Guest blog from Clare at Flipflops or Wellies.
We often read on social media about people saying that they would like to have a holiday in Devon. Great idea, yes, you must! Then they go on to ask where would you recommend? Of course, it is a very sensible question but one that has a long answer! So, where should you stay in Devon?
Find out from with this advice from Devon resident and blogger, Clare Mackenney.
Most people don’t realise that Devon is one of the largest counties in England. It is lucky enough to have two very different two coasts and has the expanse of Dartmoor at its centre. It means that Devon is a very diverse county, with some large sandy beaches in the North, small rocky coves, sleepy fishing villages and genteel Regency seaside destinations. Add in historic market towns, small villages with cosy pubs and beautiful countryside to the mix. All this means that deciding what it is you want from your holiday is the first thing to be thinking about before you choose where to stay.
Devon is popular with all age groups and family types. If you are travelling with children, you may well be looking for nice beaches to enjoy. North Devon is renowned for its long wide sweeping beaches with golden sand, the likes of Woolacombe and Westward Ho!, both also popular for surfing. Head to the southern coast of Devon for a different mix, more smaller beaches and pretty coves with a mix of sand and pebbles. In East Devon, you won’t get the Atlantic surf, but gentler paddle boarding and sea kayaking are popular instead.
If you enjoy walking, you will honestly be spoilt for choice and wherever you happen to end up staying, you will find somewhere lovely to go. For coast path walking, there are dramatic hikes or gentle strolls on both the North and South Devon coasts which offer something for all levels of walkers. Don’t forget the beautiful Jurassic Coastline, which runs from East Devon to Dorset. Equally stunning is Dartmoor, with its rugged wilderness. It is great for experienced walkers or for short hikes, go to popular viewing points like Hay Tor, Castle Drogo or reservoir walks. In gentler lowland countryside, there is a vast network of public footpaths that you can link with farm shops and cafes, small towns or tranquil woodlands.
For some retail therapy, expect to find locally owned independent stores run by passionate people. Explore towns for quirky hidden gems selling an eclectic range of local products, vintage and bric-a-brac traders for quirky gifts and unique items for your home. Many towns have street markets which can be found on different days of the week and indoor markets, such as Tiverton Pannier market.
Tourist attractions range from dedicated adventure parks for children and wildlife parks to unique attractions like Seaton Tramway, Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway or historic steam trains. Devon is also blessed with many beautiful gardens, country houses and National Trust properties.
The real advice then is not where to stay, but what do you want to see and do when you get to Devon. Check how far your accommodation is in travel time to the coast or other attractions that are important to you. The M5 and rail networks do a good job of getting you into the county, but after that, travel by road or rail can be rather on the slow side. Out in the countryside, be prepared for narrow lanes and longer journey times. Remember, if you fancy fossil hunting and surfing in the same holiday it will take you at least an 1 and a half hours to get from one side of Devon to the other. There is so much to see and do. The best advice is to keep some of it for your next visit!
Clare lives in East Devon and writes about days out, events and lovely walks in the area on her blog at Flip flops or Wellies.