Devon Family Life

Exploring Shaldon with kids

Ness Beach Shaldon

Shaldon is a village in South Devon, on the south bank of the estuary of the River Teign, opposite Teignmouth. The village is really pretty and unspoilt, full of quaint little streets and shops and definitely worth a visit. Last week we were staying in Teignmouth with a direct view over to Shaldon. We couldn’t wait to explore Shaldon with the kids. It’s a quick drive away but parking is limited so we opted to visit by boat!

The Teign Ferry

Shaldon and Teignmouth are linked by the Teign Ferry, very possibly England’s oldest passenger ferry service. A service has been provided since at least 1296, and means that prior to the building of the bridge, you didn’t have to travel up the river to Newton Abbott to cross it. The passenger ferry is open to the skies so aims to run every day (except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) – weather permitting.

a trip on The Teign Ferry

Shaldon Wildlife Trust

Although we’ve visited for Shaldon for years we had never visited Shaldon Wildlife Trust before. We picked up a discount voucher which gave free entry for the kids so thought it would make a great value place to visit.

There are lots of animals to see including primates, mammals, birds and other animals. Most of the enclosures were outside with a small Nocturnal house as well as a creepy crawly house.

a visit to Shaldon Wildlife Trust

As it was the Easter holidays the children received an Easter treasure hunt which kept them busy as we walked round. It’s a lovely little place to visit and the children loved getting so close to the animals. There are no toilet facilities or cafe, but your ticket is valid all day if you want to go back to watch any of the animals being fed. Find out more about the Wildlife Trust here.

Shaldon Beach and the Smugglers’ Tunnel

You can’t explore Shaldon without a trip to the beach, especially if you have kids. There is the obvious Shaldon estuary beach which is lovely. You can watch the boats come and go and there are plenty of pubs and cafes to sit and enjoy a drink whilst the kids play. However we prefer the brilliant Smugglers Tunnel which takes you right down on to Ness Beach and Ness Cove.

Ness Beach Shaldon

The 8th Lord Clifford commissioned the building of the “Smugglers Tunnel” in the 1860s to give access to the beach but the kids loved the name. It’s dark and winds through the cliff with some steps down to the beach. It’s secluded and perfect for exploring rock pools when the tide is out.

We can’t talk about Shaldon without mentioning the wonderful Coombe Cellars further up the river toward Newton Abbott. The pub is right on the waters edge and it’s a great view point over the Teign estuary. It’s the perfect place to sit and watch the movements of the tide.

You may also be interested in our visit to Babbacombe Cliff Railway and Babbacombe Model Village.


  • Reply
    Rhian westbury
    April 28, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Wow that really is an old ferry service, sounds like a fun place to explore

  • Reply
    April 28, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    What a super place to visit! I’m intrigued by the Smuggler’s Tunnel – how long is it? Also, how cool is it that there’s been a ferry there since the 1200s!

  • Reply
    A visit to Bradley Manor House, Newton Abbot -
    August 22, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    […] Exploring Shaldon with kids […]

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