Devon Railway Centre – Review for families

All aboard the Devon Railway Centre with our handy days out guide for families

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What is it?

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It’s a railway tourist attraction on the Exe Valley, which promises to be more than just a train ride. Find it 3 miles from Tiverton and 8 miles from Exeter in Bickleigh, Mid Devon. The Sat Nav postcode is EX16 8RG.

Best for:

Babies / Toddlers & Preschool

OK for:

5 – 8 / 9 – 12

Cost

££ – It’s £7.80 for an adult and £6.40 for a child. A family ticket will cover up to 2 adults and 3 children will cost £27. Season tickets are available.

What’s on offer

At the Devon Railway Centre, there are lots of activities and events for children and families. Unsurprisingly, most of them are related to trains!

The Narrow Gauge railway takes passengers on a ride next to the River Exe and around the Railway Centre. The ride takes place on steam trains and your ticket allows you and your little ones unlimited go’s! Children can even volunteer to signal the flag to start the train ride.  There’s also a mini gauge railway that takes little ones and their parents on a half a mile journey behind the locos to the picnic area, and past a bunch of magically creatures.

If you get tired of continuous train rides, you can always enjoy the impressive model railways. If model railways are a bit too small, then you should check out the Exe Vale model village – a total recreation of the village made in the workshops at the centre. You and your child can operate the village pressing a series of button. What young child doesn’t love pressing buttons?

The Devon Railway Centre also provides to two play areas – one is an indoor play coach with sandpits, ball pools and trains to play with. The other is better for sunnier days with an outdoor playground with slides, climbing equipment and a fireman’s pole.

There are tea rooms at the station, plus families can get competitive at crazy golf or let their under 10s drive their own engines. You can also ride on Black Hole Space Orbiters, whether you’re young or old.

Facilities include parking and extra parking facilities during busy days. The site is moderately pushchair friendly and there is space for picnics. There are stools available for little children to reach up to some of the buttons they can press on the model village and railway. There’s a shop, too.

Highlights

Children love the model railways, which is refreshing as so many of children’s toys and activities are now digitalized. The indoor play carriage is excellent for those dull, drizzly days. They’ll also love the crazy golf and the biggest hit will be the trains and cars they can drive themselves. The majority of TripAdvisor users agree that this is a fab day out for under 5’s. 

What to watch out for

– There is an extra charge separate from the entry price, for crazy golf and for  ‘drive your own’ rides.

– Therefore, it can get quite pricey as little ones will probably want more turns on the self-drive trains and cars than anything else! Make sure your bring some coins!

– Children must be over 1.1m in height to go on this ride.

– Dogs are welcome – but have to be kept on a lead.

– Thrill-seeking children who love big flashy rollercoasters and huge zoos may not find this attraction in their interest.

MFM tips:

– This is definitely one for younger children. If you have older children who happen to be train fans, you might want to consider the South Devon Railway or the Cliff Railway.

– Some families, without train enthusiasts amongst them may not fall 100% in love with this attraction and may feel that the prices are too steep. They are locally-run, not by some big chain, so hopefully you can take some solace from that.

– Another top family attraction in the Mid Devon area is Diggerland! Read our guide to see why you have to visit! For quieter types, Knightshayes Court is definitely the place for families to see.

– A family day out in Exeter, with the castle and the cathedral amongst the top visitors attractions, might be a great addition to your trip!

What the owners say

“Jump on board for train loads of fun! Unlimited train rides, model railways, model village, indoor play coaches and outdoor play areas all set within a former railway station on the Exe Valley Line.”

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Visit the official Devon Railway Centre website

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