The Complete Guide to Devon
Here at Caravans for Sale we love the South West. It is a region that is full of natural beauty, fantastic beaches and friendly locals. You can read our guide to Cornwall here, but read on to find out all about what Devon has to offer.
We take you on a journey through the county’s best regions of natural beauty; the best walks; the best places to eat and where is perfect to stop off for a pint or glass of wine. As well as all this we’ll also tell you all about some of our favourite attractions that Devon has to offer.
Lovers of the great outdoors will most certainly enjoy their time in Devon. It is home to some of the UK’s most stunning coastline as well as the famous Dartmoor and Exmoor, which offer panoramic vistas of stunning British countryside. As well as being an outdoor enthusiast paradise, Devon also has some quaint seaside villages, the brilliant city of Exeter and some excellent towns full of things to see and do.
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The UK is full of areas of natural beauty and Devon is most certainly a contributing factor. The peaceful and serene county has so much to offer and whether you are an avid hiker or a part-time rambler, the natural wonder that this county has to offer will most certainly capture your adventurer's spirit. So, here are some of our favourite places of outstanding natural beauty that you should check out on your visit to Devon.
What better place to start than with one of the most picturesque beaches in the whole country? Blackpool Sands is set in a sheltered bay that looks as if it could be somewhere in the Caribbean. Sheltered by evergreen and pine trees, this privately managed ‘Blue Flag’ beach is most certainly one of the most spectacular places in Devon. In summer there are few places that we would rather be in the whole country.
Picture courtesy of c.art via Flickr Creative Commons.
The beach is situated a mere three miles south of Dartmouth so is easily accessible. If you are in the area then you simply must make sure you take a look for yourself. There are plenty of things to do on the beach, with kayaks, boogie boards, wet suits and snorkels for hire in the summer as well as hot and cold food on offer and a nice beach shop. The water is clean and clear and perfect for swimming when the sun gets too hot to bear.
Dogs are not permitted in the car parks or on the beach during peak season, which is between 21st March and the 30th October. There are also lifeguards on duty during these months, so you can relax and know you’re in safe hands. It is also worth noting just how clean this beach is - it is cleaned daily in the peak season.
Dartmoor has plenty of character - there’s no denying this. It owes a lot of this to its continually changing weather. One day can bring about all four seasons as the wind and fog subsides to reveal a crisp and sunny day before the rain begins and it all takes a turn for the worse. This is not the case every day, of course, but it is most certainly a big part of the charm that Dartmoor has to offer.
Picture courtesy of Archangel12 via Flickr Creative Commons.
A National Park of England since 1951 covering an area of 954 km2, Dartmoor is a real hiker’s haven. With plenty of granite tors, and lots of hills to climb, if you are an outdoor adventurer then you should not miss out on this spectacular location. There is plenty to see and do from hiking to the top of Hound Tor where you can access one of the best views that Dartmoor has to offer, to relaxing and watching the dartmoor ponies wander the enchanting wilderness they inhabit.
As well as a landscape that is full of large rock faces and eerie character, there is also some lush green land, beautiful wooded valleys and fast flowing rivers for you to explore. This region used to be home to a large tin and copper mining community and it has plenty of history and antiquities to discover. If you are looking for somewhere to treat your love of the outdoors, whilst indulging in some history and seeing the true character that the English countryside can offer, then you must consider visiting Dartmoor.
The Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast is England’s very first natural World Heritage Site and stretches 95 miles of coastline from East Devon to Dorset. This magnificent stretch has real archeological importance and spans a whopping 185 million years of the Earth’s history. But why is the Jurassic Coast so special? Well, it is taken in such high regard and was handed World Heritage status because it provides us with a unique insight into Earth Sciences. It is offers a geological walk through time and spans the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Picture courtesy of @sage_solar via Flickr Creative Commons.
As previously mentioned, the Jurassic Coast is 95 miles long, so there are many options when it comes to visiting it. You could begin at Orcombe Point in Exmouth, East Devon. This is the starting point of the Jurassic Coast and from here it stretches east into Dorset. Or you could begin in Sidmouth where you can visit the Sidmouth Museum and the many fossils it holds.
But what the Jurassic Coast is fantastic for is miles and miles of beautiful and dramatic coastline. There are many beaches, both sandy and stony, for you to explore and there are hundreds of clifftop walks to be undertaken.
Exmoor National Park is located in north Devon and stretches into west Somerset. Given National Park status in 1954, Exmoor is a large area of hilly open moorland that is home to the source of the River Exe. 297 square miles in size, Exmoor is home to some splendid moorland as well as some lovely woodland, valleys and farmland. Shaped by people and by nature over thousands of years, Exmoor is a great place for a big walk before popping into a local pub for a pint or a glass of wine.
Picture courtesy of Pete Rae via Flickr Creative Commons.
There are many small villages and hamlets in Exmoor that are worth visiting, but the best way to explore the region is to don your hiking boots, pack up some food and a thermos flask and head off for a hike. Just make sure you take a map and know where you are going. You can also explore the region on horseback or on a bicycle and there are plenty of tracks and paths for you to follow.
There are also a number of organised events to attend as well as some group walks, so if you are looking to socialise along the way then maybe you can opt for one of these. As well as walking, cycling and horse riding, there is also the option of taking to the water in a canoe. Why not see this region from another angle?
Haldon Forest Park
Haldon Forest Park is perfect for a gentle stroll through the serene woodland, whilst also being a brilliant place to take part in an exhilarating mountain biking experience. If you love woodland walks and the outdoors, then Haldon Forest is the perfect place for you. Covering 3,500 acres of woodland and just fifteen minutes from Exeter, this park is easily accessible making it great for people of all ages.
Picture courtesy of AisforAmy91 via Flickr Creative Commons.
There are a wide variety of walking trails including the brilliant Discovery Trail, which is a multi-use, trail that is perfect for all abilities. The Discovery Trail also has plenty of traditional and natural play features along the way. Lovers of nature should give the Butterfly Trail a go. This trail is, as its name suggests, a great place to discover some rare butterflies in the peace and quiet of the forest.
If you want to give cycling a go, then Haldon Forest is a great place to do this. You can gain confidence in off-road cycling with some nice easy routes before tackling the technical trail, which is designed for the more experienced mountain bikers out there.
Sticking with the great outdoors, it is worth dedicating a section of our guide to some of our favourite walking routes that Devon has to offer. With such a vast range of terrains from woodland and valleys to the tors of Dartmoor and the beaches and cliffs along the coast, this county really does have loads to offer. If you are a fan of exploring nature then you will love Devon. Here are some walks and routes that we recommend.
Salcombe to Hope Cove coastal walk (7 miles)
If you love a cliff-top walk - and let’s face it who doesn’t - then you will no doubt enjoy the hike from Salcombe to Hope Cove. This relatively long walk takes you over some spectacular coastline that is made up of lovely sandy beaches and rugged clifftops. In the height of summer this route does get quite busy, however, if you are here in down season, you will be treated to a truly brilliant experience whilst being at one with nature.
As this walk is from one place to another and not circular, you may need to plan leaving a car at either end, however in summer there is a bus which runs from Hope Cove to Salcombe and vice versa. Salcombe estuary is worth exploring and the coastline is teeming with wildlife. If you are less adept at challenging walks then you could start from Bolberry Down. From here you can access the south Devon coast with ease and from Bolberry you can explore the Iron Age fort at Bolt Tail before heading along the coast path to Hope Cove.
River Otter Walk (5.5 miles)
Beginning in the village of Newton Poppleford, you can walk along the remainder of the River Otter to where it meets the sea in the quaint town of Budleigh Salterton. This walk is relatively straightforward and is almost entirely flat. There is something lovely and peaceful about the River Otter. Not a huge river, it slowly meanders through the East Devon countryside and you can leisurely make your way down to the coast on this delightful and rewarding walk.
Once the river widens it turns into a nice small estuary which is surrounded by plenty of marsh and wetland. This has meant that the estuary is a great place to view a wide variety of wildlife and it is maintained as a Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserve. There are plenty of information boards along the path that elaborate on the estuary’s nature conservation interest.
Mortehoe to Croyde (6 miles)
This section of north Devonshire coastline was once famous for smugglers and wreckers. Then, during the second World War, it became a D-Day planning centre, and it is now home to the Royal Marines amphibious testing centre. Not only is it a historical place to visit however, it is also a place that is brimming with beautiful coastline.
You get to cross Woolacombe beach which sits beneath overlooking hills, which makes for a really beautiful sight, especially on a summer’s eve. The beach has miles and miles of golden sand for you to stroll upon and you can watch the local surfers as they carve through the waves. This stretch of coastline is one that has been a tourist retreat for a very long time, and after exploring it at length you really can see why it has such lasting appeal.
Bellever Audio Walk, Dartmoor (6 miles)
This six mile walk is a circular route that begins at Portsbridge Information Centre - where you pick up your headphones. It then takes you on a spectacular route around Dartmoor where you meander along some lovely woodland, moorland and riverside pathways. The route also takes you past a number of archaeological sites and you can learn all about the Dartmoor Pony along the way.
You can play the different sections of the audio walk as and when you’d like and it’s split into a number of tracks including Kraps Ring, Lakehead Hill, Laughter Tor and Bellever Tor. This walk is one of our favourites because it shows off the variety that Dartmoor has to offer. The audio also comes with an accompanying soundtrack which is courtesy of local Dartmoor musician Seth Lakeman.
Devon is full to the brim of delightful and cosy villages and towns that range from lovely farming communities to seaside resorts. If you are loading up your caravan or motorhome and heading off to Devon then you may want to know which towns and villages you should visit. Here are a selection of our favourite places to visit in Devon, all of which have a variety of offerings.
Exeter is a historic city and the capital of Devon. It is perfectly located, making it easy to access and if you are popping down to the south west with your caravan or motorhome then it is most certainly well worth a visit. It is a relaxing and calming place to be with it’s large Gothic cathedral that looms tall over small pockets of pretty cobbled streets. There are other medieval and Georgian buildings throughout the city including Exeter Castle, which is worth a visit. There’s also still parts of the ancient Roman city that can still be seen. It really is a history buff’s dream.
Picture courtesy of Hugh Llewelyn via Flickr Creative Commons.
However, it is not all old, the city is now home to a cracking new shopping centre as well as some fantastic pubs and restaurants. There is also the River Exe, and if you head on down to the quay then you can sit and sip on a pint or a glass of wine as you watch the swans swim by.
As well as the castle and the brilliant cathedral, there is also a fantastic high street that runs through the centre of the city. Other places to visit include the Exeter Phoenix, which is an art lover’s dream and often has a wide variety of interesting and entertaining exhibitions, workshops and live music on display.
Bigbury-on-Sea is a quaint little village that is located in the heart of an area of outstanding natural beauty and is the prefect place for a family holiday. Its main attraction is its fantastic beach that has golden sand and warm shallow waters. There are also a number of rock pools for you to explore, so your children can have fun for hours searching for crabs and the like. This beach is great for families and is the perfect place to relax in the sunshine, however, there are also a number of activities that can be undertaken if you are looking for a bit more excitement. Why not have a go at some of the water sports that are available, from bodyboarding and surfing to windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Picture courtesy of Matthew Hartley via Flickr Creative Commons.
The beach has some good facilities including a café that that sells organic and local food. Its ‘surf ‘n’ turf is one of the best in the area and makes good use of locally sourced ingredients. If you are on the beach, you won’t be able to miss the brilliant Burgh Island. This is the most famous landmark in the area and overlooks the beach. You can access it at low tide on foot, but we prefer to wait until the tide is out so we can hitch a ride on the popular and rather unique ‘sea tractor’. There is an award-winning hotel on the island where guests are encouraged to dress in 1920s style clothing. How lovely.
The village of Bigbury-on-Sea is very small and is located a mile and a half away from the seafront. Where Exeter has everything to offer an avid history buff or those of you who want to pop around a nice busy city with plenty of shops, Bigbury-on-Sea is the perfect place for a quiet seaside day out.
This timeless fishing village is like something out of a fairytale. Situated in North Devon on the Hartland Peninsula, Clovelly is built into the side of a steep, wooded coastline and it is one of the most quaint and picturesque villages in the whole UK. The steep cobbled streets take you through the village as you meander past lovely white cottages on your way to the small harbour. Due to its extreme natural beauty and the fact that it is very popular among tourists, it has been turned into something of an attraction and it is kept in the style of the mid 19th Century.
Picture courtesy of Martin Abegglen via Flickr Creative Commons.
You can park at the top of the village and then you head on down to the visitor centre, where you have to pay to enter the privately owned village. This can be frustrating for some, but it is most definitely worth it. You can head on down to the harbour and admire its tranquility, or why not head to the wonderful Clovelly Court Gardens or the pretty donkey stables.
Clovelly offers you a glimpse into a time long gone, and is one of the main jewels in Devon’s crown. There is thick woodland surrounding the village which has allowed a varied range of fauna and wildlife to flourish. Strangely, the village, which is still privately owned, is associated with only three families that have resided here since the middle of the 13th century.
One of the most delightful villages in Dartmoor, Widecombe-in-the-Moor encapsulates countryside life perfectly. An incredibly small village, it offers you the perfect base to access the surrounding National Park and is close to some of Dartmoor’s most famous tors. It is situated in a valley that runs along the side of Hamel Down and the surrounding area offers up some of the most stunning views in the south west.
Picture courtesy of Phillip Capper via Flickr Creative Commons.
The village itself has a famous September fair, so if you are in Dartmoor during the month of September, make sure you pop along. The fair dates back to the mid nineteenth century and is celebrated in an old folk song called ‘Widecombe Fair’, which features ‘Old Uncle Tom Cobley and All’. The lyrics to this song were first published in 1880 and many of the characters from the song are featured in many of the souvenirs that are on sale in the local shops.
Widecombe-in-the-Moor is also home to a cracking little pub, that serves up lovely food. There are also a handful of nice shops and cafes where you can sit down for a bite to eat and a nice cup of tea.
Devon has a vast range of cracking seaside towns, so choosing the ones which feature on this list is very hard. Honourable mentions must go to Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Beer, but the last place in our list goes to Dartmouth. This seaside town is a spectacular place to be, especially in the summer when it really comes into its own. With easy access to the Dartmouth Steam Railway - more about that later on - as well as a castle, arts centre and a number of delightful pubs, Dartmouth is a must for anyone visiting south Devon.
Picture courtesy of *Debs* via Flickr Creative Commons.
Set on the western bank of the River Dart estuary, the town is right in the middle of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is a very popular place for tourists. If you are after a romantic break for two, a family holiday or somewhere to escape to with friends, this fantastic town has it all. Its Elizabethan streets are packed with independant shops, art galleries and a bustling market.
The town also plays host to wide range of wonderful festivals including, Candlelit Dartmouth, Dart Music Festival, The Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta, Dartmouth Galleries Week and Dartmouth Food Festival. With so many events taking place in this town, no matter what time of year you are thinking of heading, there will always be plenty of things for you to see and do.
As well as there being a wide variety of landscapes, woodland and beaches to explore, there are also a number of other fantastic things to see and do in Devon. Here at Caravans for Sale we know that a good trip consists of some lovely time spent at one with nature combined with some cracking local attractions. So, here are some other bits and pieces for you to see and do in Devon.
Powderham Castle has 600 years of history under its belt, which, combined with its spectacular setting, makes it a splendid day out. Positioned beside the Exe estuary in a unique and picturesque setting, this old castle is one of England’s oldest family homes. Construction began in 1391 by Sir Philip Courtenay and his family remain there today, with the current residents being the Earl and Countess of Devon.
With such an exquisite setting and its location being nice and convenient, Powderham Castle is the perfect place to visit when the weather is nice. You can go on a guided castle tours, which take place throughout the day or take a stroll around the lovely walled garden. In the garden you can visit Pets Corner, where you can get up close with the Powderham pets, which consist of a donkey, some pot-bellied pigs, goats, sheep, guinea pigs, chickens and even some stick insects.
Picture courtesy of Ted and Jen via Flickr Creative Commons.
As well as being a nice place to go for a stroll, whilst soaking in the lovely surroundings, Powderham Castle also plays host to a wide range of events throughout the year. If you time your visit correctly you could pop along to a gardening festival, a vehicle gathering, a wide range of musical acts and more.
Babbacombe Model Village
Babbacombe Model Village is a great day out for the whole family. If you are taking the caravan or motorhome along to Devon then make sure you pop along to this quirky little attraction. There are hundreds of models on display throughout Babbacombe Model Village spanning a wide array of styles. The architecture - albeit mini architecture - on display consists of Medieval, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian and there are also some delightful thatched houses.
Picture courtesy of Warwick Conway via Flickr Creative Commons.
There is now a charming little west country fishing village located on the banks of the garden pond, which shows off the sights and sounds of a tiny seaside village in this part of the world. There are little cars, boats and some pretty little narrow streets for you to enjoy. As well as this there is also a modern city on display and, of course, the main village itself which shows the goings on in the English countryside.
The model village is set inside four acres of beautiful award-winning gardens which you are able to explore at your own leisurely pace. You can wander through these gardens and past meandering streams as well as waterfalls and lakes whilst relaxing in this serene setting.
If you are looking for a great day out for the whole family, then look no further. Paignton Zoo is the place for you. With more animals than anyone else in the south west, this zoo really does have it all to offer. With lions, tigers, giraffes, elephants and much much more on display, there is plenty to see and do. They have over 2,000 animals on display from around the globe as well as two on-site nature reserves all of which combine to make Paignton Zoo an inspirational place to be.
Picture courtesy of Ross Elliott via Flickr Creative Commons.
Take the kids along and you will not be disappointed. As well as there being lots to see and do, you can also learn a lot about the plants, animals and conservation projects at the zoo as well as their environmental practices. The zoo also has a number of places where you can stop off and have a bite to eat or a drink including the Island Restaurant, which sits in the centre of the zoo and overlooks Gibbon Island.
River Dart Country Park
This brilliant adventure park is the perfect day out for the whole family. And, with caravan and motorhome camping plots, you could be forgiven for spending all of your time there. Located in the Dartmoor National Park, River Dart Country Park is an award winning attraction that offers plenty of things to see and do all year round.
Picture courtesy of Heather Cowper via Flickr Creative Commons.
As well as being a fantastic campsite, the park is also home to a wide variety of things for you and the rest of your family. Take the kids to the high ropes and zip wire and watch their faces light up as they whizz through the trees. Or why not head on down to the pool to give zorbing or kayaking a try? There is also a jungle fun kids play area, an assault course, a fort and more. Your children really will never run out of things to do.
There is also a basic, but nice bar and restaurant on site where you can eat a wide variety of foods from burgers and steaks to nachos and spag bol. There is also a nice children’s menu, which is handy as they will most definitely be hungry after running around all day.
Dartmouth Steam Railway
If you want to venture back to a year long gone and experience times as they once were then you can do few things better than take a trip on the Dartmouth Steam Railway. Not only is it a brilliant experience sitting in an old carriage being pulled by a traditional steam engine, but the views along the way are something else.
This line has some breathtaking scenery along the way as you trundle along the English Riviera Coastline. Not only are the surroundings beautiful, but you also pass through some delightful and quaint stations such as Goodrington and Churston. Once you’ve passed through these, you go through the slopes of Long Wood, which borders the Dart Estuary, before you head to Greenway Halt and on to Kingswear.
Picture courtesy of Warwick Conway via Flickr Creative Commons.
This trip offers you the chance to spot dolphins and seals and if you are a keen bird lover then you can see buzzards, herons, egrets and pheasants. The range of wildlife on display is brilliant and when combined with the surrounding scenery, it does make the Dartmouth Steam Railway one of the finest heritage rail routes in Europe.
Devon is full of fantastic country pubs. There are countless places where you can sit down and enjoy a nice pint of ale or a crisp glass of wine after a day’s walking. If you are hitching up the caravan and heading off to the south west, then you will no doubt want to find at least one nice pub where you can enjoy some of the local atmosphere whilst enjoying a lovely drink and a bite to eat. Well, here at Caravans for Sale, we feel exactly the same, so we have compiled a list of some of our favourite pubs that Devon has to offer.
Poltimore Arms, Brayford
The Poltimore Arms is a traditional pub that dates back to the 13th century and serves up some great ales combined with hearty food. It is, however, a terribly difficult place to find. You may require a map as some sat navs do struggle, but for us the joy is in the search and when you do come across it you are treated with a real sense of achievement.
You are also treated to a quaint country pub that offers a great atmosphere, friendly staff and an open fire. Perfectly located for those of you who want to visit Exmoor. Another quirk of the Poltimore Arms is that it is so remote it doesn’t even have mains electricity and relies on the use of a generator - so don’t be surprised if you end up drinking and dining by candlelight. Dogs are welcome in the bar and there is also a large beer garden where you can sit and drink when the sun is shining.
On the Waterfront, Exeter
So this may not be a traditional Devonshire pub, but On the Waterfront in Exeter is one of our favourite places to sit and have a cold pint in the sunshine. It is perched right on the edge of the Exeter Quayside and is housed within a beautiful 19th century warehouse. The Exeter Quay is a hive of activity and when the sun is shining, you will want to make sure you’re sat out the front with a drink in your hand.
Locals and holidaymakers alike love this pub and they also have an amazing selection of food on offer. You can enjoy lovely lunches and dinners including fresh fish, meats, pastas and salads. But this place is more famous for its amazing 16 inch pizzas. If you love a pizza, then you will want to head on down to On the Waterfront.
They stock wine from around the globe and also have a range of Devonshire ales. The tables out front are perfect for summer, but when the weather’s not so nice, the bar inside is a nice cosy place to sit and enjoy a drink or two.
Tom Cobley Tavern, Spreyton
This is a real ale lover’s pub and there are usually a mixture to choose from. The tavern has a unique thatched bar and low beamed ceilings with a real traditional oldie worldly feel to it. There is also a roaring open fire in the winter and during the summer months you can sit outside in their picturesque beer garden where you can enjoy wonderful views of Dartmoor. You could also sit out the front in the gravelled area and watch the village of Spreyton in action.
This family run establishment has a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere and is a cracking place to relax and have a drink after a day of fun. It is a 16th century pub that has been under its current ownership for a decade or so and they have made it a great place to be. They also do a cracking roast dinner, so if you are in the area on a Sunday, make sure you pop along.
The pub has won awards and is well known for serving a very wide variety of ales as mentioned above. At any one time there are up to 14 real ales to choose from being served from eight hand pumps at the bar, and the remaining ones straight from the cask in their newly refurbished cellar.
The Grove Inn, Umberleigh
The Grove Inn is a 17th century thatched pub in the lovely Devon village of Umberleigh. It is a lovely place to sit down for a drink and offers real variety throughout. You can choose from 26 wines by the glass as well as over 60 malt whiskies and a range of West Country ales and ciders.
Their food is also great with plenty of locally sourced ingredients filling up the menu, which contains delicious options such as breast of Devon chicken stuffed with thyme, Devon blue & parma ham, served with Dauphinoise potatoes & seasonal vegetables; and pan-roasted Devon hake on potato & rapeseed oil mash with salsa verde, served with fresh seasonal vegetables.
Situated in north Devon between Exmoor and Dartmoor, The Grove Inn is a friendly and welcoming place to go for a drink and if you’re lucky, you might just end up getting to watch some local morris dancers in action.
Rugglestone Inn, Widecombe-in-the-Moor
Out of all of the pubs in this list, the Rugglestone Inn in Dartmoor has to be the most beautiful. This traditional pub is Grade II listed and was converted to an inn in 1832. It has flagstone floors and open fires and is nice and small and very cosy, which means you will have plenty of opportunities to chat to the locals. The atmosphere inside is extremely friendly and you won’t ever want to leave.
If the weather is nice then you might want to pop outside, cross the small bridge and sit in the large, sheltered garden on one of the picnic tables. Children and dogs are welcome at the Rugglestone Inn, however, dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.
The pub is located just a few minutes walk from the centre of the village and it is nicely placed for anyone who wishes to go for a drink after a day exploring Dartmoor. If you want to experience a real life, old fashioned, Devonshire pub, then this is most certainly the place for you.
Spending the evening cooking up a storm in your caravan or motorhome can be very satisfying. Eating a carefully prepared home-cooked meal is a lovely thing, and there seems to be an added level of satisfaction when you are away in your caravan. However, there are inevitably going to be those evenings when you can’t be bothered and want to head out to try out some local places to eat. Here at Caravans for Sale, we love eating out in Devon. There are a wide range of delightful places to eat that vary in price and style. Here are just a few of our favourite places that you should try out...
The Horn of Plenty, Tavistock
If you love stunning countryside views and spectacular food, then you will want to visit The Horn of Plenty in Gulworthy, Tavistock. This is one of the best restaurants in the whole South West and has been awarded with 2 AA rosettes among other various awards. With a very respectable reputation that spans over 40 years The Horn of Plenty serves up brilliant food and also has a very good list of wines to choose from.
The dishes on offer are innovative and the standards are always high. At the time of writing their menu contains such gems as Pan roasted turbot with thai scented puree, crispy kale & crab and ginger tortellini; and Roast squab pigeon with orange braised chicory & hazelnuts. This is a fine dining experience to the max, so it is slightly more prices than some of the other options in this list, however, it isn’t overly expensive. Their dinner menu currently offers you the chance to eat three courses and canapes for around £50 or you could try the six course dinner taster menu for £65.
However, be aware that their menus are continually changing to stay fresh and exciting. They always source local ingredients from across Devon and Cornwall and their dishes are fun, interesting and incorporate a wide range of textures and flavours.
The Galley, Topsham
This is another restaurant that is a little costly - the main courses on the dinner menu are around the £20 mark - but as with The Horn of Plenty, The Galley in Topsham is worth it. Topsham itself is a very pretty little town on the edge of the River Exe in East Devon and is well worth a visit. If you are heading to the town then why not try out The Galley?
This restaurant claims to offer up ‘the best of Devon on a plate’ and they are clearly passionate about serving the freshest fish and seafood. Their menu is simple yet exciting and above all, delicious. Their daily menu is constantly changing, which means that they only serve up what’s in season and locally available.
They have a cheaper lunch menu that offers two courses at £17, so you could always opt for that before taking a stroll around Topsham and down to the river in the afternoon sunshine. Or, if the rain is falling, you could always pop to one of the town’s many brilliant pubs.
Lilico’s Tapas Lounge and Bar, Barnstaple
Lilico’s is a great little affordable Tapas restaurant that is located opposite the Museum of Barnstaple. If you want excellent food, and a bit of an urban Devonshire experience then it is a great place to go. Whilst you have nice views of the countryside, you are still located in the hustle and bustle of the town.
The brightly coloured bar is nice and busy at night, which adds to the atmosphere. The tapas on offer is delicious and varied and all cooked to order. And, with a lunch, brunch and tapas sharing menu to choose from at different times of the day, Lillico’s has something for everyone. The tapas sharing menu is what this place is all about though, all of which is very well priced for such good food. The dining experience at Lilico’s is relaxed and laid back and the bar area often has other forms of entertainment for you to enjoy from live music to live comedy.
Sandleigh Tea Room and Garden, Croyde
Sandleigh Tea Room and Garden is hidden in Croyde’s quieter end and sits near the beautiful headland of Baggy Point. If you are undertaking a coastal walk in the area then we would recommend that you pop along to this affordable, yet high quality tea room. The staff are very friendly and the service always comes with a smile. The pretty building in which Sandleigh Tea Room is located is leased from the National Trust and is nicely decorated inside with polka dots and bunting.
There are lovely milkshakes on offer as well as ice cream made out of real fruit, which is lovely on a hot summer’s day. They also do some nice meals including a simple but tasty crab salad as well as an award-winning pasty option. This is quaint seaside dining at its best and is one of the nicest places to sit and enjoy a cup of tea in the whole of this beautiful cafe.
Yarde Orchard Cafe, East Yarde
The Yarde Orchard Cafe is situated on the lovely Tarka Trail cycle route, so if you are taking your bikes along on your trip then you might want to pop along. The Tarka Trail is a pretty route that takes you through the beautiful north Devon countryside and the excellent Yarde Orchard Cafe is along the way.
A number of fairtrade teas and coffees are on offer as well as some nice home-made cakes and local ice cream. Their menu also includes some great wraps and baguettes, which could be just what you need after a big cycle, and they also have nice soups, salads, nachos and more. This is a lunch venue primarily, however, they are open on Friday and Saturday evenings, where they serve up organic, hand-stretched, stonebaked pizzas along with a whole host of other tasty home cooked meals.
Their menu is nice and affordable, and it also contains options for vegetarians and people who require gluten-free options. There is also a fully licenced bar in the premises which means you can sample some real ales, local ciders and a small selection of wines. Their food is made almost entirely from local, seasonal, fairtrade and organic ingredients, so head on down and support something fantastic.
Devon being as big as it is, there are hundreds of fantastic caravan sites up and down the county. So, if you are loading up the caravan or motorhome to head off into the West Country, then you will have plenty to choose from. However, here are a few that might be perfect for you.
Cheston Caravan Park, South Brent
Cheston Caravan Park is a nicely maintained family run caravan site that is perfectly located for those of you who wish to explore Dartmoor. There are good facilities on site including nice clean toilets and showers, plus electric hook ups, dish washing facilities and more. The site is also pet friendly, so you can bring along the dog if you wish.
If you do pitch up at Cheston Caravan Park then you have a peaceful base from which to explore a large proportion of Devon. You can also spend time nearby touring, walking, horse riding, fishing and bird watching among other wonderful activities. The beauty of Dartmoor is just a few miles away and you also have easy access to Torquay, Plymouth and Exeter. The friendly staff at the site are extremely helpful and offer plenty of information on local beaches and other attractions. If you want to know where to head once you have pitched up, just ask. A nice site, with warm and friendly staff and a good location. What more could you want?
Smytham Manor Holiday Park, Torrington
This peaceful caravan park is set in 23-acres of parkland, in the grounds of a 17th century manor house. The site is part wooded and has its own secluded valley, which is nice and scenic. It is located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is part of the North Devon World Biosphere Reserve so there is plenty of wildlife to enjoy, especially in the woodland or down at the ponds, which are on site. The site is perfectly located for access to the Tarka Trail, which is great for cyclists, and Dartmoor and Exmoor are also not too far away.
The site itself has camping pods as well as caravan and camping pitches, so there is a lot to choose from. It also has a full heated amenities block that has free hot water for all of the showers and sinks. There are also baby changing facilities, a dishwashing area, coin-operated washing machines and tumble dryers, as well as a freezer and ironing facilities. All of these add up to make your stay as comfortable as possible. And, as if all of that wasn’t enough, there is also an outdoor heated pool with a sun terrace, as well as a children’s game room, a putting green and a family bar with TV and a pool table.
Pennymoor Caravan and Camping Park, Ivybridge
Pennymoor Caravan and Camping Park is a nice and relaxed place to stay if you want to explore south Devon. Situated near Ivybridge, this campsite offers you easy access to some of the nicest beaches around including Bigbury-on-Sea. You will also be able to visit Totnes, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Plymouth and the famous Barbican.
This site is family run and has been welcoming visitors for over 80 years! And when you arrive you can see why. A glorious rural setting combined with friendly staff and a well maintained site, make for a relaxing and highly enjoyable stay. Whether you are taking a tent, caravan, camper or motorhome, or you want to rent a static, Pennymoor Caravan and Camping Park has it all. It’s facilities are nice, including free hot water, covered dishwashing facilities and a children’s play area.
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