Devon is a picturesque county in south-west England, where there’s something for everyone – from golden beaches and towering cliffs, to tranquil national parks and historic medieval towns.

A popular haven for visitors and with two beautiful coastlines, it boasts many contrasting attractions including five designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, award-winning restaurants, family attractions, outdoor activities and residences of the rich and famous.

Read on to discover ten of the best things about Devon…

 

  1. Torquay seaside resort

Torquay is one of the most popular places to stay for holidaymakers. The seaside resort is known as the English Riviera, with famous beauty spots such as Babbacombe beach, historic attractions like the 12th-century monastery Torre Abbey and the shops, cafes and marina of Torquay Harbour, to name but a few. Torre Abbey is steeped in history and houses many fascinating exhibitions, as well as being a popular wedding venue.

 

  1. Tiverton family fun

Tiverton promises a bucket full of fun for all the family! With attractions that include Tiverton Castle, the play and party centre Monsters’ Mansion, Tiverton Museum and the Wall in the Hall climbing centre, it’s a great place to spend your holiday. On the banks of the River Exe, Tiverton Castle was first built in the 12th century in stunning three-acre grounds. Many changes took place over the centuries, until it was rebuilt in the 17th century into the country house of today.

 

  1. Seaton

Famous for its heritage trams that run to Colyford and Colyton in the glorious Axe Valley, Seaton is a seaside town on the south coast. The tramway is one of the premier visitor attractions in Devon, carrying more than 100,000 passengers each year. Other tourist attractions include the famous Pecorama Gardens with their ruined tower, the ancient Beer Quarry Caves dating back around 2,000 years and the annual illuminated carnival on August Bank Holiday.

 

  1. Agatha Christie’s home

The famous crime writer Agatha Christie’s home, Greenway, is located by the River Dart. The historic house and gardens are now owned by the National Trust. Original Greenway was a 16th-century Tudor mansion built by the Gilbert family. Humphrey Gilbert’s half-brother was Sir Walter Raleigh, who also spent time there. The current house was built in the 18th century and in 1938, it was bought by Agatha Christie and her husband, Max Mallowan. It was their marital home until Christie’s death in 1976 and featured in many of her novels.

 

Agatha Home

 

  1. Famous walks

 

A popular attraction is the prehistoric Dartmoor walks, following the trail of the standing stones resplendent on the remote hilltops. In Dartmoor National Park, there are several ancient stone figures on the moors including Beardown Man, Loughtor Man and Harbourne Man. The Standing Stones of Dartmoor are known as menhirs – a term also used to describe rows of exceptionally large stones. There used to be more, including the famous 25ft stone on Dartmoor as described in an 1862 article called British Remains on Dartmoor, but some have not stood the test of time.

 

  1. Exeter Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of St Peter in Exeter, otherwise known as Exeter Cathedral, was founded in 1133 and wasn’t completed until around 1400. The Anglican cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Exeter. Although it was damaged during the Civil War, it was later restored, but suffered a direct hit during World War II, when a German air offensive in 1942 targeted British cities of cultural importance. During subsequent repairs, the remains of a Roman city were found under the western end of the building. Today, it remains an important cultural site.

 

Devon Cathedral

 

  1. Famous people

Devon has produced its fair share of celebrities from all walks of life. Famous people born in Devon include Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Tom Daley who was born in Plymouth, Coldplay singer and songwriter Chris Martin who hails from Whitestone, Exeter, and controversial businesswoman and TV personality Katie Hopkins, who was born in Barnstaple.

 

  1. South West Coast Path

The famous coastal footpath offers relatively easy access to the cliffs, sandy coves and peaceful hamlets dotted along the Devon coast. Walkers can stop at plenty of places en route, while a regular bus network enables visitors to go wherever they please. Particularly popular are the walks from Clovelly to Hartland Point on the north coast, and Bantham to Salcombe on the south coast.

 

  1. Lundy Island

The island is dubbed Britain’s Galapagos isle. The three-mile-long granite island off Hartland Point is a haven for wildlife and attracts plenty of divers and snorkellers. Visitors can enjoy a closeup of seals, basking sharks and puffins, while Lundy is also home to hundreds of resident seabirds of many different varieties. Tourists can take a trip on the famous MS Oldenburg, which sails several times a week to the island from Bideford and Ilfracombe.

 

  1. Tarka Trail

Cyclists flock to Britain’s longest traffic-free cycle route, the Tarka Trail, which follows a disused railway line for 180 miles. Popular day-trips include the Meeth to Barnstaple stretch (26 miles) and the 16-mile Great Torrington cycle route. There’s even a bus service to return cyclists to their destination after their ride. The quaint railway line features old signal boxes and carriages on the sidings, resembling something from Thomas the Tank Engine. It was also the setting for the famous Henry Williamson novel, Tarka the Otter.

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