I can feel my spirits lift at the thought that we’re almost out of January; it always seems such a month of abstinence – and a long one at that. But now the days are getting visibly longer, snowdrops and daffodils are breaking through, I’ve been able to get out and do some jobs in the garden and even now I can see signs of new shoots. Hurrah for that.
And with February comes half term when families think about escaping the winter for a while and maybe heading down to Devon or Cornwall. The weather isn’t always great for this week, we all know that; it’s always better to be prepared for pretty much anything so that if the sun shines it feels a wonderful bonus. I have to say we’ve had some great days out in the February half term. An abiding memory is our first visit to St Ives mid-February, probably about ten years ago now. The sky was perfectly blue, not a cloud to be seen, and we could really feel some warmth in that early spring sun. Mussels and chips for lunch and a cracking afternoon with the boys playing on the beach and eating ice cream. Totally unexpected, glorious weather; it certainly made us feel good.
And of course we can all enjoy the beach at any time of year – often my favourite time is during the winter. So long as you’ve got the right gear a lot of pleasure can be gained from an energising walk on a wintry beach: cold, probably; windy, possibly; wet, maybe; exhilarating, definitely. Plus the beaches are open to dogs at this time of year. Choose a beach with a good café, most of which will be open for the February half term, and you’ve got the perfect warming spot.
Not all tourist attractions are open at this time of year so always best to check first before you go.
In Devon, Pennywell Farm, near the A38 at Buckfastleigh opens on 10th February and a VIP ticket means you can return as many times as you like during the week. On 12th February children can go bird watching at Seaton Wetlands for just £2 each. And the nearby Donkey Sanctuary will be running a Best Friends Together Trail for the week. At Torrington, RHS Rosemoor is running a Mud and Machines-themed week. Three Billy Goats Gruff is on at the Palace Theatre in Paignton from 14th-17th February. The Milky Way Adventure Park at Clovelly near Bideford is open and on 17th February there’ll be special appearances by PAW Patrol. The Aquarium in Plymouth is running a Sea the Difference Ocean Event for the week.
In Cornwall ice skating at the Eden Project runs until 18th February. The Maritime Museum at Falmouth is hosting Science of the Sea shows for the week. Adrenalin Quarry at Liskeard opens on 10th February with its thrilling zip wire (50m high and 490m long) and swing as well as go-karts, open all weathers. Go karting is also on offer at the St Eval track at Newquay. Cornwall Air Ambulance is holding an open day on 18th February offering a chance to see a helicopter up close, see equipment demos and ask crew questions. At Wheal Martyn children can enjoy Badger Forest School on 16th February.
Plenty on offer. If you’d like any other suggestions please get in touch.