Enjoy a 360 virtual tour of Devon a stunning county with two beautiful coastlines, two National Parks and five official Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and of course the Devonshire cream tea. There’s so much to see and do.
Devon is a spectacularly varied county, from the beautiful Dartmoor to the two coastlines with spectacular beaches where you can spend your days catching waves or some rays, or walking along the rugged cliffs and the south west coastal path. As for food you won’t get fresher with game from the moors, locally farmed produce and fish delivered straight from the sea to your plate. There are towns and villages brimming with wonderfully preserved heritage attractions, quaint rural architecture and cosy, open-fire pubs.
The time of year can make a difference to your trip to Devon. Most National Trust attractions as well as many other heritage sites are closed for winter between November and March, although if you do brave the winter weather it does promise a tourist free escape to the countryside. Summer has most options for things to see and do, but you’ll have to share the best beaches and buildings with many other people, plus you’ll want to avoid travelling on the weekends. Spring and autumn are probably the best times to visit with milder weather and you are more likely to have a bit of space to yourself.
I will be adding more and more to this page as I explore with the camera. If you know of any places of interest I haven’t been to especially not well known hidden gems please let me know.
Devon is bordered to the west by Cornwall and to the east by Dorset and Somerset. There are approximately 1.1 million people living in Devon. The county has a relatively low population density in comparison to other regions in the UK. Devon is a very rural county, made up of hilly landscapes, coastal cliffs and sandy shores. There are two National Parks in Devon, one being Dartmoor, which is the largest open space in Southern England. Here you’ll find granite tors, which entice walkers of all abilities to the area. The second is Exmoor, which lies in both Devon and Somerset, and is a large stretch of open moorland.
- The Devon flag was chosen by a competition run by the BBC in 2003. The colours represent the hills, the moors and the sea.
- Devon is the fourth largest county by area, and has more road than anywhere else in the country. Devon County Council is responsible for 8,000 miles of road – the longest network in the UK.
- 65% of Devon’s coastline is recognised as Heritage Coast, with the South West Coast Path running the entirety, offering an extensive selection of beautiful walks beside the sea. The coastal town of Exmouth marks the western end of the Jurassic Coast, a section of coastline known for its impressive landforms and discovery of fossils.
- Exeter is where the county council is based. The county of Devon is split up into districts. Each district is run by a district council. Plymouth and Torbay are not run by the county council, but have their own special councils. These councils do the jobs of both a county and a district council. These type of areas are called unitary authorities.
- A survey by international travel experts Inrix, who provide live traffic information to people like the BBC, named Exeter the slowest city in the UK during rush-hour. Yes, slower than London. Traffic crawls through the city at just 4.6mph at the busiest times of day. You can walk faster. Businesses in Exeter spend more time stuck in traffic than businesses in London.
- Parliament Street in Exeter bears a plaque claiming it to be the narrowest street in the world. At its narrowest it is about 0.64 metres (2 ft 1 in) at its widest it is 1.22 metres (4 ft 0 in).
- Devon invented the pasty. The earliest recorded recipe for the pasty was discovered in 2006 and dates back 500 years from a Devon book.
- Jacka Bakery on the Plymouth Barbican made biscuits that went onto The Mayflower for the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers. It is the oldest bakery in the UK.
- Torbay Picture House in Paignton was built in 1907 and opened on 16 March 1914, and is believed to be the oldest surviving purpose-built cinema in Europe. A project is currently underway to bring it back into use.
- Westward Ho! near Bideford is the only place in the UK with an exclamation mark in its name.
- Exeter was the last place in the UK to execute witches in 1685, accused of causing illness and death by the black arts.
- Devon is home to the last castle built in the UK, Castle Drogo dates from 1930.
- Some of the UK’s greatest monuments were created out of stone mined in Beer including St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and Exeter Cathedral.
- Rev John Russell from Dartmouth is recorded as being the breeder who started the line of the Jack Russell dog.
- Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth is said to be where Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip fell in love. They were aged 13 and 18 respectively. They had met once before at a royal wedding.
Human remains have previously been discovered in Kents Cavern in Torquay, dating back an estimated 30,000-40,000 years and it is thought that Dartmoor was inhabited by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers as far back as 6000 BC. Devon’s name comes from the word Dumnonia, as it was once home to the Dumnonni Celts during the British Iron Age and Roman Britain, and is thought to mean ‘deep valley dwellers’. The Celtic region flourished for almost 500 years, although there were constant threats of invasions from the Anglo-Saxons, with many battles taking place against the West Saxons.
Devon has produced tin, copper and other metals throughout its history. Tin was found in the granite of Dartmoor, and copper in the areas around the moor. In the eighteenth century, Devon Great Consols mine (near Tavistock) was believed to be the largest copper mine in the world.
- Babbacombe Model Village
- Buckfast Abbey
- Burgh Island
- Cliff Railway (Babbacombe or Lynton and Lynmouth)
- Crealy Adventure Park
- Dartmoor National Park
- Dartmouth Steam Railway
- Exmoor National Park
- Greenway House
- Jurassic Coast
- Kents Cavern
- Paignton Zoo
- South Devon Railway
- South West Coastal Path
- Woodlands Theme Park
- Valley of Rocks
- Hostels are best if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option and you don’t mind sharing facilities. In most British cities there is a selection of simple, clean and good value hostels. starting from £10 a night dorm rooms. Many modern hostels also have private rooms and en-suite bathrooms starting from £25. Amenities usually include free wi-fi, breakfast, a common room, TV and laundry facilities. Check out hostelworld.com
- Airbnb is my preferred budget choice and cost from £20 a night for a private room, while entire apartments/homes can start around £40 a night. Get £30 off your first Airbnb trip of £55 or more click here.
- Stay at the Inn, as traditional as cream tea and cake. The British pub culture often comes with the option of a bed for the night. You can socialise, eat and sleep all under one roof, which is a great way to meet friendly locals. Many date back to the 18th century and some are even older! Expect a warm atmosphere, traditional décor and the possibility of an onsite dog (or cat) to welcome you! Check out stayinapub.co.uk
- Bed & Breakfast, probably the most famous budget accommodation in the UK. These are usually private houses or farms and tend to be family ownership. Facilities can be simple (rooms may not have TV, no telephone or bathroom), but the best of them can be a home from home. Prices include breakfast. Some B&Bs won’t accept credit cards or travel vouchers, so I advise to bring cash with you.
- Budget hotels like Travelodge, Premier Inn or Easy hotel offer the same amenities and start around £30 per night for a twin room. It’s best to book a month or more in advance.
- Campgrounds can be found all around the country and most have basic facilities. Expect to pay around £7 per night for a place to pitch your tent. Check out campinmygarden.com
- The cream tea, involving scones, jam and clotted cream, is a local speciality. It is also popular in Cornwall with the only real difference being the order in which it is spread. In Devon the preferred method is cream first then the jam, whereas in Cornwall it is the other way around.
- Cider, Traditional Devon scrumpy (scrumpy being the name for farm cider) looks like bright orange juice with bits of apple floating in it. Scrumpy tends to be quite strong in alcohol and requires a certain degree of caution if you aren’t used to drinking it (it can act as a laxative).
- Beer, Devon is very well served for microbreweries with many active in the county. The Campaign for Real Ale or CAMRA has details of Devon breweries.
- Fish & Chips, a trip to the coast can’t be made without visiting a local ‘chippy’, traditionally battered fish or sausage with chips.
Although located in one of the most southern areas of the UK, Devon is still easily reached through various means. The train service in the area is mainly provided by First Great Western and Cross Country, with most major train routes passing through the city of Exeter. These include trains to London Paddington, Manchester Piccadilly, Aberdeen and Penzance.
- Air, Exeter has its own airport, with flights regularly arriving from Newquay, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin to name a few.
- Car, the county is also reachable via the M5, with five junctions leading into different areas of the region.
- Train, a hassle-free way of trundling through the scenery of Devon, with routes that run to most of the major towns and probably the most scenic route in the country Exeter to Paignton.
- Don’t be insulted if someone calls you love, maid, flower or me ‘ansum . These are commonly used as a term of endearment and not considered rude.
- Get £25 off your first Airbnb trip of £55 or more click here.
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