Devon is a place of natural beauty, simple pleasures and warm people. Through most of the area run rolling hills and wide open, grassy natural reserves. There are UNESCO preserved sites scattered throughout the countryside and sandy beaches on the south side. There are also pottery classes, woodcraft workshops and historic castles to visit. No matter where you go in Devon, there is plenty to see and do.
The Greater Dartmoor area is probably the most well-known part of Devon. It offers winding hiking trails, some breathtaking rock formations and endless, verdant hillsides. You’ll find here the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of Baskervilles as well as the setting for many Hollywood movies.
Devon itself is the setting of the play and movie War Horse, and since their release, the area has brought in a steady stream of tourists eager to see the inspiration for the moving tale. The writer still lives there and is happy to talk to those who pass through about the town and how it inspired him to write the story.
Nearby, Plymouth is a centre of culture of the area. It is home to excellent theatre productions and live music on a regular basis. It also offers plenty of family-oriented activities that any tourist would be wise to participate in.
Exeter is home to some of the oldest remaining architecture in the region. Visitors will find there a partially-preserved wall from the Roman occupation, and some Roman culture and presence is still seen in the area, lending it a storied history that few other areas in England can claim to share. It’s also one of the best places to set up base for your visit, as there are plenty of excellent hotels in Exeter (we love the Hotel du Vin, a stunning former eye hospital transformed into an upscale hotel).
Devon is primarily known for its natural beauty, and there are many hiking and biking trails there that will help you take advantage of that splendor. The Haldon Forest Park covers thousands of acres of wooded land, and the Tamar Trails stretch on for about 25 kilometers.
For those who want to push themselves a bit harder, the Devon Coast to Coast is an extensive trail that stretches the entire length of Devon. These trails are mostly free from traffic, making them great experiences for those who love the outdoors. For those who visit often, Devon provides more than 3,500 miles of walking paths.
Devon has made a name for itself as a culinary retreat. The local food is generally prepared right there in Devon and made to reflect the unique culture and culinary tastes of the region. When travelling through the area, it’s a good idea to look for the “Love the Flavour” stickers on restaurants and pubs there. This has become a seal of quality for food and beverage makers in Devon.
The most famous restaurant in the region is the Gidleigh Park, which is the recipient of two Michelin stars, the highest honor of one of the world’s most prestigious restaurant guides. Other notable restaurants in and around Devon include Northcote Manor Hotel, Home Farm Café, The Swan and The Victoria Inn.