Bicton Park Botanical Garden – Great With or Without the Kids!
Hey there and welcome to the blog. It’s been a busy few days getting little man all ready for school. I know it’s a cliché but where have the last four years gone?! It’s just flown by. To chill us out a bit before the onslaught of everything “school”, we took a little break to Devon. We love Devon and have been to the Haven site at Devon Cliffs a few times now.
We were invited to the Bicton Park Botanical Gardens and today I share with you our fun day out there. If you’re in the area, it is certainly worth a visit. The gardens are beautiful, the playgrounds are huge and the train is fun.
A bit about Bicton Park
Bicton Park Botanical Gardens are beautifully landscaped gardens, located in the Otter Valley in Devon. There are flowers, trees, plants and plenty of nature trails and paths to explore. The site has lots to offer for the whole family including numerous children’s play areas and a scenic railway tour.
Bicton opens at 10am each day and if you’re coming by car, pop EX9 7BJ into the Sat Nav. We got here just after ten on a Saturday and it wasn’t busy at all.
Once you have your tickets, you exit through the gift shop, into the garden centre. There are a number of plants and flowers for sale which you can pick up when you leave.
On your left is the Bicton Woodland Railway. Take a quick photo of the train times so you know when they depart through the day. You buy tickets from the railway ticket office and you can get these 20 minutes or so before the train departs.
Just next to the railway is the Farmyard, an indoor farm play area perfect for little ones. The kids can play while mum and dad grab a coffee. Take some change! I think the hubby said coffees were £1.50. B enjoyed loading his tractors up with hay and pedalling round the barn.
Visit the Museum
Once we convinced B to look at other parts of the park, we wandered down to the museum.
This is basically a large indoor area full of engines, wagons, tractors and cars.
There are a number of exhibits depicting Victorian life as well. B enjoyed wandering through and asking questions. This is a perfect stop if the weather takes a turn for the worse. Luckily we enjoyed a sunny day at Bicton though.
The Indoor Children’s Play Area
After visiting the museum, we wandered down to the indoor play area. You need to take off your shoes before you enter and there’s lots of storage to pop them in. The play area was actually really good! I know it sounds like I’m surprised but I find they can be hit or miss sometimes! But there was loads to do for little ones, including an under fives area and a number of different sensory activities. You could tell they’d really thought about all their guests, not just the older kids who enjoy running through the soft play. There is a café in the soft play area and loads of seating, so if you didn’t pack a picnic, you can grab something here.
The Bicton Woodland Railway
If it’s your first time to Bicton then I really recommend the railway. We grabbed the 11.45am train and got there about 20 minutes before departure. It cost a couple of extra pounds to ride the train but in my opinion it was worth it.
The ride lasts a good 25 minutes and takes you all around the park. Obligatory train snap before we departed! B is stuffing his face with something here.
When you buy your ticket, you’re given boards which tell you all about the area and places of interest. B really liked the Witch’s wood and it was fun for number recognition and all that.
Once we departed, the train ride took us through Bicton Gardens and we had lovely views of The Great Lake. We saw huge firs and conifers, some towering super high into the sky. It was just really nice to sit back and take in all the scenery really. B loved being on the train and Mr D and I enjoyed relaxing and watching the world pass by for a few minutes.
Outdoor Play Fun
After our ride on the train, we walked over to the outdoor play area. B complained the whole way that his legs hurt. He’d just been sat down for 45 minutes. What’s he like!
Once we got to the play area, he was super happy to run off and enjoy the pirate ship. His legs seemed to miraculously recover. Hmm.
The outdoor play area was really impressive with numerous swings, slides, climbing frames and play houses. Look at that sky too! We enjoyed some food here and just relaxed while b played. There is a snack place too which sells drinks and ice creams.
B particularly loved a roundabout ride which you sat on and pedalled round. He made a few friends and they all tried to pedal superfast.
Another fun area was the mini village, comprising a number of small houses and huts to play inside.
Exploring the Gardens
There is so much more than just gardens at Bicton! But the gardens are really impressive. As I get older, I’m starting to appreciate good landscaping more! The fountain and mirror pond areas are beautiful and definitely worth a walk around. We told B it was like a castle moat. Having this to focus on, took his mind off his weary legs.
Just look at these views!
What a beautiful autumn day.
The gardens are all so colourful too and it outs our garden to shame. I’d love to have more colour and wandering around Bicton inspired me to plant some bulbs, ready for next spring!
Trees and More Trees!
Bicton is home to more than 1000 trees. Imagine that many! Some of them were so impressive, reaching so high. They reminded me a lot of being in the States and visiting the Redwoods. The trunks are enormous too. They really are impressive. There were a few that had been cut down and we were trying to show b the rings.
You can pick up a guide to all the park’s trees at reception if you want to learn more.
There are so many places to explore at Bicton and loads of nature trails to wander around. B’s little legs were flagging a bit towards the end so you might want to take a pram depending on your little ones.
If you want to explore the more exotic plants, then head over the Palm House and Tropical House. To be honest b wasn’t overly excited by plants. What four year old is? If I’d been visiting with just the hubby then I’d have liked to have mooched around the greenhouses more.
Have you been to Bicton Park Botanical Gardens in Devon? It is a great day out for families or if you have a child free day! If you don’t fancy packing a picnic then the onsite restaurant has plenty on offer too.
Disclaimer: We were invited to Bicton Park Botanical Gardens. All opinions are our own and honest.