Summer family fun

A family in the garden of Coleton Fishacre, Devon

Coleton Fishacre house and garden are both chocka-block with fun things to do with your little-ones in summer. The garden has bamboo to hide in, woodland to explore and a wild play area to discover. There are trails to complete, stylish accessories to try on in the house, and family activities taking place throughout the summer holidays. Please remember to supervise your children at all times.

50 things to do before you're 11¾

On selected Wednesdays in the school holidays, the rangers lead 50 things to before you're 11¾ activities at Wild Wednesdays. Coming up soon:

  • Wed 25 Jul, activity TBC.
  • Wed 8 Aug, rolling down a really big hill at Cathedral Bank.
  • Wed 22 Aug, cooking on a campfire at the wild play area: £2 child

Normal admission prices apply for Wild Wednesdays, which take place from 2-4pm on the above dates. 

Some self-led 50 things to before you're 11¾ which can be ticked off your list at the moment are:

4. Build a den
Along the path leading to Scout Point there is an area dedicated to den building. Have a play in the dens that are there already, make them bigger and better, or have a go at making one of your own.
25. Make a grass trumpet
The grass on Cathedral Bank is nice and long, perfect for using to make a grass trumpet.
28. Climb a huge hill
A walk down to the bottom of the garden gives you a choice of large hills to climb up to get back to the top of the garden. You could even go through the gate at the bottom of the garden which leads to the South West Coast Path, which has a couple of great big hills along it.
Take a look at the full list of 50 things to do before you're 11¾ here.


Wild play

As you walk down toward the house, the first path you come to on your left leads out through Paddock Woods to Scout Point. The path has been levelled and widened so that pushchairs and wheelchairs can go along it more easily, and is well worth a walk along for the coastal views alone. Even better for families though - towards the end of this path is a wild play area, where kids can climb, hop skip and jump on obstacles made from wood from the garden. There is even a picnic bench and stools made from tree stumps where you can relax while your kids play - please always supervise children while they play in this area.

Spotter trails help kids to discover the house
A family in the Saloon at Coleton Fishacre watching members of staff cover the piano
Spotter trails help kids to discover the house

In the house

The D'Oyly Carte family, who built Coleton Fishacre as their country home, were very musical, and the house trail over the summer holidays invites kids to search for music items around the house. 

In the Kitchen there's a napkin folding activity which is perfect for little and big kids alike. There's also the handling room to visit; in here outfits and accessories from the 1920s and 30s are displayed, which you can rifle through and try on. The collection in the rest of the house is more delicate, so we ask that you don't touch items in other rooms.


Garden trail

Fancy being a nature detective? One trail in the garden invites you to search for different types of plants, count their leaves or draw what you see.

For the summer holidays, there is also a musical trail to complete in the garden, finding the plants which star in different songs or can be used to create musical instruments.

Both trails are available from Visitor Reception, where you will also be able to claim a sticker prize for completed trails. 


The Big Butterfly Count

From Friday 20 July to Thursday 2 August The Big Butterfly Count will be taking place across the country. Can you help with The Big Butterfly Count by finding a quiet spot and seeing how many butterflies you can spot in 15 minutes? You'll be able to pick up a basic butterfly ID sheet and map with some of the best spots to sit and count butterflies marked on it. Your results will help the Butterfly Conservation to take the pulse of nature.