Best places to stay in Devon
An insider's guide to Devon, featuring the best hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, attractions and things to do, including how to travel there and around. By Suzy Bennett, Telegraph Travel's Devon expert. Click on the tabs below for the best places to stay, eat, drink and shop, including the best things to do and what to do on a short break.
Craggy coves and cream teas, surf breaks and strolls, picnics and pints in pub gardens – holidays in Devon are wholesome, simple and scenic. A visit here mixes two of life’s loveliest pleasures: good food and the great outdoors.Life in Devon mixes two of life’s loveliest pleasures: good food and the great outdoors Credit: ian woolcock / Alamy Stock Photo
Most people are drawn to the magnificent beaches on the south and north coasts, but inland Devon has its appeal, too: Dartmoor and Exmoor are vast granite plateaux offering solitude and big skies, while the gentler, Friesian-filled pastures of mid-Devon hide clusters of thatched villages, meandering rivers and thickly wooded cleaves.
Devon folk make the most of the rich larder of food on their doorstep. Lamb, venison, pheasant, pork and seafood are staples, and the county’s farmers’ markets are full of artisan producers selling delicious cider, apple juice, cheese and ice cream.Seafood is a staple
Like anywhere, it pays to research before you go. Get it wrong, and you’ll end up in a grotty guesthouse in a tacky town. Get it right and the sheer variety of the place will beat any foreign holiday hands down.
When to go
Most of Devon’s main attractions, museums and National Trust properties open from the beginning of April to the end of October. If you can visit outside the school holidays, do: you’ll avoid M5 tailbacks and crowded beaches. If you can’t, avoid driving down on a Saturday, the changeover day for most holiday cottages. After the Easter holidays, coastal paths are awash with spring flowers. In autumn, the turning of the colours on the moors is glorious, and in September and October, the sea is at its warmest and the beaches at their quietest. Visiting in winter has its benefits – among them, holing up by a fire in a cosy pub – but it has drawbacks too: most attractions are closed, bus services are limited and strong winds can make coastal walks dangerous.