Home | Holidays in Devon, a guide to find the best holiday in Devon and the West Country
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Devon in the West Country

The county of Devon, in South West England, is a popular area for visitors and tourists. With its many beaches, gardens and beautiful countryside, there is plenty to see and do here. Indeed, “no county offers more to the holiday-maker than Devon”.

The county is bordered by the Bristol Channel to the north, the English Channel to the south, the counties of Somerset and Dorset to the east, and the popular county of Cornwall to the west. The main towns and villages of Devon include Plymouth, Exeter, Barnstaple, Torquay, Exmouth, Okehampton, Great Torrington, Little Torrington and Winkleigh—plenty of places to visit.

Devon is steeped in history: its Jurassic Coast which East Devon shares with the county of Dorset was in fact the first natural World Heritage site in England. Geologists also find much of interest in Devon with remains of lava eruptions, for example Brent Tor, being fascinating sites to visit.

A large area of Devon is taken up by the Dartmoor National Park, covering 368 square miles (958km). In the Park visitors can find many cultural trails, peaceful countryside and public footpaths which travel through both woodland and moorland.

History buffs might be interested to know that the name Devon is believed to have come from a group of Celts who fled to this part of the country during the Roman invasion, circa AD 50. The group was known as the Dumonnii, which over time has come to mean Devon. The county is also famous for the Devonshire cream tea, a traditional tea including scones, clotted cream and jam, not to mention, of course, a cup of tea.

Beaches

Devon has been long known for its fabulous beaches, which makes it one of the most popular tourist areas during the summer months.

North Coast: Woolacombe Sands on the north coast is a safe swimming area, with a lifeguard on watch during high season. It is also a perfect place for water sports. Saunton Sands, consisting of 3 miles of golden sand, is popular with both surfers and families.

South Coast: The south coast is better suited to those looking for a family beach. Bantham Beach sits on the mouth of the River Avon, and is backed by sand dunes, with plenty of rock pools for children to play in.

East Coast: The pebbled beach of Budleigh Santerton offers safe bathing, and if you’re looking for a Devon chippy, this is the best place for it.

Gardens

Devon has plenty of gardens where visitors are welcome to explore and have a break away from urban life.

Bicton Park Botanical Gardens: The gardens caters for both young and old, with an abundance of tropical plants and palms growing in the Palm House, a miniature village, informal gardens, a bigfoot maze, mini golf course, and a nature trail where an array of birds can be watched. The Gardens is also home to several museums, including Cider and Cream and the Age of Steam.

RHS Dartmoor: These Royal Horticultural Society gardens are located in Torridge Valley and feature woodland trails and a Lake and Cottage garden.

Plant World: The four acres of Plant World in New Abbot are home to a Mediterranean garden and a mature garden, as well as many exotic plants, flowers and trees.

Hartland Abbey and Gardens: The Hartland Gardens is home to many plants such as roses, rhododendrons, magnolias, hydrangea and many, many more. Children will be pleased to see the donkeys, peacocks and black sheep.

Walks

Most walking trails can be found, as previously mentioned, in Dartmoor National Park, including the History Revealed walk, the Dartmoor Views trail which begins at Lustcleigh Cleave and makes its way through woodland over river, and the Pretty Marvellous Walk, which travels through moorland. If you are staying in Exeter, it might be worth taking the town’s Red Coat Guided Tours, which will give you an insight into Exeter’s history and the main features of the town.

Bike and Mountain Bike Trails

There are an abundance of mountain bike trails waiting to be found in Devon. With miles of golden sand and peaceful shores, the county is the ideal place to take both a peaceful and challenge bike ride.

Several trails offer information on the history of the county, as well as a chance to see some of the Devon wildlife along the way.

Cycle routes include Tortnes to Dartington and Newton Abbot to Bovey Tracey in the east of the county, and the Lopwell Dam cycle link route in west Devon.

Family Attractions

Being a main tourist area, Devon has plenty to offer families who visit this beautiful part of south England.

Plymouth Pavilions: This huge centre caters for all, with conference and exhibition rooms, Fun Pool with slides, Ice Rink and catering outlets.

Barge Trips: The Tiverton Canal Trips offer both day and night trips on a horse-drawn barge, with trips up the Grand Western Canal to East Manley.

Donkey Sanctuary: The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth has rescued over 13,600 donkeys over the years and now shelters up to 500 of them. It is a popular attraction with many visitors to this part of Devon.

National Marine Aquarium: This marine aquarium in Plymouth is the largest in Britain and has many rare and interesting sea creatures, from sand tiger sharks, Clown fish, and seahorses to turtles, octopuses and even a Giant Squid.

Horse Riding

There is no shortage of horse riding routes in Devon, which make their way through countryside, country lanes and bridleways, depending on your preference. The East Portlemouth Circular Riding Route covers 12 miles of Devon countryside.

 

 


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