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Ultimate Guide: The Best Things To Do in Devon

Wondering what to do in Devon? If you are planning a trip to Devon then you’re in the right place. I actually lived in Devon for almost 16 years so you can rest easy that I know what I’m writing about here! There are so many things to do in Devon that the only tricky part is narrowing this list of places in Devon to visit down to fit your timeframe!

From jaw-dropping coastlines where you can imagine yourself sailing or even scuba diving, to rolling hills perfect for a family picnic or a yoga session amidst nature, this place has it all. There really are Devon activities for everyone to love.

Trust me, the moment you step into Devon, it’s like stepping into a postcard. The countryside is dotted with quaint villages that look straight out of a storybook.

And then you have the coastlines. With turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs, it’s paradise, honestly. Whether you’re looking for adventure or just a serene spot to unwind, Devon is a must-visit. It’s one of the few places I’ve visited where the majority of the attractions in Devon are the place itself rather than man-made places of interest.

And don’t even get me started on the local food; the seafood here is to die for!

things to do in devon,places in devon,days out in Devon

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

How to Get to Devon

I know the attractions in Devon may seem like a million miles away. But getting to Devon doesn’t have to be complicated, and whether you’re traveling to Devon from within the UK or jetting in from abroad, you’ve got plenty of options. 

Here’s how to get Devon, based on my own experiences.

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

By Car: The Road Trip Way

From London

If you’re coming from London Devon is about a 3 to 4-hour drive depending on traffic and where exactly in Devon you’re heading. Just pop the location into your GPS and follow the M4 and M5 motorways. 

It’s really not a bad drive and can be quite scenic and lovely, especially as you get closer to Devon.

From Other UK Cities

The M5 is your best friend if you’re coming from places like Birmingham. Just make sure you’ve got some good tunes or podcasts to pass the time, and maybe a few snacks (always snacks!). 

I drive down from Liverpool whenever I can and although it’s a long straight drive (M6, M5, A38) it’s an easy one. Plus I always appreciate having my car to explore places in Devon more easily.

By Train: The Scenic Route

From London, you can take a train to Devon from Paddington Station to Exeter, Plymouth, or directly to smaller Devon towns. Trains are comfy, and the closer you get to Devon, the more you’ll appreciate the gorgeous English countryside. 

Bonus: You can totally catch up on some blog reading or writing.

Top Tip: Be sure to book trains way in advance to get the best prices. Trains in the UK can be pretty expensive, especially if you book last minute!

By Air: For Those Flying In

The closest airport to Devon is Exeter International Airport. Flights from both UK and European cities frequently land here. Once you arrive, you can rent a car, hop on a bus, or catch a train to your final destination.

If you can’t find a flight into Exeter then try Bristol Airport. 

By Bus: Budget-Friendly but Time-Consuming

I’ll be honest, this is the least glamorous way to get to Devon. But if you’re on a budget, buses like National Express or Bus Bud do operate services from various cities. 

Just prepare for a longer journey and make sure to pack some entertainment for the road.

Getting around Devon

Oh, Devon! A place of winding roads, stunning coastlines, and endless possibilities for adventure. 

Once you arrive in Devon, you might wonder how to best get around. Should you rent a car, rely on public transport, or maybe even try a bike? 

As someone who loves exploring off-the-beaten-path spots and taking in everything a destination has to offer, here’s my take on getting around Devon.

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Renting a Car: Freedom on Wheels

Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore all of the Devon places to visit including its charming villages, stunning beaches, and rugged moorlands at your own pace. Plus, it’s super convenient if you’re traveling with a toddler and need to bring along extra supplies.

This is always my first choice to make sure you can get to all the wonderful places to see in Devon as stress-free as possible as it gives you so much more freedom to explore off-the-beaten-path places in Devon. 

So if your budget will allow then rent a car in Devon.

What to Keep in Mind

Narrow Roads: Some best places to go in Devon may be tucked away down narrow roads, so take care while driving.

Parking: In busy tourist spots, parking can be a bit of a headache.

Public Transport: Buses and Trains

When It Works

If you’re sticking to larger towns like Exeter, Plymouth, or Torquay, public transport can be convenient and efficient.

When It Doesn’t

For those tucked-away beaches and hidden hiking spots, public transport might not be the best option. The schedules can be infrequent, and you could end up spending more time waiting for a ride than actually exploring.

This is only really a good option if you have plenty of time to spare waiting for busses etc. Or if your budget is super tight. 

Cycling: For the Adventurous Souls

Devon’s landscapes are perfect for cycling, whether you’re cruising along flat coastal paths or challenging yourself with some hilly terrain.

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Safety First!

If you choose to cycle, make sure you’ve got all the right gear. And let’s be honest, Devon’s weather can be unpredictable, so check the forecast.

Taxis and Rideshares: Convenient but Costly

If you’re going out for a night on the town or if you find yourself in a pinch, taxis and rideshares are readily available, especially in the larger towns.

If you are in a smaller town you are unlikely to find Uber. But there should be a local taxi service you can use. The best thing is to ask locals working in pubs and restaurants to call you a local taxi. 

Walking: When in Doubt, Walk It Out

Some of the best places to go in Devon involve beautiful walks. Devon is filled with lovely walking trails, some of which offer the most breathtaking views you’ll ever see. If your accommodation is centrally located, walking can be a fantastic way to explore the local area.

My Opinion? Mix and Match!

Honestly, your best bet might be a mix of these options. Rent a car for those hard-to-reach spots and days when you’re craving freedom, but don’t rule out a scenic train ride or a leisurely bike tour.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Devon ToursClick here to check out the top Devon tours
Best Devon Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Devon
Best Devon Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Devon

Best Places to Visit in Devon

Here’s a list of 15 best places to visit in Devon to make your trip even more memorable:

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

1. Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor National Park is a place that encompasses all the wild and untamed beauty you could wish for. Which is why its at the top of my best places to visit in Devon list.

Imagine landscapes that feel like they’ve been lifted straight out of a painting, with their rolling hills, granite tors, and seemingly endless moorlands. It’s a haven for wildlife too. 

There are so many Devon things to do in Dartmoor,  from the iconic wild ponies that roam freely, to deer and a plethora of bird species, nature is the heartbeat of Dartmoor. This is more than just a park; it’s a historical and cultural treasure trove. 

Here you’ll find ancient standing stones, and even tales of mythical creatures like the Hound of the Baskervilles woven into the very fabric of the land.

What makes Dartmoor special is that there are no end things to do in Dartmoor. If you’re like me and love to hike, you’re in for a treat. The park offers miles of footpaths with varying levels of difficulty. 

Looking for things to do on Dartmoor that are a bit more unique, pony trekking is an excellent way to cover more ground in a fun way. If leisure is what you’re after, nothing beats a riverside picnic in one of Dartmoor’s many scenic spots. And when the sun sets, the park transforms into one of the UK’s Dark Sky Reserves, offering a celestial spectacle that’s perfect for stargazing. 

And for one of the most fun and unusual Dartmoor things to do don’t miss out on letterboxing, a unique activity that’s like a treasure hunt across the moor. Trust me, Dartmoor is a gem that offers something for everyone, whether you’re an adventurer at heart or just someone looking to unwind in the lap of nature.

Fun Fact: Dartmoor is the only place you can still legally go wild camping in the UK!

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Dartmoor National Park- Romantic Cottage
The Moorland Hotel, Haytor, Devon
Dolphin Hotel

2. Exeter

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Just behind Dartmoor on my best place to visit in Devon list is the City of Exeter. Exeter is a city that effortlessly blends its rich history with a vibrant, modern energy. Nestled in the heart of Devon, it’s the sort of place where ancient Roman walls coexist with bustling shopping streets and trendy eateries. 

You’ll find majestic sites like the Exeter Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture that dates back to the 12th century. Then there’s the Underground Passages, a maze of medieval tunnels that takes you on a journey through Exeter’s history. 

The Quayside is another highlight, showcasing the city’s maritime heritage while offering a range of contemporary dining and shopping options.

What I love about Exeter and what makes it the second best place to visit in Devon is that it never runs out of ways to entertain you. If you’re a fan of the arts, venues like the Exeter Phoenix and the Northcott Theatre have a diverse line-up that ranges from music gigs to theatre productions. 

Fun Fact: In my past life as a professional dancer I have performed at Exeter Northcott Theatre as well as the smaller Cygnet Theatre with my dance company Exim based in Plymouth.

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum is a must-visit if you’re into art, culture, or history—and the best part? It’s free! 

If you’re more of an outdoorsy person like me, you’ll be happy to know that Exeter offers some stunning walks along the River Exe. Not to forget, the city serves as a gateway to nearby natural wonders like Dartmoor National Park and the Jurassic Coast. Exeter is a great place to base yourself if you want to cover as many things to do in Devon as possible thanks to its central location.

Exeter is one of the best places to visit in Devon because it has that perfect blend of urban sophistication and natural beauty, catering to a wide range of interests and tastes. Whether you’re here to explore its historic sites, engage with its cultural scene, or simply soak in its natural beauty, Exeter is a city that promises a fulfilling experience. 

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Courtyard by Marriott Exeter Sandy Park
Holiday Inn Express
Leonardo Hotel Exeter

3. Salcombe

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

I LOVE Salcome. I actually worked in this area for several years and loved the drive out here, especially in winter. 

What makes Salcome one of my Devon best places to visit? Well, Salcombe is a picturesque harbor town in South Devon that captures the essence of coastal living at its finest. Known for its stunning estuary, sandy beaches, and relaxed, nautical vibe, Salcome is a destination that invites you to unwind as soon as you arrive. 

The harbor is the heart of the town, always buzzing with activity from fishing boats, yachts, and ferries. Here, you can find some of the finest seafood in the UK, brought to shore daily by the local fishing fleet. 

The town’s history as a center for shipbuilding and sailing is evident everywhere you look, from the Salcombe Maritime Museum to the classic Salcombe Yawls you’ll see bobbing in the estuary.

What sets Salcome apart is its offering of both leisure and adventure. For those seeking a tranquil retreat, there’s nothing like a day at Mill Bay or North Sands, where the soft sand and calm waters create the perfect setting for relaxation. 

If you’re inclined toward more active pursuits, Salcombe provides ample opportunities for sailing, kayaking, and hiking along the South West Coast Path. 

The town is also known for its boutique shops and high-quality local produce, including the famous Salcombe Dairy ice cream. So whether you’re savoring fresh crab sandwiches by the waterfront, sailing on the crystal-clear waters, or simply enjoying the view from the cliff tops, Salcome offers a multitude of experiences that make it a must-visit destination on the Devon coastline.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

The Fortescue Inn Salcombe
Harbour Beach Club
Chillington House

4. Torquay

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Torquay, often referred to as the “English Riviera,” is a seaside town in Devon that has been at the forefront of Devon’s top attractions for generations. 

Famous for its sandy beaches, palm-lined promenade, and mild climate, Torquay offers a kind of Mediterranean feel without ever leaving the British Isles. The harbor, framed by whitewashed buildings and bustling with boats and yachts, is the centerpiece of the town. Beyond its natural beauty, Torquay also holds historical significance, being the birthplace of the renowned mystery writer Agatha Christie.

What makes Torquay a particularly compelling place to visit is its versatility. If you’re looking for relaxation, beaches like Torre Abbey Sands and Oddicombe Beach are ideal spots to soak up the sun or take a leisurely swim. If you’re interested in marine life, Living Coasts, an innovative coastal zoo, offers a delightful experience for families and wildlife enthusiasts alike. 

For those looking to get active, water sports like sailing, kayaking, and paddleboarding are readily available. 

The South West Coast Path offers great hiking opportunities with panoramic sea views, and for a bit of culture, the Torquay Museum and the Princess Theatre have you covered. 

In essence, Torquay is a place that offers a little bit of everything, making it an ideal destination whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

The Heritage Hotel
Hampton By Hilton Torquay
The Torbay Hotel

5. Totnes

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Totnes is unofficially twinned with Narnia haha. And that pretty much sums up the vibe for me. I worked in Totness for several years and it really is a magical place.

Totnes is a market town in Devon that is unlike any other, known for its unique character and a bohemian spirit that’s hard to find elsewhere in the UK. Nestled on the banks of the River Dart, Totnes is steeped in history and folklore. 

The town is home to an array of historic buildings, including Totnes Castle, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. The main street, dotted with independent shops, boutiques, and cafes, provides a vibrant yet laid-back atmosphere that sets Totnes apart from other towns.

But what really makes Totnes special and one of the best places in Devon to visit is its emphasis on sustainability and the local community. The town is at the forefront of the environmental movement in the UK, even introducing its own local currency to support local businesses. 

Organic farms, renewable energy projects, and eco-friendly initiatives are a way of life here. For those interested in alternative therapies, spirituality, or New Age practices, Totnes is a hub of activity. 

Add to that a rich cultural scene that includes music festivals, art galleries, and a wealth of workshops and courses, and you have a place that truly offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to delve into history, explore alternative lifestyles, or simply enjoy the natural beauty of the Devon countryside, Totnes is a destination that promises a rich and varied experience.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Dartington Hall
The Maltsters Arms
The Waterman’s Arms

6. Brixham

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Brixham is a charming fishing town located at the southern point of Tor Bay, in Devon. Known for its picturesque harbor, vibrant fishing community, and panoramic sea views, Brixham offers an authentic taste of coastal life. The harbor is the focal point of the town, alive with a mix of fishing vessels and pleasure boats. It’s a great place to watch the day’s catch being brought in, and you might even be tempted to try some freshly caught seafood at one of the local restaurants.

What really captures the essence of Brixham is its rich maritime history and close-knit community. The town played a significant role in events like the arrival of William of Orange in 1688, and it has been an important fishing port for centuries. 

Today, you can explore this history at the Brixham Heritage Museum or by visiting the replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship, the Golden Hind, which is moored in the harbor. 

For those looking to enjoy the great outdoors, Berry Head National Nature Reserve offers stunning views, birdwatching opportunities, and scenic walks. Whether you’re interested in history, looking to enjoy some water activities, or simply want to relax and take in the sea air, Brixham provides a blend of attractions that make it a delightful place to visit.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Ranscombe House
The Railway Inn
Berry Head Hotel

7. Clovelly

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Clovelly is a one-of-a-kind village in North Devon that seems almost suspended in time. Built into a steep hillside overlooking the Bristol Channel, the village is known for its remarkably preserved 16th-century architecture and cobblestone streets so steep that they’re inaccessible to vehicles. 

In fact, donkeys and sleds are the traditional forms of transport here, adding an extra layer of charm to an already enchanting place. The absence of cars makes for a tranquil atmosphere, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of this historic fishing village.

What sets Clovelly apart is its sense of community and commitment to preserving its heritage. 

Privately owned for over 400 years, the village has managed to maintain its historic character in part because of this careful stewardship. Visitors will find a range of artisan shops selling hand-crafted goods, from pottery to fudge. 

The harbor is a focal point, where you can watch local fishermen bring in their catch of the day, much like they have for centuries. If you’re up for a bit of adventure, you can take a boat trip for some mackerel fishing or to see the nearby cliffs and hidden coves. 

Alternatively, you can explore the South West Coast Path, which offers stunning views and passes through the village. Clovelly offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and tranquility that make it a must-visit destination when you’re in Devon.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

The New Inn Clovelly
The West Country Inn
Red Lion Hotel

8. Woolacombe Beach

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Woolacombe Beach in North Devon is a seaside paradise that draws surfers, families, and nature enthusiasts alike. Stretching for over two miles, the beach is renowned for its golden sands, excellent water quality, and consistent surf waves. 

Whether you’re looking to ride the swells or simply relax by the sea, Woolacombe offers a little slice of heaven. When the tide is out, the beach expands to reveal a vast expanse of sand, perfect for beach games, sunbathing, and sandcastle building.

One of the standout features of Woolacombe Beach is its backdrop of rolling hills and dunes, covered in lush greenery. This natural setting not only adds to the beach’s beauty but also offers opportunities for hiking and nature walks. 

The beach is well-maintained, with lifeguards on duty during the summer months, making it a safe spot for swimming and water sports. For those interested in surfing, there are several surf schools and rental shops along the beachfront, catering to both beginners and experienced surfers. 

And when you’ve had your fill of sun and surf, the nearby village of Woolacombe offers a range of cafes, shops, and pubs where you can refuel and relax. All in all, Woolacombe Beach is a versatile destination that combines natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and community amenities in a way that makes it one of the must-visit beaches in Devon.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Fortescue Arms
The Woolacombe Bay Hotel
High Ways House

9. Croyde Bay

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Croyde Bay in North Devon is a surfer’s dream come true and a fantastic destination for a beach getaway. Known for its powerful waves and golden sands, the beach has a reputation as one of the best surfing spots in the UK. Nestled between headlands and backed by scenic dunes, Croyde Bay offers a more intimate feel compared to some other Devon beaches. 

The area has an undeniable youthful energy, thanks in part to its surfing culture, but it also caters to visitors of all ages, making it a fantastic place for a family day out.

The village of Croyde itself adds another layer of charm to the area. It’s a quaint little community with thatched-roof cottages, local surf shops, and cozy pubs serving delicious local fare. After a day in the water, nothing beats indulging in a hearty meal or enjoying a pint as you share surfing stories. 

Beyond the surf and sand, Croyde Bay is also an excellent base for exploring nearby natural attractions. The South West Coast Path runs through the area, offering spectacular coastal views and leading to other beautiful spots like Baggy Point, renowned for its rugged cliffs and abundant wildlife. 

Whether you’re a die-hard surfer, a beach lover, or simply someone who appreciates the great outdoors, Croyde Bay offers a mix of elements that make it a unique and enjoyable destination.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Holiday Home
Three-Bedroom House

10. Plymouth

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Ah Plymouth, my old home! I first arrived in Plymouth in 2003 as a fresh-faced 21 year old and it won my heart. I lived there until I left the UK to go traveling in 2017 so it really does hold a special place in my heart.

Plymouth is a dynamic city on the south coast of Devon, steeped in maritime history and bustling with modern energy. Known for its stunning waterfront and historic sites, Plymouth is a city that successfully blends the old with the new. 

The historic Barbican district is a must-see, with its narrow, cobbled streets, Tudor buildings, and the famous Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrims set sail for America in 1620. A walk along Plymouth Hoe offers panoramic views of the English Channel and Plymouth Sound, along with historic landmarks like the Royal Citadel and Smeaton’s Tower.

But Plymouth isn’t just about history; it’s also a city of culture and innovation. The Royal William Yard, a collection of historic naval buildings, has been transformed into a modern complex featuring restaurants, shops, and luxury apartments. 

The city also has a thriving arts scene, with venues like the Theatre Royal Plymouth and The Barbican Theatre offering a diverse range of performances. It’s one of the reasons I stayed living in Plymouth as long as I did.

For nature lovers, Plymouth serves as a gateway to the stunning landscapes of Dartmoor National Park, as well as to the scenic beaches and coastal paths of South Devon. 

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Leonardo Hotel Plymouth
Invicta Hotel
Copthorne Hotel Plymouth

11. Exmoor National Park

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Exmoor National Park is a sprawling expanse of natural beauty straddling North Devon and West Somerset, offering a diverse mix of landscapes from moorland and woodland to river valleys and dramatic cliffs. 

Known for its rugged terrain and wild, untamed scenery, Exmoor is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re an avid hiker, cyclist, or simply someone who enjoys the peace and tranquility of nature, Exmoor delivers an unforgettable experience. 

One of the highlights is definitely the high cliffs that meet the Bristol Channel, offering breathtaking panoramic views that can make you feel like you’re standing at the edge of the world.

But Exmoor is not just about untamed landscapes; it’s also rich in wildlife and cultural history. The park is home to the Exmoor pony, a native British breed that roams freely in the wild, as well as red deer and a myriad of bird species.

 As for history, the area is dotted with ancient landmarks, like the Tarr Steps, a prehistoric clapper bridge crossing the River Barle, and Dunster Castle, which offers a blend of medieval and modern history. 

There are also charming villages and traditional pubs scattered throughout the park, where you can sample local fare and experience the community’s warm hospitality. Exmoor National Park is not just a destination but an experience, one that offers a deep sense of connection to nature and a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Northfield Hotel
The Hunters Inn
The Beach Hotel

12. Ilfracombe

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Ilfracombe is a delightful seaside resort town in North Devon that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, historical charm, and artistic flair. The town is probably best known for its stunning harbor, framed by rugged cliffs and hills. 

It’s a fantastic place to take in the sea air, enjoy some freshly caught fish, and even embark on a boat trip to nearby Lundy Island or along the coast. But Ilfracombe’s harbor isn’t just a place for traditional seaside activities; it’s also home to Damien Hirst’s controversial sculpture, “Verity,” which adds a modern, thought-provoking element to the landscape.

Beyond the harbor, Ilfracombe has a lot to offer. For history buffs, the 14th-century St. Nicholas Chapel on Lantern Hill and the Tunnels Beaches, a series of hand-carved tunnels leading to unique tidal pools, are must-visits. 

The town is also a gateway to some of North Devon’s most scenic spots, including the beaches of Woolacombe and Croyde Bay, as well as Exmoor National Park. And let’s not forget Ilfracombe’s thriving arts scene, which includes a range of galleries, theaters, and live music venues. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, soaking up some local history, or immersing yourself in art and culture, Ilfracombe is a versatile destination that has something for everyone.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Carlton Hotel
The Dilkhusa Grand Hotel
Royal Britannia Hotel

13. Sidmouth

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Sidmouth is a picturesque coastal town in East Devon that exudes an old-world charm, thanks in large part to its Regency architecture and beautiful public gardens. Set against the backdrop of the lush hills of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sidmouth offers a peaceful and scenic retreat. 

The town’s beach is a mix of pebble and sand, flanked by towering red cliffs that are a hallmark of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage site. It’s a lovely spot for a leisurely stroll, sunbathing, or even some rock pooling at low tide.

But Sidmouth isn’t just for beachgoers. If you’re interested in history and architecture, take a walk along the Esplanade and admire the Regency buildings, or visit the Sidmouth Museum to delve into the town’s rich past. 

Nature lovers will enjoy the Byes, a beautiful riverside park that’s perfect for a leisurely walk or a picnic. And let’s not forget the Sidmouth Folk Festival, an annual event that has been drawing crowds for over six decades and is one of the oldest festivals of its kind in the UK. 

With its blend of natural beauty, historical charm, and cultural events, Sidmouth is a destination that offers a truly enriching experience, making it a must-visit when you’re in Devon.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Dukes Inn
Balfour Arms
The Elizabeth

14. Paignton

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Paignton is a vibrant seaside town in South Devon, often mentioned in the same breath as its bustling neighbors, Torquay and Brixham. Known for its sandy beaches and family-friendly atmosphere, Paignton is a hit with holidaymakers looking for a traditional English seaside experience. 

The beachfront area is a hive of activity, complete with a pier full of arcade games, a range of eateries serving classic fish and chips, and plenty of spots to enjoy an ice cream. Paignton Beach, with its golden sands and shallow waters, is perfect for families and offers a range of water sports for the adventurous.

But there’s more to Paignton than just the beach. The town is home to Paignton Zoo, one of the largest zoological gardens in the UK, which offers a great day out for families. If you’re interested in history, the 14th-century Kirkham House and Oldway Mansion, a stunning building modeled after the Palace of Versailles, provide fascinating glimpses into the past.

For those looking to explore beyond the town, Paignton serves as an excellent base for discovering the natural beauty of the English Riviera and the South Devon coastline. The Dartmouth Steam Railway departs from Paignton and offers a nostalgic journey along the coast and through the countryside. 

Whether you’re a beach lover, a history buff, or an explorer at heart, Paignton offers a diverse range of experiences that make it a standout destination in Devon.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

The Queens Hotel
Marine Hotel
Beach Hotel Torbay

15. Tavistock

Places to Visit in Devon | Devon Attractions

Tavistock is a charming market town situated on the edge of Dartmoor National Park in West Devon. This town is steeped in history, notably as the birthplace of Sir Francis Drake, the famous sea captain and explorer. 

One of the town’s focal points is the Pannier Market, a bustling marketplace that’s been at the heart of community life for centuries. Here, you’ll find everything from local produce to crafts and antiques, making it a perfect spot to soak up the local atmosphere and perhaps pick up a unique memento.

Just a short drive away, you’ll find yourself amidst the untamed beauty of the moors, with endless opportunities for hiking, cycling, and exploring. 

For those who prefer a more structured approach to the great outdoors, Tavistock Golf Club offers stunning views along with its challenging fairways. 

Back in town, you can explore the remains of Tavistock Abbey or take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the River Tavy. The town also has a thriving arts scene, with regular performances and exhibitions taking place throughout the year. 

Whether you’re drawn by its rich history, the bustling market, or its proximity to natural beauty, Tavistock offers a well-rounded experience that makes it a must-visit when you’re in Devon.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Bedford Hotel
Tavistock House Hotel
Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast

The Best Things To Do In Devon

Wondering what to do in Devon? In this section, I’ve tried to cover as many of the best things to do in Devon as I can think of! I’ve split this section into different sections depending on the type of things to do in Devon that you are looking for from family friendly things to do in Devon, to Devon things to do for adventure seekers. 

Ultimate Guide: The Best Things To Do in Devon

Family Days Out in Devon

Devon is an absolute playground when it comes to family-friendly activities and fun days out in Devon. Whether you’re looking to spend the day indoors or basking in the great outdoors, there’s something for everyone. 

Crabbing at Ilfracombe Harbour

Why: It’s a simple and engaging activity for kids and adults alike. All you need is a bucket and a bit of bait and you have the making of one of those perfect days out in Devon!

Beach Day at Woolacombe Beach

Why: This beach is perfect for sandcastle-building, surfing lessons, and even just a nice family picnic.

Pony Trekking in Dartmoor

Why: Suitable for older kids and adults, it’s a fabulous way to explore the natural beauty of Dartmoor.

Quick Tip: View my full Europe packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Europe Essentials shopping list here.

Indoor Activities in Devon

Ultimate Guide: The Best Things To Do in Devon

The House of Marbles

Why: From interactive exhibits to marble runs, this place offers a unique and educational experience.

Bear Feet Play Centre

Why: An indoor play area with plenty of slides, ball pits, and climbing structures to keep the little ones busy.

RAMM (Royal Albert Memorial Museum)

Why: Located in Exeter, this museum is not only educational but also interactive, which is a win-win for families.

Devon Attractions for Families

Ultimate Guide: The Best Things To Do in Devon

Paignton Zoo

Why: With over 2,500 animals, this zoo offers a complete day out in Devon for the family.

Crealy Theme Park & Resort

Why: Think rollercoasters, live shows, and even a water park—there’s something for everyone.

Pennywell Farm

Why: It offers a hands-on experience with farm animals, and trust me, its one of my top Devon attractions because kids absolutely love it.

The BIG Sheep

Why: It’s a farm-themed amusement park with sheep races, animal feeding, and even some rides for the little ones.

Diggerland Devon

Why: Ever wanted to operate heavy machinery? Here, both kids and adults can ride, drive, and operate real diggers! One of the most interactive Devon attractions for the whole family.

Unusual Things to Do in Devon

Ultimate Guide: The Best Things To Do in Devon

I love exploring the less-trodden paths, and Devon has some truly unique spots that many visitors overlook. Here’s a rundown of some of the more quirky and unusual things you can do and places you can visit.

A La Ronde

What: A quirky 16-sided house filled with art, crafts, and curiosities.

Gnome Reserve

What: A garden filled with thousands of garden gnomes. Yes, you read that right.

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park

What: It’s not just a wildlife park; it also has animatronic dinosaurs!

Hound Tor Deserted Medieval Village

What: The ruins of a medieval village in the heart of Dartmoor, offering a glimpse into the past.

Unusual Activities in Devon

This list of Devon attractions is probably my favorite as it will get you away from the normal tourist trail and out into Devon’s rich landscape.. 

Ultimate Guide: The Best Things To Do in Devon

Foraging Courses

What: Learn how to identify and collect wild edibles like mushrooms, berries, and plants.

Night Hiking on Dartmoor

What: Guided hikes under the stars. Make sure to bring a good torch and keep an eye out for the mythical Hound of Dartmoor!

Wild Swimming at Sharrah Pool

What: A hidden pool in the heart of Dartmoor, perfect for a secluded dip.

Goat Yoga

What: Combine the relaxation of yoga with the joy of interacting with goats. It’s as amazing as it sounds!

Surfing in the River Severn

What: Yep, you can surf the Severn Bore, a tidal surge that runs through the River Severn.

Free Things to Do in Devon

From hiking trails to historic markets, Devon offers a wealth of experiences that don’t cost a penny. 

Here’s a quick list of free things to do in Devon that are not just kind to your wallet but also super enjoyable. In my opinion, some of the best memories are made when you’re out exploring Devon attractions without worrying about the next ticket you have to buy. 

Ultimate Guide: The Best Things To Do in Devon

Dartmoor National Park

Why: It’s free to explore, and you’ll be amazed by the moorland scenery and perhaps even encounter some of the local Dartmoor ponies.

The Tarka Trail

Why: This walking and cycling path runs over 30 miles and is absolutely free to use.


Woolacombe Beach

Why: Considered one of the best beaches in the UK, it’s totally free to visit—just bring your own bucket and spade!

Teignmouth Beach

Why: A lovely family-friendly beach perfect for sandcastle building.

Okehampton Castle

Why: The grounds are free to explore, although there’s a charge for entry to the keep.

Totnes Elizabethan Market

Why: Every Tuesday morning from May to September, the market offers free entertainment in the form of musicians, magicians, and entertainers.

Ultimate Guide: The Best Things To Do in Devon

Exeter’s Historic Quayside

Why: A great place for a leisurely stroll along the river, featuring some historic buildings.

Plymouth Hoe

Why: Offers a beautiful panoramic view of Plymouth Sound and the English Channel. Great for picnics!

Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Why: Entry is free, and it offers a range of exhibits from natural history to world cultures.

Brixham Art and Craft Market

Why: Browse local crafts and artworks without any obligation to buy.

The Best Times to visit Devon

From its rugged coastlines to its charming countryside, it’s a destination that truly offers something for every type of traveler. But when is the best time to visit Devon

Trust me, living there for close to 13 years I’ve been there in all kinds of weather, and each season has its own magic. Here’s my rundown of the best times to visit Devon based on what you’re looking to get out of your trip.

Ultimate Guide: The Best Things To Do in Devon

Spring: For the Flower Lovers

Why It’s Great

Spring in Devon is absolutely enchanting. Think blooming wildflowers, lush green landscapes, and fewer tourists. It’s the perfect time to explore the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks.

What to Consider

While the weather can be mild, it’s still the UK we’re talking about, so bring layers!

Summer: Sun, Sea, and Surf

The Peak Season

If you’re all about the beaches—think surfing, sailing, and building sandcastles with the little ones — summer is the season for you. With warm temperatures and longer days, Devon‘s coastal areas truly come alive.

Be Prepared

Summer is also high tourist season, so expect crowds and book accommodations in advance. There will be plenty of traffic on the roads coming in and out of Devon, especially in August, and cheap trains and buses tickets will likely be fully booked. 

Autumn: For the Cozy Vibes

Ultimate Guide: The Best Things To Do in Devon

A Hidden Gem

Ah, Devon in the fall—my personal favorite. It’s less crowded than the summer but still offers plenty of sunshine. The landscapes are dotted with hues of orange and gold, making it a dreamy setting for long walks and cozy pub visits.

A Heads-Up

As autumn progresses, the weather can become more unpredictable, so packing a raincoat and gortex hiking boots is a good idea.

Winter: A Different Kind of Magic

The Off-Season Appeal

If you’re looking to escape the crowds and don’t mind a bit of chill, winter in Devon has a unique charm. It’s the perfect time for long coastal walks and hearty English meals with mulled wine and hot cider by the fire.

What to Keep in Mind

Many attractions and accommodations might be closed or have limited hours, so do your research before heading out.

My Opinion? Go When Your Heart Desires!

If you ask me, there’s really no bad time to visit Devon. It all depends on what you want to experience. 

But if you’re like me and enjoy quieter, more introspective activities like yoga or hiking, the shoulder seasons offer a perfect balance.

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Luxury Hotels: For a Touch of Opulence

If you’re looking to splurge a little (or a lot!), Devon has some luxurious hotels complete with all the bells and whistles—think spa services, gourmet dining, and breathtaking views.

My Top Pick:

I can’t rave enough about Bovey Castle. It’s the perfect place for a bit of pampering.

Bed & Breakfasts: For That Homey Feel

Ultimate Guide: The Best Things To Do in Devon

The Classic Choice

B&Bs are a quintessentially British experience. Often family-run, these places offer a cozy atmosphere, delicious breakfasts, and invaluable local knowledge.

Why I Love Them

B&Bs are my go-to when Carlos and I want a more intimate setting. They’re usually in beautiful old homes and offer a different, more local perspective. The Roslyn Guest House offers Full English/Irish breakfast and vegetarian or gluten-free options.

Self-Catering Cottages: Your Home Away From Home

The Family-Friendly Option

If you’re traveling with family and prefer having your own space to cook and lounge, a self-catering cottage can be ideal. Trust me, it makes life so much easier when you have a toddler in tow.

The Perks

You get a lot more space, often in scenic locations. Plus, you can save a bit on dining out!

Hostels: On a Shoestring Budget

Ultimate Guide: The Best Things To Do in Devon

When to Consider

If you’re traveling solo or just looking to save some money, hostels can be a great option. They’re generally clean, safe, and a great way to meet other travelers.

My Take

I’ve had some of my best travel experiences while staying in hostels. However, these days with a growing family, they’re less practical for us. Plymouth Backpackers is close to Plymouth Pavilions, Cathedral Church of St Mary and St Boniface and Plymouth Hoe.

Camping: For the Adventurous at Heart

Get Close to Nature

If you’re up for it, camping in Devon can be a fantastic experience. Just imagine waking up to the sound of birds chirping and the smell of fresh air.

What to Know

Make sure you check the local guidelines, especially if you’re planning on wild camping. Safety first!

Are you traveling in the United Kingdom? Be sure to check out my other blog posts:

Coastal Walking in Cornwall | Boscastle to Tintagel
7 reasons to visit Cornwall in the United Kingdom
7 reasons to visit Devon in the United Kingdom
How to spend a day in Bath, United Kingdom
Coastal Walking in Cornwall | Porthcurno to Gwennap Head
What’s in my Bag | Packing advice for Europe



So there you have it! A jam-packed list of things you absolutely must do when you visit Devon. I really hope I’ve answered your questions about what to do in Devon!

From hitting the surf and exploring underwater worlds to walking in the tranquil countryside, this place genuinely has something for everyone. 

Now, I know I’ve been gushing about the seafood (seriously, try the crab), but let’s not forget Devon’s other culinary delights. A trip here isn’t complete without indulging in a traditional Devonshire cream tea. It’s a treat you won’t want to miss, and it encapsulates the essence of local life here.

In my opinion, Devon is one of those destinations that you can visit again and again, and still find something new to fall in love with each time. So whether you’re an adventure seeker, a peace chaser, or a little bit of both (like me!), Devon has got you covered.

If you’ve been to Devon before, I’d love to hear about your favorite experiences. And if you’re planning your first trip, get ready for a dose of the good life, British style!

Devon Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Europe?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Europe which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Europe on Amazon here.

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance. I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise, Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Europe?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options available!

🚗 Where can I book rental cars or private transportation?

I strongly recommend using RentalCars. They are available in more than 60.000 locations and customer service support in more than 40 languages.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using either Airhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are,, and Expedia. They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack.

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Friday 5th of August 2016

That's a part of the UK I don't know - I'd really like to see more! Thanks for giving me another travel inspiration!

Alexandra Mucenieks

Friday 5th of August 2016

Great post. Would love to visit Devon one day

Claire Summers

Friday 5th of August 2016

Thank you Alexandra you will love it!

Emily Holm

Friday 5th of August 2016

One of my favorite places in England, have such nice memories of going here as a child! Thanks for sharing

Claire Summers

Friday 5th of August 2016

Thanks Emma I used to visit here when I was a child too. Think that's part of the reason I moved here :-)

Priyanka Banerjee

Thursday 4th of August 2016

Very nice post on Devon! I have good reasons now to visit the place. Thanks for sharing such an amazing post!

Tanja (the Red phone box travels)

Monday 25th of July 2016

sounds interesting:)

Claire Sturzaker

Friday 5th of August 2016

Despite being from the UK I don't think I've ever visited Devon - oops!!! Must go now :D