We recently went away to Bideford, north Devon. Like a normal family UK holiday, both kids were sick in the car, I got food poisoning and ended up on a drip in hospital for the morning, mum had to have a couple of check ups for her poorly eye at hospital, 85% of the time it was raining and on the way I dropped and smashed my phone which we left at Bristol being fixed on the way though. Apart from all of this we had an excellent week!
Whilst on holiday we visited the beautiful Gnome Reserve and Wildflower Garden. Last year we came to Bideford we kept seeing the signs but never visited. This time we decided to take a visit whilst no rain. From the holiday village we were staying at, the Gnome Reserve is only 8 miles away in West Putford, Bradworthy.
There are four enchanted acres of various gnomes to spot. A mixture of antique, character and giant gnomes. There is a large collection of gnomes which gave the Gnome Reserve a spot in the Guinness Book for the largest collection.
The Gnome Reserve has been family run for 35 years and open from March to October. On arrival you can have gnome hats free of charge, so the gnomes think you are one of them. This is a perfect excuse for a gnome selfie. Then we went off to the enchanted walk for gnome spotting. I love how the gnomes are grouped with their peers. You have the fairground gnomes, seaside gnomes which has a gnome complete in a mankini.
The kids absolutely loved this morning out and have asked to go again. They especially enjoyed fishing for rocks, which you can also take part in gnome bingo. The price for admission is extremely reasonable at £3.75 for an adult. I recommend visiting the Gnome Reserve, it was such a lovely day out and we will be visiting again next time in the area.
We also paid a visit to the Milky Way which was just up the road. We went here last year, but Rowan enjoyed it way more as can now walk. There is a fantastic mixture of indoor and outdoor activities so ideal for the undecided weather. Whilst visiting the Milky Way we had a train ride, clocked up some steps going round the hedge maze, rode the rollercoasters -Rowan was chuffed he is now tall enough for the smaller one, went on soft play, watched a show, played on the ride on tractors and watched the bird show.
One activity Josie was super excited to do again was archery. She immensely enjoyed this last year, after a few practice shots she was on fire. Nanny even had a go and managed to get the centre aim. The helpers here are absolutely brilliant, especially the man who helped Josie.
Other than these days, we had a couple of trips to the beach. Antony found a fab beach at Instow which wasn’t busy. The kids loved running round like wild animals and getting Nanny to build sand castles then Rowan knocking them down.
One of the evenings we decided to go into Bideford and see the tide come in down the river, whist there we noticed some kids crabbing. Cue Josie stating she wanted to go crabbing. So the next day we went on search for crabbing lines, mum googled bait and off we went with buckets and smokey bacon. This was so brilliant and just shows you don’t have to go on big days out to have fun.
We managed with 2 lines to get about 12 crabs. The only issue we had was none of us would touch them in fear of getting nipped. Antony got one stuck on his bag trying to get the bacon, and actually asked another little girl who was crabbing and came over to see our catch to get the crab for him. Rowan loved watching them in the bucket. We planned to do this again whilst away but unfortunately it was raining. We are planning to find crabbing places near home and take the kids. Even myself at the age of 34, was the first time I have ever gone crabbing. This was one of my favourite moments on our holiday.
I would recommend North Devon for a holiday, the only issue we had was when it was raining. Lots of the activities are outside.
Have you been away this summer?
Photo credits to F Hillman