by the Landmark Trust since 1987, visitors can get a peek behind the walls on Wednesday July 27, 2022, from 4pm to 8pm and Monday August 29 from 11am to 4pm. The grounds and museum will be open to explore throughout the day and there will be a programme of events including gunfire and guided tours. The Fort is also holding a special gunfiring evening on Thursday July 28 from 6pm to 8pm, and a batwalk on Tuesday September 13 from 7pm to 9pm.

Woodlands Theme Park – there is so much going on at Woodlands this summer, you will literally be spoilt for choice. There will be Fizzpop science workshops and shows where kids can make slime and Titan the Robot will be showcasing his unique blend of comedy, street theatre and music in his popular show. There are Rex, Triceratops and Spinosaurus Days for all those dino-fans, and there will also be appearances by Paddington, Peppa Pig, Hey Duggee and Paw Patrol’s Chase. What’s not to love?!

Mount Edgcumbe – Everyone loves a day out at Mount Edgcumbe whether you drive round or take the Cremyll ferry from Stonehouse and this summer the events are back with a bang. There is an Ice Cream and Bubbles Festival on July 23 and 24, and the Mount Edgcumbe Classic & American Car Show and Summer Fair on August 7. Then the Great British Summer Fete will take place on the grass near the Orangery on August 20 and 21. Visitors will be able to turn the clock back and enjoy English tradition at its best. As well as stalls and entertainment, children will be able to enjoy a bouncy castle, circus workshops, a Punch and Judy Show, bubble football, traditional games and a charity dog show. Book tickets here.

Twin brothers playing by the sea at Mount Edgcumbe

Plymouth Miniature Steam – Chances are you may not have been to Plymouth Miniature Steam as it’s tucked away in a nature reserve in Plymouth’s Southway valley – but it is AMAZING! Run by a group of volunteers who are model engineers, steam enthusiasts and railway nuts who have developed the railway as part of their hobby, children and adults can ride the steam engines, diesel electrics and rolling stock around a fab little track. It’s open to the public for rides on the first and third Sundays of each month. 

Dartmoor Zoo – this summer an all-time classic children’s book is being brought to life at Dartmoor Zoo. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Rod Campbell’s Dear Zoo storybook, Dartmoor Zoo is partnering with Macmillan Children’s Books to host the perfect Dear Zoo experience. Children of all ages are invited to celebrate the story and explore which animal is too big, too tall or too grumpy to join the family. From July 23 to September 4, visitors can interact with the giant storybook, listen to the story being told, and enjoy a special activity book whilst they say hello to the animals in real life too.

Theatre fun

Soapbox Children’s Theatre – If you’ve not seen the Stiltskin Production company perform at the Soapbox Children’s Theatre in Devonport Park then make it top of your list for summer 2022. Red Riding Hood will be performed from July 23 to August 7. They are also running theatre and circus workshops for 7 to 12 year olds throughout the holidays.

The Theatre Royal Plymouth are running a Musical Theatre Academy week-long workshop for 11-to 16 year olds from August 1 to 5, and a Play in a Week workshop for 7-11 year olds. But if you’d rather be in the audience, David Walliam’s Gangsta Granny is on in the main Lyric theatre from August 9 to 13.

Soft play centres

Twins enjoying soft play in Plymouth

Whatever your thoughts are on soft play centres, you have to admit on a rainy day they can come in handy. But which one is your favourite? Plymouth has several to choose from. You have Plymouth Soft Play Cafe in the city centre, Jump at Christian Mill Business Park, Bounce Playzone in St Budeaux and Drakes Den in Estover. Or your under fives can enjoy the soft play equipment at the Moo Music Cafe on Mutley Plain whilst you enjoy a quite frankly insanely delicious coffee and cake.

Seaside fun near Plymouth

Toddler at Wembury Beach near Plymouth

You can’t spend a summer in Plymouth and not head to the beach. We’re so lucky to have such amazing ones so close to us. Head to Wembury, Jennycliff, Mountbatten or Bovisand if you want something close, or my favourites further afield are Bigbury, Bantham, Thurlestone and South Milton. Or nip across the bridge into Cornwall for some more fabulous ones. And if your kids are just going to eat all the sand, how about the moors? Plenty of beauty spots – busy and secluded, for a day out. How lucky are we to live here? 

Wembury beach near plymouth

Wembury Marine Centre – There’s loads going on at Wembury beach this summer, with regular activities at Wembury Marine Centre such as rockpool safaris for toddlers and older children, night time rockpool safaris, as well as snorkelling safaris on selected dates throughout the summer. 

Baby and preschool groups

Toddler enjoys a Moo Music session in Plymouth

The problem with the school holidays for those of us with children of pre-school age is that a lot of the normal groups stop and it can be a massive pain in the arse trying to entertain them when all the big kids are around.  Luckily lots of baby and preschool groups are running summer specials, so check this little lot out. 

Moo Music – It’s business as usual over at the Moo Music Cafe on Mutley Plain. Newborn, baby & toddler music, movement and multi-sensory sessions will not only continue over the summer they are going outside! Outdoor Moo is taking place at various locations around the city. If you’re looking to escape places busy with school aged children, the Moo Music Cafe is the perfect spot. Their soft play cafe is aimed at under 5s and they sell delicious dairy and egg free cakes. (I can DEFINITELY vouch for them!) The session space is fully air conditioned, making it cool in every sense of the word! More info and session bookings can be found here.

Diddi Dance – Rachael and Liz are running special fun and funky summer Diddi Dance classes over the holidays. They are open for kids aged from 18 months to 5 years, plus siblings aged up to 8 can come along to join in the fun! They’ll be able to explore the fabulous Hula dance and learn to tell a traditional Luau story.  Sessions are running on various dates between August 1 and 17, at locations such as Pomplett Methodist Church, Emmanuel Church Hall, Plympton Guide Hut, Tothill Community Centre, Ivybridge Scout Hut, Woolwell Community Centre and Saltash Girl Guide HQ. To book logon to www.diddidance.com and search for Plymouth/Saltash in the view/book classes tab. Anyone is welcome to go along, you don’t need to be a regular Diddi Dancer! 

Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense Summer Specials – If you need to get your fix of Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense throughout the holidays then you’re in luck.  Baby Sensory Plympton and South Hams will be putting on Summer Salsa, Beach Party and Rock ‘n’ Roll sessions at the WOW centre in Plympton on August 2, 16 and 23 for Baby Sensory, and August 1, 15 and 22 for Toddler Sense. Click on the links to find out more. 

Then Baby Sensory Plymouth will be doing Beach Party summer specials at St Matthew’s Church in Elburton on Monday August 15, at Manadon Sports and Community Hub on Tuesday August 16, at Saltash Girl Guide HQ on Wednesday August 17 and Mount Gould Methodist Church on Wednesday August 24. Book classes here.

Baby sensory beach party pic

NCT Bumps and Babies – Parents with children aged from birth to 5 are invited along to the NCT Bumps and Babies groups throughout the holidays. They will run on a Monday from 10am to 11.30am in Ivybridge and on a Thursday from 10am to 11.30am in Plymstock. A donation of £1.50 is asked for, and refreshments are included. Find out more here

Hartbeeps Plymouth, Saltash and Tavistock are holding their summer specials with a Hollywood Superstar theme. Each session will have a fun filled 45 minute class along with funky hand and foot printing. They’ll be held at the Woolwell Centre on August 16, The Core Youth Centre on August 18 and The Riverside in Tavistock on August 20. Older school age siblings are also welcome to attend the Happy House special at 9.30am across all venues. Click here to book your places.

Plymouth Holiday Clubs

There are loads of different holiday clubs going on in and around Plymouth. Here are a few to whet your appetite:

High 5 Holiday Club – Kids will be treated to an Around the World in 80 Days adventure at a High 5 Holiday Club this summer. The scheme runs for the whole of the six weeks at Elburton Primary School, Mount kelly, Plymouth College, Widey Court Primary School and Stover School. Kid will ‘travel’ to a different continent each week and take part in adrenalin-filled activities such as Human Table Football, a slip ‘n’ slide, Sumo tournaments, Nerf wars, Japanese archery and zorb football. My boys can’t wait to go. Find out more about it here.

Three boys excited to go to High 5 holiday club in the summer in Plymouth

Vixen Dance and Fitness Holiday Club – Young performers will have a whale of a time at the Vixen Dance and Fitness Holiday Club. It will take place from August 22 to 27 at Hooe Primary Academy, and is suitable for ages 4-5, and 6+. Workshops will include acrobatic and musical theatre dance routines, singing and acting, plus an end of week showcase for family and friends. There will also be a session with guest West End performer Sophie Linder-Lee who will be teaching a Mamma Mia dance routine and hosting a mental health and wellbeing workshop.  Book here or find out more on their Facebook page or email vixendanceandfitness@outlook.com.

Ninja Holiday Club – Budding Ninjas will be in their element at a special Ninja Holiday Club run by Miss B’s Martial Arts Academy. It takes place from August 8 to 12 from 1pm to 4pm at venues in Plympton, Elburton, Saltash, Lipson and Bittaford. Kids will take part in learning Ninja skills, basic martial arts techniques, board breaking and games. To book, go to their Facebook page.

Photography Holiday Clubs – If your youngsters love to get behind a camera, why not send them to one of these brilliant photography holiday clubs at Community Photographic Studios CIC in Plympton. There are three different ones running, all suitable for 8-14 year olds. The first is a 3 day kids art and photography club from July 25 to 27. It’ll cover a range of art and photography sessions both in and out of the studio with 4 mini workshops a day. The second is a drone photography/video workshop on July 28 from 10am to 12.30pm for 2.5 hours. Each child will learn about how to photograph and fly a drone while taking video and images from the sky, and have the opportunity to fly the studio’s drone under supervision. There is a also a full week’s Children’s Photography Summer Camp from August 8-12 which will take place at the studio and out on location. There will be a number of photography workshops each day, plus one full day with children getting the bus to the Barbican and Hoe to take photos.

Agricultural Shows

These are always great days out for the kids – mine have LOVED Yealmpton Show with Granny and Grandad in previous years and we’re so excited it’s back on again this year. Let’s face it, what’s not to love about a day out in a field with tractors, animals and all sorts of fun activities?

Here are some to choose from:

Yealmpton Show – Wednesday July 27

Launceston Show – Thursday July 28

Totnes Show – Sunday July l31

Okehampton Show – Thursday August 11

Cornwood Horse Show – date TBC in August

Kingsbridge Show – September 3

Local tourist attractions around Plymouth

Toddler looking out the window of a train near Plymouth
Plym Valley Railway – but hopefully without the winter coat this summer.

If the above just isn’t quite enough to fill the six weeks, there’s plenty of other tourist attractions to visit in and around Plymouth. How about you try  Plym Valley Railway, Plymouth Virtual Reality Centre, Plymouth Pavilions Ice Rink, Vue Plymouth, Cineworld at the Barcode Tenpin Bowling or a visit to the Amazing Cornish Maize Maze.

Or what about getting active at Mountbatten Watersports Centre, Super Tramp, Adrenalin, Clip and Climb, South West Segway Adventures, Tavistock Tree Surfers or tubing and tobogganing at the Ski Centre.

Head further afield

Four year old boy looks scared next to a t rex at a dinosaur museum near Plymouth

And if you’ve exhausted all possibilities on our doorstep, how about going a bit further afield. I mean seriously, we live in Devon and Cornwall – it’s the best place in the world! Here are some of my favourites which are worth a try. 

Paignton Zoo, Eden Project, Lost Gardens of Heligan, Torquay’s Dinosaur World (My boys’ favourite place in the whole wide world), Babbacombe Model Village, Monkey Sanctuary in Looe, Trethorne Leisure Park, Dartmoor Otters and Buckfastleigh Butterflies, House of Marbles, Crealy Theme Park, Miniature Pony Centre, Tamar Valley Donkey Park, Totnes Rare Breeds Farm, Hidden Valley Discovery Park, or Haldon Forest. And if you want even more different ideas check out Experience Days for some fab experiences in Devon.

PHEW! There you have it, a pretty extensive ideas list for days out and things to do this summer holidays in and around Plymouth. All that’s left to say is, GOOD LUCK, PEOPLE! See you on the other side.

If you have any events going on this summer email me at helen@twinstantrumsandcoldcoffee.com.

Smeatons Tower for days out guide in Plymouth

*This post contains links I have been paid to include.

How did I do?

If you liked this post, hop over to the lovely Claire’s Devon with Kids blog and read the Top things to do in South Devon with Kids or 20 Fun Things To Do In the Summer Holidays. And if you want more Plymouth ideas, head to:

If you like a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.

And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here or at helen@twinstantrumsandcoldcoffee.com and I’ll get back to you.

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