On a sunny Sunday in October last year, Nathan and I visited the delightful and family run Miniature Pony Centre in Dartmoor, Devon. Situated deep in the Dartmoor National Park the Miniature Pony Centre is a great family attraction, fun for all ages and perfect for pony lovers!
We managed to get our hands on discounted entrance tickets to the pony centre through Groupon. The offer was for half price adult entry, meaning the tickets cost just £8.95 for us both. I can imagine if using Groupon to get tickets for a family this would really help save quite a bit of money.
Miniature Shetland Ponies
Inside the centre there is a huge herd of miniature Shetland ponies to see, some in paddocks being fed and others roaming free in the main paddock. Here visitors can make friends with the mini ponies whilst wandering around the paddock and seeing the cute little Shetlands up close. This was something neither Nathan or I had done before so was quite a fun experience.
It’s perfectly safe for you to stroke the ponies and there’s advice on how to do this. The ponies soon make it clear if they aren’t up to any company and simply walk away from you – a sure sign they aren’t interested in being petted at that time. Nathan and I found that trying to take some miniature pony selfies was harder than we anticipated!
There are also some horses residing at the pony centre which were beautiful to look at and clearly looked after very well. There’s even a unicorn present too which was a bit different!
Plenty More to See
Animal lovers will be so at home here as not only can visitors see the cute miniature Shetland ponies and horses but also see alpacas, mules, foals and goats. Various birds including peacocks and chickens can be seen roaming around too. Apparently, some rather different type of animals can be seen also – cockroaches and giant African land snails – we missed these during our visit which I think on reflection I am quite pleased about!
We noticed there was lots for children to get involved in – tractor rides, pony rides and talks on the animals too. I found myself wishing I was small enough to able to try riding a pony! I don’t think I ever did this as a child and now I feel hard done by!!
Tickets and Visitor Information
Further information and the option to pre-book ticketed can be found on the Miniature Pony Centre website. The centre had free parking, is well signposted and has it’s own café – the Paddock View Café serving a variety of hot and cold food and drinks. There’s a gift shop, parkland, and gardens to wander around and both an indoor and outdoor play area for the kids too. I quite like the sound of a pony care day too – the perfect solution for a pony mad child who wants to learn how to look after ponies and get up close and personal with them. Why isn’t this open to adults too!
The Dartmoor Pony Centre was a lovely place for an afternoon visit and we enjoyed seeing a real icon the Dartmoor National Park – the miniature Shetland pony. We enjoyed being able to see the ponies up close and having a leisurely walk around the garden areas too. I can imagine this is a great place to visit with children and with regular offers on Groupon it would be even better if some money can be saved – more spare pennies for ice cream in the centre’s Paddock View Café!
As part of my solo South West tour of England back in September 2018 I stayed at the incredible Hideaway at Kingsland Farm – a gorgeous shepherds hut retreat just outside Dorset. Check out my full review of my wonderful stay.
What’s On Bridport
Whilst in Bridport I was sure to check out the town and see what it had to offer. Parking my car was easy and I enjoyed walking through the town’s high street. I reached the tourist information office and of course brought a couple of postcards!
I made my way to the Bridport Museum – a free museum detailing the history of Bridport and life in Dorset. There are lots of interesting displays telling visitors all about the market town and stories from days gone by. There’s a gallery dedicated to Anglo-Saxon times and an interesting display of rocks and fossils.
There was lots to learn about the town’s famous net and rope making industry and some interesting machinery to look at. There are over 800 years of history to read about and some interactive display points to keep people interested too.
Considering the museum is free to enter I think there is so much to see and learn and it was really well maintained. If you’re looking for something free to do whilst in Bridport then it really is a must!
Home Front Home Exhibition
Back in September when I visited the museum there was a really interesting temporary exhibition called ‘Home Front Home’. The exhibition was commemorating 100 years since the end of World War I and focused on telling women’s stories from the war and how they experienced the time in Bridport.
Display boards told stories of 7 different women who lived through the war and tells you all about their different roles and responsibilities. It was so interesting to hear about the local women and see pictures of where they lived and worked.
Bridport Arts Centre and Philip Sutton Exhibition
After enjoying my time at the Bridport Museum I stopped off at the Bridport Arts Centre – a centre featuring art exhibitions, cinema shows, and other arty events. I stumbled across an art exhibition – Philip Sutton at 90 – which celebrated the artwork of Philip Sutton.
The artwork was really incredible and there were several pieces I really liked. I appreciated the bright colours of the paintings and would have happily brought a couple for my flat if I had been able to afford the price tags!
After all that walking around and learning I was in need of a cuppa tea and a tasty snack. I stopped off at one of the many tempting cafes along the main high street and sat outside watching the locals going about their daily lives. I can’t remember what was in this cake but it was so bloomin tasty – I know that! I enjoyed it whilst reading through some local leaflets I had picked up from the tourist information office and planned to head to some of the nearby beaches.
Have you ever been to Bridport? What did you think? Did I miss anything out?
So it’s the end of May, the sun is shining and summer finally feels like it is on its way! What better time is there to start thinking about the exciting summer months ahead! Time for a summer bucket list I think!
Summer 2018 Recap
Last summer I was lucky enough to have some really great adventures and experiences. This involved loads of glamping and staying in amazing and unique places to stay such as ‘Mr Yurt’ at Petruth Paddocks Campsite in Somerset, a beautiful shepherds hut with The Wood Life in Devon and the perfect stargazing getaway at Freshwell Camping in Croyde, North Devon. If you haven’t tried glamping yet then you absolutely must put in on your bucket list for this summer!
I was also able to visit some lovely gardens including Bishop’s Palace in Wells, Somerset and the Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway in Hampshire. Various rounds of crazy golf were played with Nathan and lots of memories made at beaches all around the South West coastline. Two of my favorites have to be the glorious Westward Ho in North Devon and climbing Baggy Point in Croyde. Best of all I enjoyed a fun family week away at Brean Sands Holiday Park with my Nan, sister and her two children – so many good times!
So What About Summer 2019?
With summer 2019 fast approaching I find myself wondering what I will be getting up to and what adventures are out there to be had! As with anywhere I go or stay I always do my research online, looking at visitor information, entry prices and reviews. I also often view discount and deal sites to ensure I am getting the best deals on attraction prices, experiences or accommodation stays. Who doesn’t love a bargain?!
I recently came across the deal site latestdeals.co.uk and found they have a whole section dedicated to cheap adventure deals – ohhh yeah! The page is full of voucher codes, sale offers, and discounts on adventures and also adventure items to accompany you on your trips. I mean who doesn’t love an adventure and who doesn’t love being able to do this for cheaper?! There were a couple of deals on the site that really stood out to me and that I will be adding to my summer 2019 bucket list.
Although we mostly did glamping (glamorous camping) last year, I am keen to get back to basics this year and go camping! The Latest Deals site is offering a 2-3 person pop up tent for £20 – not sure you can go wrong with that and Nathan and I are in need of a new tent so think this will be a certain purchase for us! We have previously enjoyed a couple of camping trips in Cornwall and if the weather is good its a cheap and fun way to get away for a weekend. I’ll just need to convince Nathan to go as he is always the one responsible for putting up the tent and blowing up the air beds!
Adventure Golf Championship
Adventure golf – something Nathan and I love and do often wherever we go! I saw on the cheap adventure deals page that there’s an offer of a 33% discount on an adventure golf course which I believe saves quite a few pounds. This deal reminded me that Nathan and I need to start up our little adventure golf championship – not that we are competitive or anything! You can find out who won when we played mini golf last summer at both the Safari Adventure Golf Course in Dawlish and the Pirates Adventure Golf Course at Wookey Hole in Somerset by clicking on the links!
South West Beaches
I also want to make sure Nathan and I explore even more beaches as there are still lots that we haven’t been to in the South West yet. We really enjoy long coastal walks and picnics so this is certainly something I hope we can do more of. These days are always a relatively cheap day out as all you really need to pay for is your picnic, car park fees and of course an ice cream along the way!
After a few months of being together, Nathan and I tried a treetop ariel adventure course and what a hoot it was! Whilst it was super challenging, we laughed so much and I will never forget the experience! We absolutely must put another treetop adventure on our 2019 summer bucket list!
National Trust Summer Exhibitions
I hope we continue to visit our favourite National Trust properties and see all the changing exhibitions they offer. The gardens at National Trust properties are always so gorgeous during the summer months and a great place for a weekend walk. Some of my favourites we ventured to last year were Monks House in Sussex and Trelissick House and Gardens in Cornwall.
A Driving Experience
Something I have never tried before is any sort of driving experience. I always think I wouldn’t be interested in them or enjoy them but after looking at the 4×4 off-road adventure experience offered on the latest deals website I think I could be tempted – especially if it’s half price! I wonder if I would be any good. I did famously write my car off by driving into a recycling skip… enough said.
We are also off on a cruise (!) at the end of the summer so definitely stand by for our adventures on board! Neither of us has ever been on a cruise before and so we are super excited but a little nervous too! If anyone has any cruise advice for us then please let us know your tips in the comments below! I can’t wait to explore lots of different countries around the Med and of course lap up all the food on offer!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my first thought ideas for my summer 2019 bucket list and it’s given you some ideas of places you can visit in the South West of England or ideas of adventures you can have more local to you. Remember, there is often always a deal to be had out there on the world wide web and so always do your research and hunt for a bargain! I really recommend using discount sites like the Latest Deals one I mentioned above as they always have great discounts and offers and you might find something you had never even thought of doing before! Happy adventuring!
What’s on your 2019 summer bucket list? Leave me a comment and let me know!±
It’s official; more and more people in the UK are choosing to spend their holidays in this country, rather than travelling abroad. The UK has loads of beautiful locations, but undoubtedly one of the most popular places to visit is Devon.
If you’re thinking of spending your summer vacation in this gorgeous county, here’s some information that might convince you to book your stay now.
Why stay in Devon for your holidays?
It’s got amazing beaches
If there’s one thing Devon does well, it’s beaches. In the north of the county, you’ll find endless stretches of golden sand at Woolacombe, plus some amazing surfing opportunities. Down south, there are fantastic locations like Dawlish and Exmouth, which both cater excellently for holidaymakers. Branscombe beach, though pebbly, has stunningly clear waters – ideal for cooling off on a hot day.
Cities might not be the first thing you think of when visiting Devon. However, spending the day in historic Exeter is a definite must. The RAMM (Exeter’s museum) holds great events throughout the year, and the cathedral is regarded as one of the best in the country. Plymouth is also well worth visiting. This nautical city’s best-loved area is the Barbican, down by the sea.
Dartmoor is one of the UK’s most visited locations outside of London. When you get there, it’s not hard to see why. The endless rolling moors and quaint little villages are picture-postcard pretty, and the dramatic craggy tors provide perfect the social media photo opportunity. Hiking is the most popular activity around here, though children often love the chance to go for a ‘wild swim’ in one of the many secret pools or rivers.
Devon’s culinary scene is surprisingly impressive, as Exeter’s annual Food Festival proves! There are plenty of highly-regarded fine dining establishments, which give you and your partner the chance to get your smart clothes on, a dab of designer (or copy) fragrances, and make an event of it. However, if you’re working on a budget, be assured that there are also plenty of other great places that offer locally produced food at reasonable prices.
Enjoy the attractions
If you’re holidaying with kids, you’ll probably want to devote at least one day to visiting a major attraction. There are loads of good theme parks in Devon, such as Crealy, Watermouth Family Theme Park and Woodlands, not to mention plenty of outdoors-based activities. For example, Go Ape in Haldon Forest is a big favourite, especially if you love swinging through the tree-tops!
Make the most of the National Trust
National Trust members will be thrilled at the number of places to visit in Devon, particularly in the south of the county. The walk to Castle Drogo from Fingle Bridge is one of the best-loved strolls in the area, and historic Buckland Abbey is also not to be missed. Greenway (Agatha Christie’s former home) is another highlight, with its incredible views of the river below.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Devon? Let me know in the comments below!
I love visiting Killerton House in Exeter, it has to be one of my favourite National Trust properties. It has often changing exhibitions and I enjoy visiting all the new ones to see what area the focus is on and where is having a light shone.
At the end of last year, Killerton hosted a Votes for Women exhibition which was all about women’s fight for female suffrage and their determination to get the vote for all.
It was such an interesting exhibition and reminded me of the passion the suffragettes had and the fight they put up for us women today to have the vote. I can’t even imagine what it would be like for men to be able to vote in the general elections and for me not to be able to just because I was a woman -it wouldn’t feel right at all!!
The exhibition is a National Portrait Gallery touring the exhibition and whilst it is no longer at Killerton (yes this post is super super late) I hope you can appreciate it’s clever and thought-provoking nature and you are reminded of an important part of social and political history.
As you can see even Nathan enjoyed it too!
After enjoying the exhibition we spent some time walking around the rest of the house. I always love seeing how it’s decorated and enjoy imaging what it would be like to live there!
We had a nice walk around the gardens too and popped into the chapel at the top of the hill – such a cute little church which is always nice to take photos of.
Votes for Women was another very successful National Trust exhibition hosted at Killerton – one that was really memorable and really got me thinking. I always love the exhibitions that are done here and always really enjoy their Christmas events such as the Wind in the Willows display back in 2017.
Have you ever been to Killerton? What do you think about this Votes for Women exhibition? I’d love to hear your views!