Why Pecorama, Devon, is the Perfect Family Day Out
I don’t know about your kids, but in the “top 5 things we love to do” list soft play, steam trains, playgrounds, running around (in gardens), eating icecream and playing games as a family would definitely feature! From the Pecorama website we really didn’t know what to expect much beyond the steam train, but my word this is the most AMAZING PLACE EVER!
We drove to Pecorama, where there is lots of free parking at the top of rather an impressive hill! We bought our tickets online in advance so you get 10% off, and I’d really recommend doing this. The outside of Pecorama isn’t aesthetically awesome, but we soon realised that this is because this is where Peco UK model trains are made (and this is a rather magnificent place to work!) By the PECO part of the place is “All Aboard the Orion”, an old Train Car which serves a Cream Tea, Afternoon Tea or High Tea, but is also referred to as the “Quiet Space”, i.e. not suitable for my noisy pair! I’d love to return there for a date afternoon with the husband!
Upon entrance to Pecorama itself is the gorgeous traditional Steam Train, the Beer Heights Light Railway (BHLR), which takes you on the most brilliant route above the Jurassic Coast. It starts and finishes at the wittily entitled terminus Much Natter Station, just inside the main Garden entrance, and passes through the gardens, through a short(ish) tunnel (my kids found this thrilling! ) through Deepwater station, Beer Mine and back to the start. All six of us LOVED this train - the sights, smells and scenery were so evocative and we all felt deeply uplifted. We had paid for “first class” tickets for the day so we could go on two rides, though you can pay for more if you choose.
All the way up the hill are really beautiful gardens: The Millenium Gardens, Millenium Garden Grotto and further up the hill still the Secret Garden. As a keen gardener I loved seeing the planting schematics and was so inspired by the combination of scent, colour and the architecture of the borders. These were some of my favourites:
I’d love to say that the kids were as interested in the planting schema, but - although they loved the space to run around - they were more interested in getting inside The Play Station, aka a fabulous Indoor Soft Play, including a 3 metre high racing slide, a spiral slide, a huge climbing frame, spider web climb-throughs, giant balls, clear decks, log ramps… I loved that there was plenty of air at either side and that there is a small cafe within it where I purchased the best Flat White I’ve had in a long time. Better still, you can get properly substantial hot meals brought to you as you watch your kids play - this is such a joy!
Once the kids had run themselves ragged it was time for lunch at the Garden Room Restaurant. There are so many things we loved about this: the way that as many of the ingredients as possible are locally sourced and free-range, the fresh, home-made meals and the Teddy Bears Picnic boxes for the children. While we were waiting for lunch my daughter, Mum and I played Dominos (there was a selection of toys and books) and my son played with the extensive Brio Train Set - such a great way to keep them entertained! We really did try a real selection of food, from a mackerel and beetroot salad, to ham, egg and chips, to a homemade cheese scone with chutney and the aforementioned Teddy Bear Picnic boxes. Delicious!
After lunch we explored an extensive outdoor playground, including the Peco Pirate Ship, multiple climbing frames for different ages and swings and slides. Then it was time for Crazy Golf! Our nearly five year old loved this - the three year old was a bit knackered and had a brief tantrum (!), but soon cheered up with some delicious local ice-cream! The rest of us had a fabulous time on the course - just the right size for a family.
We finished off with another train ride, a trip to the gift shop and a whiz along the Zip Wire - we could have enjoyed Ben the Juggler, Face Painting and something excitedly entitled “Showtime” but that will have to wait until our next visit, which I hope will be very soon!
This is such an amazing place! This isn’t an ad, but I wish it was, as I would absolutely love to be associated with such a brilliant institution! We will be back!
NEED TO KNOW (taken from the website - always check directly with Pecorama as details may change).
Opening Times: 10am-5pm 1st April-3rd November (opening days and times are different for the Winter Season).
Follow the brown official Tourist Board direction signs indicated with a train symbol for ‘Pecorama Pleasure Gardens’ from the A3052 towards Beer.
Weekdays from 24th July – 1st September look out for the Jurassic Mule, taking passengers from Charmouth, via Lyme Regis and Seaton along the Jurassic Coast on a vintage open-top bus. Some services will stop here at Pecorama! This service will also run over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.
The X52 service travels from Exeter through to Bridport via Lyme Regis, stopping off at Beer Cross which is a 10 minute walk from Pecorama.
The 9 / 9A service runs hourly from Exeter to Seaton / Lyme Regis and the 20 service travels from Taunton, via Wellington and Honiton, to Seaton where there are bus services to Beer. Both of these services are offered by Stagecoach.
AVMT provide the 899 service from Sidmouth to Seaton and the 885 from Axminster to Colyton, Seaton and Beer. Some of these buses pass just outside Pecorama and will stop on request.
For full details please telephone Devon Bus Service on (01392) 382800, Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 or any of the bus service providers.
The nearest train station to Pecorama is Axminster, on the West of England main line. Trains run approximately every hour from Exeter St Davids and from London Waterloo. The station is approximately 9 miles from us. The 885AVMT bus service travels from the Station to Colyton, Seaton and Beer, every hour Monday to Saturday.