One of Britain’s most famous seaside towns, Torquay has a strong Devonian identity. From the fantastic cream teas to the genteel Victorian undercurrent running alongside an authentic fishing town atmosphere, Torquay is typical Devon. Part of the ‘English Riviera’, the busy harbourside, and palm trees dotted around the town are almost reminiscent of the Mediterranean. There’s a pier to walk along, and a sandy beach where you can buy sticks of rock and other treats from the food kiosks.
While at Torquay, the nearby market town of Totnes, perched at the head of the estuary of the River Dart is also well worth a visit. Home to lots of unique independent shops, locally produced food, and a beautifully preserved motte and bailey castle, Totnes is sure to charm any visitor and is one of the best places to visit in Devon.
Sidmouth is a charming town nestled beneath majestic red cliffs and rolling green hills with its own balmy microclimate. With over 500 listed buildings many of which date from the Regency era, a beautiful botanic garden and a mile-long esplanade overlooking the pebble beach, Sidmouth is certainly easy on the eye.
In addition to the beauty spots and architecture, Sidmouth is also home to a toy and model museum, donkey sanctuary and Blue Flag award winning beaches, so there’s something for all ages. The whole family can also enjoy a walk on the South West Coast Path which takes you by dramatic headlands, picturesque harbours, tranquil estuaries and the secluded coves of Devon’s Jurassic Coast. Our nearby Devon Cliffs Holiday Park offers all sorts of further fun with the opportunity to try out water sports such as kayaking and paddle boarding on the coast.
It was a tough choice which of Devon’s national parks to include on this list, but in this author’s opinion, if you can only visit one, it has to be Dartmoor. If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then you should look no further than the majestic Dartmoor National Park. Dartmoor is a magical, ancient area, filled with deep valleys, spectacular rock formations and fast-flowing rivers.
If you need more than just hiking to keep you entertained then Dartmoor also offers up cycle routes, horse riding, climbing, and even water sports, so the whole family can stay active. Just a 40-minute drive from the coast, Dartmoor is a wonderful inland option on your Devonian adventure and is perhaps the best place to visit in Devon if you want to immerse yourself in nature.
One of the oldest and most picturesque seaside towns in Devon, Exmouth has two miles of sandy beach and is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast, making it perfect for adventures on both land and sea.
Close to Exeter, this vibrant town offers local shops and restaurants that can be enjoyed as well as the many walking and cycle routes. Exmouth is also known as a regional centre for water sports. You can try your hand at almost any water sport under the sun from kitesurfing to kayaking and windsurfing, among others. After tiring yourself out playing in the sea or walking the magnificent red sandstone cliffs, take to the beach to enjoy the two miles of golden sand, rare on this coast, and discover the fascinating rock pools with the kids.
It wouldn’t be fair to make a list of the best places to visit in Devon without including a number from the county’s ruggedly beautiful north coast. It’s a ‘Two Coast County’ after all, and it’s Croyde that makes the cut for us.
A real breath of fresh air, Croyde lies within the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and offers up the chance to lounge on some excellent sandy beaches and fix your eyes on some truly spectacular scenery. It’s not all about relaxation in Croyde though. The town is also known as the surfing capital of North Devon, and one of the finest places to surf in the UK, so whether you’re an expert, or you’ve never stepped foot on a board before, it’s time to get the swimwear on and hit the waves.