The Ultimate Devon Travel Guide
With two distinctive coasts that encapsulates over 450 miles of wild and wonderful bays, moors and sleepy fishing villages lined with tiny sorbet-coloured houses, Devon is truly a sight to behold and a staycation destination to remember.
Here, we’ve put together the ultimate guide of the best things to do in Devon, from places to visit, the best hotels and most importantly – where to find the perfect scone.
Places to visit in Devon
Unsure where to start your Devonshire adventure? Here are our top three places to mark on your map that are sure to make your trip one to remember.
1. Torquay If you search for ‘quintessential British seaside resort’ in the dictionary, we’re pretty sure you’ll find a picture of Torquay. Vibrant, welcoming and the home of Fawlty Towers, Torquay is seated at the very heart of the English Riviera on the South Devon Coast. Known for its sandy coves and beaches, towering cliffs and its enchanting harbour, this seaside town is a bustling tourist destination lined with boutique shops, cute cafés and delicious restaurants. Travelling as a family? Torquay’s just the ticket. Discover the history of Torre Abbey or hire a pedalo on the red shores of Oddicombe Beach – there’s something for everyone!
2. Salcombe Nestled on the southern coast of Devon, Salcombe is a famous seaside town that has long been heralded as one of the UK’s best-loved holiday hotspots. Located on the shores of the Salcombe Estuary, this harbour town has it all – golden sandy beaches, azure waters, chic bars and an incredible seafood-restaurant scene that’ll have any foodie queueing up for a second helping! When it comes to things to do in Salcombe, you will not be disappointed. Take a boat trip along the estuary, dabble in the wide range of water sports on offer, ranging from paddle boarding to powerboating, go mackerel fishing or visit one of the town’s famous regattas for the full Salcombe experience.
3. Lyme Regis Often referred to as ‘the pearl of Dorset’, Lyme Regis is tucked away on the rugged shores of the Jurassic Coast. A treasure hunter’s paradise, this small historic town is best known for being one of the most popular destinations for fossil hunting in the world! Why not sift for fossils on Monmouth Beach and go rock pooling at Church Cliff, before meandering along Lyme Regis’ picture-perfect promenade lined with colourful beach huts and cafés? No matter the season, Lyme Regis boasts breathtaking vistas and a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’, making it a must-visit location for all seasons.
Things to do in Devon
With rolling hills, charming fishing ports, unrivalled surfing beaches and some of the most refined food in England, Devon is a staycation sensation. From tasting menus to sailing days, Devon truly has something to tickle the fancy of every visitor!
Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride for Two with Champagne
Why not start your trip on a high note with a little romance in the skies? With unrivalled panoramic views of Devon’s landscape, embark on an elegant and tranquil flight in a magical hot air balloon, flying up to 3000 feet in the sky. What’s more, you can toast to a wonderful flight with a chilled glass of bubbly once you’re back on solid ground!
Six Course Tasting Menu with Prosecco for Two at The Horn of Plenty
For a spot of lunch in the lap of luxury, head down to The Horn of Plenty on the edge of the stunning Dartmoor National Park for an unforgettable gourmet experience. You’ll be greeted with a glass of crisp prosecco upon arrival, before embarking on a tastebud-tingling voyage of Devonian food discovery. Divine!
Golf Day for Two at Bovey Castle
Tee off on this historical course set in the gorgeous grounds of Bovey Castle. Designed in 1926 by one of Britain’s most celebrated golf course designers, J F Abercromby, the 18-hole championship golf course is a treat for amateur and pro golfers alike. Once it’s all over, make sure to visit the castle’s delicious bistro for some well-deserved drinks and snacks!
Old Walls Vineyard Tour and Tasting in Devon with Lunch for Two
As a wise person once said – the best way to learn about wine is to drink it. Educate yourself in the art and potential of the humble grape at the beautiful Old Walls Vineyard, an awe-inspiring winery that dates back over 2000 years. An expert guide will teach you all there is to know about the production process, before leading a guided tasting session of Old Wall’s selection of still wines and tucking into a moreish ploughman’s lunch. Cheers!
Traditional Devonshire Sailing Day for One
Ahoy, me hearties! Set sail on Devon’s high seas with an incredible seven-hour sailing adventure. Casting off from Brixham Harbour, you’ll discover the beauty of South Devon’s breathtaking coastline in all its glory as you float by a colourful array of local fisherman’s cottages and heritage sailing boats. A truly tranquil experience, you’ll also be treated to hot drinks across the day, as well as a light lunch and afternoon tea with cake.
Gin Masterclass for Two with The Gin Nest in Torquay
Partial to a tipple of the old Mother’s Ruin? Say no more – this gin masterclass at The Gin Nest is the experience for you. After learning about the history of this tasty tipple, you’ll have the chance to make your very own bottle of gin using a copper pot still and a whole host of delicious and fragrant botanicals. Chin-chin!
Things to do in Devon with kids
There’s something in Devon for every member of the family – even the small ones who lose interest quickly! Whether your kids are thrill-seekers or animal lovers, you can rest assured that Devon offers both exciting and educational experiences to keep them entertained.
Shaldon Wildlife Trust Zoo Entry with Lemur Liaison and Meerkat Meet for Two
Take a walk on the wild side and treat your little one to an educational day trip to Shaldon Wildlife Trust – a sanctuary for some of the world’s most rare and endangered species. Meet the meerkats and lark about with the lemurs as you feed them all their favourite snacks and learn about their history and habitats. A meet and greet like no other!
Junior Treetop Adventure for Two at Go Ape
Have your kids got a serious taste for adventure? Let them embrace their inner Tarzan with this incredible treetop adventure with Go Ape. Jam-packed with canopy exploring, tricky obstacles and a crazy zip wire finale, you’ll be hard pushed to get them back in the car after this extraordinary day of sky-high daredevilry!
Half Day Guided Kayaking Experience for Two at Sea Kayak Devon
After you’ve met the meerkats and scoured the treetops, it’s time to experience Devon from the water! And what better way for your mini adventurer to explore hidden coves and sea caves than by sea kayak? Spot local wildlife, go fishing from your kayak and relax on beautiful beaches. Simply let your instructor know where you’re keen to explore and they’ll be sure to tailor the experience as much as possible.
Best beaches in Devon
Devon is blessed with a majestic coastline, crowned with stunning golden-sand beaches, dramatic cliff faces and some of the best surfing waves in the UK. Here’s our pick of Devon’s best beaches!
Woolacombe Beach Stretching across three miles of golden sands, award-winning Woolacombe beach is the jewel of North Devon’s coastline. A family favourite, you can embrace your inner adrenaline junkie with the water sports on offer, take a hike in the nearby rolling hills or simply lie back and smile as the sun kisses your face and your better half fires up the BBQ. Whatever takes your beach-day fancy, Woolacombe will be happy to provide! So, what are you waiting for? Book a beach hut and bust out that Boogie Board – it's time for your dose of vitamin sea.
Croyde Bay Beach Venture south and you'll stumble upon a natural slice of paradise nestled in-between Woolacombe Beach and Saunton Sands – Croyde Bay Beach. Widely regarded as the surfing capital of Devon, Croyde Bay offers up some of the best waves in the country. But that's not all! Smack bang in the middle of the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you can soak up the spectacular Devonian coastline by taking a scenic walk to nearby Baggy Point for panoramic views that’ll stay with you forever. And to top off a glorious day at the beach, why not refresh yourself at one of Croyde village's quaint and traditional pubs before heading back to your hotel?
East Portlemouth beaches Fisherman's Cove, Smalls Cove and Mill Bay make up this stunning collection of beaches in East Portlemouth – perfect for those wanting a more secluded, sandy-toed day. Located in South East Devon, enjoy the view of the Salcombe Estuary as you and the kids paddle in the gentle shallow waters, rock pooling to your heart's content. The East Portlemouth beaches also have fantastic ferry connections, meaning you can hop around this charming corner of Devon with ease and explore the nearby coastal town of Salcombe.
Where to stay in Devon
From chic country hideaways to luxurious manor hotels on the Jurassic Coast, you can book the perfect retreat to suit your taste. Here’s our selection of the best places to stay in Devon.
One Night Getaway with Fizz and Breakfast for Two at Bovey Castle Hotel
Dartmoor National Park - Devon 1 night
After 12 months of staring at the same four walls, how does a luxury country escape sound? Leave all your daily stresses behind and kick back in style at Bovey Castle Hotel – a 5-star hotel set in 275 acres of stunning land in Devon’s Dartmoor National Park. Snuggle down in your lavish room and pop open your complimentary bottle of prosecco in honour of your Great British staycation! Plus, as if that wasn’t enough, wake to a delicious full English breakfast before making the most of your full-access spa pass.
Three Nights for the Price of Two at Langstone Manor
Tavistock - Devon 3 nights
Choose quirky and connect with nature from the comfort of your very own cosy pod at Langstone Manor in beautiful Dartmoor. With heating, lighting and hot showers, this is no ordinary camping trip! Pack your walking boots and explore Dartmoor’s incredible scenery and rustic charm by day, before bedding down in your snug little pod under the stars by night. Dreamy!
Two Night Break in Devon
Devon, United Kingdom 2 nights
Fancy a cheeky weekend away by the coast? Look no further than Devon! Breathe in the sea air on romantic coastal walks, mooch around museums, marvel at historic ruins and feel the sand between your toes. From countryside manors to boutique hotels, our handpicked selection of premium getaways is sure to float your boat and help you make the most of a memorable minibreak in Devon.
Five Night Escape to Devon
Exeter - Devon 5 nights
If you’re looking to escape from reality for a few extra nights, we’ve got you covered with our curated selection of idyllic five-night breaks. Whether you’re looking to go hiking in Dartmoor, spot local wildlife in Exmoor or relax on the beach in Salcombe, choose from a wide range of stylish hotels to rest your sleepy head after long days of exploring the rugged beauty of this magnificent county.
What food is Devon traditionally known for?
Scones, of course! Just make sure you stick to the Devonian tradition of cream first with jam on top to save yourself sticking out like a sore thumb and breaking local lore.
Want the inside scoop on where to get your hands on some of the fluffiest scones in Devon? Here are our favourite afternoon tea experiences for you to get stuck into.
Champagne Afternoon Tea for Two at Bovey Castle Hotel
Dartmoor National Park - Devon
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a delicious afternoon tea for two in the opulent interiors of Bovey Castle Hotel. From finger sandwiches to quiches, cakes, pastries and – of course – Devonshire scones, you’re definitely going to need a glass of chilled Champagne to wash it all down!
Champagne Afternoon Tea for Two at Lewtrenchard Manor
Okehampton - Devon
Snuggle up near the roaring fireplace of this stunning 16th-century Jacobean hotel and indulge in their decadent afternoon tea offering. Sip on a crisp glass of bubbles before tucking into a variety of sandwiches, fluffy scones and delectable baked goods. And to top off such a wonderful afternoon, why not take a stroll through the peaceful parklands of Lewtrenchard Manor? Ooh la la!