The Milky Way (amusement park)
Coordinates: The Milky Way Adventure Park is a tourist attraction at Higher Clovelly near Clovelly and Bideford in North Devon. It was named as Devon's Large Attraction of the Year by Visit Devon in 2016, and as one of the UK’s best amusement parks by Trip Advisor in both its 2015 and 2016 Travellers Choice Awards, and many more regional and county awards for excellence. The Milky Way has over 110,000 sq ft of indoor and outdoor activities, making it the biggest all weather, family day out in North Devon.
Thousands visit The Milky Way Adventure Park each year for its roller coasters, adventure rides, indoor dodgems, huge bouncing pillows, exhibition of Sci-Fi memoribilia, mini-train, birds of prey displays, archery and huge indoor soft-play areas for all ages. It also runs a daily programme of fun and informative shows, with some featuring Merlin from Britain's Got Talent.
Its on-site imaginative, adventure and soft-play centre, Little Stars, opened in 2014. Designed specifically for children aged 0-6, it has areas set aside exclusively for those aged 0-3 and 0-6 including a sensory room for babies, and also runs award-winning baby and toddler classes including Baby Sensory, Toddler Sense and Happy House (Hartbeeps and Baby Beeps).
In 2015 The Milky Way also opened The Old Barn, a DIY wedding venue in a converted 17th century barn located on the edge of the site.
On 1 April 1984, changes to European Union milk quotas resulted in the Stanburys' successful dairy farm and cattle dealing business collapsing almost overnight, through no fault of their own. Trevor and Christine Stanbury made the decision to diversify, and opened the farm to the public three months later on the 1st of July.
Over the years the family have transformed the farm into an all weather adventure park with the addition of various attractions, rides and shows.
In 2007, Trevor Stanbury was awarded a MBE for his services to tourism in southwest England. In 2009, he said he was keen to promote businesses in the area as he felt the most qualified of workers in Devon tended to move away.
The park organises events all year round in order to attract clientele outside the peak season in the summer. These include an annual Santa's Grotto. In 2015, the theme park started offering weddings in the ground, complete with rides on dodgems.
The Lynbarn Railway is a 1 ft 11 1⁄2 in (597 mm) narrow gauge railway inside the park's grounds. It is a renovation of the old Lynton and Barnstaple Railway and uses coaches that were previously used in Thorpe Park.
- "From dairy farm to a top tourist attraction". North Devon Journal. 26 November 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
- "North Devon theme park named in UK's top 10". North Devon Gazette. 11 July 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
- "Rollercoaster DIY weddings at The Milky Way Adventure Park could be smashing". North Devon Journal. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
- "The LynBarn – the L&B's Fund Raising Railway". Lynton and Barnstaple Railway. Retrieved 15 August 2016.