In the south-west of England, the county of Devon gives you all the best bits of this beautiful country. Through both culture and natural beauty, there is an abundance of things to do and places to see. As a popular holiday destination, Devon holds many highly recommended places. This article names some of those that are really worth the visit. In the coastal countryside, there are also many quiet and underrated places. In general, throughout Devon, there are unique moments to be gasped and hidden gems to be found.
Starting with a more known Devon destination, this typically English, little harbor town is popular with tourists and well worth the visit. The definition of posh, Salcombe is where members of Made in Chelsea have their second homes. You’ll find many boys in pink polo shirts taking the boat out for an afternoon spin. But it is a very nice place. The million pound homes and upmarket high street makes its character. Looking for the most exaggerated examples of Englishness? Look no further than Salcombe.
If you want a step away from the stereotypes, there is a lot of local (and free) nature to explore. The harbor itself is beautiful; it expands into the sea and into the distance. Follow hidden steps down to the waterfront and sit a while watching the constant movement of boats. You can take small boat trips across the bay and look back at the mismatched, old fisherman’s houses that make up the town. Many cafes overlook the harbor. With beautiful views and shelter from the ocean winds, they provide the perfect place for a cup of tea. Or, go to any of the classic pubs scattered in the town and grab a crab sandwich – freshly caught that morning.
Small galleries reveal the local creative sphere. Life is slower in this area of the country, and its art is representative of such slowness; rural lifestyles and idyllic scenes. You don’t need to spend money on the paintings but it is worth looking and getting the general feel of Devonshire life. There are countless opportunities to paint this place. On the headland, paint Salcombe from a distance or stay in town for portraits capturing the swaying boats. If you’re looking for an authentic, quintessentially English holiday experience, Salcombe will not disappoint.
Bigbury on Sea
More understated than Salcombe, Bigbury lies along the coast and is the perfect place to spend time on the beach. The beach changes depending on the tides. Be aware of the water coming in. When it does, it comes in fast, and it cuts off a section of land creating Burgh Island. Burgh Island is known for its hotel – the filming location for one of Agatha Christi’s most famous novel adaptions. Prestigious and prominent on the hill, this hotel is exclusive to privileged guests and ardent fans are partaking in a themed getaway. It is worth walking across the strand to the island and walking to the top. Fantastic outlooks over the Devon coastline are on one side with expansive views of the sea on the other, extending endlessly towards the horizon.
On the way back down, grab a pint at the pub. Sit outside and watch the waves from the outside stone balcony. Watch opposite sides of the beach come together and wade through the shallow merged waves to return to the mainland. Be sure to stay until the early evening. At this time, the kite surfers come out and ride the waves in the dimming sunset light.
Follow country lanes just along the coastline to visit South Milton beach. An impressive rock archway protrudes from the sea. Often, I’ve seen a woman here who goes paddle boarding with two dogs balancing on the front and back. Another lovely beach on which to spend the day, this one is more sheltered and even good for a grey and windy day. If you’re on holiday in Devon, expect to spend a day on the beach in jumpers – this is England. Luckily, there is a café around the corner. Grab a takeaway tea to warm your hands while watching rough seas.
The rugged, wild land of Dartmoor is famous to England. Quite rightly. This is a untamed rocky place filled with a deep sense of dangerous mystery. After all, an eerie atmosphere is integral to Dartmoor through the presence of the famous, high-security prison. It is affiliated with many myths and stories. But also many truths – of epic hiking experiences and camping nightmares. Dartmoor is certainly a place to experience, to know for yourself the mysterious mood it holds. The moors occupy a strange mix of open, expansive views and the continual potential of on oncoming mist. It can come in quickly and without warning, prove an unrelenting nature. This is, however, a great place to go hiking.
Hiking on Dartmoor is undoubtedly an adventure and requires respect and preparation. But the wild feel of the place makes walking here an adventure, and there are few places in Devon to feel so genuinely immersed in nature. Embrace this by staying in one of the hostels or campsites that are locally available. There are numerous, especially prominent torrs to climb and reveal stunning views over the rough moorland. Be sure to look for letterboxes – small, hidden boxes scattered around Dartmoor. Similar to geocaches, they have a piece of paper to write down your name and sometimes space to leave a gift for the next finder.
Dartmoor is perhaps the place in Devon most worthy of your time. A mysterious place – where the colors of the rock change with the mood of the weather.
A hidden gem in the heart of Devon, Hope Cove is a tiny place made up only of a few houses, a restaurant, and a beach. A secret place of local knowledge, this is an authentic yet classic example of an English coastal village. Not quite big enough to explore, the cove is best for an afternoon break or romantic summer evening. Sit on the old stone wall and watch the sun directly setting over the sea. Get some takeaway fish and chips and live the classic English tradition of eating them outside on a windy beach. Or, save up for a meal out and watch the water from the warmth of a restaurant balcony. Either way, take a walk afterward, slowly, and appreciate the welcoming, calm and happy Devonshire life.
Devon can be known for its expensive taste and posh population. In reality, the best parts of Devon are those that are free – the endless coastlines and boundless natural beauty available. This old, traditional area of the country is truly rural, with a history of lifestyles that are tied up with the land. There are a tranquility and slowness that is lacking in so many built-up areas. To go here and experience that atmosphere is an opportunity to be grasped. Throw yourself into Devon – walk it, see it, feel it.