Best Places to Visit in Devon
Devon, in the western country of England, is a holiday destination of great contrast and diversity. To the south are the modest resorts of the English Riviera, the fossil-filled cliffs and long estuaries of the Jurassic Coast, and beautiful seaside towns.
Inland is the ancient steppe of Dartmoor and Exmoor, a place of legend and folklore where wild ponies graze and run freely. Then there’s the rugged north coast, rocky headlands, wide sandy beaches, and choppy waves. But wherever you go, you can’t help but pamper yourself with tea, scones and Devon’s luxurious clotted cream.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Devon and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Devon
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Devon:
Devon’s mild climate makes it a more reliable beach holiday destination than almost anywhere else in the UK, and Torquay needs to be at the forefront. The coast of this beautiful seaside town has nine sandy beaches, three of which have been awarded the Blue Flag for water quality and visitor service. These beautiful beaches go hand in hand with some truly wonderful family days.
There is an exciting anthropological dimension to visiting this extraordinary natural formation with 700,000 years of human history at Kenz Caves. Beyond that, Babbacombe is a cliff-top area with a remarkable miniature village, Living Coasts Zoo, and elegant Cockington Country House and Park.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer seaside town in England than Dartmouth. Located on the western shore of the Dart Estuary, the port has been a maritime hub for centuries. Knights abandoned the crusades from Dartmouth and pirates settled in the town as early as the Middle Ages.
Many of the side streets, such as Smith Street and Duke Street, look a lot like Tudor times and are filled with old hotels and trading houses. Visit the Grade I Butterwalk listed, a delightful row of vaulted houses supported by stone pillars.
An alternative to the Devon seaside resort, Tavistock is a rural market town on the edge of Dartmoor in the west of the county. For centuries, Tavistock has been known for its tin mines native to Cornwall and Devon. Located just across the border, these magnificent ancient ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This time, the Pannier market has operated from the 1300s to the present.
Unlike many markets in the country, this one is as bustling as ever, with stalls selling everything from furniture and handicrafts to regional delicacies like fudge and jams. Next, explore Tavistock’s simple yet lovely landmarks, such as Bedford Square, where you’ll see the ruins of Tavistock Abbey and the beautiful Gothic Town Hall.
Set on South Devon’s scenic Dart River, Totnes is a town like no other. It is the result of an alternative community that cultivates artists and musicians and creates a twice-weekly market for organic and fair trade products. For leisure visitors, one of the many advantages of Totnes’ independent spirit is the number of locally-owned shops and restaurants that are a true breath of fresh air compared to the typical English main street.
For history and culture, explore the ruins of 14th-century Totnes Castle in the magnificent Dartington Hall, and trace the history of the famous Pomeroy and Seymour families at Tudor Berry Pomeroy Castle.
Dartmoor, the largest and sparsely populated open space in the south of England, is as mysterious as it is breathtaking. Filled with tales of headless horsemen, ghostly beasts, and elves, this wilderness has inspired artists and writers for centuries, especially the Baskervilles of Arthur Conan Doyle the Hound.
What gives the landscape a unique flair is a granite gushing from the surface at the summit of Dartmoor, the highest point in southern England. The granite has been carved into numerous monuments around Dartmoor dating back to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, all of which have stood the test of time to ensure the durability of this stone.
The name of this wonderful university town provides clues to its ancient origins, and Exeter was actually the most southwestern Roman fortification in the British Isles. Immediately head to the Gothic Cathedral, which is considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in England.
Just stand in the nave and be blown away by the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling of any building in the country. Visit the 14th-century Town Hall, the oldest municipal building still in its civic function, and learn about Exeter’s rich trading history in the historic Docklands. Beyond that, there’s more, such as medieval underground tunnels and the fantastic Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
Few places can claim as rich a seafaring heritage as Plymouth, which will forever be reminiscent of names like Sir Francis Drake and the Mayflower, which sailed to America from this port.
Sir Francis Drake allegedly surveyed the seascape of Plymouth Bay at Plymouth Hoe before boarding his warship HMS Vengeance to meet the Spanish Armada at the Battle of Graflin in 1588. The Barbican is the oldest district of Plymouth, a seaside precinct with narrow cobblestone streets, old inns and now artist studios and galleries.
8. Jurassic Coast
To the east and west of Sidmouth is Devon’s Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Coastal erosion has revealed 185 million years of geological history here. At various stages in its distant prehistoric period, this part of the world has had many different types of environments, including swamps, oceans and even deserts, and emerging from the cliffs and rocks are the fossils of the vast array of plants and animals that lived here.
Needless to say, if you’re a fossil hunter, the East Devon coast will be a dream, following in the footsteps of Mary Anning, whose stunning fossil discoveries in the 1800s changed the world’s understanding of prehistoric life.
Located in the heart of Torbay, a length of coastline informally known as the English Riviera, Paignton is a seaside resort for families and couples. If you need plenty of entertainment for the kids, look no further than Paignton Beach, with a long play pier and the imaginative Geo play Park on Foreshore. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a conscientious animal attraction with England’s top zoo.
If you need an expansive, seemingly endless beach next door to Goodrington Sands or the hallowed Broadsands, that’s it. The Dartmouth Steam Railway adds some Victorian vibe to the setting, and large locomotives pass over these beaches in summer.
The seaside resort of Exmouth is full of drama where the east bank of the River Exe empties into the sea. On the town’s Esplanade, the estuary has incredible views and landing in Exmouth, you can take a ferry to the village of Starcross on the west bank for a short cruise.
Sandy Exmouth is a joy, and the South West Coast Path, which includes all of Devon and Cornwall’s coastline, will take you to rugged Cape Ocombe and then Devon in minutes High cliffs and natural beaches of cliffs. A quirky stately home nearby is A La Ronde, a 16-sided home that opened to the public in the 1700s thanks to the National Trust.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Devon. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Devon, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.