The best place to go for local information is Totnes Online Visitors Centre – you will find lots of maps, info about local attractions and local events that might be on during your stay.
For riding on Dartmoor (which is fantastic) I would highly recommend Babeny Stables. My daughter (7 years old) and I have just come back from an amazing 1 hour ride up there, its a beautiful spot, you ride out of the farm and straight onto the Moor. When we went (11th August) the landscape was covered in flowering Heather and Gorse. We went for a lovely ride mostly walking but experienced riders had a chance to do a short canter at a couple of spots. Perfect for novice riders as well as more experienced. £20 pp for 1 hour ride £35 pp for a two hour ride.
My daughter and I have also tried SRS stables, approximately 20 minutes drive away, they offer good horse rides and lessons and its about £25 for an hour.
One of the loveliest ways to see the river wildlife (that includes seals, kingfishers and a wide assortment of other birds) is to hire a canoe, the two main options are Canoe Adventures – these are guided tours for groups in big open voyager canoes. They are based 5 minutes drive away in Tuckenhay and launch from the Malsters Arms.
Alternatively Totnes Kayaks provides a selection of vessels, including kayaks which you can hire and go off and explore on your own, they launch at Stoke Gabriel which is a 15 minute drive. Don’t forget to take a picnic and stop off along the way or canoe down to Dittisham (if you’re feeling energetic) and have lunch in the cafe (which does great food). If you time the tides right you can catch an outgoing down and an ingoing back – makes life much easier!
There is also a company called Dynamic Adventures which is based in Dartington (close by) and offers loads of difference activities for adventurous families.
Dart River Boats
If you prefer a more gentile approach to travel then the river boats are a great option. They leave regularly from Totnes and take about an hour to get to Dartmouth. When you get to Dartmouth you can take a bit of time to potter around the lovely town centre, visiting one of their great places to eat – I suggest any one of Mitch Tonks restaurants/fish and chip shops or there is a lovely French patisserie – then catch a boat back. A great day out. If you fancy it there’s a round robin where you can catch the Steam Railway (another lovely trip) to Paignton from Kingswear (opposite Dartmouth) to Paignton and then the bus back to Totnes. Sounds exhausting writing it – but its a great way of seeing the local area.
Kids days out
Woodlands leisure park – this is great fun and good for all weather, though gets super busy in school holidays – book online for cheapest tickets.
The Aquarium in Plymouth – good wet weather activity
River Dart Country Park is fun is good weather if you like climbing and getting wet!
If you like sandy beaches you need to head over to Salcombe and Kingsbridge way. South Sands in Salcombe, Bantham and South Milton near Kingsbridge (both have cafes). Or if you want more of a beach hut experience then you could try Broadsands (near Paignton) Beaches are not usually very dog friendly between May – September 30th. So best to check this out before you go with your dogs.
Pebbly beaches include Blackpool sands (which is a beautiful beach though no sand) and Slapton which about 2 miles long which also has a couple of fab places to get fish and chips at one end in Torcross.
Also the coastal path runs along much of our coast so just rock up and walk a bit and you will find secret coves and breathtaking views.
Dartmoor is just a great place to go and explore, places to try and Two Bridges, Dartmeet, Bone torr, Haytorr, Badgers Holt; all great spots but you will need to walk a bit to get away from crowds in peak season.
Swimming pools and leisure centres
Totnes has a pool though its pretty basic – there is a new indoor pool in Dartmouth (15 minutes drive away) and a big heated outdoor pool which is great in the summer.