A birthday is a momentous time in a child’s year.
After all it’s the day when they are likely to be showered with gifts, attention, cards and a pile of treats.
Unlike Christmas, a birthday is unique to them, when they become centre-stage, which depending on your child’s nature, may overwhelm them or they may absorb all the attention with glee.
Nevertheless, we all want to make our children feel special on their big day, and this heightens the importance of the birthday party.
As a result, many parents adopt a multi-faceted role where they become party planner, supreme cook, lively entertainer, room decorator, present giver and childcare supervisor. That’s quite a list, which, unsurprisingly, can seem a little daunting.
Yet, there are many alternative options that will help to lighten the load.
Outside caterers can be used, charismatic children’s entertainers can engage a room full of children for a couple of hours, and party bags can be supplied by an outside provider.
Local attractions also offer party packages and take care of all the arrangements making it an appealing option for many time-constrained families.
Currently, there are strong trends in pamper and makeover parties; Nerf, Laser Quest and science parties; and action related parties such as trampolining, go karting, outdoor pursuits, dancing, climbing – even assault courses.
Yet, parties are as individual as each child, so to assist you in the decision-making process, we’ve included a mass of ideas and tips on this party page.
Remember to keep returning to this page for when it’s your turn to arrange a party…
Here are some details about party providers and entertainers close to you:
The Bear Trail
Tel: 01392 881780
There’s guaranteed birthday fun for children of all ages at the brilliant Bear Trail. Come rain or shine, you know your party will be packed with amazing thrills and muddy spills as you and your friends tumble through tunnels, scramble under nets and fly down zip wires at this fantastic obstacle course.
Party packages start from £3.50 per child. Take your own food, or choose from a range of pizzas at the Bear Cave Café, which your party group can enjoy in the indoor eating area. There’s free entry for the birthday boy or girl for groups of 10 or more and, a special offer - one adult free for every six children.
Tel: 01803 658094 or 07778 426653
Professional magician and ventriloquist Anna Banana brings a unique, energetic approach to Children’s Entertainment. Anna has a wealth of experience and was recognised by the International Brotherhood of Magicians for excellence in magical presentation, winning a top award.
Anna performs with her family of colourful, zany puppets taking children on a truly, magical adventure with non-stop giggles along the way. Her shows are designed to suit Birthday parties, Schools, Christmas specials and large- scale events.
In addition to her fun-filled Magic and Ventriloquism shows, Anna, who is a trained dancer and actress/storyteller, also features dance parties for children, with bespoke choreography to a favourite piece of music or artiste. Other options include Indian/Bollywood workshops with a combination of dance and storytelling, Disney, Street Dance, Drama workshops and many more. Everything can be designed for party fun or, if required, with an educational slant.
Tel: 07703 719 402
If you are looking for a party that is really different, great fun and hassle free then look no further than a Go-Kart Party. Nathan and his team offer boys and girls of 4 -10 years an opportunity to drive battery powered go-karts around an inflatable circuit.
The parties are fully hosted and fun games such as laser tag, cops and robbers, cone dodging, racing and reversing will give the children an experience they will never forget. Kart speeds and games are tailored to the age and ability of the kids so whatever the age, the kids will have an amazing time. Just check the 5.0 average review score on Facebook to prove it! Available indoors in numerous leisure centres and sports halls across Devon, or even outside at your home, Go-Kart Party is accessible all year round at avenue near you.
Boo to a Goose
Tel: 01395 233874
Boo to Goose offer interactive storytelling theatre and imaginative play parties that are truly captivating. It is run by two experienced performers, both with enhanced DBS clearance, who have specialist training in special needs and behavioural management.
Every child at the party has a role to play and is included in the story, engaging them and making them feel special. In particular, the birthday child is key to the plot and becomes integral to the story.
After the one-hour show, there is face painting, equaling 2 hours of stress-free party entertainment - all you have to do is provide the venue and the food.
Cofton Country Holidays
Tel: 0800 085 8649
Cofton Country Holidays is an award-winning Holiday Park in South Devon and is an ideal location for a child’s birthday party. It boasts a fabulous heated indoor swimming pool with a fun splash pad and fountains to play under.
After all the enjoyment in the pool, the party guests are able to choose a meal from the children’s menu and select a delicious ice-cream sundae too. Alternatively, there is a kids’ buffet option. Additionally, there is an engaging arcade featuring plenty of games for younger and older children, Bowlingo and two soft play areas for children up to 8 years old.
Tel: 01626 336339
Bear Feet, has two indoor children’s play centres in Newton Abbot and Exeter that provide individual party experiences.
Two hour, stress-free, parties include a choice of hot or cold food served in an individually allocated party room, unlimited jugs of squash, ice cream for dessert, a birthday cake ceremony, plus a birthday card and gift for the birthday child. Several fantastic packages are on offer to cater for all budgets including the ‘Make a Bear’ parties. There is a Bear Feet private hire option for exclusive use of the entire play centre too.
Tel: 01803 298779
Young dinosaur explorers can visit Torquay’s Dinosaur World for a birthday party to remember! With fun games and activities as well as dinosaurs to see and play with, it’s suitable for children aged 2 years+. Whilst there, the children can spend up to 2 hours roaming the dinosaur trail to see magnificent full size and scale dinosaurs, discover incredible fossils, and even sit on a deadly dinosaur.
All party goers get a free mini bag of real fossils too. Parties are available every day during normal opening times, or you can have sole use of the exhibition with a private party. Birthday parties are priced at only £4.95 per child, with all adults attending free of charge – minimum numbers apply.
Tel: 01803 860983
Make it a birthday to remember at China Blue. Choose from 3 great value party packages with or without yummy party platters and take the stress out of party planning.
Let your child and their friends choose something from the huge party pottery range which they can paint and create in the spacious ceramic studio.
Let the children’s imaginations run wild, as they make a fantastic keepsake of their special day. Parties are suitable for all age ranges and for a minimum of 6 children. To book, contact the friendly studio team.
Tel: 01626 332241
One of Devon’s newest attractions, i.Bounce Trampoline Park at Milber, Newton Abbot, is a wonderful spot for a child’s party.
Parties, ideal for children aged 5 to 12 years old, include 60 minutes’ jump time, 40 minutes free use of the party room after the bounce time (bring your own food), grip socks, a group photo, an i.Bounce t-shirt for the birthday child and a free 60 minute jump revisit for the birthday child. As well as wall-to-wall trampolines, guests will love the experience of dodgeball, trampolining and launching themselves onto a Giant Air Bag.
Tel: 01404 42106
If you are thinking of booking a less hectic and more productive party – Honiton Pottery is a great place to go! Pottery painting is a fun experience that will give children a sense of pride and achievement.
A typical party in the Honiton Pottery studio lasts for 2 hours, or 1 ½ hours for ‘younger’ children, and includes hot food or something tasty from the dessert menu such as ice cream sundaes, knickerbocker glories or pancakes and a tasty homemade milkshake – there are 70+ different flavours to choose from.
Alternatively, there is a mobile painting party service where everything is delivered to your door or party venue. All party packages can be tweeked to suit your requirements. Honiton Pottery was Runner Up in the Best Craft Activity in Devon in the Primary Times Awards 2016.
Tel: 01647 61359
Party Pieces is an established and much loved company run by drama graduate and actress Ruth Lawrence.
Ruth has drawn on her wide experience to devise an original formula for party entertainment aimed at children from 3 to 10 years, where she and the children bring different stories to life through imaginative play; music and dance; themed games; dressing-up and face painting; puppets and prop-making; treasure hunts, parachute games and much more.
Schools and pre-schools love Party Pieces too. Party Pieces will enthral and amuse, captivate and charm. You can relax and the party will be one to remember!
Pecorama Play Station
Tel: 01297 21542
Specially created for Pecorama, the Play Station is an indoor train themed play area with innumerable features including a 3-metre-high racing slide, twin lane Astra slide, a 5.5-metre-high spiral slide, cargo climbs, spinning floor, spider’s web, climb-throughs and much more.
Birthday party packages include lunches and teas taking place in the Garden Room Restaurant. Special group rates are available for school and preschool bookings. Birthday Party packages are available at £8.75 per child, the cost covering two hours play and the birthday lunch or tea.
Quay Climbing Centre
Clip ‘n’ Climb Party Tel: 01392 422559
Indoor Roped Climbing Party Tel: 01392 426850
Birthday packages include a session in Clip ‘n Climb or an instructed Taster Session on the roped walls, followed by a birthday feast in the party room where you can choose from a traditional party buffet or from the pizza menu.
All meals come with unlimited water and squash and an ice cream to round off the celebration! Party packages cost just £19.95 per person. Clip ‘n Climb sessions are suitable for children aged 4+, Taster Sessions are suitable for children aged 7+.
Tel: 01404 822188
Wildwood Escot has everything that is needed for an unforgettable party. Its ‘Really Wild Party’ option provides three hours of action-packed activities.
Party guests have full access to the park, woodland and wetlands at Wildwood Escot, giving them an 'up close and personal' introduction to the natural world.
Forest adventures may include swamp walks, den building, shelter building, campfires, fire sculptures, woodland walks and loads of fun. Find Wildwood Escot in Ottery St. Mary, EX11 1LU.
Torquay Alpine Ski Centre
Tel: 01803 313350
Torquay Ski Club can provide plenty of thrills to any child’s birthday party. Children will be able to enjoy the thrill of whizzing down the slopes on the Ringos and there’s a chance to ski and snowboard too.
Ringo parties last from ½ hour to 1 hour. Skiing sessions last for 1 ½ hours and are suitable for children aged 6 years+. Parties include tuition and equipment hire. Snowboarding parties are also available for children aged 10+.
Guests are able to bring their own party food and there is a room for hire at Torquay Ski Club if needed. You can find Torquay Alpine Ski Club at Barton Hall, Kingskerswell Road, Torquay, TQ2 8JY.
Tel: 01626 890243
For a unique party your child will remember forever go to the Walled Garden at Powderham Castle. They can be knights or princesses of their own ‘adventure castle’ – Courtenay Fort; meet some very friendly and amusing animals and enjoy the freedom to run around and play with their friends in a wonderful and safe environment.
Party picnic boxes will feed their appetite and the magical surroundings including zip slide, monkey bars and slides inside the play fort will capture their imagination. There will be a free Powderham pressie for the birthday child too!
The Walled Garden Play Area and Pets Corner is available for your exclusive use, from Sunday to Friday, from 4pm to 6pm throughout the season (excludes the summer school holidays). It’s ideal for parties of 10 – 25 children and only costs £15 per child. The Castle and grounds are open from April to October.
TLH Leisure - Aztec Leisure
Tel: 01803 400200
Part of the TLH Leisure Resort hotel group, Aztec Leisure is a stunning family leisure facility with a large indoor games arena, 25m indoor pool, dance studio, bistro and more.
Children up to 8 years can enjoy the Soft Play whilst older kids will love 10 pin bowling, dance parties and indoor archery. All ages can try a Dip ‘n’ Dine party with swimming fun in the indoor pool. Party meal options include traditional hot or cold buffet options served in either Aztec Games or the Aztec Bistro.
World of Country Life
Tel: 01395 274533
At World of Country Life, ‘Appy Angus and all his animal friends are on hand to make your child’s special day full of fun.
The Party Package has so much included - the children can get up close to the animals in the Pet Centre, feed a lamb, walk a goat, take a ride on the Deer Train Safari, enjoy the Hawkridge Birds of Prey display, take in a show at the Barnyard Theatre and watch one of the hilarious animal racing events.
Once the children have built up an appetite, everyone can head over to the Pirate Ship Party Deck to enjoy a Birthday Party feast. There are different food options available and World of Country Life’s park mascot ‘Appy Angus will be on hand to help with a birthday cake ‘sing-a-long’ - he loves to be in the photos too!
Tel: 01271 328328
Funderzone in Barnstaple offer a number of fabulous party themes so you are sure to find one to suit your child’s needs.
Party packages include 1½ hours of climbing, crawling, swinging and sliding on the play structure, followed by a yummy hot or cold feast at a dedicated table in a party room. Once the children have finished eating their main meal the party host will bring out the birthday cake.
The children will then enjoy their ice cream whilst the party host slices and wraps a piece of cake for each child.
Tel: 01392 400150
Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre, in Exeter, offers a wonderfully exhilarating birthday party experience.
Run from its state of the art facility on Exeter’s historic canal and riverside, the birthday child can choose from one of the many water or land based adventurous activity options.
Party packages can include any of the following options: canoeing, raft building, sailing, windsurfing, archery, caving, artificial caving, coasteering, climbing and mountain biking. Haven Banks birthday parties can be tailored to your exact requirements of activities, facilities and duration.
Tel: 01822 833409
Rope adventures and zip wires at Tree Surfers make for a truly memorable birthday party for children aged 4 years and upwards.
To spice things up a little, the party guests can add archery or Leap of Faith as an extra. Tree Surfers can take care of food too – just ask! A two-hour adventure always puts smiles on faces and costs from just £24 per child.
Exclusive use bookings for party groups are also available. The lovely staff at Tree Surfers will keep everyone safe and excited, but minimum heights and group sizes apply.
Tel: 01803 812478 or 07736 970293
Award winning TV ventriloquist Jimmy Tamley provides a whole new level of family entertainment with the Jungle Jim Show.
Together with all his wild and whacky characters he creates a show suitable for all ages. Lively and interactive, the show is perfect for parties, schools, theatres, events, and corporate functions - in fact Jim and his friends are guaranteed to get everyone roaring.
Let Doozle, Pee Wee the Elephant, Boomerang-Utan, Dandelion and lots more entertain you and create a Rumble in the Jungle at your event. Look for the Jungle Jim Show at a venue near you in 2017!
The Waie Inn
Tel: 01363 82348
In the heart of the Devonshire countryside you will be amazed what you find at the Waie Inn.
Run by a family for your family for 34 years, the Inn is completely child friendly, and has fantastic facilities such as an indoor heated swimming pool, indoor soft play area (Waie2Play), an outdoor play area which includes an all-weather 5 a-side football pitch, zip wire, roundabout and lots more.
The ‘Waie2Play’ party package offers children 1½ hours of fun in the soft indoor play area before they settle down to tuck into some tasty food. There is also a swimming pool party option that allows the children to enjoy an hour’s splash in the pool followed by a hot meal, ice cream and drink.
Crealy Adventure Park and Resort
Tel: 01395 233200
With three amazing party packages to choose from, you’re able to celebrate your birthday in style at Crealy Adventure Park and Resort. Party with Buddy Bear and Blossom and enjoy all the thrills that are on offer at this first-class attraction.
Buddy and Blossom Bear will join the birthday guest and friends for hugs, high fives and selfies aplenty. For the full VIP treatment, The Lost World of Atlantis can be hired exclusively for up to 50 party people after hours.
Partygoers will love the warm indoor fun of Atlantis in VIP style with private use of the four rides and soft play area – an extra-special birthday treat! Finally, the Fast-Track Bonanza is perfect for those looking for an additional birthday thrill. With a special fast track t-shirt for all partygoers, there will be no need to queue for favourite rides or attractions at Crealy. Discover the birthday packages online.
Miniature Pony Centre
Tel: 01647 432400
The Miniature Pony Centre is a wonderful place for a child's birthday party. Children can celebrate their special day with the ponies and their farmyard friends. Party packages include entry into the Miniature Pony Centre, a free pony ride for children aged 3 to 10, a great birthday lunch in the restaurant and party bags for each child. For every 5 paying children, 1 adult is admitted for free.
Combe Martin Wildlife Dinosaur Park
Tel: 01271 882486
Book a fantastic, fun, stress free themed birthday party for a child aged from 3 to 12 years in the new gigantic Dinosaurus Playzone.
Party rooms are bookable during the weekends in the winter months and every day once the park is open 7 days a week. There is a choice of themes: Minions, Frozen, and Dinosaurs, and a variety of packages are available. All party options include 2 hours of fun and food in the amazing soft play area.
Additional extras can include a unique group animal encounter, discounted entry into the Wildlife Park, or the children can create a sand bottle which they can take home afterwards. All children receive a balloon and the birthday child will get a free gift and card.
Tel: 01395 266500
The Ocean Leisure Complex on Exmouth seafront, offers bowling and soft-play parties for youngsters. The soft play area is filled with three-storeys of fun and excitement for children up to age 11, and can be booked in conjunction with a bowling party for a brilliant combo!
The soft play area is also available for booking on its own, and makes a great birthday party venue. The soft play area at Ocean has two sections for children of different ages. The main three-storey area is a Future Explorers zone, which has lots of slides and plenty of opportunity for adventure!
For the under-twos, there is a very special Explorers in Training section, which is a bright and vibrant padded area where they can discover and learn.
Pocketwatch Theatre Company (with Jonty Depp)
Tel: 07807 840460
www.pocketwatchtheatrecompany.com or www.jontydepp.com
Pocketwatch Theatre Company is a fun and flexible theatre company specialising in interactive theatre, walkabout characters, school workshops, parties and festivals.
The team features Jonty Depp – a versatile professional Johnny Depp character impersonator - as Captain Jack Sparrow, Willy Wonka, The Mad Hatter and more. Current themes are Pirates, Mermaids, Wonderland, Willy Wonka, Knights and Dragons, Fairytale, Kings and Queens, Faerie Folk, Robin Hood, Halloween, Mad Science, Science Fiction…the list goes on.
The Pocketwatch team are also open to commissions so why not book them to appear at your event? Find them on the web and send an email or give them a call for a quote. Time for a story!
Tel: 01395 264387
Celebrate your little one’s birthday party, at Sam’s Funhouse in Exmouth, where fun and entertainment is promised for 0 - 12 year olds.
There is a choice of day time parties, running 7 days a week, with a choice of time slots from 10am till 12pm, from 1pm till 3pm or from 4pm till 6pm. Alternatively, there are amazing Nerf day parties from 6.30pm till 8.30pm, any day of the week excluding Sundays.
Regarding food, a hot box meal is priced at £8.75 per child or a buffet option costs £9.75 per child. Nerf parties cost £11.75 per child and include a buffet. All parties now come with a choice to add party sweet cones if needed for £2 per bag. Sam's Funhouse can be hired out for a private party any evening from 6.30pm - 8.30pm. Parties are for a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 60 children.
Tel: 01803 299 992
Pool Party packages at the Riviera International Centre in Torquay have been designed to offer stress free party planning with the best mix of value and entertainment.
The standard package includes swimming for children aged 3-15 years, a free adult swim per 2 children, a designated party table, a cold or hot food buffet, a jug of squash, plus a card and gift for the birthday child.
There is also an option to upgrade to the premium package which also includes invites, balloons, a birthday cake and party bags. All parties require a minimum of 8 children.
Tel: 01363 774626
Planet Play is a brand-new play centre in Crediton which has been created for families with children aged from 0–9 years specifically in mind. There is a vast space for fun, adventure and safe play in a friendly environment. Whilst your little stars explore, you can take the opportunity to come back down to earth and enjoy a well-deserved treat from the delicious menu.
Tel: 01752 837645
If you are looking to arrange a unique, entertaining and memorable children’s party then Dartmoor Zoo can provide you with just that without breaking the bank. Children can enjoy a great day out, get up close and personal with some of the animals, have a birthday lunch in the Jaguar Restaurant and leave with some fantastic memories. Party options include the inclusion of Close Encounters and Big Cats tours.