The beautiful rolling countryside and awe-inspiring coastal scenery of of Devon in South West England offer the perfect chance to visitors to sit back, take a deep breath of fresh, country air, and relax. Which is not to say Devon is entirely tranquil: there are plenty of fast-paced activities for adrenaline junkies, plus exciting nightlife in the cities. There is also an abundance of amazing places to stay including hotels, campsites, holiday parks and many fantastic Devon holiday cottages by the sea for self-catering independence. All-in-all Devon is a fantastic travel destination and a holiday hotspot for visitors from within the UK and from other countries too. Here are seven of the best things to discover and experience while on holiday in Devon.
1. Visit Greenway House & Garden
The most popular novelist who ever lived, Agatha Christie enjoyed a summerhouse in Devon where she and her family would spend long, lazy summers. The house and its grounds are now operated by the National Trust, and guests are welcome to come in and spend an afternoon exploring the place where so many Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries were conceived. Even if you’re not a Christie fan, it is one of the most beautiful places in Devon and a perfect way to spend a relaxed afternoon.
2. Go surfing or even skiing
Devon enjoys both a North and South coast, both of which are a Mecca for British surfers. Along both coasts you’ll find any number of operators who can rent you equipment for surfing, windsailing and many other water sports. But if you don’t want to get your hair wet, you can head over to Plymouth Ski and Snowboard Centre for some indoor thrills on an artificial slope.
3. Visit a famous zoo
If you’ve seen the movie We Bought A Zoo with Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, you’ll be familiar with Dartmoor Zoological Park. There’s an incredible story behind this wildlife sanctuary that is home to over 200 big cats as well as many other mammals, and it’s all located just a 15-minute drive outside Plymouth. Ideal for families, the zoo is filled with plenty of activities for kids.
4. Enjoy sunshine and nightlife on the English Riviera
Based around the town of Torquay, the self-styled English Riviera on Devon’s South coast offers a continental experience in the heart of Blighty. Sunbathe on lush beaches during the day, enjoy fine cuisine in some world-class restaurants, and later on you can enjoy the achingly cool nightlife in the city. Torquay itself, which will be familiar to fans of the old sitcom Fawlty Towers, is rated as one of the best travel destinations in the world by TripAdvisor. Nearby Paignton prides itself on being one of the friendliest towns in the region, with plenty of old-fashioned charm, while Brixham’s harbour makes it popular with sailors, as well as an incredible place to dine on seafood.
5. Walk the South West Coast Path
For a ramble to really get the blood going, take a stroll along the South West Coast Path. Voted Britain’s best walk by no less an institution than Walk Magazine, the full journey is a knee-trembling 630 miles, taking you all along Devon’s southern coast, along the whole of Cornwall, and then back up along North Devon. Obviously, you don’t need to do the whole thing, and can enjoy any part of the walk by itself, with beautiful scenery, stunning wildlife, and handy amenities along the way.
6. Enjoy a quirky Devon pastime
“Letterboxing” may not be something that you’ve heard of, but it’s a popular tradition in Devon that has gradually spread out to the rest of the world. It’s quite like orienteering, where you must follow maps and clues to find locations on the moors. When you reach a destination, you’ll find a stamp which you can use to stamp your card to prove that you found the letterbox, plus a visitor’s book that you can sign. There are several online forums with information about letterboxing meets, and it’s a wonderful way to explore the beautiful moors.
7. See the wildlife of Lundy
Known by some as “the Galapagos of Britain”, Lundy is a small natural rocky outcrop that’s home to extraordinary marine and bird life. Carefully preserved and managed, there’s plenty to do around here including tours of the area that allow you to get up close to the animals, all done in a responsible way that will appeal to all ecotourists. A beautiful sight, this is not just a treasure of Devon but of the whole of Britain.
Whether you’re looking for an exciting sun holiday, or a peaceful and relaxing vacation amongst stunning natural beauty, Devon has it all. So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Devon and prepare to be amazed by this first-class UK travel destination.