Eight things to do with your elderly loved ones in Devon

Written by Zenya Smith28/02/21


Elderly Care
One of the most beautiful counties in the United Kingdom, Devon offers spectacular countryside and picturesque, quintessentially English towns and villages. If you’re visiting the area with your ageing parents or you are lucky enough to live in this lovely region, there are plenty of fun days out you can enjoy here together.
Whether you’re planning a trip, or your loved one is receiving live-in care in Devon in their own home from a dedicated carer, getting out and about can help build a rich and full life. It can be a good opportunity to get some gentle exercise and fresh air, which is an important step in boosting your mood and creating healthy sleep habits. And, for those living with dementia a well planned trip to somewhere special could spark reminiscence and conversation. 

If your loved one employs a private live-in care worker, this can also be an opportunity for all of you to get to know one another better on neutral ground, and share hobbies and interests. With plenty of historic properties, sites of cultural interest and a thriving arts and crafts scene, there is an abundance of things to do in Devon. Here are eight top attractions to start with. 

Greenway House and Gardens

Once the much-loved holiday home of author Agatha Christie, Greenway House, near Brixham, makes for a lovely day out. With its walled gardens and views over the Dart Estuary, it’s easy to see why the crime novelist and her family enjoyed spending their summers and Christmas holidays here. As a great collector, Christie amassed all the silver, chinaware, books and archaeological artefacts that fill the house. 

There is dedicated disabled parking for visitors, separate level access to the house and manual wheelchairs are available. Although disabled access is limited to the ground floor of the house, there is still a lovely café and a shop specialising in local produce, as well as the gardens to enjoy.


The Jurassic Coast

No visit to Devon would be complete without a visit to the Jurassic Coast, world-renowned for its fossil beds and breathtaking cliffs.

If you or your loved one is up for a gentle walk there are a few scenic routes you can try. Salcombe Hill offers a chance to explore the Jurassic Coast from a series of well maintained and wheelchair accessible gravel paths.  There are benches along the route and a picnic area for rest stops. 

Durdle Door – the famous limestone arch may be a good option too. While those using wheelchairs or who are unsteady on their feet may not feel confident getting down to the beach, there is a clifftop viewpoint which is a great place to enjoy a picnic. This can be reached by all-terrain wheelchairs. There are also accessible toilets available in nearby holiday park.

Even a simple drive along the coast can be a tonic and a perfect way to take in this magnificent coastal scenery.

Exeter Cathedral

Located in the heart of the beautiful city of Exeter, the cathedral is one of the oldest and most impressive in the country. Apart from the roof space, the whole cathedral, including the shop and café, is accessible to those with limited mobility and you can book wheelchairs in advance.

Visits to religious buildings can often be a great source of comfort for older people with faith, especially if your loved one has little opportunity to get to services when at home and is receiving 24/7 care. Those receiving dementia care or Alzheimer’s care may reconnect with this element of their past through the prayers and music they hear while visiting.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Gallery

While visiting Exeter, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum is also worth a look. Entry is free, and there are 16 galleries, covering everything from local history, West Country silver and glassware to exotic birds, butterflies and animals.

Access is via a ramp at the Garden entrance, or there is a lift platform from the Queen Street entrance. Inside, there are also lifts and automatic doors, so wheelchair users can enjoy everything the museum has to offer. For those with hearing or vision issues, the museum has a hearing loop throughout, and offers a museum trail with BSL, audio and subtitles. 

Seaton Wetlands

Seaton Wetlands is the ideal way to get out into nature, and with two-and-a-half miles of beautiful trails along the River Axe and the surrounding marshlands, you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy a peaceful stroll. The entire site is accessible to those with mobility problems, and there are disabled parking and facilities.

Sometimes when older people are receiving live-in care from a caregiver or are in a residential home, they can feel cut off from the great outdoors. Seaton Wetlands will allow them to reconnect with nature, and looking out for the wide variety of birds and animals inhabiting the marshlands is great fun.

Bygones Museum

A museum sure to bring out a sense of nostalgia, Bygones in Torquay gives visitors the chance to travel back in time. There is a life-size Victorian street, including a sweet shop and apothecary, as well as a shopping arcade from the 1940s and 1950s. 

You can access the museum by a ramp, and there’s a delightful tea room for refreshments at the end of your visit, including some fantastic home-made cakes.

Babbacombe Model Village

Also in Torquay, Babbacombe Model Village is a big day out on a tiny scale. England’s past, present and future are captured in hundreds of miniature buildings and recreations of landmarks, and the whole site is accessible to wheelchair users. Even more magically, thousands of tiny lights are lit at dusk, making an evening visit a beautiful way to round off your day.

Find a farm shop

Devon has a proud history of exceptional food and drink. For a leisurely day out, find a farm shop with a café and enjoy time together sampling the local produce. Occombe Farm near Paignton has an excellent cafe and deli, as well as nature trail and plenty of animals to meet.

However long you plan to spend in Devon with your elderly loved ones, you’ll have the choice of a wide range of great days out. Spending quality time together is important for all of you, and where better to do it than in this beautiful county. 


Useful services and amenities

If your loved one lives in Devon, it can be helpful to familiarise yourself with the following amenities – 

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital is the largest hospital in the region and provides many acute clinical services. This includes Emergency services, a Walk-in Centre and a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU), along with a number of our highly acclaimed specialist units for things like oncology and dementia. 

For more information on services and how to get there, click here

Exeter Community Pharmacy

Providing a full range of NHS and Private services including one off and repeat prescriptions, and more. 

37 Sidwell Street

Find out more about their full range of services here

St Leonards Pharmacy

Located in St. Leonards Medical Centre, the pharmacy has disabled access and is open till 9pm most evenings. 

Athelstan Road 

Find out more about their full range of services here

Exwick Pharmacy

New Valley Road

Find out more about their full range of services here

Community Spirit: Exploring Dementia Care and Support in Rural Areas

Anthea Innes was appointed as the University of Salford’s first Professor of Dementia in 2016 and is the Director of the Salford Institute for Dementia. We talked to her about her research in rural dementia care and the importance of community spirit in providing support for people living with the condition.

Learn more about elderly care

Take a look at more Elder guides on later life.

Our phone lines are closed right now

Opening hours:

Monday 9am – 7pm
Tuesday 9am – 7pm
Wednesday 9am – 7pm
Thursday 9am – 7pm
Friday 9am – 7pm
Saturday 9am – 5pm
Sunday 9am – 5pm