Despite being a popular holiday destination since the Victorian era, the English Riviera (and the rest of Devon, for that matter) will never have the climate to compete with its Gallic counterpart. This means even high-summer bookings aren’t exempt from the occasional shower. Checkmate the weather and opt for a hotel with a view so you can soak in the surroundings from the comfort – and, crucially, the shelter – of your hotel.
Step back into a time of delightful cobbled paths and unusual traffic at Clovelly; a historic harbour village where you won’t see a single car but might bump into a donkey or two. Clinging to a 122-m (400-ft) cliff, Clovelly is steeped in quaintness and history. Discover why artists and writers have been entranced by this higgledy-piggledy fishing village at the 18th-century Red Lion hotel, where the maritime theme continues with porthole doors, oars as ornaments and windows that reach right out to the bay below.
Crackling fires and thatched roofs make for a fairytale setting – though hopefully not in a Three Little Pigs sense – at this St Austell-owned guesthouse. Branscombe countryside stretches out in every direction so you’ll start your day looking out to rolling, green land. Prising yourself from the jumbo bed, follow the route walked by dinosaurs along the Jurassic Coast.
Savvy time-tight guests can make the most of South Sands’ live webcam prior to booking, though with views in most rooms, you’ll be hard-pressed to pick the best. For a stop-you-in-your-tracks panorama of the bay, head straight to the restaurant where the sea almost meets the glassy screen, and specials depend on the catch of the day.
“Cool, calm, classic” is the motto at Dart Marina – a water’s-edge residence specialising in understated elegance and chill yachting vibes. A soothing palette of slate, feather-grey and oatmeal is everywhere from the waterfront rooms to the vintage Cloud Nine bus, which pitches up every summer to serve coffee and classic drinks by the river. Wall-to-floor balconies flood rooms with light and the occasional rainbow spectrum when the sun hits the sailing-boat scattered River Dart.
There are no prizes for guessing the landscape The Moorland Hotel looks out to – but you will be rewarded with a rolling (you guessed it) moorland vista. Plonked on the sleepy Southern Dartmoor hills, views stretch from South Hams to the sea. Fuel up on a continental or full English breakfast and head out to make the most of your stay, exploring the rippling countryside up close.
What better way to temper the jagged cliffs, coiling coastal paths and unforgiving ocean than to enjoy it all from the sanctuary of a sleek, sheepskin shag-strewn bedroom? There’s a mischievous pleasure to be had in watching hikers battle the conditions while enveloped in a plush, pillowy duvet. Of course, there’s always the option to be on the other side – especially from the Secret Suite where there’s a free-standing tub to submerge in after.
It’s hard to tell if it’s the brightly painted mural of Tudor life – replete with lutes and Henry VIII playing croquet, naturally – or the snow that dusts the rambling stone estate in winter that lends Northcote Manor a magical quality from a bygone era. Fortunately, you’ll find all the modern creature comforts alongside Rococo furniture and ornate chandeliers in rooms which overlook tumbling hills and a walled garden – a lot like those in the mural.
On a budget? Check out our pick of the best budget-friendly hotels in Devon, bookable on Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.