We are SPOILED for choice here in Devon for woodland and forest walks, but an attraction like Coleton Fishacre, a hidden gem in Kingswear brings a tropical day dream to life.
This is one of our family favourite spots, and as we decided to head over there to celebrate my Mums 21 againth birthday, I decided en route I NEEDED to take some notes and photos to bring this to you, because so few locals even know about it.
Allow me to shine a light on their children's activities, accessibility for pushchairs, wheelchairs and those with mobility difficulties, doggie guests and other facilities, so you can consider all of this too.
Whatcha gotta know
There are always so many organised things for children to do. Back in the Spring we enjoyed an easter egg hunt, where Leo had a trail to follow to write down letters found on wooden bees, to unscramble upon completion and earn a Cadburys egg.
There was a colour trail following small hidden boards on yesterdays trips, and besides that, they also have a heap of activities organised for the Summer holidays, including what appears to be, an organiser led holiday club style series of Wednesdays through the summer school holidays, where they work through the list of 50 Things To Do Before You're 11 and 3/4s. This includes den building, rolling down hills and making instruments out of leaves.
That said, we were given a folding card with the full list on our way in, and told about different points on the map where he we wanted, we could try and fulfill some of the list ourselves.
There is a den building area, an amazing tree to climb (we always spend a long time in this beautiful tree, after a picnic on the bank beside the river, playing house, and imagining fantastical pets that live up our tree house with us) and loads of exploration areas.
There is apparently also a natural play area further down the hill, but we've never stumbled upon it. But there is SO much to explore on our way around, a play area really isn't necessary for the day.
There is plenty to spot should you bring a spotters guide to wild flowers, garden flowers, insects, butterflies (SO many butterflies!! Dreamy weamy!) And Squirrel, as some of our followers would know, LOVES treasure hunt or a challenge sheet!
While there are some paths that are pretty adventurous, I must impress upon you how accessible so much of it is for pushchairs and wheelchairs. It's really quite impressive! Not just that, but there are benches dotted everywhere, which is a huge help if you're prone to fatigue and muscle ache like myself, if you have children with you needing little-legs rest, or any other companions who manage attractions better with pit stops.
That said, there are those alternative pathways that weave down the hill towards a beautiful view overlooking the sea, and these steps can be challenging. It's worth noting that should you choose that route on the map you will be given, they can be tricky. My Nana, who sometimes finds steps tricky, manages them well. Not to mention, you are constantly surrounded by beauty which is encouraging!
Dogs are welcome on leads and will likely enjoy the environment just as much as you! Remember though that they are not welcome inside the main estate house. You, however are welcome to see the house which you can also explore and has interactive points - so I'm told, we always go with a dog so we haven't investigated yet!)
So what was this you mentioned about tropical dreams, hey Sarah? Quit waffling and give me the good stuff! GOOD POINT! Lets look at that delicious offering! I'll get there!
So, at the top of the hill where you arrive, you have the estate house, surrounded by BEAUTIFUL gardens and a running stream bordered by huge lilies and other colourful displays on lovely kept lawns.
In the Spring they are overflowing with tulips, daffodils galore, and you walk blissfully under coverings of beautiful blossoms which ignite the air with the scent! Bliss! Bunny ears are obligatory.
In the summer, you are surrounded by huge amounts of colour. Hydrangeas, rhododendrons, roses and a thousand other flowers fill the atmosphere as you walk through the gardens.
As you follow the paths, you start spotting non-native plants.
The view point beyond the upper level of the estate garden is an incredible spot to eat lunch and survey the land, but also, you have some succulents, cacti and palms beginning to show themselves around other curious plants. The further you follow the pathways, you walk under other huge fronds, with little bridges framed with unusual plants and tremendously tall bamboo.
In the climate we have recently been getting in Summer, you truly feel swept away, like you're on another island entirely.
The whole environment evolves again as you journey further forward, to a beautiful expanse of green, outlined by the trees, perfect for rolling down the hills and looking out to the ocean.
This leads you down to the view point where you can overlook the estate owned bay, where I'm told you can sometimes spot seals! Eek my little heart! We're going to keep trying!
There is a bench down here, and its a beautiful spot, but the viewing area isn't very big at all. Just be warned. It's not entirely a destination, as much as it is a furthest point before heading back.
So what else is there?
There is a beautiful small gift shop, which is full of handmade items, books, garden decor and young plants for purchase. There is also a loo block, which includes an accessible wheelchair friendly disabled loo, and also baby changing room.
The top of the hill also boasts a cafe with cakes, drinks, ice creams and small menu, but beautiful areas in which to catch your breath, celebrate the day and view the gardens from the very top.
I cannot tell you enough how blissful this place is. It is certainly becoming a firm family favourite and with good reason as you can see.
This is not a paid, sponsored or gifted post, just a review of our favourite spot. But if you like it, LET ME KNOW. We would love to visit more places for more adventures to feed back to the world how glorious it would be to spend a day with your attraction!
Have you been before? Tell me what you think of it! Do you use you National Trust membership to the fullest?
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