Just because the weather’s taken a turn for the worst, it doesn’t mean that the coast is a no! With the right clothing, it’s possible to enjoy the great outdoors in all but the most severe weather. We’ve come up with our favourite ways of getting out on the beach or along a coastal path, even when the temperature plummets and the dark clouds gather. Here are our top suggestions for activities the whole family can enjoy, come rain or shine.
Go beach combing
One of the benefits of the winter storms is that when the waves and winds die down, there’s plenty of debris from the sea washed high onto the beach. This makes the aftermath of a storm a great time to go beach combing. Whether you’re looking for material to make into a driftwood sculpture, or would like to make an artistic arrangement of what the tides have left behind, beach combing is the way to discover some unusual treasures.
Have a winter picnic
Build a driftwood bonfire and enjoy hot chocolate or soup along with the chance to appreciate the warmth of the fire. More ambitious picnickers may wish to light a barbecue or wrap potatoes in several layers of tin foil to bake in the fire’s embers. Children especially love the chance to eat outside, so some form of al fresco dining could be the perfect way to spend a chilly winter afternoon.
Get the best wave picture
One of the times when tech can actually come in handy, trying to capture the best wave on film is surprisingly entertaining. A useful stand-by when the weather is just too awful to do anything else (you can film waves from a safe distance in the car if necessary), a competition to snap the highest, widest or strangest wave can work really well.
Alphabet Scavenger Hunt
Adding a degree of interest to beach combing, a scavenger hunt simply requires participants to find objects which have certain characteristics. Options include: an item for each letter of the alphabet; items from a pre-determined list; items of a particular colour. Laminate the scavenger list, provide plastic bags for the items found and provide indelible markers to tick off items. This ensures lists don’t become waterlogged in the event of rain or being dropped near the shore.
Look out for National Trust activities
Well-known for curating historic properties across the country, the National Trust also ensures that there are wide range of children’s activities on offer over the half-term period. From holiday fun at Castle Drogo (near Exeter), to a sensory explorer trail at Finch Foundry and Lydford Gorge, there are a wealth of family-friendly activities on offer. Many are included in the price of entry! Some of the best coastal locations in the area belong to the National Trust! With indoor options available as well as some gorgeous outdoor locations, National Trust properties and land offers plenty of options for great half-term expeditions.
To get the most from half-term in the West Country, be prepared for changes in the weather and make sure you have a wet weather alternative should the rain clouds gather. Plenty of layers and sturdy, waterproof shoes or boots are also a must. Although the experience isn’t the same as a summertime visit, many people say they prefer to visit Devon or Cornwall in the quieter season, when there is a chance to really experience the atmosphere and appeal of the landscape. With so much to offer, a February visit could be an ideal occasion to make some unforgettable memories.