Are you looking for things to do in Devon in the rain? Although the county is most famous for its beautiful beaches and two wild moors, there are also tonnes of things to do in bad weather.
Devon has dozens of exciting museums, fun activities for kids, and historical and cultural attractions. So don’t worry if the weather forecast isn’t looking good for your trip to Devon – we have lots of ideas!
We’ve divided this blog post up into attractions in North Devon, South Devon, Central Devon and East Devon.
However, you needn’t limit yourself to the attractions available in your area. Devon is a large county, but you can get from one side to the other in two and a half hours. Of course, these are the two most extreme points, so if you are travelling to anywhere else in the county it will take less time.
What is the weather like in Devon?
You may be concerned when you read this list of rainy day activities in Devon – surely the weather’s not as bad as that?!
Devon enjoys a mild climate. It sees very little snow, and while the summers are generally warm and sunny, it’s rare to get temperatures over 30 degrees.
It does rain in Devon and can do so all year round – so whatever the season, we recommend you bring a raincoat. However, you’re also very likely to get lovely sunny weather too, especially if you’re visiting in spring or summer.
I’ve lived in Exmouth in the spring and summertime, and the weather has always been very good to me, with just a few rain showers.
However, my trip to North Devon one August was a complete washout, and the county is certainly not immune to wet weather. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a selection of places to visit when the weather isn’t so great!
Things to do in North Devon in the rain
I’ll be frank with you – North Devon isn’t the best place to visit when it’s raining. This part of the country is epic, with breathtaking beaches and fantastic cliff views. However, it’s not safe to walk around the cliffs when it’s raining, and you probably don’t want to be on the beach when it’s pouring down!
There are a few things to do in North Devon in the rain, as detailed below. If you have a car with you, you can also drive to attractions in South and Central Devon (described further down this blog post) or hop over the border and check out some of the best things to do in Cornwall in the rain too.
Milky Way Adventure Park
Milky Way Adventure Park is a great attraction if you’re wondering what to do when it’s raining in North Devon and have kids in tow! Much of it is outside, and some attractions will be closed if the weather is too wet. However, there’s a large inside area too.
Milky Way Adventure Park has 110,000 square feet of indoor attractions, such as indoor dodgems, soft play, archery and laser shooting. And it’s not just for kids – adults are welcome too!
The Big Sheep
The Big Sheep is one of the best places in Devon for ‘all-weather fun’. As well as lots of rides outside, they’ve got one of the region’s largest indoor playgrounds, which they’ve called EWEtopia!
At EWEtopia, there’s indoor play equipment and a soft play area for little’uns. There’s also a cafe where grown-ups can relax while their children have fun – although some areas are suitable for adults too.
Plus, if the weather isn’t good enough to enjoy the outdoor attractions, you can return for free!
It costs £14.95 for both adult and child entry to The Big Sheep, although children who are less than 3 feet tall can enter for £6.00.
Tarka Pottery is a wonderful rainy day activity for adults and children alike! The ceramics studio offers workshops for adults, children and families. You’ll be able to make your own ceramic items here – the perfect souvenir from your North Devon holiday.
If you are on holiday, Tarka Pottery will post your creation to you after they have fired it – so you don’t need to worry about returning to collect it! Plus, if they are fully booked or if you’d rather do the pottery elsewhere, they now offer takeaway pottery kits. You can just purchase one and bring it back to wherever you’re staying!
Tarka Pottery now take online bookings for one-off experiences in the pottery painting cafe or courses (perfect if you’re local!). You can see what workshops they are currently offering by looking at their website or giving them a call on 07931 306414.
Watermouth Castle is one of the best family tourist attractions in the South West. It’s a Victorian castle – turned – theme park with lots of play areas and fun rides.
While a lot of these rides are outdoors, they have indoor attractions too, making it a fun place to visit if the weather isn’t too kind!
Afternoon tea at the Watersmeet Hotel
You’ve got to have a is cream tea in Devon. Remember – in Devon, you put the cream on first, and then the jam – but under 40 miles away in Cornwall, it’s the other way around!
There are plenty of options for eating cream teas in Devon, but a particular favourite is the Watersmeet Hotel. This is not the same place as Watersmeet in Exmoor – the Watersmeet hotel is in Woolacombe.
You can enjoy a Devon afternoon tea for £27.50 – and add champagne for an extra £10.00 per person! Or, if you just want a Devon cream tea, it’s £12.00. You can book your table here.
Sunday Roast at The Thatch
Croyde is home to a pretty good food scene – and one of the best places to eat at is The Thatch Croyde. It’s especially famous for its Sunday roasts, and but it’s got loads of other options for other days of the week too. There are also loads of veggie and vegan options, including vegan nachos, veggie chilli, enchiladas, and a mouthwatering vegan burger.
Barnstaple Museum discusses the history of North Devon – featuring everything from its ancient people to modern-day industries. It’s a fairly small exhibition, but it’s worth visiting if you’re in the area – plus it’s free for adults and children.
Things to do in South Devon in the Rain
South Devon is an amazing place for family travel in Devon – and there is plenty for solo travellers, couples and groups to do as well. It’s bigger and busier than North Devon, which means that there are a host of attractions here – some of which are suitable for rainy days!
Spanning the Torbay area – Torquay, Paignton, Babbacombe and Brixham – Plymouth, and beach towns like Salcombe, there are so many places to visit in South Devon.
While I’m sure you’re hoping for the opportunity to enjoy beautiful South Devon beaches when you’re in the area, here’s a list of other attractions that you can do when the weather isn’t so kind.
Bygones is located near Torquay and is an entertaining tourist attraction for kids and adults! This family-run attraction was created in the 1980s and has been passed down through three generations. It is a replica of Victorian history, with nine period rooms and fifteen historic shops.
There’s a Victorian street with a life-sized sweet shop, blacksmith, lace shop, apothecary, bakery, ironmonger, dolls store, pub, pawnbroker, a general store and more! It’s a wonderful way to learn about this side of history and is a great place to take your kids. However, if you’re into history, you’ll love it as an adult too.
Kent’s Cavern Caves
Kent’s Cavern Caves are another excellent rainy day attraction in Torquay. These prehistoric caves are one of the best Stone Age sites in the country. Nowadays, they function as show caves where you can learn about how ancient humans lived and marvel at the cave features, like stalagmites, stalactites, and ancient rocks!
You’ll need to do a guided tour around the caves, where you’ll learn about how they were formed, the Ice Age in the caves, and you’ll experience the Kents Cavern blackout.
Kents Cavern Caves are open from 10:00am to 4:00pm. You’ll need to pre-book your tour online as only 20 people are currently allowed per tour. It costs £13.00 for adults and £12.00 for children.
Also included in your ticket is a nearby Woodland trail with an Ice Age animal hunt and Tribal Code Breakers quest.
Just 10 minutes walk from the caverns is Anstey’s Cove which has a beautiful beach – so if the rain clears up after you leave the caves you could pay it a visit.
Dartmouth Castle is one of South Devon’s best attractions – rainy day or not! It’s a beautiful English heritage property that sits on the coastline. It was built in 1388 to protect the Dart Estuary and Dartmouth – which was then an important port.
The castle details fascinating stories from its history and has many interesting points to visit, including the guns and cannons, passageways, gun towers, and the harbour chain. If the weather clears up, it’s worth visiting the gardens and enjoying the stunning views from the estuary!
Torquay Museum is a fun way to learn a little more about this famous tourist town. It details the history of Torquay and how it became such a popular place.
There are a range of collections about both local and world cultures, a gallery focusing on Agatha Christie (who was born in the town and is the best-selling novelist of all time – outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible!) and various temporary galleries.
It’s free to enter, so it’s well worth popping in if you’re caught in a shower!
National Marine Aquarium
The National Marine Aquarium is located in Plymouth and is the largest aquarium in the country. It is home to over 4000 sea animals, and it is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, who help to educate people about and subsequently protect the ocean.
It’s one of the best places to experience marine life in the country and is excellent for both children learning about the ocean and animal-loving adults!
It’s also a useful place of education – visiting will help you learn about our colossal oceans and the steps that we can make to protect it.
South Devon Railway
The South Devon steam train is a railway experience for adults and kids alike. It is the longest-running steam railway in the South West and has been operating for over 50 years.
The South Devon Railway covers an area between Buckfastleigh and Totnes, which is a former line of the Great Western Railway. Nowadays, journeys on the steam trains are a lot slower, allowing you to take in the beautiful scenery around you. It’s even gorgeous in the rain!
The train runs around four times per day – you can click here for the latest timetable. Prices vary but cost about £13.00 for a one-way journey for an adult and child. The South Devon railway is also dog-friendly.
The Box, Plymouth
Plymouth’s new museum, The Box, is one of the best things to do in Devon in the rain. It has a range of exhibitions and lots of interactive activities, including a gallery about the Port of Plymouth, a Mammoth collection, and an award-winning exhibit all about the Mayflower expedition which saw a group of pilgrims resettle in America.
It’s free to enter, and it’s one of the best places to learn about the culture and history of Britain’s seaside city. You must pre-book your slot before visiting – you can do that here.
Mayflower Museum Visitors Centre
If you want to learn more about the Mayflower expedition, visit the Mayflower Museum Visitors Centre in Plymouth, located above the visitors centre. This is a must-visit rainy day attraction for history buffs!
Here, you’ll get to learn all about this expedition which saw dozens of men, women, and children leave Europe for the Americas.
They called it ‘The New World’, but one of the things that the exhibition details really well was how it wasn’t a new world for the many Indigenous people who lived there, and how they suffered at the hands of European settlers.
The exhibition also discusses why the pilgrims left Europe, how they made a new life in America and the issues that they dealt with when they arrived.
It’s only a small museum, but it packs in a considerable amount of information and it’s well worth visiting, rain or shine! It is open from 9:00am until 5:00pm every day except Sunday, when it is open from 10:00am until 4:00 pm.
Opposite the Visitors Centre, you can find the Mayflower Steps (pictured), which is a replica of the steps that the pilgrims travelled down before boarding the boat.
Plymouth Gin Distillery
If you generally opt to head to the pub when it’s raining, why not visit the Plymouth Gin Distillery instead? This is one of the best things to do in Plymouth whatever the weather, but it’s especially good for rainy days!
Here, you’ll not only have the chance to enjoy some delicious Plymouth Gin but also to learn about how it is made.
Your tour will start with a short overview of the distillery’s history – it’s the oldest operating distillery in the country. Then, you’ll go through to the distilling room and learn about the process of making it.
You’ll end the tour in the bar, where you can sample some different types of gin and enjoy a complimentary beverage!
There are also gin-making tours and other experiences available.
Clip N Climb (Exeter and Plymouth)
Climbing is one of the best indoor activities that you can do on a rainy day. There are a few indoor climbing walls in Devon – and one of the best is Clip N Climb. Perfect for kids, this climbing centre has colourful walls with different themes, such as aliens and video games!
Clip N Climb is a great place to visit if you or your children haven’t experienced climbing before – there are different difficulty levels, and it’s designed to have something for everybody! There are two centres in Devon – one in Plymouth and one in Exeter.
Greenway House is a National Trust property that was the home of author Agatha Christie.
It has been left almost exactly how Agatha and her family left it (her husband died in 1978) – so you can explore the house and its majestic features and learn a little more about how they lived.
Things to do in East Devon in the rain
East Devon consists of the area around the Exe Estuary and eastwards of that, toward the Dorset border. This area is a lovely mix of inland nature and epic beaches, with the stunning Jurassic Coast terminating at Exmouth. Exeter is in East Devon, as is the larger town of Exmouth, so there are plenty of attractions you can enjoy here when it’s raining.
Beer Quarry Caves
The East Devon village of Beer is a tranquil spot to visit in any weather. If you’re there when the weather isn’t too kind, one of Devon’s best indoor attractions is here – where you will stay perfectly dry! This is the Beer Quarry Caves.
There’s a lot of smuggling history all over Devon and Cornwall – and this is one of the best places to visit to learn more about it.
You can take a guided tour of the caves, which will detail the 2,000 year-long history – including why they were constructed and their different uses throughout the ages.
Booking is essential – you can pre-book by calling 01297 680 282. It costs £10.00 for adults and £8.00 for children.
Stuart Line Cruises
The idea of going on a cruise in the rain might not sound very pleasant, but Stuart Line Cruises, located in the seaside town of Exmouth, pride themselves on being an all-weather activity.
This is because they operate both on the open sea and on the River Exe. On the river, the waters are always calm. If the weather is awful, the lower decks are heated and covered, so you’ll be able to keep toasty, and there are panoramic windows so you’ll still be able to see everything!
Stuart Line Cruises do a range of events throughout the year. They celebrate Christmas with Sail with Santa and festive cruise parties and also have a firework night special!
If the waters are calm enough, they also traverse the Jurassic Coast and sail the other way towards the Torbay area. This is one of the best things to do in Exmouth!
You can book Stuart Line Cruises online – try to book in advance during weekends and school holidays, as Exmouth can get very busy. Timetables vary, as do ticket prices – but expect to pay around £10.00 per person.
Powderham Castle is one of the best day trips from Exeter – it is set between the city and Dawlish Warren on the west side of the Exe Estuary. It was built for the Courtenays, a noble family in Devon and Charles Courtenay, the 19th Earl of Devon, still lives at the castle with his family.
However, Powderham Castle is open to visitors. The gardens are lovely, but it’s well worth visiting on a rainy day to explore the interior.
Powderham Castle has lots of historical features – it was instrumental in the Civil War and has been pivotal to the story of Devon throughout the ages. You can learn all about this on a visit – either through a guided or self-guided tour.
A La Ronde
A La Ronde is a popular National Trust property in Exmouth, with one of the most unique appearances and stories of any historic building in the county.
The sixteen-sided house was inspired by a trip made by four young ladies in 1784. They did a grand tour of Europe – which was a rare thing for a group of women to do at that time – and, upon returning, two of them decided to build their own house inspired by their tour.
The house was supposed to reflect the 6th-century basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. It also accommodates many of the unusual souvenirs and authentic curiosities that they collected during their trip and throughout their life.
Both residents of A La Ronde remained unmarried, and the will of Mary – who lived the longest – specified that only unmarried women should be allowed to inherit the building.
Exeter Cathedral is the best wet day attraction in Devon for those interested in culture, history and Gothic architecture. It’s one of the finest examples of Medieval Gothic style in the country, and it has an incredibly rich history.
It was a Norman Cathedral until 1113 AD, but when Salisbury Cathedral was consecrated, Exeter decided to replicate it and make their own Medieval Gothic masterpiece. It was finished in 1342.
Inside, look out for the vaulting – it’s the longest Medieval Gothic vaulting in the world – various chapels, beautiful stained glass windows, a minstrel’s gallery, and a Medieval clock. Exeter Cathedral is definitely one of the best things to do in Exeter!
It costs £5.00 to enter and explore the Cathedral.
Royal Albert Memorial Museum
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) is located in central Exeter. It has exhibitions about both the city and county and the wider world, including galleries focusing on social and natural history. It’s also one of the best things to do in Devon in the rain because it’s free to enter and explore! It is open from Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm.
The Exeter Tunnels are an extensive labyrinth created in Medieval times to transport drinking water to the city.
Nowadays, they operate as a tourist attraction – you can venture around the tunnels and learn a little more about the city’s history and how it operated in the Medieval era.
The tunnels are a steal as well – costing only £7.00 for an adult and £4.50 for a child to visit. The Tunnels are not suitable for anybody who has claustrophobia or smaller children.
iBounce Trampoline Park Exeter
If you’re searching for rainy day activities in Devon with kids, why not check out iBounce trampoline park? This is a fun place for people of all ages – from parents and toddlers (there are specific parent and toddler sessions) to groups of adults!
Bounce from trampoline to trampoline, practice tricks, and take younger kids to soft play!
Quay Climbing Centre
Exeter’s Quay Climbing Centre is one of the best places to visit in Devon in the rain. There are a variety of walls here, as well as some bouldering. You should only use the indoor climbing wall if you already know how to use the ropes, but you can go bouldering with no experience.
Killerton House is a popular National Trust property located close to Exeter, and it’s the perfect place to round off a weekend in Exeter before driving home.
The house was donated to the National Trust in 1944 by Sir Richard Acland, but it has a long and expansive history spanning back over the centuries.
You can learn about all of this at Killerton House, a snapshot of more historical times. There are also various beautiful gardens and parkland, which you can visit if the rain clears up!
Things to do in Central Devon in the rain
Central Devon is the least touristy area of Devon – mainly because it isn’t very close to the sea. However, it’s still an enjoyable place for solo, couple or family holidays. It’s home to the northern part of Dartmoor and the southern part of Exmoor, as well as countless charming towns and villages.
It’s also a great place for rainy day attractions – there are a few fascinating museums and some places of historical interest.
If you’re staying elsewhere in Devon, it’s relatively easy to reach these attractions by car.
House of Marbles
The House of Marbles is a famous store in Bovey Tracey that offers some of the best marbles and glass ornaments in the entire South West.
However, the House of Marbles is much more than a shop – it’s nowadays a glassworks studio, museum, games garden and restaurant.
You can watch the glass making from the viewing gallery and learn how the glasses we use every day are made.
There are also countless marble games that you can play, including ‘Snooki 2000’, which is one of the biggest marble games in the world!
There are also three exhibitions on-site, including the games museum, which details games throughout the centuries (back to the 1600s!), the pottery museum and the glass and marble museum.
If you get hungry while you’re there, you can have a bite to eat at the Old Pottery Restaurant.
The House of Marbles is one of the best things to do in Devon in the rain for all ages, particularly for families and people who have an interest in vintage toys and games. Head down and make the most of a rainy day – there’s hours of fun here!
If you are visiting Devon with toddlers or young children, Bear Town is the place! It’s suitable for kids aged 1-7 years who like to play pretend!
They will explore various pretend shops and other venues, including a police station, bank, and post office, and play in these settings with hands-on activities. They could be a police station, bank clerk, and shopkeeper all in one playtime! Bear Town has put together safe exhibits that will help your kids learn a little more about the world around them.
It costs £9.95 per child and accompanying adult to visit Bear Town and an extra £3.00 for another accompanying adult. You must book a certain session: choose from 9:15am – 11:25am, 12 noon to 2:00pm or 2:45pm – 4:45pm.
Museum of Dartmoor Life
The Museum of Dartmoor Life is located in Okehampton – an easy day trip from Plymouth – and it’s a fantastic place to learn all about this wild and rugged moor.
It has exhibits featuring Bronze Age Tools, social history on the moor, important Dartmoor industries, and the people who have lived on Dartmoor through the ages. Learn about everything from prehistoric monsters to Dartmoor in the present day!
Don’t go hiking on Dartmoor when the weather isn’t great – the visibility can be very poor and it is dangerous. If you only encounter a bit of rain, you might enjoy driving through the moor and observing it from the car seat, though!
You can use a rainy day to learn all about the life and culture of the moors – and then you’ll enjoy hiking there even more!
Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life
This fascinating museum details Tiverton and the culture of mid-Devon. It was started by a group of people who were concerned that the rich heritage of this part of the county would be lost if they did nothing to preserve it.
Nowadays, there are a few exhibitions detailing the wool trade, the farming industry, and what Mid Devon was like during the wars.
Tiverton Museum is open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00am to 4:00pm. It costs £6.00 for adults and is free entry for children.
Knightshayes Court is a manor house located close to Tiverton and one of the best places in Devon to learn about Victorian life! It has beautiful gardens and parkland, but it’s also one of the best places to visit in Devon in the rain.
In the house, you can admire the Medieval hall, which has a minstrel’s gallery and many complex features. There’s also the historic library and drawing-room, and the dining room which details what people in Victorian England would have eaten.
Knightshayes is a National Trust property, so entry is included if you have a National Trust membership. Otherwise, you will need to pay to enter the house. You can usually buy a family ticket if there are one or two adults and two or more children in your party.
Tiverton Castle is one of the most interesting and historic buildings in the county. A building on this site – Tiverton Manor – was first mentioned in King Alfred’s will back in 885. The Manor was eventually possessed by William the Conqueror in 1066.
Tiverton castle as we see it today was built in 1106 by Henry I, but was adapted and enlarged over the centuries. You’ll be able to see centuries of history when you visit, with visible changes throughout the years.
You can visit the castle independently, or on Sundays there is a free guided tour at 2:45pm. Entrance costs £8.00 for adults and £3.00 for children.
Where to stay in Devon
If you haven’t booked your Devon accommodation yet, I have a few recommendations! If you’re planning a family trip, South or East Devon is best. There are more tourist attractions here, and plenty to do if the weather isn’t so kind.
However, if you want to do some exploring and hiking (if the weather brightens up!) the North Coast or Dartmoor is the place.
There are all sorts of options for hotels, self-catering accommodation and dog-friendly accommodation, so you’ll have plenty to choose from. Here’s my full guide of where to stay in Devon.
Things to do in Devon in the rain
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post full of places to visit in Devon in the rain! We can be unlucky with our British weather, but there are so many unique attractions in Devon that it shouldn’t put a dampener on your whole trip. Check out all of my Devon posts for more tips!