Bicton Park botanical gardens
Just a short drive from Sidmouth, Bicton covers over 60 acres with a mixture of formal gardens, open parklands and an arboretum. It has it’s own woodland steam railway to help visitors get around (at an extra charge).
Bicton caters for families with a large outdoor play area as well as indoor soft play barn and nature trails.
The countryside museum and small classic car collection will appeal to anyone with an interest in vintage machinery and rural memorabilia. If you’re lucky you may find one of the staff available to bring some of the antique pieces back to life with hands on demonstrations.
There is, of course, a gift shop and also a restaurant in a stunning location with a terrace over looking the Italian gardens and ornamental lake (although when we visited in spring 2013 the food was fairly average fare). If the weather is fine, then there are plenty of beautiful places to picnic around the gardens.
At the time of writing it costs around £9 for an adult ticket, and around £26 for a family of four (over £32 if you include a train ride) although if you have a Tesco club card and plan ahead you can use your points to buy tokens towards the entry fees. You can also save 10% if you buy tickets in advance through their website.