Living Coasts Torquay Review : Summer Holidays 2018

The summer holidays has officially begun for my boys so we plan to document our activities here in my blog then we can look back at what we got up to. As i'm a lone working parent on a tight budget 'day trips' are limited to once a week, then we will do local / free things the rest of the week and part of the week i have to work so they will be with family whilst i'm working. 

Our 1st day trip we went on was Tuesday 31st July, we found flyers in a stand advertising all sorts of places and going only on the flyer we selected our first trip to 'Living Coasts' - Torquay. 
It cost £13.65 for me and £10.30 each for the boys (age 6&7) going by the map it looked to be an exciting day out. Unfortunately this was not the case! It started with us arriving to find there was no free parking, i had to pay an additional £5 to park for 4 hours (it was £4.50 but the machine didn't give change and i didn't prepare properly as i didn't think i'd need to pay extra for parking!) we then walked down the steps to find a big que to get in (we arrived 10mins after their opening time), fantastic we thought this must be a fun day out with all these people here wanting to go in so we waited patently and then in we went for our fun day out!...that lasted all of about 10 mins. 

To be fair once we were in the first attraction the 'penguin beach' was brilliant, we got there in time for the morning feed so we watched them feed the penguins and spent some time looking at all the funny penguins. It went down hill from there. 

There were barely any 'Auk's' on the cliff and where the map suggests that there are 'play areas' there isn't all you find is a strange puzzle type activity on a wall, i had two very disappointing boys following around the map only to find there wasn't what they expected. It got worse. 

There were no otters at all in the 'otter rapids', two seals in the 'fur seal cove' who didn't really look happy, we think because their main tank was being cleaned so they were stuck in a small space at the time. We went along to the underwater viewing areas only to find signs apologising that the water was murky..yes it was, you couldn't see a thing! Not that there was anything to see in most of the places as the animals were kept out whilst they were cleaning...tell a lie, we did see two scuba divers cleaning the tanks but that wasn't what we went there for! 

It took us just 1 hour to get around the whole place, we were so disappointed and our 'day out' budget was all spent on something, well to be honest, rubbish! We were not the only ones to think so either, there were lots of families saying the same thing as they left.

We went and sat on the harbour with our picnic lunch as we had 3 hours left on the parking and needed to figure out something to do as it was only about 11.30am. We wondered around looking for a play park, i did ask a few families who all said they hadn't come across one (i was going to cry at this point, my poor boys) they were being so well behaved considering we were all so disappointed. I'm so proud of how well they dealt with it all.

After quite a walk away from the car we got to the beach where the tide was just going out, we didn't have our bag of beach things as we hadn't planned to go down there but i decided to whip out the credit card and splash out on some buckets & spades for them as i felt so bad! £9 later and they were having a fantastic time on the beach whilst i watched on in awe of how much my boys had grown up since last summer.

We walked back to our car and as it was still only around 1.30pm at this point we all decided that on route home we would pop to our favorite place of all (other than home) Bicton Gardens. We still had plenty of snacks & drinks left (nice and cool too thanks to me remembering to use the cool box this time, check me out!) so we spent the rest of our day at Bicton playing in the outside play area, well they did i spent it relaxing on the bench watching them whilst reading my book - BLISS!
We thought it would be fun to rate all our day trips and so we each gave it rating of stars out of 5...
'Living Coasts' - Torquay 
Reuben : 1*
Finley : 1*
Mummy : 1*