Family-friendly self catering accommodation in Devon
Familys of all ages are especially welcome at our self catering holiday lodges and cottage in the heart of Devon – you’re guaranteed a friendly welcome. We hope you and your family will enjoy relaxing, exploring our 21 acres, fishing or boating on the wildlife pond, visiting the hens, borrowing free bicycles, BBQing or playing badminton/volley ball in the meadow in front of the lodges.
Devon holidays with pre school children
Are you holidaying with pre-school children? Let us help make it easier – we can loan travel cots, high chairs, cupboard closures, socket covers, hand-held blenders, and waterproof mattress covers. There’s no stairs for under fives to fall down in the wooden lodges – and we can fit a stair gate to the cottage and Balebarn Lodge’s loft stairs stairs to keep very young children safe. The Nuthatch and Honeysuckle Lodges are also great for families with young children. They sleep 4 in a double room and fun ‘cross over bunks’ (we can supply bed bars). Nuthatch Lodge has a short bath – good for kids who don’t like showers yet.
There are swings and a mini slide on the far side of the lodge field and some much-loved tractor ride-on / go cart type toys that get a lot of use on the slope down to the farmyard. We have bikes to borrow – some with child seats. There are ‘learner bikes’ for short legs and even one without pedals to push along. We can also lend you a back pack to carry young children over the fields. Should their clothes get grubby, there’s a shared washing machine (£2 per load, includes soap) and a washing line on your veranda – or we can tumble dry a load for you at the farmhouse (£3 per load). Talking of the veranda, it’s a great place to unwind with a glass of something refreshing when the kids are in bed. You won’t need a baby-listener unless you’ve come as a group and have booked two or more lodges together – in which case a baby monitor will ensure you have a relaxing evening secure in the knowledge you will hear the children if they wake even if you’re in the next lodge.
Are grandparents in charge of your Devon holiday?
Wheatland Farm is wonderful for spending time with the grandchildren. You can give the kids the freedom childhood is supposed to be about. We’re down a long private drive, so they’re fairly safe racing around on bikes. Bring your family’s own bikes or just bring their helmets and then borrow our bikes – we have have a range of sizes, including several children’s bikes, all reclaimed from the local recycling centre. (And we’re close to good cycling for new riders and families – the Tarka Trail is just the place for children to get some confidence over a few miles and makes a great day out with plenty of walking and tea shop options too).
You can keep an eye on the family from the lodges while kids play football or volleyball, and you can see the swings from Honeysuckle Lodge.
Children under 12 don’t need an environment agency rod licence and you’re most welcome help them fish the top pond by Otter Cottage (free). It’s well stocked and even beginners are pretty much guaranteed a catch (and immediate release please). We have a rod we lend if you don’t have your own, and Ian is often around to show children what’s what. But please remember, you’re in charge of your children’s safety!
We have a few hens, and families often like to collect an egg or two. There’s lots of wildlife about, from butterflies to owls, and we’d be delighted to take you and your family on a guided nature walk while you’re staying at the lodges or cottage. We can almost always arrange this at a mutually convenient time, and there’s no charge.
If anyone in the party has restricted mobility, Balebarn Lodge is easy access throughout, with no steps up, and a walk in wetroom. But we strive to make our other lodges accessible too. Honeysuckle Lodge has a shower with a sturdy hand grip and Nuthatch Lodge has a short bath and over-bath shower (not much good for a soak, but perfect for children who don’t like to shower yet). Both smaller lodges are on a single internal level (with steps up to the main entrance). Beech Lodge has one internal change in level, whereas Otter Cottage has stairs.
Holidays with older children
Older children get to fish and borrow bikes too – or make them feel useful and send your teenagers into the village to get you a paper! (Please note, although we have a few helmets to borrow we advise you to bring your own safety gear if you’re planning on using our bikes on the roads). Beyond the farm, our own kids have gained real independence and a sense of achievement by cycling the nearby Tarka Trail – set a distance of anything from a gentle 5 mile stretch to a 40 mile bike adventure with you. You can book surf lessons on North Devon’s beaches or try kayaking on the River Torridge. We make a great base for families with kids in the Ten Tors Dartmoor challenge each May. Or closer to home maybe you could challenge them to a badminton tournament or game of outdoor chess and draughts. In the summer holiday weeks we usually offer a free family activity. And although this is tailored to suit all ages it may be best fun for older children. Anyone over about 8 can use a pole lathe safely, and it can be a real experience to make something from wood with your hands.
There are no public paths crossing our land, so families often feel able to give their children quite a bit of freedom. You’re welcome to explore the farm, but please leave gates as you find them. Most mobile phones get a signal here, and we do have WiFi in the lodges, which helps older children stay in touch with their mates. But please note our ‘rural’ connection speed! Children will struggle to live stream games or movies, especially in the summer holidays when our accommodation is busy. (Maybe that’s a good thing though?) Of course as a last resort there’s always the DVD/CD player, and a telly!
Family days out in Devon
Of course, while we love to see guests enjoying the boats on the pond or relaxing on their verandas, we know you won’t be spending all your holiday at the lodges and cottage. Have a look at our Things to Do pages which list many great Devon days out. Some of the most popular families days out are horse riding at nearby Bold Try stables (4 miles from the accommodation), cycling the Tarka Trail (one particularly good joining point is Puffing Billy, just outside Torrington, about 14 miles from the cottage and lodges, where you can choose to go five miles to Bideford or five miles the other way to the lovely summer time cafe at East Yarde ) and RHS Rosemoor (about 11 miles from the farm). The beach at Westward Ho! is about 40 mins drive away. Or heading in the other direction you’ll find space and wilderness on Dartmoor or National Trust properties Castle Drogo, Finch Foundry and Lydford Gorge (all within 30 miles of the accommodation). The Big Sheep a family theme-park (also about 21 miles from the lodges) is also popular. It has a micro brewery that the adults like to visit as well as everything from bouncy pillows to sheep feeding for the kids. The Milky Way theme park and adventurous The Ultimate High are near Bideford too. If it rains and younger children need to burn off some energy, Waie to Play soft play barn is just 8 miles away from the lodges and cottage – in Zeal Monachorum. For kids from about 5 upwards, Clip’nClimb in Exeter (25 miles) is an adventurous wet day option (or for more experienced climbers there’s the Exeter Quay Climbing Centre or Rock and Rapid near South Molton). Other under cover attractions include Exeter’s tunnels, cathedral and museums.
WiFi away from home doesn’t always have the family friendly settings you would wish for… but at Wheatland Farm we have specifically set our DNS settings to block adult content, including gambling sites. However, if you want a specific (legal!) site unblocked please just ask.