Photo by Markles55 licensed under CC
Devon is famous for its beautiful landscapes – from the sandy beaches and rocky coves of its north and south coasts, to the barren majesty of Dartmoor and its many historic sites. We’ve picked out just a few of the county’s many tourist attractions to inspire you to visit this West Country gem.
Create your own masterpiece at Dartington Crystal
For those of you who love arts and crafts, Dartington Crystal in Great Torrington, North Devon is well worth a visit. Take a tour of the UK’s only remaining large-scale crystal factory, and watch the skilled craftsmen and women create beautiful glass objects, as they have done for over 40 years. If you’re inspired to have a go yourself, you can even blow your own glass tumbler, design your own jewellery, or get a piece engraved at the visitor centre. Alternatively, you can simply browse the items on sale, and see if you can pick up a bargain.
Unwind on the beautiful English Riviera
Stretching 22 miles along the beautiful south Devon coastline, the Torbay area encompasses the pretty seaside towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. Blessed with sandy beaches, rocky coves and picturesque harbours, Torbay has pulled in the tourists for centuries. During the Napoleonic Wars, Torbay gained a reputation as a place for convalescence; then later, with its tropical plants and wonderfully mild climate, the Victorians dubbed the area 'the English Riviera', likening it to its French equivalent. So why not simply stroll along the sea front to soak up the atmosphere or enjoy some of the delicious local cuisine?
Enjoy Agatha Christie’s holiday home on the River Dart
Described by Agatha Christie as ‘the loveliest place in the world’, Greenway House was the holiday home of the great crime writer between 1938 and 1959. During these years, she gathered here with her family and friends to celebrate the publication of a novel, or to simply enjoy long summer days in the beauty of the Devonshire countryside. The property is now owned by the National Trust, and today’s visitors can explore Greenway’s romantic woodland gardens and pretty paths down to the Dart estuary. On display inside are many of Agatha Christie’s personal collections and mementoes, and you can wander around the library where the great author used to give readings and the drawing room where she played grand piano.
Travel back in time to a traditional 19th-century fishing village
The traditional fishing village of Clovelly is built in a cleft in a cliff on the North Devon coast. Unusually, the village is privately-owned has been with the same family since 1738. The family works to keep Clovelly in the style of a mid-19th century fishing village, which involves maintenance using traditional materials and craftmanship. Visitors can relax as they wander Clovelly’s cobbled, traffic-free streets, taking in whitewashed cottages adorned with flowers and donkeys carrying goods up the hill from the tiny working port below. And there is of course plenty of freshly caught fish to sample too!
Soak up the scenery on a steam train
Devon is famous for its beautiful rolling countryside, and what better way to soak up the scenery than by taking a ride on a steam train? There are several routes to choose from, and South Devon Railway operates a line between Buckfastleigh and Totnes via Staverton. You can also start out from pretty Dartmouth and travel along the spectacular English Riviera coast line to Kingswear, taking in Long Wood and the Dart Estuary. With a varied range of scenery and wildlife on display, this is unquestionably one of the finest heritage steam railway journeys anywhere in the UK.