The holiday industry has seen a recent increase in UK ‘Staycations’ thanks to the rise in holiday home rentals, pet-friendly spots and Brexit’s impact on tourism, meaning many families are choosing to visit unexplored areas of their own country rather than holidaying abroad. Devon is a top destination when it comes to choosing a very British holiday, not only does it provide great value on accommodation and family entertainment but can also provide that foreign beach experience in the summer season that the public love.
Woolly’s put together his top things to do in Devon and places to stay…hopefully to give you a little helping hand in finding your way around!
Aside from the windy narrow roads that may come as a shock for urban residents, Devon has a forever improving transport service. By car, the A39 is the best route to experience where the forest meets the sea in North Devon, alternatively the A361 is the quickest route from the M5 to most coastal towns in the North. South Devon has a few alternative routes via the A30 and A38 depending on your destination.
The public transport may not be as frequent as the UK’s built up areas but it does give you the chance to sit back and enjoy the view of the beautiful countryside, there are plenty of train lines throughout Devon and all are known to have some of the prettiest routes in the country. Visit Travel Devon for timetables and possible discounts on travel.
Whether you choose to stay in the north where we’re located, or are happy travelling all over Devon during your visit there are plenty of places to stay. You can reach from coast to coast in 90-120 minutes so even if you choose one coast over the other you can still explore the whole of the county in a day.
There are many choices for accommodation for the whole family, why not rent out a quaint seaside cottage, or for a full family package check in at one of our the vast range of holiday parks topped off with entertainment and events for all ages. There are also a great choice of hotels and B&Bs around the county too!
Here’s a few of our favourites:
Bideford Bay and Ruda part of the Park Dean Holiday Parks group are great for exploring North Devon. Other fantastic holiday parks include the various John Fowler Holiday Parks all across the county from coastal to inland they have everything covered.
Cottages are well catered for in Devon too. Canine Cottages is great for dog lovers with their selection of dog-friendly properties. holidaycottages.co.uk have a fantastic selection with over 1,000 properties sleeping 2 or more people. My Favourite Holiday Cottages have over 200 cottages in Devon to choose from whilst their sister brand My Favourite Cottages also have a great selection!
If you want a hotel experience then we have some amazing options here in Devon. Brend Hotels group have 9 throughout Devon so no matter on your choice of destination you are well covered. Woolacombe Bay Hotel is amazingly situated in Woolacombe for those wanting a beach break and Durrant House Hotel takes up a prime spot in Northam, near Bideford, perfect for visiting The BIG Sheep! If you’re wanting to explore the South Coast Welcome Family Holiday Park can be found near Dawlish Warren – great for a beach break or nature trail!
For a bit of luxury why not take a look at Hot Tub Hideaways selection – no one would say no to one of those tubs! Oliver’s Travels are another national company with a fantastic selection of destinations all over the county, while Jamie’s Georgeham is great for a North Devon hideaway! Another great choice is Dogs Barn with plenty of dog-friendly accommodation’s across the county!
Devon is home to 8 blue flag beaches, Westward Ho!, Oddicombe beach, Sandy Bay, Challaborough Bay, Blackpool Sands, Meadfoot beach, Breakwater beach and Dawlish Warren beach.
On top of these 8, a further 19 beaches in Devon have the Seaside Award from Keep Britain Tidy, showing that Devon really does have the cleanest beaches in the country.
With over 100 miles of coastline there are tonnes of beaches to choose from, if you’re staying on the coast we can assure you you’ll be within a stone’s throw of a fantastic beach!
The coastline and busy fishing industry provides North Devon with a tasty fresh menu of seafood dishes to offer. The countryside means fresh meat and plenty of locally produced vegetables and ingredients. Whatever you have a craving for there’ll be something for you!
Why not stop by for a pint or a a bite to eat at these amazing places:
North Devon’s farming industry has encouraged the growth in farm shops around the county why not visit Johns of Appledore and Instow to see their award-winning farm deli and café serving fresh local produce daily. Be sure to visit Affinity, formerly known as Atlantic Village, Bideford for a shopping trip, with top names including GAP, Cadbury and M&S as well as a Atlantis Adventure Park with its large indoor and outdoor play area you can keep all the family pleased!
If you are looking for a day on the high street then a trip to Barnstaple or Exeter is on the cards, with high street’s both packed with a number of big name brands.
It goes without saying that The Big Sheep is the best baaa none! With Devon’s largest rollercoaster, indoor and outdoor facilities and live shows throughout the day there is much to do for all the family, we’ve even got our brewery and gin distillery on site for the older ones too!
Further around the coast is Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, a place where animals and dinosaurs meet along the 28 acre valley, swim with seals, visit animals from all over the globe or ride the Dino Express train that resembles a giant earthquake!
For a unique experience be sure to take the family to Dartington Crystal. Discover one of the UK’s remaining glass factories and take part in creative activities including glass blowing, jewellery making and hand casting.
The coast and natural sights provide lots of free activities to do in the summer, why not hire a bike and explore North Devon’s 30 mile cycle route, The Tarka Trail. This disused railway track has been transformed into a stunning cycle route from Braunton and ends in Meeth, passing through 7 historical villages each offering amazing views and great food.
Another free idea is a day at the beach, where you can build sandcastles, fly kites or try crabbing (we recommend bacon as bait!). You can fill a day just sight seeing in the car or on the bus too!
Thanks to the range of dog friendly holiday parks, homes and places to eat, its now easier than ever to bring your family pet along on a trip to North Devon. We love dogs and provide onsite kennels for visiting dogs throughout the day. Our working sheep dogs are very territorial and only guide dogs are admitted into the park.
Many pubs and restaurants around Devon are dog friendly, some with pub dogs of their own! The Pig on the Hill in Westward Ho! offers delicious home cooked food, local ales and ciders with a large patio and grassy area for your dog (or children!) to have fun.
Walking couldn’t be easier with a dog in North Devon with the South West Coast Path right on your doorstep. There’s over 100 miles and lots of small route to choose from!