Dads Sofa : A Parenting and Lifestyle blog based in Exeter, Devon. Focussing on Dad Life, Geek Stuff, and Gluten Free Living

#MySundayPhoto – Eating at Prickly Ball Farm

Last Sunday was spent at Prickly Ball Farm, helping to celebrate a friend (and her daughters birthday).

For those who’ve not heard of it, Prickly Ball Farm is found just outside Newton Abbot in Devon, they describe themselves as “the home of hedgehog rescue in the local area”. As well as hedgehog things, play equipment, other animals, and a decent cafe (with gluten free bread rolls) can also be found.

Worth a look.

Photalife
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Gruffalo Hunting At Haldon Forest Near Exeter

Are you looking for something to do with your little ones this weekend around Exeter in Devon? How about going Gruffalo Hunting at Haldon Forest?

Found just of the Devon Expressway, Haldon Forest is home to a number of activities (walkers will get use to avoiding the cyclists and Segways), and with the use of the Gruffalo Spotter app, you can now go a hunt the beast for yourself.

By loading up the Gruffalo Spotter app on your phone, and following the Discovery Trail, you can point your phone at special signs on route that will play a quick video clip on your phone, which appears to be taking place right in front of you. (Think something like “Pokemon Go”).

It added something different to our walk around, but our four year olds imagination was already fired up by the idea of looking for the Gruffalo and assorted friends.

To give you a flavour of what to expect, here are some photos from our explore around the imaginative world of Haldon Forest.

Yes that is also Stick Man above…

Find out more information about the Gruffalo Spotter App here at the forestry.gov.uk website.

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Where To Go In Exeter When Its Raining?

There you are, visiting Exeter, arguably the capital of Devon, and its raining – not just raining, but really wet.  If its just you and possibly other adults, I’d suggest  hanging out in one of the pubs in town. If you’ve got small children with you, then its a different matter.

Heres the Dads Sofa list of where to go in Exeter, when its raining.

The Twisted OakThe Twisted Oak

The Twisted Oak pub, can be found in Ide, just by Exeter. The Twisted Oak is a combination of a pub, restaurant, tuck shop, and a indoor play area. We have a lot more about this playful pub here.

Café Connect at Riverside Church

Spacious cafe with nice food, good tea, and a box of toys. There is also good disabled access if needed. It found by the river, between the city centre, and St Thomas.

The Welcome Inn

Wonder down the quay – keep to the right hand side, and you’ll come across The Welcome Inn. Serving tea, cake, and a very warm welcome. It looks like The Welcome Inn will be closing soon, so make sure you can check it out when you can! (EDIT – Have received the below tweet 🙂 )

 

Stormtrooper-Lego2Thomas Moore

Because who doesn’t love a Toy Shop? That has lego and train play tables? It has loads of Legos, and this guy…

Work out the route from the City Centre down to the river, and you’ll find it.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Exeter’s, Royal Albert Memorial Museum is found in the town centre, minutes away from the High Street. There are many things to do, walk through / around, eat, and look at.

Its not open on Mondays or Banks Holidays, but feels like its open the rest of the time. Its free entry, and a great rainy day activity.

Just don’t bring in helium balloons. The staff get nervous.

Exeter Cathedral.

The Cathedral in Exeter is quite simply gorgeous.  While adults are charged, children can visit the cathedral for free, and use one of the “Explorer Backpacks” to explore the cathedral for themselves*! You can also help build a Lego Exeter Cathedral.

If you live within EX1 – 4 areas of Exeter / Devon, ask about their Resident Cards for free access. (Just remember to donate!) Theres also loads of events on, check out their website for more information.

Soft Play!

If you’re feeling brave, you could let yourself be dragged to one of the Soft Play centres in or near Exeter.  You could try…

Bear Feet

Riverside

Waie Inn (If you can get out there – give this a go!)

 

That’s a few ideas.

Are there any rainy day places to go in Exeter, that I’ve missed out, and should be included?

*Parental supervision is probably expected.

 

 

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Exploring The Devon Railway Centre 

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

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