Devon has two distinct coastlines, North and South, and more miles of road than any other county in the UK. The rolling countryside, quaint villages and relatively mild climate make Devon a great holiday destination.
North Devon is very rural, though its larger towns include Bideford, Ilfracombe, Barnstaple and Great Torrington. The series of beaches around Bideford Bay – Woolacombe, Saunton, Croyde and Westward Ho! provide excellent surfing conditions and along with parts of neighbouring Cornwall and South Wales are the centre of the UK’s surfing scene.
The 267 square mile national park of Exmoor, straddling both Somerset and Devon, extends to the North Devon coast and culminates in spectacular cliffs, the highest in southern Britain, at Great Hangman a 318m hog’s back hill with a 250m sheer cliff face at Combe Martin Bay. Further inland the working landscape melts into expansive moorland, woodland, plunging valleys and cascading streams. Ever popular with those seeking the outdoors experience, Exmoor offers exhilaration or tranquillity in equal measure. Visitors will be spell bound by the dark starry skies, intrigued by the historic villages and fascinated by the local wildlife including deer, otters and of course the Exmoor pony. Exploring by car is ideal.
South Devon has a different feel – not for nothing is it home to the English Riviera. The rolling hillside, home to towns such as Dartmouth, Salcombe and Totnes give way to a series of seaside resorts such as Torquay, Paignton, Exmouth and Sidmouth where sandy beaches and seaside entertainment abound.
The Jurassic Coast begins at Exmouth and extends 95 miles to Studland Bay in Dorset and is an adventure unlike no other with the landscape telling the story of 185 million years of history. With the dinosaurs gone it is now quite safe – be sure to take a walk, cycle and explore for fossils.
The Dartmoor national park provides a 368 square mile landscape to inspire and invigorate. Activities abound, with canoeing, horse riding, walking, cycling, geocaching and climbing all available. To restore your energy delve into the working landscape and discover respite and sustenance at the local hostelries, restaurants and cafes.
Take a day or two to visit the Roman city of Exeter where most of the original Roman wall remains, experience the cobbled streets, independent retailers and atmosphere of the cultural centre on the River Exe.
The port city of Plymouth is a historic maritime port, resplendent with cobbled streets in the Barbican district, whilst Sutton Port is home to the National Marine Aquarium. Also in the harbour you will find the Mayflower Steps, the final departure point for the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620 on their voyage to the New World.
To find out more about the events happening in Devon be sure to read our guide What’s on in Devon. We also have a guide dedicated to car boot sales in Devon.