Generally, I’m not a big fan of zoos. Whilst, I understand they play an important role in conserving the endangered species of the world, it is rather sad to see a wild animal cooped up in a tiny cage.
However, on Good Friday it was No 3 son’s birthday and for his treat he requested a day out at the zoo. After considering the various zoological options in the area, we chose Paignton Zoo in Devon. Once we had told our son this was the plan, we realised traffic on Good Friday morning down the motorway to Devon could be a potential nightmare!.
Thankfully the angels were shining on my son that day and we duly arrived at the Zoo at 11.30 am, with only minor traffic holdups on the way. I had pre-booked our tickets on line which avoided the long queues, as we were directed through a separate turnstile.
Operation zoo experience had commenced! Of course, I needed coffee before we started anything. Fortunately, as you leave the main entrance, there is a handy coffee kiosk, to collect a takeaway drink to fuel you on your way. It was a basic, bean to cup machine, with no barista input but provided a reasonable cappuccino to sip on whilst watching the lions dozing in their expansive enclosure.
In line, with what you would expect from a conservation zoo, their coffee is sourced from sustainable rainforest plantations to help protect wildlife and the people who work and live there.
We spent over four hours visiting all the enclosures which were all well maintained, with abundant vegetation and plenty of places for the animals to hide!
I did manage to squeeze in another coffee whilst having lunch in the Island Restaurant.
On departing Paignton Zoo, we then headed off to the pretty fishing port of Brixham. The Husband had memories of family holidays there as a child and wanted to have a quick peek to see if it was as he remembered.
The main town is a typical British seaside environment – lots of gift shops, cafes, restaurants and a few arcades thrown in. We had booked an evening meal at The Breakwater Bistro, which is actually situated about a mile outside the town centre on the Berry Head Road. There is a convenient pay and display car park right next to the bistro. We parked up and then walked along a harbour pathway into Brixham town centre. We particularly enjoyed walking around the harbour examining the fishing boats, which still provide an important economic base to the town.
Retracing our steps back to the Bistro, we took a stroll out on the huge breakwater wall that protects the harbour. A quick stumble and scramble over the rocks on the beachhead followed, before entering the Bistro for our evening meal at 6pm.
The Breakwater Bistro specialises in locally caught fresh fish and seafood, so the Husband and I were particularly happy. There were plenty of alternatives such as burgers and steak for the fussy kids in our party.
As it was a birthday celebration, puddings had to be consumed. Three kids picked huge choc-chip After Eight sundaes, whilst Son No 2 opted for a mango cheesecake.
Of course, Mummy had to have a coffee – cappuccino with a view.
As you can see, their coffee supplier was Puro Coffee, a rainforest fairtrade coffee. Not a bad cappuccino, if somewhat over frothy.
After our meal, we had another little stroll along the breakwater wall as the sun began to go down. The twinkly lights across the harbour in Brixham town, provided an almost Mediterranean feel. Overall, a wonderful day out in Devon. Everyone agreed that even though we only had one day out, if felt like a mini holiday.
Actually, we enjoyed it so much, that the Husband and I had a date day a few weeks later and went down for lunch when the kids were at school. On that occasion we drove to the end of Berry Head Road to the Berry Head National Nature Reserve. Again, there’s a handy car park and lovely walks along the cliff tops to a lighthouse and some Napoleonic War fortifications. There’s a little café and visitors centre but we didn’t go in as we were walking our dog before lunch at the Breakwater Bistro. From the cliffs you can look right across Tor Bay to Goodrington Sands, Paignton and Torquay. Dotted along the path are information boards detailing the geological formations and a history of the area.
I thoroughly recommend this area and whilst we were there in the Spring, I would imagine it’s beautiful all year round – even in the winter when you could probably watch stormy waves crashing in.
This is an independent review based on my own experience. If you enjoyed this article, please comment below or on my facebook page. Please also like and share on the facebook button below.
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