By Rissa Gatdula-Lumontad
Devon boasts spectacular views, from dramatic coastlines to rugged plains, most of which you can view from castles! This idyllic county in South West England is a tourist’s haven, offering a truly refreshing retreat for the weary urbanite.
Here are some of the best things to see in Devon to help ensure you don’t miss the good stuff.
South Devon Coast
Here you can find seaside romance in the heart of the English Riviera—whether getting your fill of lager and old-fashioned fish and chips in Torquay or Paignton, sailing with the chic set in Darmouth or mingling with the hippie crowd in Totnes. For a taste of the unusual, try unique activities like Coasteering, Canoeing the Coves and catching and cooking your own dinner in Geopark (a UNESCO-recognized Global Geopark in Torquay). If history and beautiful architecture are your cup of tea, then visit the many Tudor and Elizabethan buildings that line the streets of Totnes.
Exmoor National Park
Exmoor’s wooded hills and varied landscape are perfect for hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts. From Exford, explore the historic Tarr Steps, a clapper bridge over the Barle River, which dates back to medieval times. The less active can journey back in time and visit the castle and medieval buildings of the town of Dunster, or take inspiration with the charming views at the port of Porlock.
Coastal Railway Line
This ancient water-operated cliff railway dates back to 1890. It traverses the breathtaking coastal route from the charming town of Lynmouth to the Victorian resort town of Lynto, the “Little Switzerland” of North Devon.
Dartmoor National Park
Dartmoor’s vast expanse of scenic landscape not only offers great outdoor leisure for the active set, but also distinct culture and heritage. Devon’s most famous archaeological remains include standing stones, stone circles, burial tombs and ancient villages dating back to the Neolithic and early Bronze age. Witness farming on horseback, and see various forms of wildlife including the wild Dartmoor ponies. Other attractions include the Okehampton Castle and the Dartmoor Prison Heritage Centre.
Just over two hours by train from London, this city is one of the best places for a weekend break. It’s steeped in fascinating history, as reflected in its post-war buildings and merchant houses. Walking or cycling through its quayside gives the visitor an insight into old England. The Exeter Cathedral, founded in 1050, is of Gothic architecture and has the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in the world. The Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers not only exceptional views but also millions of years of historical significance.
This lovely coastal village is an ideal base for family travelers. Here you’ll find the best food and beverage outlets and musical entertainment. This is also a bargain hunter’s paradise, with many craft and antique shops and an outlet shopping village, the Atlantic Village. Surfers and anglers can take a trip to nearby Westward Ho!, while families looking for a different and exciting day out can visit The Big Sheep in nearby Abbotsham.
To complement the old-world appeal of Devon, stay in a quaint rural cottage or in a beautiful seaside home.
Totnes Castle: Glen Bowman via Flickr
Tarr Steps: Matt Neale via Flickr
Lynmouth: Angie Muldowney via Flickr
Dartmoor: Hans Splinter via Flickr
Exeter Cathedral: Charles D P Miller via Flickr
Westward Ho!: aaron.bihari via Flickr