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For an ornithological treat, take an RSPB cruise up the river Exe to see the beaky splendours of more than 40 bird species taking their winter break on this Devon estuary. A local RSPB guide will accompany you aboard the Devon Princess III on a three-to-four-hour trip from Exmouth Docks to the ancient port of Topsham and back - look out for the charming retrousse beaks of the black-and-white avocets.

Cruise dates: 10, 11, 24, 25 January; 7, 8 February. Tickets: adults pounds 9.50, children pounds 5. Bookings: 01392 253215.

Sally Kindberg