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Things to do in Devon

The County of Devon is situated in the south west of England, between Dorset in the east and Cornwall in the west.

The lighthouse of Hartland Point
The lighthouse of Hartland Point

North Devon's coastline faces the Bristol Channel and the English Channel in the south.

Two of Britain's National Parks can be visited within the County: Exmoor National Park, and Dartmoor National Park. Coastal resorts, wild moor land, rolling hills, narrow country lanes, high hedges, thatched cottages and apple orchards, characterise the County.

Malmsmead Bridge on Exmoor National Park
Malmsmead Bridge on Exmoor National Park

Devon Tourist Information centres are situated in the north at Barnstaple, Bideford, Braunton, Combe Martin, Clovelly,

Sunrise over the tourist town of Ilfracombe in Devon
Sunrise over the tourist town of Ilfracombe in Devon

Exmoor National Park, Great Torrington, Ilfracombe, Lynton, South Molton and Woolacombe.

Woolacombe, Devon
Woolacombe, Devon

The coastline of North Devon is spectacular, a combination of high cliffs, wooded valleys and sandy beaches.

Autumn landscape in Dartmoor National Park
Autumn landscape in Dartmoor National Park

Nature lovers should visit the UNESCO Braunton Burrows Biosphere Reserve, the largest sand dune system in the UK, situated in the estuary of the Rivers Taw and Torridg, home to a diverse plant community and a great variety of invertebrate species.

Sand dunes in Branton Burrows, Devon
Sand dunes in Branton Burrows, Devon

The holiday resorts around the coast are popular water sport and family destinations.

Brightly coloured terraced houses in Appledore
Brightly coloured terraced houses in Appledore

To the south lies Bideford Bay and the unique villages of Appledore, Westward Ho!, Clovelly and Great Torrington.

Clovelly, small village in Devon
Clovelly, small village in Devon

In Bideford you can get on a boat trip to Lundy Island, a peaceful place of outstanding natural beauty, a haven for puffins and seals.

South End of Lundy Island
South End of Lundy Island

Tavistock, in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is situated in the Tamar Valley.

Low tide on the Tamar estuary, on the Devon and Cornwall border
Low tide on the Tamar estuary, on the Devon and Cornwall border

The Tamar Estuary is home to the avocet and little egret. The area has many historic houses, gardens, attractions and an interesting heritage of mining.

Lundy Island Harbour
Lundy Island Harbour

There are many interesting things to see in the vibrant city of Plymouth - visit spectacular Plymouth Hoe, with its award winning visitor centre, at Plymouth Dome take a trip through 400 years of the City's history.

Plymouth Hoe
Plymouth Hoe

At the Elizabethan Barbican, history comes alive, attractions include the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for America.


The area of south Devon known as the South Hams which includes the towns of Dartmouth, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge, Modbury, Salcombe and Totnes, enjoys the mildest climate in Britain.

Dartmoor National Park - Bowermans Nose
Dartmoor National Park - Bowermans Nose

Ham is an old English word meaning an enclosed or sheltered place.

South Devon Coast
South Devon Coast

Here you will find sailing and fishing harbours, river estuaries, rolling hills, fine hillside towns and picturesque villages.

Brentor, Dartmoor National Park
Brentor, Dartmoor National Park

Devon is good walking country with 60 miles of the South West Coast Path winding through the area.

South West Coast Path, North Devon
South West Coast Path, North Devon

Torbay is referred to as the English Riviera, and includes the towns of Brixham, Paignton and Torquay. It covers 22 miles of golden sands, with palm trees and a wealth of holiday attractions.

Brixham Harbour
Brixham Harbour

Popular towns in the south east of Devon, in the area of Teignbridge, include Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Buckfastleigh, Dawlish, Moretonhampstead, Newton Abbot and Teignmouth.

Teignmouth Beach
Teignmouth Beach

An area of contrasts, on the coast is the traditional seaside town of Dawlish and the historic port of Teighmouth. Inland are towns steeped in history, with museums, markets and visitor attractions.

Exeter Cathedral
Exeter Cathedral

Exeter is the county town of Devon and one of the most historic cities in Britain. Visit Exeter Cathedral, and the Underground Passages located under Exeter's city centre, and learn the story of Exeter at the Quay House Visitor Centre.

Sidmouth Cliffs
Sidmouth Cliffs

Popular towns in the east of the County include Exmouth, Seaton, Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary, Budleigh Salterton, Honiton and Axminster. East Devon is an area of contrasts, from the World Heritage coastline to the unspoiled fertile Axe Valley, designated as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Axe Valley in East Devon
Axe Valley in East Devon

In Devon's heartland there are bustling market towns, beautiful countryside for walking, cycling and fishing.

Sunrise at Brentor Church
Sunrise at Brentor Church

There are castles to explore, tucked away villages, with cob and thatched cottages, historic houses and lots of attractions for all the family.

Days out in Devon

  • A La Ronde
    The National Trust property of A la Ronde is the perfect day out for those who like something a little unusual in terms of interior design and appreciate a family history.
    A La Ronde
  • Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum
    Nestling in the thickly wooded valley of the River Yeo lies the 1125ha (2700 acre) Arlington Court estate. At its centre stands the intimate and intriguing home of Miss Rosalie Chichester.
    Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum
  • Babbacombe Model Village
    Step into a world of miniature marvels!Bring back those magical childhood memories as you explore a quaint and quirky representation of England through five decades at Babbacombe Model Village.
    Babbacombe Model Village
  • Berry Pomeroy Castle
    This former home of the Pomeroy and Seymour families, in a beautiful woodland setting, is shrouded in sinister folklore and legend.
    Berry Pomeroy Castle
  • Brixham Heritage Museum
    The Brixham Heritage Museum and History Society was founded in 1958 for the purpose of recording, saving and displaying the heritage of the historic town and fishing port.
    Brixham Heritage Museum
  • Buckland Abbey
    Buckland was originally a small but influential Cistercian monastery. The house, incorporating the remains of the 13th-century abbey church, has rich associations with Sir Francis Drake and his seafaring rival, Sir Richard Grenville.
    Buckland Abbey
  • Cadhay
    Cadhay is an historic manor house built in 1550, which is 12 miles east of Exeter.
  • Canonteign Falls
    Reputed to be the highest waterfall in England, Cannonteign Falls cascade down massive rock formations through wonderful path-strewn ancient woodlands where you might glimpse a deer amongst other abundant wildlife.
    Canonteign Falls
  • Castle Drogo
    Combine a drive through beautiful Dartmoor National Park with a visit to the wonderful stately home of Castle Drogo.
    Castle Drogo
  • Chambercombe Manor
    Set in a secluded valley, the Manor House has much to offer because of its history, situation, age and legends. The House dates from the 11th Century and was mentioned in the Domesday Book.
    Chambercombe Manor
  • Cobbaton Combat Collection
    The Cobbaton Combat Collection is the result of one man's obsession for collecting militaria from tin hats to tanks, in fact, anything pertaining to the armies of the World and to the civilians who were involved with them.
    Cobbaton Combat Collection
  • Coldharbour Mill Working Wool Museum
    Built by Thomas Fox between 1797 and 1799 Coldharbour Mill was at the forefront of Georgian entrepeneurial development and was in continuous woollen and worsted yarn production until 1981.
    Coldharbour Mill Working Wool Museum
  • Coleton Fishacre
    Visitors walking the delightful South West Coastal Path from Kingswear along the Dart Estuary will spy this delightful family home, built in the 1920s for the D'Oyly Carte family.
    Coleton Fishacre
  • Compton Castle
    This magical fortified house, one of the few to survive so unaltered, was built at three periods 1340, 1450, 1520 by the Gilbert family.
    Compton Castle
  • Dartmouth Castle
    For 600 years Dartmouth Castle has stood in a superb waterfront setting as the guardian of the Dart estuary.
    Dartmouth Castle
  • Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat Company
    Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company operate a range of services crossing the stunning south Devon countryside and coastline providing the ultimate opportunity to explore this vast area of outstanding natural beauty.
    Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat Company
  • Dawlish Museum
    Knowle House was built as a gentleman's residence in 1805. It now houses various collections donated by the people of Dawlish.
    Dawlish Museum
  • Docton Mill
    Situated only 1,400 yards from the famous Spekes Mill Mouth Coastal Waterfall, the garden at Docton Mill was created in 1980 around the existing river, waterways, leats and ponds.
    Docton Mill
  • Elliot Gallery
    Here at the Elliott Gallery is an exciting art exhibition that the more discerning person will not want to miss. It contains one of the largest and most comprehensive exhibitions of quality paintings, sculpture and craftwork in all North Devon.
    Elliot Gallery
  • Escot Gardens, Maze & Forest Adventure
    Award-winning Escot is set in 220 acres of stunning private parkland in the heart of East Devon.
    Escot Gardens, Maze & Forest Adventure
  • Exeter Cathedral
    Exeter Cathedral is one of England's most beautiful Medieval cathedrals and represents one of the finest examples of Decorated Gothic architecture in the country.
    Exeter Cathedral
  • Exeter's Quay House Visitor Centre
    The history and development of Exeter's Quayside is brought to life with lively displays, illustrations and artefacts.
    Exeter's Quay House Visitor Centre
  • Exeter's Underground Passages
    A guided tour of Exeter's Underground Passages is a memorable event - narrow, dark, interesting and exciting. These are the only passages of this kind open to the public in Britain.
    Exeter's Underground Passages
  • Fairlynch Museum
    Fairlynch Museum is one of very few thatched museums in existence and is a typical example of a "Marine Cottage Orne".
    Fairlynch Museum
  • Greenway
    Agatha Christie fans will immediately recognize Greenway as the setting for the thriller "Dead Man's Folly" and its cameo appearance in "Five Little Pigs".
  • Hartland Abbey and Gardens
    Hartland Abbey was founded in 1157 in a narrow, wandering valley running inland from the Atlantic coast. It was dissolved in 1539 having survived longer than any monastery in the country.
    Hartland Abbey and Gardens
  • Killerton House
    From a historic costume exhibition to Victorian plant collections, there is something to please most enthusiasts at the lovely Killerton House which is set amidst rolling Devonshire hills.
    Killerton House
  • Kingsbridge Cookworthy Museum
    Discover the story of Kingsbridge in our 17th century schoolroom, complete walk - in Victorian kitchen, Edwardian pharmacy and large farm gallery.
    Kingsbridge Cookworthy Museum
  • Knightshayes Court
    They say that every cloud has a silver lining. In the case of the Heathcote-Amory family, it was the hounding of lace-maker, John Heathcote.
    Knightshayes Court
  • Lydford Gorge
    Lyford Gorge is a beautiful natural attraction and is in fact the deepest gorge in the southwest of England. It runs for 2.5km (1.5 miles) along the River Lyd providing beautiful walks.
    Lydford Gorge
  • Lyn & Exmoor Museum
    Visit the Lyn and Exmoor Museum in Lynton and get an insight of the area of Lynton, Lynmouth and Exmoor since the Stone Age - and even earlier!
    Lyn & Exmoor Museum
  • Marwood Hill Gardens
    At Marwood Hill there are over eighteen acres of landscaped gardens with a large collection of trees, shrubs, herbaceous and alpine plants.
    Marwood Hill Gardens
  • Newton Abbot Racecourse
    Newton Abbot Racecourse - the leading summer racecourse in the UK. It is therefore a showcase for the industry and aims to provide quality competitive National Hunt racing to a wide audience.
    Newton Abbot Racecourse
  • North Devon Farm Park
    Discover a beautiful location which, although it has seen huge changes over the last five hundred years through the farming andmining industries, still remains a haven for wildlife.
    North Devon Farm Park
  • Okehampton Castle
    Okehampton Castle was the Medieval home of the Earls of Devon, it is one of the country's most romantic ruins in a stunning setting on the foothills of Dartmoor.
    Okehampton Castle
  • Old Cornmill & Tearoom
    The Old Corn Mill, unique in North Devon, is a 16th Century Watermill which can produce 100% wholemeal flour
    Old Cornmill & Tearoom
  • Overbecks
    Those with a love of nautical knick-knacks will thoroughly enjoy a visit to Overbeck's, named after the eccentric scientist who lived at the house from 1928-1937.
  • Paignton Zoo
    With three thousand animals, five different habitats and acres of activities you're in for a great day out at Paignton Zoo in Devon.
    Paignton Zoo
  • Pennywell Farm and Wildlife Centre
    A brilliant day out for everyone at Pennywell - lots of activities starting every half hour, and loads of animals to cuddle!
    Pennywell Farm and Wildlife Centre
  • Powderham Castle
    Take time to enjoy a visit to Powderham Castle. Entertaining guided tours of this magnificent 600year old Castle - home to the 18th Earl of Devon - reveals secret doors, stunning castle rooms, amazing architecture and intriguing stories.
    Powderham Castle
  • Quince Honey Farm
    Quince Honey Farm is a family run business which has been producing quality honey since 1949. Our 1500 hives are kept deep in the North Devon Countryside amongst the wild flowers from which the bees collect their sweet nectar.
    Quince Honey Farm
  • RHS Garden Rosemoor
    Rosemoor is now firmly established as a garden of National importance. Since it was gifted to the Society in 1988 by Lady Anne Berry an intensive programme of development has created a 65 acre garden of great variety and interest.
    RHS Garden Rosemoor
  • Saltram House
    Visitors to the classical Georgian mansion of Saltram House may have a strange sense of deja-vu. Saltram was used as Norland Park in the opening scenes of the film of "Sense and Sensibility".
    Saltram House
  • Sidmouth Museum
    "Something for everyone of all ages" is the motto for Sidmouth Museum.
    Sidmouth Museum
  • Tiverton Castle
    Few buildings evoke such an immediate feeling of history as Tiverton Castle. Now some 900 years old, it was enlarged and rebuilt during the 14th Century.
    Tiverton Castle
  • Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life
    Explore the museum's large, outstanding collections and trace the fascinating history of Mid Devon.
    Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life
  • Topsham Museum
    Topsham Museum is housed in one of a group of late 17th Century Buildings overlooking the Exe Estuary.
    Topsham Museum
  • Totnes Castle
    Totnes Castle is a unique treasure in an area rich with character and history. It is one of the best surviving examples of a Norman motte and bailey castle.
    Totnes Castle
  • Totnes Guildhall
    In 1206 King John granted a charter to Totnes making it a free town. It could then draw up its own laws. The merchants also obtained permission to set up their own Guild, which by the middle of the 13th century had 120 members.
    Totnes Guildhall
  • Ugbrooke Park
    A warm welcome awaits you at Ugbrooke Park, home of the Lords Clifford of Chudleigh for three hundred years and the present Clifford family's private home.
    Ugbrooke Park
  • Watermouth Castle
    A popular family attraction which includes mechanical music demonstrations, dungeon labyrinths, animated fairytale scenes and much more.
    Watermouth Castle
  • Watersmeet
    The beautiful area of Watersmeet is one of the last remaining ancient woodlands in the West Country, just above Lynmouth Harbour.
  • Wildlife & Dinosaur Adventure Park
    Set in 26 acres of spectacular, sub tropical environment come and walk this unique adventure! Discover wild animals around every corner as you follow winding paths through our amazing hilly woodland carved by tumbling streams.
    Wildlife & Dinosaur Adventure Park

Places to Visit in Devon

  • Abbotsham
    Abbotsham is a typical North Devon village with a population of around 430 people. The village is just off the A39, about two miles west of Bideford.
  • Appledore
    The delightful fishing village of Appledore sits at the estuary of the Torridge River, on the north coast of Devon.
  • Axminster
    The ancient market town of Axminster, famous for its carpet industry, is five miles north west of Lyme Regis in East Devon.
  • Axminster
    The ancient market town of Axminster, famous for its carpet industry, is five miles north west of Lyme Regis in East Devon.
  • Barnstaple
    Barnstaple is a town of just over 20,000 residents in North Devon. Situated on the banks of the River Taw, it is 34 miles northwest of Exeter.
  • Bere Alston
    Bere Alston is a village of some 3000 inhabitants set on the beautiful Bere Peninsular between the Rivers Tavy and Tamar on the borders of Devon and Cornwall.
    Bere Alston
  • Berry Pomeroy
    We have just received a description of Berry Pomeroy from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
    Berry Pomeroy
  • Bideford
    Bideford is a small port town in North Devon, on the banks of the River Torridge
  • Bigbury-on-Sea
    The coastal village of Bigbury-on-Sea is in the South Hams district of South Devon, which is designated an "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty".
  • Bishopsteignton
    Bishopsteignton is a large village of about 2500 people in South Devon overlooking the beautiful Teign Estuary. The land in the parish rises from near sea level to almost 250 metres at Haldon Hill, so the views are spectacular.
  • Black Torrington
    Black Torrington is located within North Devon local authority area but is in fact in West Devon. It is well located for the local market town of Hatherleigh (5 miles) and for Greater Torrington and Bideford to the north.
    Black Torrington
  • Braunton
    Braunton is situated in north west Devon, midway between Barnstaple and Ilfracombe on the A361.
  • Brixham
    Brixham is a natural port with breakwater protection from the sea and is first and foremost is a fishing port.
  • Budleigh Salterton
    Budleigh Salterton is a small town known for its quaint main street, which has a stream running down the side of it and small footbridges leading to each idyllic cottage.
    Budleigh Salterton
  • Clovelly
    Clovelly is a totally unique little fishing village nestled in its own little cliff-hanging nook on the western curve of Bideford Bay.
  • Cookbury
    We have just received a description of Cookbury from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
  • Croyde
    Croyde, North Devon, England, is a magical place with superb sandy beaches, the village is steeped in old-world charm, and echoing the feeling of life in Britain in the 30's and 40's, when things were easy going.
  • Dartmouth
    Situated on the south coast of Devon, Dartmouth is well known for its naval academy and scenic estuary of the River Dart which gave the town its name.
  • Dawlish
    Dawlish is a brilliant place because it has so many thins to do! It has a long beach that never seems to end.
  • Exeter
    Exeter is one of Britain's oldest cities, the commercial and cultural centre of the south-west; the old county town of Devon.
  • Exmouth
    The coastal town of Exmouth in South Devon is a popular destination for both tourists and retirees.
  • Great Torrington
    Great Torrington is a small town in North Devon with a population of around 13,000. It was built overlooking the steep sided valley of the River Torridge.
    Great Torrington
  • Hartland
    The village of Hartland is in north west Devon, between Bideford and Bude.
  • Honiton
    The charming town of Honiton in East Devon is 18 miles northeast of Exeter and was once a major stopping point for stage coaches en route from Exeter to Lincoln.
  • Ilfracombe
    The Victorian resort town of Ilfracombe is on the North Devon coast, 11 miles north of Barnstaple.
  • Instow
    Instow is a charming village on the north coast of Devon. It is situated on the Torridge estuary opposite Appledore, where the rivers Taw and Torridge merge before emptying into the Bristol Channel.
  • Newton Abbot
    Situated on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, Newton Abbot is a historic market town situated on the River Lemon.
    Newton Abbot
  • North Bovey
    North Bovey is situated in the middle off the northeastern quadrant of Dartmoor, about one and a half miles south of Moretinhampstead. The village has its church, pub and a water pump.
    North Bovey
  • Okehampton
    Okehampton is an ancient town situated on the northern edge of Dartmoor, close to the highest point on Dartmoor, High Willhays.
  • Ottery St. Mary
    Ottery-St-Mary is one of the loveliest villages in East Devon. Lying ten miles east of Exeter on the River Otter, the parish has a population of over 7,600.
  • Paignton
    Paignton is located at Torbay on the on the south coast of Devon<. With good rail links to London and a sunny climate, it is a popular destination for holidaymakers for weekend breaks and bucket and spade type family holidays.
  • Pennymoor
    Pennymoor is a lovely little village in the parish of Cruwys Morchard near Tiverton, mid Devon. There is a lovely inn in the centre of the village called the Cruwys Arms where the Pennymoor Singaround regularly meet to make sweet music. M
  • Plymouth
    Welcome to Plymouth, vibrant regional capital of Devon and Cornwall, thriving modern city, historic seafaring port and holiday centre with something for everyone.
  • Poltimore
    Poltimore is a picturesque village on the outskirts of Exeter. It is a small but beautiful village with a cosy feel. The most notable thing about Poltimore is the Grade 2* listed building which lies on the outskirts of the village. Polt
  • Postbridge
    Explore Postbridge - in the ancient heart of DevonDiscover the tiny village of Postbridge, set deep in one of the wildest landscapes in England.
  • Salcombe
    Salcombe is a historic town in the South Hams district of South Devon. Streching along the banks of the Kingsbridge Estuary it has a sheltered harbour and a number of sandy beaches.
  • Sidmouth
    Sidmouth is a lovely resort town on the south coast of Devon, 15 miles southeast of Exeter.
  • Starcross
    Starcross is a small, mainly commuter, village on the estuary of the River Exe, about eight miles south of Exeter.
  • Stoke Gabriel
    The delightfully named village of Stoke Gabriel is in one of the most unspoilt parts of South Devon. It is situated on the banks of a small creek which is a tributary of the River Dart.
    Stoke Gabriel
  • Stokeinteignhead
    This is the thatched village you dream about staying in. Its in a wide valley bottom surrounded by round hills like dumplings of field and wood. It smells of apple orchards and warm grass.
  • Stowford
    We have just received a description of Stowford from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
  • Tavistock
    Tavistock sits on the edge of Dartmoor, about 15 miles north of Plymouth in Devon.
  • Teignmouth
    We have just received a description of Teignmouth from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
  • Torquay
    Torquay has been a favourite holiday resort for generations, superbly situated in beautiful Torbay, at the heart of the English Riviera in the county of Devon.
  • Torquay
    Torquay has been a favourite holiday resort for generations, superbly situated in beautiful Torbay, at the heart of the English Riviera in the county of Devon.
  • Ugborough
    Ugborough Parish The South Hams was thinly populated when the English came south from Dartmoor. Unlike Cornwall there is little Celtic influence. The Anglo-Saxon settlers were agricultural rather than seafaring and by the mid 6th century
  • Umberleigh Bridge
    Umberleigh North Devon in the Parishes of Chittlehampton and Atherington Umberleigh is a quiet village set around the old three arched Umberleigh bridge, by the river Taw (Tarka the Otter). only 6 miles from Barnstaple on 377 Exeter road
    Umberleigh Bridge
  • Westward Ho!
    The seaside resort of Westward Ho! is a popular North Devon holiday destination with a long sandy beach. It is the only town in the UK to have an exclamation mark in its name.
    Westward Ho!
  • Woolacombe
    Woolacombe is a traditional small seaside resort in the County of Devon. It is located in the parish of Mortehoe; close to the western perimeter of the Bristol Channel, opposite the Atlantic Ocean.

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