Thursday, June 13, 2024

21 of the Finest Locations to Go to in Devon


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Vivid sunset fron Sourton tor, a large pile of grey granite boulders on the top of a small hill, with the sun just over the horizon and a pink and purple sky overhead, taken in Dartmoor national park in Devon uk

A round-up of all the perfect and most lovely locations it’s good to go to in Devon – get these in your UK bucket checklist!

Whereas next-door Cornwall may be only a tiiiiny bit higher recognized, the gorgeous county of Devon is certainly one of Southwest England’s high vacation hotspots.

There’s all the things you could possibly need right here: energetic seaside cities, tranquil countryside, two gloriously wild nationwide parks, cute and quirky villages, various wildlife, an epic foodie scene, and a lot extra!

And with two coastlines – north and south – there’s loads of coastal motion, from watersports and rugged cliff walks to lovely seashores to go well with each style going.

Final 12 months, I co-wrote a broadcast guidebook all about Devon & Cornwall – which meant I obtained to spend a number of weeks exploring all the perfect locations to go to in Devon. In fact, rising up proper subsequent door in Dorset means I’d already been to most of them – so by now I actually am an professional on the realm!

Under, you’ll discover my checklist of the easiest locations to go to round Devon. It’s organised into three sections – north, south, and east – so use the contents menu to skip forward, or learn via the entire publish for some inspiration. There’s additionally a map and a brief model of the checklist on the finish of this publish. Get pleasure from…

Finest Locations to Go to in Devon

The beneath checklist is split into three sections: South Devon, East Devon, and North Devon – simply to make planning simpler.

In a rush? There’s a map and a brief model of the checklist on the backside of this web page! Use the contents menu above to skip forward if it’s good to.

Finest Locations to Go to in South Devon

There’s extra element – and some extra locations – coated in my full information to the perfect locations to go to in South Devon. However for an summary of the highest locations, learn on…

1. Dartmouth

blue river full of yachts with green hills in the background and a town on either side of the river. there are colourful houses at kingswear on the left while the town on the right is in shadow. best places to visit in south devon.
Kingswear considered from Dartmouth

Unfold alongside the west financial institution of the broad Dart Estuary, Dartmouth has lengthy been a major port on England’s south coast. There’s a prestigious naval faculty, a swanky yacht marina, and a historic harbour space to find.

At this time, the city’s crooked streets and gorgeous previous buildings home posh eating places, cosy bars, swish artwork galleries, and funky boutiques. Oh, and loads of nautical clothes outlets – there’s no escaping the maritime vibes right here!

Among the finest issues about Dartmouth is exploring by river. Take the ferry downriver to go to Dartmouth Citadel, the oldest components of which date from 1388. Subsequent, take a leisurely cruise upriver to identify the wildlife together with seals, kingfishers, wading birds and (generally) otters.

2. Plymouth

narrow cobbled street in Plymouth Barbican with a grey stone house on one side and a pastel blue painted shop on the other with red and white flag bunting overhead
The historic Barbican is without doubt one of the finest components of Plymouth

Devon’s largest metropolis, Plymouth has a wealthy maritime heritage, incomes it the nickname ‘Ocean Metropolis’. A few of historical past’s most well-known voyages set sail from the port right here: together with the Mayflower Pilgrims, Captain James Prepare dinner and Francis Drake.

Extra not too long ago, Plymouth has been present process a dramatic transformation. Town was closely bombed throughout WWII attributable to its function as a key naval port, and the hasty rebuilding left behind a metropolis centre that tended to favour performance over model.

However that’s all altering – thanks to modern new waterfront developments round Sutton Harbour and Royal William Yard, plus an thrilling new Arts Quarter. Discover out extra in my information to the BEST issues to do in Plymouth.

3. Burgh Island

white sandy beach with a blue tractor on it and a thin strip of sand leading to a small tidal island with a white building on it. burgh island is one of the best places to visit in south devon.

You possibly can’t skip Burgh Island whenever you go to south Devon – this iconic landmark is probably the greatest locations for a mini journey! It’s a tidal island, related to the mainland by a strip of seaside that fully disappears at excessive tide.

At low tide, you’ll be able to stroll to Burgh Island from Bigbury-on-Sea. Or, at excessive tide, there’s the Sea Tractor. This distinctive, bizarre-looking contraption is operated by Burgh Island Resort: timetables are posted on the seaside carpark in Bigbury-on-Sea and on the entrance to the island.

There are solely a handful of buildings on Burgh Island, and no roads to talk of. This can be a place to get away from all of it: stroll the coast path, spot wildlife, and climb the hill for views of the coast. For meals, there’s the swanky artwork deco Burgh Island Resort or the 14th-century Pilchard Inn – certainly one of England’s oldest taverns, mentioned to be haunted by a smuggler’s ghost.

4. Salcombe

river full of boats and yachts at sunrise with golden light shining on a town on the right side bank on the river - salcombe devon

Simply alongside the coast from Dartmouth, you’ll discover one other crusing mecca to discover. Sitting on the mouth of the serene Kingsbridge Estuary, Salcombe is certainly one of South Devon’s most upmarket locations.

This bougie little city – with its sheltered moorings, white sandy seashores, and fancy meals scene – attracts a little bit of a yachtie crowd. However there’s lots right here for everybody to get pleasure from.

Prepare for unimaginable seafood (don’t miss the Crab Shed), epic cliff walks, and beautiful seashores. South Sands and North Sands are closest – or take the ferry to discover the idyllic seashores round East Portlemouth on the alternative financial institution. Take a look at these enjoyable issues to do in Salcombe for extra inspiration.

5. Torquay & The English Riviera

Panorama over English Riviera and Torquay from a drone on a very sunny day with turquoise sea

The three cities clustered across the big and delightful Tor Bay earned themselves the nickname of ‘The English Riviera’ across the time of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). With the French Riviera off limits, rich Georgians turned to the calm, sheltered waters of Tor Bay as a substitute.

Torquay and Paignton are the 2 largest cities. Each have some beautiful seashores and a lot of nostalgic seaside vibes. For those who’re in search of a basic English seaside expertise, that is the place to return!

Torquay is a bit more upscale, with a lot of grand Victorian villas and parks. Paignton is a bit more “low-cost and cheerful” and feels a bit run down in spots. However it has some beautiful seashores (Goodrington and Broadsands particularly), plus a retro Victorian pier lined with funfair rides and arcades.

6. Brixham

looking across a very calm blue harbour with many fishing boats in it at a town on a hillside with many colourful buildings reflected in the still water. brixham in devon england

Brixham can also be on the English Riviera, however this cute fishing village has a really completely different vibe to Torquay and Paignton.

Right here, you’ll discover vibrant fishermen’s cottages clustered onto a hillside above a busy working harbour. This harbour is house to one of many largest fishing fleets within the UK, so the seafood scene in Brixham is unbeatable! Don’t miss Rockfish for a few of the finest sustainable seafood within the space!

7. Dartmoor Nationwide Park

sunset behind a pile of granite boulders on a grassy hill in Dartmoor - one of the best places to visit in south devon
King’s Tor is certainly one of my favorite spots on Dartmoor!

It’s not all concerning the south coast in Devon – there are many wonderful locations to go to within the county’s beautiful rural inside, too. And certainly one of my private favourites is Dartmoor Nationwide Park.

It’s a huge wilderness space boasting heather-strewn moors and dramatic-looking tors: hilltop granite boulders. There are historic woodlands, dense pine forests, and deep gorges to discover – the proper setting for adventures like climbing, biking, horse using, mountaineering, and caving.

Don’t miss the impossibly cute village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, the traditional Bronze Age settlement at Grimspound, or the long-lasting Haytor Rocks – a terrific spot for a stroll. I additionally love the stroll alongside the previous Princetown Railway out to King’s Tor and the historic Foggintor Quarry.

8. Totnes

red brick church tower rising out of a small english town in totnes with yellow fields and green hedgerows in the background on a very sunny day in devon with blue sky overhead

Totnes, within the coronary heart of rural south Devon, was the UK’s first Transition City and might be essentially the most moral city in England! It was one of many very first cities in The Transition Community, a worldwide motion via which communities goal to deal with world crises at an area degree.

The result’s a artistic, community-minded city with one of the impartial excessive streets you’ll discover. The veggie/vegan meals scene is STRONG right here. Don’t miss Riverford Area Kitchen for a seasonal, farm-to-fork eating expertise.

There’s additionally loads of historical past to find – notably the traditional Totnes Citadel – in addition to the serene, wildlife-rich River Dart. Totnes sits on the head of the Dart Estuary; you’ll be able to take ferry rides and boat excursions to Dartmouth, or hop on a kayak/SUP to discover.

Finest Locations to Go to in East Devon

9. Exeter

Grey stone statue of Richard Hooker in front of Exeter Cathedral, a large beige coloured stone building with a square shaped tower with four small spires on the top. there is a grassy lawn in front of the cathedral and a large leafy tree.
You possibly can’t miss Exeter’s beautiful Cathedral

Devon’s capital, Exeter, is a horny, riverside metropolis filled with fascinating historical past. It was based by the Romans, and you’ll nonetheless see traces of the unique Roman metropolis partitions across the city centre, alongside Norman, Medieval, and Tudor gabled structure.

Don’t miss the gorgeous Exeter Cathedral. This eclectic piece of structure was first in-built 1114 and rebuilt all through the thirteenth and 14th centuries. The spotlight is the frilly medieval picture display screen on the cathedral’s facade, coated with carved figures.

Life within the capital has at all times centred across the River Exe, and nonetheless does. Whereas Exeter Quay was as soon as a busy commerce port, transport items down the river to the ocean at Exmouth, in the present day it’s a riverside leisure vacation spot with eating places, bars, and impartial outlets tucked into the previous warehouse cellars.

10. Exmouth

A small and cozy harbor in the town of Exmouth. There are many vessels moored here. Around the harbor are colorful beautiful houses. Devon. England
Exmouth’s vibrant marina space is a must-visit

Simply downriver from Exeter is the cute and vibrant seaside city of Exmouth, the place to begin of the well-known Jurassic Coast (see beneath).

Exmouth is finest recognized for its lengthy sandy seaside, swanky new marina, glorious watersports circumstances, and rugged shoreline. However the peaceable river valley additionally means beautiful countryside surroundings to discover – with loads of strolling and biking trails within the space.

Plus, the Exe Estuary is a haven for wildlife. Look out for gray seals, otters, and wading birds corresponding to oystercatchers lapwings and avocets.

11. Jurassic Coast

view of a bay from the sea with a large red coloured rock stack in the middle of the bay and low red cliffs framing the shingle beach on a sunny day with blue sky above
Ladram Bay rock stacks on the Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is a 95-mile stretch of shoreline in Devon and Dorset recognized for its distinctive geology and geography, wealthy with prehistoric rocks and fossils. East Devon’s purple sandstone cliffs have been fashioned through the Triassic interval (252-200 million years in the past), so it’s the oldest part of the shoreline.

A Geoneedle at Orcombe Level marks the official begin of the shoreline, which runs from Exmouth to Studland Bay in Dorset. Devon’s stretch of the shoreline ends at Lyme Regis – highlights between there and Exmouth embrace:

  • Ladram Bay – a sheltered bay stuffed with a number of tall, rust-coloured rock stacks, missed by an infinite cliff referred to as Excessive Peak.
  • Straight Level – a small headland recognized the place quite a few seabirds nest, together with an enormous colony of kittiwakes.
  • Beer Quarry Caves – excursions can be found of this 2,000-year-old quarry, which was based by the Romans and remained energetic proper up till the Nineteen Twenties. You possibly can see choose axe marks on virtually each floor as a result of the large quarry was reduce virtually totally by hand.

12. Seaton and Beer

small vintage red electric tram with yellow trim aroudn the windows on a track beside a large grassy field with a big leafy tree next to the track
Don’t miss a journey on Seaton Tramway

The small seaside city of Seaton boasts a stunning, lengthy pebble seaside, some lovely historic buildings, and the wildlife-filled Seaton Wetlands Nature Reserve.

However what makes this probably the greatest locations to go to in Devon is the historic Seaton Tramway: a fleet of restored electrical trams (relationship from the Nineteen Forties-Sixties). These run alongside the previous Seaton department line which as soon as introduced Victorian vacationers to the seaside. Sit on the highest deck of the tiny trams for fabulous views of the Wetlands on the quick journey to Colyton.

Proper subsequent door, the quaint, hillside village of Beer has one other fairly pebble seaside backed by excessive white cliffs. Well-known for the Quarry Caves talked about above, Beer additionally has a wealthy fishing heritage. Purchase contemporary fish and Beer crab from native fishermen, or take a fishing journey to catch your personal!

13. Sidmouth

view from high up of the pebble beach at Sidmouth in Devon UK with white painted buildings along the seafront and the red sandstone cliffs of Pennington Point in the background

Sidmouth is one other historic seaside resort stuffed with Regency and Victorian-era structure. Take the Blue Plaque Path to find over 60 heritage buildings – together with the long-lasting Royal York Resort (constructed 1807) and the castle-esque clock tower in Connaught Gardens.

The most effective seaside round right here is Jacob’s Ladder, named for the historic wood staircase main right down to the seaside from the highest of the cliff.

Finest Locations to Go to in North Devon

14. Exmoor Nationwide Park

dark green jeep with the name Exmoor Wildlife Safaris printed in white on the side parked on the edge of a field with a bare tree just behnd and wild moors of yellowed long grass beyond that, taken on a cloudy day with a moody grey sky above
Take a wildlife safari on Exmoor

Considered one of England’s smallest nationwide parks, Exmoor is way much less recognized than the likes of Dartmoor – and a little bit of a hidden gem! There’s lots packed into the park’s 267sq miles: dramatically rugged shoreline, windswept moors, picturesque countryside, and woodland-filled river valleys.

There are adventures aplenty right here. Mountain biking, climbing, horse using, wild swimming, stargazing… the checklist goes on! For the perfect probability to see Exmoor’s wildlife, I extremely advocate a jeep tour with Exmoor Wildlife Safaris. It’s a implausible expertise and a good way to discover the park with an area information.

Don’t miss Tarr Steps, a easy, stone “clapper bridge” which is the longest of its variety in Britain. There’s a stunning, signposted stroll alongside the encompassing nature reserve.

15. Ilfracombe

grey stone harbour wall with a very tall greenish metal statue of a naked pregnant woman holding a sword above her head, the blue water of th eharbour is behind her and a tree covered hill on the far side of that, on a very sunny day with blue sky above.
Damien Hirst’s sulpture, Verity, overlooking Ilfracombe Harbour

Ilfracombe is the largest seaside city on North Devon’s coast and makes a terrific base for exploring the realm. The city was based round a sheltered pure harbour and nonetheless has a thriving fishing scene in the present day. Consequently, there are some really implausible seafood eating places on the town!

Take a ship tour to identify seals and seabirds – and be taught somewhat extra concerning the space’s shoreline. I liked the fast-paced RIB journey with Ilfracombe Sea Safari, whereas the brilliant yellow Ilfracombe Princess is a calmer choice with implausible views from the highest deck.

Don’t miss the distinctive Tunnels Seashores. These small coves – house to some Victorian bathing swimming pools – are accessed by strolling via a stone tunnel via the cliffs which was hand-carved in 1823. You possibly can nonetheless see pickaxe marks on the partitions!

16. Lundy Island

aerial view of a small section of rocky pebble beach with two seals lying on the rocks next to the sea, a mother with a light grey pup
Seals subsequent to the cliff path on Lundy

Lundy Island is a distant, windswept little island within the Bristol Channel with a thriving colony of Atlantic gray seals. There are only a few buildings, lower than 30 full-time residents, and tons of wildlife. Spot seals on the seashores, puffins and different seabirds on the cliffs, and stout Lundy ponies and feral goats on the clifftop paths.

You possibly can go to Lundy for a day journey, or keep just a few nights for an adventurous, get-away-from-it-all getaway! There’s a campsite and some self-catering properties, all run by the Landmark Belief.

To get there, take the MS Oldenburg; a Fifties ferry which runs from March to November. Timetables range relying on the tide – as does the departure level, which may be Ilfracombe or Bideford. So test the timetable right here earlier than planning. The crossing takes round 2 hours and may be VERY uneven – they usually give out sick baggage as you board! However it’s value it, I promise!

17. Hartland Peninsula

view from the top of a peninsula with a grey-brown rocky cliff falling away to a small white lighthouse on the tip and the blue sea beyond that on a very sunny day with clear blue sky above
Hartland Level

Extra seal colonies and rugged cliff paths may be discovered on the Hartland Peninsula – the westerly endpoint of North Devon’s shoreline.

This small peninsula, dotted with picturesque villages and small woodlands, usually goes missed. However it’s house to a few of the finest coast walks in Devon – and a few of the hardest components of the South West Coast Path. Spot seals on the seashores round Hartland Level – deliver binoculars to view them from the cliff paths.

18. Clovelly

cobbled street with two white cottages on either side at the end and the blue sea visible between them, on a very sunny day with blue sky above, both cottages have grey slate roofs and red brick chimneys and large hanging baskets full of flowers above the windows

Clovelly Historic Village would possibly simply be the prettiest village in Devon – if not all of Southwest England! This small, hillside village of white-washed cottages above a sheltered harbour is breathtakingly lovely.

The entire village is one thing of a vacationer attraction. You need to pay to go to, however ticket costs embrace parking, entry to the 2 museums, and the close by Court docket Gardens.

Steep, cobbled roads meander downhill, lined with cute cottages and small craft outlets. They’re too slim and steep for automobiles, so it is a pedestrian-only village – which makes it all of the extra peaceable.

19. Croyde

man surfing on sea waves in croyde north devon just after sunset with the surfer silhouetted against a yellow-gold sky

Croyde is North Devon’s browsing hub. The bay right here is thought for its glorious browsing circumstances, and there are a number of surf faculties and rental outlets within the village. Close by Saunton Sands, Woolacombe Seashore, Putsborough, and Barricane Seashore are additionally widespread surf spots.

It’s not JUST about browsing, although. Clovelly is a stunning seaside village with one of the lovely seashores in Devon – a small, crescent-shaped bay with golden sand backed by grassy dunes. The impartial meals scene is robust right here, too, with a lot of meals vehicles and pop-ups across the seaside in summer time.

20. Lynton and Lynmouth

edge of a dark green cliff railway carriage at the top of a cliff with a view of the blue sea below and some low grass topped cliffs across the bay
Journey the Lynton and Lynmouth cliff railway for unbeatable views

The twinned villages of Lynton and Lynmouth, on the coast of Exmoor Nationwide Park, are related by way of a Victorian-era Cliff Railway. Apparently, it’s the world’s highest and steepest absolutely water-powered funicular. The journey is surprisingly quick and affords spectacular coastal views.

Lynton sits on the high of the cliff – full of impartial outlets, galleries, and several other museums. On the foot of the gorge some 500ft beneath, Lynmouth has a cute harbour, some fab seafood eating places, and Britain’s first tidal present turbine at Glen Lyn Gorge.

21. Taw-Torridge Estuary

river estuary at low tide with small pools of water between ridges of sand on the river bed, there is a small hill on the far side with a village, and a few small sailing boats on the sandy riverbed

On the coast between Saunton Sands and the favored seaside resort of Westward Ho!, lies a large estuary the place the River Taw and River Torridge meet earlier than emptying into the ocean. This can be a lovely, nature-rich space and a little bit of a hidden gem in North Devon, so don’t miss it.

There are two big programs of sand dunes on both facet of the estuary: Braunton Burrows and Northam Burrows. Each are prime birdwatching areas and stuffed with native wildlife, together with orchids, butterflies, and shiny inexperienced sand lizards.

There are some nice river walks within the space, in addition to the beginning of the 180-mile Tarka Path for a stunning, traffic-free cycle route. Don’t miss the colorful fishing village of Appledore for Instagram-tastic streets lined with pastel-painted cottages.

Map of the Finest Locations to Go to in Devon

Fast Checklist: Finest Locations to Go to in Devon

  1. Dartmouth – upscale crusing city
  2. Plymouth – maritime historical past in Devon’s greatest metropolis
  3. Burgh Island – stroll to a tidal island
  4. Salcombe – bougie seaside crusing city.
  5. Torquay and the English Riviera – retro seaside resorts on a tranquil bay
  6. Brixham – fishing village with a fab seafood scene
  7. Dartmoor Nationwide Park – adventure-filled wilderness
  8. Totnes – sustainability-focused Transition City with quirky tradition
  9. Exeter – historic structure, impartial buying, and river walks in Devon’s capital.
  10. Exmouth – seaside city with nice watersports circumstances
  11. Jurassic Coast – fossils, cliff walks, and distinctive rock formations
  12. Seaton and Beer – two cute seaside villages with seashores and classic tram rides
  13. Sidmouth – basic seaside resort with heritage structure
  14. Exmoor Nationwide Park – wealthy wildlife and a various mixture of landscapes
  15. Ilfracombe – seaside city with a energetic harbour
  16. Lundy Island – distant island wilderness with a thriving seal inhabitants
  17. Hartland Peninsula – heritage shoreline with cute villages and spectacular views
  18. Clovelly – in all probability the prettiest village in Devon
  19. Croyde – seaside city recognized for sand dunes and browsing
  20. Lynton and Lynmouth – twinned coastal cities with an iconic cliff railway
  21. Taw-Torridge Estuary – sand dunes, vibrant villages, and river walks

Learn Extra

Finest Locations to Go to in South Devon

50 Distinctive Issues to do in Dorset

Are there any extra nice locations to go to in Devon that I’ve missed? Let me know within the feedback!

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