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“Great for everyone”

Watermouth Family Theme Park & Castle
Ranked #2 of 38 things to do in Ilfracombe
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: With an enchanting mix of children's activities and nostalgic blasts from the past, Watermouth Castle appeals to kids from 1 to 100 years of age! Welcome to one of Devon's premier tourist attractions.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great for everyone”
Reviewed June 7, 2013 via mobile

Having just returned from our 10th stay in the apartments at Watermouth with our 11year old daughter we are overdue a review on trip advisor. This place has been part of our daughters life, for her it represents Devon and all that is good about it. It's a quirky place, eccentric maybe but has some thing for everyone.

Reading previous reviewers who seem to think it is weird or strange we would say take it for what it is, a collectors paradise giving kids the ability to see things from days gone by. There is no stuffy museum 'don't touch' attitude with kids able to spend a few pennies to play old fairground games - very different from the standard theme parks where your wallet soon hurts.

The whole place is lovingly family run and it shows, especially in the apartments. These benefit from mini four poster beds for the children and some have great old fashioned bathrooms but everything is spotless, the kitchen has all you could need and the staff can't do enough to help. There's even a swimming pool and access to the park at all hours.

It will not be our last visit, we'll be back next year and the year after....

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Michelle G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Yeovil, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Enjoyable for young families”
Reviewed June 6, 2013

We spent a couple of days here... the variety of attractions keep the kids very happy = happy parents. Good value for money. Wasn't open Saturday though!

Visited April 2013
Review collected in partnership with this attraction

Helpful?
Thank dont_usually_do_this
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“The most bizarre experience in England”
Reviewed June 4, 2013

My family and I love this place, but it is kind of an acquired taste.

The gardens are beautifully kept, so if you like flowers and plants you are in for a treat. The entertainment, however, is bafflingly odd. Any kids over about 10 will be bored stupid, but I'd say you'll enjoy it with 4-10 year olds

You start in the house itself, which has a selection of 50 year old amusement machines, a model railway and some victorian 'scenes' with fully dressed waxworks.

You then move downstairs into the "Dungeon Labyrinths", where fairytales like snow white and Gulliver's travels "come to life" in creepy fashion, there are olde worlde craft shops, a hall of mirrors and a maze. As you come out of the maze there is another mannequin on a toilet!

As you walk up towards the gardens there are number of large barrels, one containing characters from the magic roundabout spinning on a disc! You then get to Gnome Land, where you can pan for gnome gold and change it into a 'gnold coin', play in a tilting house or shoot your friends with foam balls.

Further up the hill is 'Merry-go-land', with beautiful water gardens, jumping fountains and a floating marble ball (very clever, spin it and see - just mind your fingers). You can play crazy snooker (crazy golf with snooker a cue!), have fun in the maze, or have a go on the "mighty Snake Tube Slide", probably the slowest slide in the world.

Also in Merry-go-land are some rides for small kids, including flying planes, a steam carousel and swing boats which add a touch of nostalgia to the beautiful Victorian gardens.

In Adventure land there's a pretty decent crazy golf course and also some more small rides, a tea cup spinner and a sealion 'water go round', as well as a fairly big adventure playground, a snail trail ride and a midge infested 'Big river ride'.

On your way out you just have to see the "breathtakingly beautiful performance of lights, music and fountains" which is Watermouth Castle's famous underground Water Show Extravaganza. I'll copy from their website to say that it was "built originally for the 1951 Festival of Britain on the South Bank of the Thames, the water show was installed at Watermouth Castle during the early 80s, and has been synchronised to music played by the Mighty Mortier Organ built by Theo Mortier, in the 1920’s." Think Las Vegas Bellagio fountains to the tune of 'Land of Hope and Glory', but in your kitchen!!

Entrance fee is about £13 for an adult and £11 for under 13s, so not cheap, but smaller kids shorter than 3' tall get in free. We stayed for 3 or 4 hours, including a stop for a reasonably priced lunch.

As I said, this is a mental day out - but where else in the world would you find all this? Know what you're getting yourself into and have fun.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Ed B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“What an interesting place”
Reviewed May 30, 2013

Didn't really know what to expect, and only expected to be there a few hours. 5 hours later, we felt we had got good value for money, and lots of things to interest most people. Our 3 year old granddaughter was totally thrilled by it all, and even wanted to see the dancing fountains twice, which is normally hard to get her attention for long with most things. As someone commented, there are a lot of old items in the castle and the only slot machines I saw were either 2p or 10p, so don't know where the £1 one was, but hey this part is like a museum. Great fun on those and cheaper than Wookey Hole where you need old 1p coins which are bought at cost, at least these use decimal currency. The gardens and attractions outside were looking really good and well kept, wth fun for adults (water fights and the air cannons) and lots of small interactive push button things for the smaller kids.
I suppose I would say that it was mainly targetted at the smaller kids and their parents rather than the teenagers, but if you have a big kid inside you, its well worth it. It is a bit hilly in places but if you have good weather, it's not too bad to rest up.
The food was a bit pricey, but again, it is a holiday so you kind of expect these things, but then we didn't have to pay for much else like some places (ok we spent a £1 on the water balloons for the water fight, but great fun), and the fudge hmmmmm, lovely (try the strawberry and cream).
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves from 3 year old to 60+, but if there isn't a big kid in you and you don't like a bit of fun, then don't bother, go sit on the beach at Ilfracombe instead.
By the way, there is a 250 metre taboggan run being built, from the signpost at the top of the site, so i must admit when that gets built we will certainly be going back.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Eddy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stourbridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Perfect Day Out.”
Reviewed May 30, 2013

Just returned from our first visit to Watermouth Castle. Read a couple of reviews which seemed a mixed bag to be honest but thought we would make the visit nonetheless. So glad we did. My wife and i took our 10 year old daughter and her friend of the same age. This attraction is certainly different. A bit quirky to be honest but thats what we liked about it. Lots of vintage props dotted about the site which is very nostalgic for the more mature visitors. Nice to be able to actually get the chance to use these old amusement machines. At 2p or 10p max its certainly not expensive. Apart from the food everything else is included in the price which we thought was reasonable when you consider just how much hard work must go into keeping the place looking fantastic. The gardens are immaculate and the whole design is fantastic. Its obvious that a lot of attention as gone into the planning and it seems its work in progress with other rides planned. A great atmosphere about the place and we would certainly recommend it especially if your children are under teenage age. The food was tasty and reasonably priced. £2 for a burger and about the same for a portion of chips. The place was very clean too.
A great day out without breaking the bank.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Severnup70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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