Fun

The best things to do in Devon – our top 8 choices (For 2022)

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Devon is a special place - the open space, national parks and beaches make it one of the best places in the UK for outdoor enthusiasts to visit. There is a myriad of things to do and see here that it is often hard to know where to start. We wanted to outline our best things to do in Devon, some of which might surprise you. Let's get into the guide:

 

Travel along the Exe Estuary Trail
Head to Bantham Beach
Visit Saunton and check out the Beach
Take a trip to Croyde Beach and look out for surfers
Head to Seaton and see the wetlands
Visit Totnes Castle and enjoy the views Explore The Jurassic Coast at Sidmouth
See the donkeys and llamas at Sidmouth Things to be aware of before visiting Devon

Travel along the Exe Estuary Trail

The Exe Estuary Trail is best explored on bike, but you can also walk along this route. It's a 26km long trail which takes you through some of the best parts of Devon and which is a great way to explore the area. Typically you start the route in Dawlish and head to Lympstone, but there is no real "right" way to do the trail Highlights along the route include Dawlish (a proper seaside town), Powderham Castle in Exeter (you'll need to head off the route to see this properly but we think it is well worth it, and the RSPB Bowling Green Marsh in Topsham (a must for avid birdwatchers).

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Head to Bantham Beach

Bantham Beach is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Devon and probably the UK - whether your idea of the perfect beach involves relaxing strolls across the sand or catching waves on a surfboard, Bantham Beach has something for everyone. You can enjoy lots of walks to and from Bantham Beach via the South West Coast Path, the most popular of which probably being the walk from Bantham to Thurlestone which is about 3 miles long and takes you past some lovely scenery.

Bantham Beach

Visit Saunton and check out the Beach

Saunton Sands on the North Devon coast is another beach which is often described as one of the best in the UK. It has a long, straight layout which makes it ideal for long walks and also a popular spot with surfers. The beach is also backed by Braunton Burrows, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve which is the largest sand dune system in England and is home to a variety of wildlife and plants. Unlike many of the beaches in Devon, dogs are also permitted here all year round making it a great area for dog walking.

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Take a trip to Croyde Beach and look out for surfers

You're probably starting to realise that Devon is probably the best place in the UK for beaches (although we admit it's pretty closely tied with Cornwall), and Croyde Beach is definitely up there as one of the best along with Bantham and Saunton. What we love about Croyde Beach is that it's backed by sand dunes which give it a slightly secluded feeling. This is generally considered to be one of the best surfing beaches in the world but is definitely one for more experienced surfers. Even if you don't have a surfboard with you, Croyde Beach is still well worth a look.

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Head to Seaton and see the wetlands

Visiting wetlands might not sound like a must-do thing during your time in Devon, but trust us when we say that Seaton Wetlands are a bit special, particularly for those who enjoy rare and beautiful wildlife. Based around the River Axe, the wetlands are a mix of marshland and reedbeds, and it's this unique environment which attracts so mich rare birdlife. There are 5 bird hides you can use to view the birds, plus you might even spot an otter. We definitely recommend a trip to Seaton Wetlands during your time in Devon. Learn more here - eastdevon.gov.uk

Seaton Wetlands

Visit Totnes Castle and enjoy the views

In South Devon, you'll find Totnes Castle, a 'Norman motte and bailey castle' dating back to the 14th century. It's considered to be one of the best-preserved examples of this type of castle in England and is a must-visit for any real castle nerds. Sat atop a large hill, a trip to the castle is also rewarded with views across the historical town of Totnes (which dates back to 907 AD) and across the River Dart. Learn more about the castle here - english-heritage.org.uk

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Explore The Jurassic Coast and the red cliffs at Sidmouth

The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site which runs from Exmouth (East Devon) all the way to Dorset, more than 90 miles away. The entire coast is excellent to explore, but the section at Sidmouth is particularly stunning. The town actually sits beneath the amazing Triassic red cliffs, which date back more than 250 million years and provide a stunning backdrop. The beaches are an excellent place to go fossil hunting and some amazing discoveries have been made here, including very rare remains of Middle Triassic fish, amphibians and reptiles. Learn more about this area here - jurassiccoast.org

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See the donkeys and the llamas at Sidmouth

We had to include Sidmouth twice in this list because it is such a hidden gem - once you've explored the amazing cliffs, be sure to make some time for the donkeys and the llamas (particularly if you have kids). The Donkey Sanctuary is amazing because it manages to be free but also manages to be really fun and a really quality experience. Seeing the llamas will require you to do a bit of walking as they're located on Peak Hill and the idea is that you go for a walk with them. The llamas are lovely and the views from Peak Hill are amazing. Learn more about the donkeys here and the llamas here.

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Things to be aware of before visiting Devon

Devon is a large area (one of the largest counties in the UK) and actually has 2 national parks - Exmoor and Dartmoor, the latter of which is the largest open space in Southern England. So there is plenty to do and explore if you have the time and the appetite for adventure. Train connections are pretty good between the locations we've listed above, but you're always best having a car.

If you enjoyed this guide, be sure to check out our other guide about the best places to stay in Cornwall.

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