Do you remember what it was like to enjoy trains? Did you ever think of them more then just a way to get from A->B? Is there a little one in your life that still likes trains? There’s a little place called the Devon Railway Centre next to the gorgeous Bickleigh Mill, that can be found somewhere between Exeter, and Tiverton that might be the place for your little one.
The Devon Rail Centre describes itself as a popular Devon tourist attraction, and I can see why. The Devon Rail Centre isn’t on the largest site, but there are plenty of attractions squeezed in there. The main one that got our attention as we made our way in, was the steam train that takes you around the park, where the driver gives kids of many ages the chance to punch tickets, to be the train guard, and you are not just limited to one journey. Handy if you have a little one that’s keen on trains!
Within a couple of train carriages, you’ll find a number of model railways, and outside you’ll also find a model village. Both the village, and the railways have push buttons that activate trains, trams, and other things, which seemed very exciting to our almost 3 year old. There is also a stack of stools for the children to use to see the displays.
There is also a play area found within the train carriages, which has an area for the under 3’s-with ride on bikes, a brio train play area, a MASSIVE sand box, and (in the words of our toddler) a “deep” ball pit.
There is also a soft play area, which from the map looks pretty big, but we decided to avoid this, as by the time we would have considered it, it was highly likely to be heaving and the inevitable ‘being dragged around’ did not sound like fun!
There were 3 outside climbing frames, one by the entrance, one near the picnic stop half way through the stream train journey and one near the cafe. We only went to the latter one, which was definitely enjoyed by our little one, even if it meant repeatedly helping her get up via the more difficult routes.
It’s definitely worth a visit with a train fan, especially if they are under 3 years, so they get in free. If your child is really keen, but pennies are limited, then ask the retired grandparents to take them, so that they can OAP rate! There is also an annual pass, which looks like a good idea if you would consider visiting a few times. There are plenty of places to sit and eat a picnic, or there are a few basic snacks/meals for sale in the cafe.
The important thing about this place, is that it’s fun, and if you’re with a little one who finds it exciting, you may, just for a moment, also find trains exciting again.
The Devon Railway Centre Website