There’s so many things to do in Devon, find out how one family got on when they visited World of Country Life in Exmouth
We hadn’t been to World of Country Life since ‘light sabre-gate’.
Four years ago, an enjoyable afternoon turned to disaster when Jake, then only seven, dropped his Darth Vader figure’s teeny tiny weapon in the goat enclosure.
We realised our hopes of finding it were slim. There were tears (mostly mine – I knew how this was going to play out) much frustration and lots of hunting among goat poo.
Then we found it! But by then, it was too late. The trauma of the whole event had marred our day and we left in a bit of hurry.
One sunny Monday, we went back. This time, we were a little older, wiser – and carrying a Star Wars figure without a detachable weapon. And everyone had a lovely time.
World of Country Life, in Exmouth, is one of those distinctly Devon attractions with a little bit of everything thrown in.
There are museum areas, displaying everything from farming machinery to Victorian shops.
Then you’ve got your play areas, featuring a giant wooden combine harvester (how we wish a granddad would make one of these for our garden).
When you’ve exhausted all of that, there are loads of animals to feed and watch. Our kids loved the, er, kids and spent ages hand-feeding the goats (no toys entered the enclosure this time).
They went on to see the pigs, rabbits and alpacas before coming back to the goats again.
There is some sort of bench every ten paces here, so us grown ups could perch and watch while our two went off and explored.
At the grand old ages of 11 and nine, they are keen to ‘be more independent’ and World of Country Life was a good place to let them off the leash a bit, within our visual range, of course.
They kept ending up at the air bouncer, a fantastic invention, which is part trampoline, part bouncy castle. It looks like a giant pillow sunken into the ground and allows siblings to push each other over at will, safe in the knowledge that they will definitely have a soft landing.
Dads seemed to enjoy this too. There was a steady stream of ‘responsible adults’ leaping onto this enormous air cushion and then taking great delight in watching their offspring fly up into the air. It was brilliant fun to watch.
After a quick spin in a giant tractor wheel, as you do, the kids were keen to check out the birds of prey, part of the Hawkridge Bird of Prey Centre here on site.
These remarkable creatures are incredible to see up close. Buster the golden eagle looked as though he could carry off a small child in his giant talons.
“Let’s go and see the old fashioned cars,” said Jake, backing away. We headed over to the Reg Imray collection of classic cars and motorbikes. Reg was a local legend who famously managed 70 years of accident-free driving. He died in April 2017 at the age of 94 but some of his beautiful vintage vehicles are on display here. Jake said this was his favourite bit and that he wants to ride a motorbike when he’s older. Gulp. I hope he takes inspiration from Reg’s clean record.
There was so much to see and do that I’m pretty sure we missed bits of this wonderfully eclectic place.
But this time we left World of Country Life feeling happy and carefree. It always pays to make a return visit.
Find out more about World of Country Life click here