Devon is one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, with rolling hills, miles of sandy beaches and tiny country lanes. I’ve been fortunate to spend some time there visiting family and wanted to share my tips with you for 5 unmissable places to visit in South Devon.
South Devon has many hidden coves and beaches – one of the most attractive is Ansteys Cove near Torquay. You approach the shingle beach via a steep, winding pathway and it’s definitely worth the effort. The limestone rocks make a stunning contrast against the pristine water, and it’s a natural suntrap.
There’s a cafe where you can take in the views, or you can rent a deckchair. It’s also a popular spot for coasteering and kayaking if you are feeling energetic. Agatha Christie once had a picnic at Ansteys Cove with a gentleman named Amyas Boston, and she later used the name Amyas in her novel Five Little Pigs.
There are lots of fun things to do in Babbacombe – one of my favourites is the Model Village. It’s one of the oldest and largest model villages in the country and a great place to visit whether you’re young or young at heart.
The stone circle of Stonehenge looks pretty authentic – in the background you can see the Cherhill White Horse.
Once you’ve torn yourself away from the model village, take time to admire the clifftop views over the bay. You can take the vintage cliff railway down to Babbacombe beach.
The Cary Arms is a great place to stay or to dine, it has a large terrace with sweeping sea views, and there’s even a Captain’s Table and a round dining pod that you can reserve.
COCKINGTON COUNTRY PARK
If you’re looking for picturesque old cottages, craft studios and countryside walks, then you’ve come to the right place. Cockington is an award winning country park, with a Grade II listed manor house, tea rooms and an art gallery.
You’ll come across quite a few thatched cottages like this one – Cockington is one of the most densely thatched villages in England. As well as Cockington Court, there’s a waterwheel, a medieval church, a working forge and water meadows with a path leading to the sea.
We couldn’t resist taking home a paperweight from OurGlass, where you can buy direct from the manufacturers. They also do glass blowing demonstrations and can personalise their work for special occasions.
Set on the Western bank of the river Dart, this is a quaint little town with Elizabethan streets and a crenellated castle.
We really enjoyed our visit to Kents Cavern, one of Europe’s most notable prehistoric caves.
It’s easy to walk around as there are concrete paths, and there’s plenty of space inside the series of caves. The guided tour was very entertaining, they even switched the lights off at one point so you could imagine the caves as they would have been experienced by their prehistoric inhabitants.
If you have time, Torre Abbey is also worth a visit. It’s an art gallery and historic house that was a working monastery and then the home of the influential Cary family. It’s the largest surviving medieval monastery in Devon and Cornwall and has been recently restored to its former glory.
All in all, there are so many unique attractions that you won’t want to leave! There’s a new South Devon Link Road under construction, which will make it even quicker to get here. Exeter is also well worth a visit and Amberstone Manor is a great base for exploring the whole region. Have you been to Devon? What is your favourite place there?