With rolling countryside, little fishing villages, two incredible coastlines and some of the finest food in the UK, Devon is a must for anyone visiting England. There’s something here for every member of the family, whether you’re an adventure seeker or a cake eater. Here are the best things to do in Devon.
Want to make the most of your trip to Devon? Join Culture Trip on an action-packed, six-day tour of the region – led by a local insider with expert knowledge of the best places to visit and best things to do.
Even if you’re not an Agatha Christie fan, a visit to Greenway and her River Dart holiday home is worth the time. Christie stayed here to seek inspiration for her novels and to enjoy downtime in this spectacular part of Devon. First-edition novels line the shelves, as well as family photos. Be sure not to miss the gardens, particularly the peach house and the fernery.
Whether you want to walk it, canoe it, sail it, kayak it, swim it, camp next to it or take the train over it, the River Dart is a fantastic adventure playground. There are, of course, pubs all along the water, as well as a vineyard and lots of lovely little towns and villages to amble through.
With a boaty culture, quiet narrow lanes that climb up steep hills and wonderful waterside views, Noss Mayo is the more reserved little sister of Salcombe. Have a drink at the Ship Inn, or walk the coastal path around the headland for horizon views and trails through thick woodland.
For hidden beaches down zigzagging pathways, views that go on for days and walks along a leafy coastal path, look no further than East Prawle. The Pigs Nose Inn is a great pub here, and there’s also a campsite where you can wake up with a view of the ocean.
After admiring the giant cliffs and majestic waterfalls, make your way to the lovely hotel at the ‘end of the world’, where you can drink a nice cuppa and enjoy views along the coast – Cornwall to the south and up to Woolacombe in the north.
Dartmouth is situated on the mouth of the River Dart and is one of the most delightful towns in South Devon. With historic streets, a picturesque river location and spectacular countryside surrounding the town, you’d find it difficult to find anywhere as lovely as this.
If you’re into cycling, you’ll love the Tarka Trail. This is the longest traffic-free cycle route in England and it follows a disused railway line from Braunton all the way to Meeth. You can complete the trail on hired bikes as part of Culture Trip’s six-day, action-packed tour of Devon. And if your legs give in, there’s always a bus to take you back to where you started.
This long-distance hiking trail, which links Dartmoor and Exmoor, isn’t for the unfit. The pathway takes in Devon’s most dramatic inland scenery and, like the Tarka Trail, follows an old and disused railway line.
Lovely Clovelly, which tumbles chaotically down steep cobbled streets from the top of the cliffs to the harbour, is a must-see when visiting North Devon. See how residents use sledges to drag their shopping up and down the town and have a pint right at the bottom of the village looking into the harbour and up the cliff.
Of the many wildlife experiences Devon has to offer, Dartmoor Otters is the most unique. You can meet several different species of otter, learn about them during talks and watch the feeding sessions. There is also an insect house full of colourful butterflies that fly freely around you as you walk through.
Sitting between Exeter and the Jurassic Coast, Bicton Park contains centuries of botanical history. The Victorian-era glasshouses are still intact, and the whole garden is well maintained and full of other activities to keep both kids and adults occupied.
Becky Falls are arguably the most recognisable falls in the south of England, having been open to visitors since 1903. A lot of time and care has been put into looking after them since then, and now you can choose from a list of routes to reach the 66ft (20m) waterfalls, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling.
With six tanks of sealife on show, the National Marine Aquarium is the largest in the UK. This popular Plymouth attraction is home to countless rays, sharks and other fish, and the largest tank even features a sunken WWII aircraft.
Additional reporting by Callum Davies