Culture Trip's Guide to Devon

The South West Coast Path in Devon is fantastic for hiking at any time of the year and the views are phenomenal
The South West Coast Path in Devon is fantastic for hiking at any time of the year and the views are phenomenal | © incamerastock / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Mischa Smith
21 October 2020

With charming coastline, walking trails and a host of rustic pubs, Devon is one of the UK‘s most desirable places to stay. Here’s a ready collection of bookable travel ideas inspired by the southwest. Discover things to do, where to stay, and the best spots to eat and drink.

Devon’s landscape spans two rugged moorlands, quaint coastal and country villages and beaches that could’ve been plucked from a romantic Luca Guadagnino film. It’s not just a playground for surfers either – the rugged county offers far more than curling waves and salt-licked hair (although there’s plenty of that too). Here’s how to enjoy yourself Devon-style.

Where to stay

Rose and Crown

, $$$
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Sitting on the River Yealm, the Rose and Crown radiates comfort in the way only a local pub can. Plush furnishings, ensuites and spacious rooms come together in a relaxing stay. The real jewel in the crown, though, is feeling like a local as you trot from the period residence to the neighbouring pub to order fish and chips battered in local ale.
Everything you need to know

ANRÁN

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Taking its name from the Chinese characters ān and rán meaning peace and tranquillity, ANRÁN is the embodiment of every city-dweller’s country living fantasy. Exuding serenity from its slower pace of life, the private pool, lily pond and nearby lake all add to the tranquil air, while unexpected touches – exotic plants against exposed brickwork – reveal an attention to detail throughout this rustic estate.
Everything you need to know

Gara Rock

This hotel might be characterised by plush luxury but guests are encouraged to remain comfortable – and you can enjoy nature’s bounty from a cliff-top hotel room with wall-to-wall windows and a smattering of scatter cushions.Decked out in desert neutrals amid the warm glow of wicker lampshades, the restaurant has a Mediterranean air about it, amplified by the shimmering ocean vista and seafood dishes like spaghetti alle vongole. Look through another window and you’ll be met with wild moorlands befitting an episode of Poldark.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Restaurant
Concierge services
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Terrace
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

What to do

ActivitiesGliding Experience in Devon
From $160 per person
45 minutes
Cut through the skies with the grace and serenity only a glider can offer. Soar a mile above sea level, and for the full pilot experience, you can even take the controls yourself, guided by your expert instructor. Free from whirring engines, you can enjoy a peaceful ride above the rolling Devonshire countryside with unspoilt views only a bird can compete with.
ToursLife and Times of Agatha Christie Walking Tour
From $16 per person
2 hours 30 minutes
The life and literature of Agatha Christie – who was born in Devon in 1890 – are deliciously entwined, as you’ll discover on this bespoke walking tour. Born in Torquay, a seaside resort dubbed the English Riviera and characterised by craggy limestone cliffs and sweeping sands, Christie’s Devon is one of palatial houses, Victorian boardwalks, secluded coves and moorlands shrouded in sea fog. Pack a novel or two in your knapsack and enjoy – this is not to be missed.

Where to eat and drink

The Daisy Cafe

Cafe, Coffee
Map View

Some days you just want a straight-up brekkie without the pomp and pageantry: enter the Daisy Café, which serves fuss-free staples so well it’s won awards, and is lauded as the “best breakfast in Exeter”. Lashings of crispy back bacon, locally sourced eggs and all the typical trimmings make this English breakfast the best way to start the day; fuelled for an afternoon pounding the cobbled streets of this medieval market town.

Small World Tapas

Restaurant, Bar, Tapas, $$$
Map View

Generous portions and tapas aren’t usually found in the same sentence, but unexpected pairings are the calling card of this east meets southwest eatery (by way of the Mediterranean). Japanese steamed buns stuffed with BBQ pork jostle for space on a menu that reads like a roll call of global appetisers. The asian brisket skewers are another fan favourite, prompting locals to flock to Small World Tapas whenever they reappear on the ever-changing menu.

The Terrace

Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View

Expect cocktails served in cut-glass champagne saucers and gins in fishbowls bigger than your head. Specialising in botanical beverages, the Terrace’s signature terrace rose cocktail is flourished and mixed with petals. Part art deco, part English country garden, the interiors are catnip for Instagram, while the artfully-decorated drinks are a match for the sprawling view of the city from the Terrace’s rooftop – best enjoyed at sunset with a chilled glass of rosé.

These recommendations were updated on October 21, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.