We all know that the South West is famed for its fantastic weather, spectacular scenery and gorgeous beaches, but there’s also plenty going on with lots of events, activities and destinations to get stuck into. Check out our picks of the top ten places to visit on your trip to Devon...
Let’s face it, the reason many of us head to Devon in the summer is the easy reach of sun, sea and surf. At the Royal Glen, we’re perfectly situated just a stone’s throw from the seafront, with two stunning beaches to choose from. Sidmouth has a long level promenade that is fantastic for a stroll to take in the sea air. While a wander through the nearby Connaught Gardens can lead onto the amazing Jacob’s Ladder and the beautiful shingle beach below.
Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary
The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary has acquired somewhat legendary status as a family day out in Devon. It does a fantastic job rescuing and saving donkeys from all sorts of places and giving them a fantastic retirement on the hill above the town. The Sanctuary is a great place to take children of all ages with plenty of opportunities to interact with the donkeys and learn about the work the charity does - there’s a rather good cafe too!
The South West Coastpath
If you like to get out for a stroll you won’t find much better than the South West Coast Path. This incredible 630 miles of footpath runs from Minehead to the shores of Poole Harbour and right past our door too. Turn left or right anywhere on the coast in Devon and you’ll be sure to discover a bounty of secret coves and stunning cliff-edge views to take your breath away.
Sidmouth Folk Festival
Photo Credit: Sidmouth Folk Festival www.sidmouthfolkfestival.co.uk
Not quite a destination, but a fantastic event in the Sidmouth calendar is Folk Week nonetheless. Whether you visit for an afternoon, or the entire week you’ll find the town fizzing with energy and jam-packed to the rafters with performers, entertainers and musicians lining the seafront and occupying every inch of the town. Whether you choose to buy a ticket or to soak up the ambience of the fringe you’ll be astounded at the amount on offer.
Exe Valley Trail
Another great place to get out and explore Devon is the Exe Valley trail. This is a wonderful walking and cycling route that runs from nearby Budleigh Salterton to Exeter. Take in the wonderful picturesque town of Topsham on the journey and catch the ferry across the Exe Estuary. From there you can head to Exeter’s historic quay along the wonderfully serene shipping canal - with a quick refreshment stop at the famous Double Locks Inn on the way of course.
The Norman Lockyer Observatory
The Norman Lockyer Observatory near to us in Sidmouth is an amazing place to discover the wonders of the night sky. Pop along to one of the regularly scheduled talks and learn from a hugely dedicated team of volunteers about everything from meteor showers to the deepest secrets of the night sky. If you have even a passing interest in astronomy and it’s history then the Observatory is not to be missed!
Nearby Otterton Mill, sits on a charming stretch of the River Otter, just a short drive from Sidmouth. The fully working watermill is a fascinating step into Devon’s past. Whether you choose to relax in the cafe-restaurant trying some of the Mill’s own freshly baked bread, peruse the craft shop, enjoy the art gallery or visit a live music event, there is always so much to discover and enjoy.
Dartmoor National Park is truly a paradise for walkers and cyclists alike. Completely different from the county’s coastal regions this granite landscape gives Devon some of its most jaw-droppingly spectacular panoramas. If you fancy a more sedate Dartmoor day out the wonderful National Trust property Castle Drogo is well worth a visit.
South Devon Railway
Photo Credit: South Devon Steam Railway www.southdevonrailway.co.uk
The fantastic steam railway at Buckfastleigh is a step back in time to the glorious age of steam. Step aboard and take a trip along the spectacular heritage line enjoying very pretty woodland views. While you’re visiting don’t miss the opportunity to pop into the amazing Rare Butterflies and Otter Sanctuary just beside the station.
Get up close to a huge array of farmyard animals at this petting farm, an absolutely fantastic family location described as ‘Devon’s Friendliest Day Out’. The more adventurous visitor can try their hand at bottle feeding the lambs or milking the goats, while the cute piglets will melt even the hardest heart. There’s lots of indoor and outdoor play space, and rides to enjoy, so whatever the weather Pennywell is guaranteed to put a smile onto young faces.