Last week heralded some brilliant news for the Devon tourism industry. In research commissioned by the UK’s leading holiday home lettings company holidaylettings.co.uk, Devon has been named the third most child-friendly holiday destination in the world. Beating sun soaked spots like Tenerife and more commercialised tourist traps like Orlando, it seems Devon is the perfect place for an idyllic family holiday. And with only a short car drive to worry about for stressed parents, no continental food tantrums, stunning vistas to enjoy and plenty of attractions to visit, we can see why!
For those that haven’t experienced all that Devon has to offer yet, we thought we’d compile a list of some great things to visit to help inspire…
Devon boasts a staggering FIVE areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with Dartmoor being arguably one of the most famous. Its scope and panoramic views inspired The Hound of the Baskervilles by Conan Doyle. There are 368 square miles of great and wild outdoors to explore.
The English Riviera
Including Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, this is a lovely part of Devon with arcades and fishing towns, waterways and a UNESCO Geopark, an award-winning zoo, and of course, plenty of stunning Devon scenery.
Buckfast and Buckfastleigh
Plenty to keep the whole family occupied in this seemingly sleepy corner of Devon. Buckfast butterfly farm houses hundred of species of tropical butterflies which are a joy to have fluttering around you. A trip here would not be complete without a visit to the Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary too, and for history buffs, Buckfast Abbey is a joy to behold.
Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat
See Devon in a different way with trips around the picturesque South Hams from the vantage-point of a steam locomotive or a boat. A lovely way to spend and afternoon and see the dramatic scope of our countryside.
A trip to the historic city of Exeter should be on your list. A hive of activity harking back as far as 250 BC. The grandeur of the 12th century cathedral has to be seen to be believed and for those who prefer a more modern experience, Exeter has all the shops and activities you’d expect for a city of its size, including a new shopping centre.
If it’s natural features you like, then Lydford Gorge is a must-see. A dramatic feature on the River Lyd at Lydford, this 1.5 mile long gorge is the deepest in the South West and showcases and 100ft high waterfall and myriad whirlpools locally known as the ‘Devil’s Cauldron’.
More than just the fresh water supply for Plymouth, this reservoir is a sharply juxtaposed mixture, where woodland meets open moor. A runners paradise, but other activities catered for include fishing, cycling and walking.
Britain’s Ocean City as touted by the tourist board, Plymouth has a unique character all its own. Popular areas to visit include the Hoe with its views of the Sound and winding walkways, the Barbican for its cobbled streets and historical charm and Royal William Yard for a pleasant afternoon surrounded by listed buildings by the water. It also has plenty of shops, two cinemas and all the trappings of a modern city.
For a relaxing day out, few spots beat the gardens at Rosemoor, and the landscape here may be familiar to fans of the novel Tarka the Otter, with its steep hills leading down to the low lying river and surrounding lands.
Dartington and Totnes
With cider press and great hall in Dartington providing a great day out and the historic and simply stunning market town of Totnes less than a mile away, you are truly spoilt for choice when exploring this area of the South Hams.
Torquay is part of the English Riviera, but deserves a mention in its own right as such a vibrant town. Attractions include Kents Cavern – Britain’s most important stone age site, Living Coasts coastal zoo and Babbacombe Model Village.
An unspoilt paradise that can be reached by boat from Bideford in North Devon, the wildlife here is truly spectacular. The puffins the islands are famous for dart about freely and the scuba diving is a major draw. A tiny population of around 30 people makes this a great place to get away from it all.
A seaside resort on the North Devon coast, Ilfracombe is popular with those that enjoy sea fishing as it offers a huge variety of opportunities for different tactics and a diverse array of species. The 13th century town is lovely to walk around and includes attractions such as WatermouthCastle, Chartercombe Manor, an aquarium and art by Damien Hirst.
Originally a Neolithic hill fort, the market town of Newton Abbot has plenty of modern amenities and is a great base for those wishing to take in Teignbridge, South Hams and English Riveira districts during their stay. With StoverCountryPark and nature reserve right on the doorstep and the famous racecourse, you won’t be bored here!
The famous Dawlish Warren beach is a mecca for families searching for leisurely sand and sea, and Dawlish itself also offers superb golf and good taverns for the adults, as well as plenty of adventure parks for the kids to enjoy.
Bideford in North Devon is somewhat lesser known as a holiday destination, but has a flat sandy beach to enjoy, outlet shopping at Atlantic Village and history to explore in the form of Hartland Abbey and Gardens. A lovely seaside town that is popular with locals, Bideford has much to see and do.
Nestled at the Edge of Dartmoor and close to the Cornish border, the market town of Tavistock retains many old features and an olde world charm. The pannier market still runs, and the history of Sir Francis Drake is everywhere. The river runs through the town, and the laid back atmosphere is captivating and can be enjoyed in one of the many street-front cafés and eateries.
Are you planning to go to any of these places? Or have you already been to all these destinations in Devon? Let us know by leaving us a comment below, or catch up with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest