As we did so many amazing trips when we were in Devon thanks to Devon’s Top Attractions, I wanted to share them all with you, so over the next few days expect plenty of posts about the places we went, what we loved, what we didn’t and most importantly what toddler L thought of them, so in this article I’ll tell you about the last day of holiday and our final trip out at The Devon Railway Centre.
On the final Friday of our holiday I had a plan, a cunning plan, or so I thought. It was simple really.
- Send boys to beach whilst I pack up caravan and load car
- Drive an hour towards home to the Devon Railway Centre
- Thoroughly exhaust toddler at Devon Railway Centre
- Have lunch at Devon Railway Centre
- Put exhausted toddler in car where he will nap for a substantial chunk of 5 hour drive home
It was a good plan and it went really up until the end of step 1. Yes I completed 1 step fully before things started to go awry, yey me.
After a massive tantrum getting L into the car and ready to leave the caravan at Sandaway Beach Holiday Park and me having a minor breakdown, wondering why I ever bothered arranging a holiday and fun days out in the first place, L promptly fell asleep and remained that way until we pulled up in the car park of Devon Railway Centre, upon waking he decided that he did not want to see trains, he wanted to go home and see James the cat, which was very sweet but not ideal given we were 5 hours away from James and right next to a lot of trains.
After we came to an agreement that I would buy him a toy train he agreed to exit the car, so straight to the little gift shop I went and a train was selected, he then asked to go back to the car. Clearly I wasn’t explicit enough in my bargaining. Thankfully he then noticed the mini golf and decided that would be an acceptable thing to go and do, at only 70p a ball we didn’t mind and it was nice to see him enjoying himself. Tantrums forgotten we then got on with having a really good time.
First we played mini golf, then there was some fun to be had on the outdoor play equipment by the cafe. Next we headed to the play carriages, full sized train carriages that have been converted to house a large ball pool, an incredibly clean sandpit and a lovely area filled with wood train tracks at perfect toddler height to be played with.
Now that L was back up to full steam (pun intended) we had a wander around the model village and L loved pressing all the buttons to make different parts move and watching the trains. We had a look out onto gnome village and my have even stopped so that L could drive his own police car, which he loved, that was 50p well spent mummy was now not only forgiven but actually the best mummy in the world.
After all that fun and with a promised return to the police cars L agreed to come and see the model trains with me, again inside converted full sized train carriages there was scene after scene after scene of different gauge railway tracks set up. Again there were buttons to press to get things started, always a winner with a toddler, and best of all there were little steps that the kids could carry through with them ensuring the could see everything.
I then took L back to the play carriages to play with the wooden tracks whilst husb went off to order us some lunch from the station cafe, as it was so lovely and sunny we all sat outside, right next to the play equipment so L played whilst we waited for our food. It wasn’t long before we were joined by a very friendly cat and then when our food arrived so did a peacock, which L started feeding his crisps too crying out rather loudly ‘birdy tea! Here birdy!’ lunch was delicious and a welcome break.
After lunch we crossed the tracks to the other side of Devon Railway Centre just in time for a train ride, there are two tracks both with different size trains and different routes. We went on the bigger of the two first and L was back to not loving trains, he was trying so hard not to have a good time it was actually hilarious as every now and then he would forget. We loved that there was a second little station you could stop at and a short walk would take you to a little secluded picnic and play area, what a lovely idea.
After this our journey was over L then wanted to drive his own train, for £1 he got to take his little train along a length of track and back again, with the biggest smile on his face. It was then time for the second train ride, the smaller one of the two, which L ran for and was really excited about. It was a lovely little ride that took you right through gnome village allowing you a really good look at there antics, this train also stopped to get people from the picnic area as well which was nice.
Having already spent about an hour longer than we had planned at the Devon Railway Centre we figured we better head off after our train ride and missed the big indoor play area, it looked awesome form the pictures but we really did have to head off, so we took our very happy child back to the car where he remained lively and happy for the next 5 hours.
A solid 5 hours of twisting and turning to play peek a boo, pass snacks, find toys off the floor and refresh iPad movies, my back will never be the same again but at least he had fun.
I have to admit the Devon Railway Centre was my favourite day trip, I love trains and I also enjoy a good model village. There was so much to do, a great mix of rides, models and play, I wish there was something like this close to me, I would go all the time. The setting was really pretty, the staff we really passionate and the facilities were good. There is definitely stuff to do there on both rainy days and sunny days but I do think you benefit from good weather here as quite a few bits are outdoors and it would be a shame to miss them.
L loved all the things he could drive himself and was obsessed with pushing all the buttons for the models. He also really liked the visiting peacock and cat, neither of which actually belong to the Devon Railway Centre, they had just made themselves at home there!! This is a real must see for any train mad kid or grown up.
Disclosure – our entrance was free of charge in exchange for an honest review.