Explore Devon

Braunton Barrows Devon
Above: The wild ad beautiful Braunton Barrows

From combe to tor, beach to clifftop, here are our favourite places to visit in beautiful Devon

Agatha Christie Mile on the English Riviera explores locations connected with the crime writer. www.englishriviera.co.uk/agathachristie

Blackdown Hills walks This ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ includes a less well-troden part of Devon that’s a pleasure to explore. The website has maps and walking and cycling routes to follow, including one that takes you to the Wolford Chapel near Dunkeswell, which contains the tomb of Lieutenant-Governor John Simcoe who was governor of Upper Canada in the 18th century. The tiny chapel is maintained by the Heritage Foundation of Ontario, Canada. Another walk takes you up to the Wellington Monument, erected to mark the Duke of Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo.

Braunton Burrows Important dune system at the heart of the UNESCO North Devon Biopshere and the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: www.northdevon-aonb.org.uk; www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk

Circular walk in East Devon From Budleigh Salterton to Otterton, including River Otter and Heritage Coast, via tearoom/restaurant at Otterton Mill. One of many walks on www.southwestcoastpath.com

Combe House Hotel (4-star), Honiton, nr Exeter Elizabethan manor house hotel with two rosette restaurant in peaceful countryside. Tel: (01404) 540400; www.combehousedevon.com

Dart Marina Hotel (4-star), Dartmouth Luxury hotel on the waterside with spa and fine dining. Bedrooms with great views. Tel: (01803) 832580; www.dartmarina.com And for ideas on what to see and do in Dartmouth, go to: www.discoverdartmouth.com.

Docton Mill Gardens Hartland, N Devon With the Best Tea Room (2009 North Devon Food & Drink Awards). Tel: (01237) 441369; www.doctonmill.co.uk
English Riviera Global Geopark: learn more about and explore the fascinating geology of the English Riviera coastline, now part of the European Geopark Network: www.englishrivierageopark.org.uk

Exeter Cathedral The church of St Peter in the county town of Exeter, founded in 1050, with wonderful misericords under the choir seats. Set in a pretty cathedral
close where you’ll find the Royal Clarence Hotel, now an ABode Hotel: www.exeter-cathedral.org.uk

Exeter guided tours The cathedral city has all sorts of treasures tucked away, from Roman walls through medieval Underground Passages to ultra modern Princesshay shopping centre. A great way to get to know it all is by joining in one of the free Red Coat Guided Tours, that depart daily from in front of the ABode Royal Clarence Hotel in Cathedral Yard (above) and outside the Quay House Visitor Centre. Tel: (01392) 265203.

Gidleigh Park Hotel (4-star) Cosy yet luxurious country house hotel on Dartmoor, in its own gardens and grounds, with the four-rosette, two Michelin star restaurant of Michael Caines. Tel: (01647) 432367; www.gidleigh.com

Spekes Mill Mouth, near Milford North Devon’s tallest waterfall, on the stunning Hartland Peninsula. www.hartlandpeninsula.co.uk

Steam train rides: Steam train rides Take a nostaglic trip on one of Devon’s heritage railways. www.heritagerailways.com

The Cary Arms:(5-star inn), Babbcombe Beach Relaunched as a stylish boutique hotel and gastropub with fabulous seaside location. Tel: (01803) 327110.

The Jack in the Green Inn, Rockbeare, nr Exeter Winner of the Taste of the West Awards 2009/2010. Tel: (01404) 822240; www.jackinthegreen.uk.com

The Nobody Inn, Doddiscombsleigh, nr Exeter Award-winning 16th-century pub famed for its wine, whisky and cheese lists. Tel: (01647) 252394; www.nobodyinn.co.uk

Torre Abbey, Torquay, South Devon Former abbey converted into a country home for the Cary family, now an art gallery, with gardens and cafe. Tel: (01803) 293593; www.torre-abbey.org.uk

Walk along River Bovey From Bovey Tracey, a delightful walk along the River Bovey and back through National Trust’s Parke Estate, through park and woodland. This walk and many others are on the AA website (click on Travel, then Walks and Rides). Enjoy tea or lunch at the Riverside Mill in Bovey, exhibition space/shop of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen.

Wildlife Devon has some fabulous ‘zoos’. Celebrating its 25th birthday this year, the small but endlessly fascinating Shaldon Wildlife Trust, with meercats and tiny Emperor tamarins, is near the Smugglers Tunnel to Ness Beach in the ‘chocolate-box’ village of Shaldon, sitting across the River Teign (Teen) from Teignmouth (Tinmuth). At the other end of the scale is Paignton Zoo, where, among many types of animal, you can meet the new baby giraffe, Tonda, born this February. There’s also Living Coasts, Torquay’s coastal zoo and conservation charity.

Want to know more about where to visit and when? Read our insiders guide to Devon!

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