Pocket guide to Devon

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Carmen McCormack

Guest Expert

5 min read

Devon is popular for a reason. Or rather, several. It’s absolutely brimful of temptations for walkers, water lovers and adventurers of all types, as well as foodies and culture vultures. With this handy pocket guide, we’ll take you straight to the heart of Devon. Discover the best coast and country walks, vibrant towns, bustling markets, beautiful beaches from quiet hidden coves to the best bays for thrill seekers. Not forgetting Devon’s superb food and drink scene. Here you’ll find out where to pull up a chair for sublime seafood, fine dining, veggie feasts and more. Of course, we’ve also handpicked a selection of our personally inspected special places to stay.

Featured in this article

Salcombe, Exmoor, Dartmouth, Totnes, Beer , Barricane Beach

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Walks in Devon – Salcombe to Gara Rock. To make this walk as adventurous as possible, begin by arriving in Salcombe on the ferry, then take off from the jetty following the hedge-lined path signed Mill Bay before hopping onto the South West Coast Path, signposted Gara Rock. It’s an easy-breezy circular route (4.3 miles in total) with sublime views to Kingsbridge Estuary and Southpool Creek, and the option to descend to lovely beaches – Sunny Beach and Rickham Sands are both gorgeous. You’ll know you’re about to arrive in Gara Rock when you see the charming thatched Rickham Coastguard station. For more sublime stomps around Devon’s country and coast, explore our top 5 favourite walks in Devon.

Arlington Court 

Arlington Court is an impressive Regency house set in picturesque gardens on the edge of Exmoor. Get closer to nature on this two-mile, mostly level lake walk, discovering a bird hide and ancient heronry. They also have two species of bat roosting in the cellars. Wander through the formal Victorian garden and conservatory or visit the house – it’s a treasure trove of family heirlooms collected over 500 years, with an impressive carriage museum displaying everything from elegant horse-drawn coaches to humble carts. 

Choose any National Trust site and you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful walk in nature. For more ideas explore these National Trust walks in Devon.



Andria in Dartmouth pays homage to modern European fine dining: quality local ingredients, a flair for flavours and an expert blend of simplicity and complexity. Head chef Luca, born in Paris, raised on Italian home cooking and trained in the UK, has used his skills to receive a third Bib Gourmand in the 2024 Michelin Guide. You eat in a cosy, wood-panelled room or upstairs for the Chef’s Table experience if you have a special occasion to celebrate.

Riverford Field Kitchen

Riverford Field Kitchen is an institution, ‘leading the veg revolution since 1986’. You dine in the airy purpose-built restaurant on dishes that make homegrown organic veg the star of the show as Guy and his team try to revolutionise the way you cook at home. They cleverly show how easy it is to champion humble but mighty vegetables alongside smaller amounts of meat and fish. Come for brunch, lunch or supper and tuck into a delicious multi-dish set menu.

Dining out doesn’t get much better than in Devon, explore our recommendations for veggie feasts to fine dining and sublime seafood.

The Royal George

This foodie and friendly award-winning pub restaurant’s inventive monthly-changing menus showcase local produce cooked with care and skill. And there are good options for children. Try excellent fish, Exmoor lamb, local pheasant, a great burger. They work with local farms and suppliers and there’s a decent wine list alongside a range of beers. Breakfast is a treat and if you love the sourdough you can order a loaf to take home. Soak up jaw-dropping floor-to-ceiling estuary views while you eat.               

Instow Arms

A staff pick by Isobel on our social media team, the Instow Arms is positioned a stone’s throw from the sandy village beach and enjoys glorious estuary views. Menus are seasonal, with a focus on excellent locally sourced produce: pub grub at its best. Expect plenty of freshly caught fish, Devon beef, a decent kid’s menu and moreish desserts. In summer, you’ll spill outside to breathe in the salty sea air with a glass of something cold in hand.                

There are pubs, and then there are foodie pubs. If you’re looking for the latter, explore our favourite foodies pubs in Devon.



Vibrant Totnes has a vibe all its own, a genteel hippy buzz most in evidence on market day. Part of the town’s history for hundreds of years, every Friday and Saturday 9am-4pm, you can pick up everything from locally buzzed honey to delicious cakes, clothes, plants, antiques and a plethora of other treasures. Stomp up to the Norman castle, discover independent cafes and emporiums, or take a gentle stroll along the river Dart.


Beer is small, neat and pretty, and it’s certainly worth straying from Lyme Regis to discover the other end of the bay. Away from the crowds, you can tell local life thrives here year-round. With delightful sea views from every angle, endless coast and country walks and, for its size, a surprising number of pubs, bars and restaurants. Beer is small yet mighty. 

Delightful Devon is awash with charming towns and villages, here are a handful of our favourites to explore.

Barricane Beach

Barricane beach is a sheltered, west-facing cove with views stretching across the Bristol Channel to Lundy Island. Stay for the sunsets which are spectacular. A popular cowrie and seashell combing spot, some say the shells have travelled all the way from the Caribbean. The beachside cafe serves typical fare during the day and rather tasty Sri Lankan curries in the evening – no booking, just BYO and cash only. 

From hidden coves to popular sandy stretches, we’ve got your Devon beach picks covered. Explore our favourite beaches in Devon.


Quicke’s Farm

Quicke’s is a celebration of all things cheese. The family has worked in harmony with the land for 14 generations, using time-honoured methods and tried and tested recipes to create the perfect cheddar; handmade, clothbound and slow-matured for a rich and delicious taste. Come to collect your holiday cheese and a range of tasty treats including pâté, pickles and relishes, crackers, nuts and olives and some excellent local wines. You can also book a farm tour to meet the cows, sample the cheese and find out how real cheese is made. 

Tavistock Pannier Market

In the heart of Tavistock, tucked in the ancient Market Hall, the gutsy Tavistock Pannier Market was granted its Royal Charter in 1105 and has continued to thrive ever since, drawing visitors from near and far who arrive to browse and buy from its smorgasbord of stalls. Discover antiques and second-hand books, artisan gifts and delicious cakes, jewellery, garden plants and more. This vibrant space works hard to ensure another generation of local makers can keep their craft traditions alive.

A celebration of all things local, handmade and homemade, check out our must-visit farm shops and markets in Devon.


Bay Cottage

Bird-filled woods behind you and the sparkling bay in front create an instant holiday feeling at this roomy, semi-detached Victorian cottage. A five-minute walk takes you down to the inn for breakfast, lunch, a cream tea or dinner. You can borrow kayaks or spend the entire day yomping on the South West Coast Path, swim from the gentle pebbled bay or wander ten minutes to a sandy beach. Back at base, it’s cosy and comfortable with books and games to enjoy in front of the wood burner. Sloe gin, robes and slippers for bed. 

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside, browse our favourite coastal places to stay in Devon.

The Old Piggery

Forget the demands of modern life at this dog-friendly rural retreat with its lovely views, walks from the door and cream tea to welcome you. Peace and quiet reign at your 19th-century barn set among 20 acres of conservation land, including lakes, woods and meadows, where nothing but birdsong disturbs you. Dogs get treats and towels, a big field for free-ranging and an outdoor dog shower for muddy days. The Tarka trail and Bude’s wonderful surfing beaches are close by; return to sit out in the garden and gaze up at the stars.  

Places that go above and beyond to welcome your dog tick all our boxes. Browse our featured dog-friendly places to stay in Devon.

Glebe House

Come to this bright, eclectic house set on a 15 acre smallholding for super food, gracious hosts and delightful individually styled bedrooms. Inspired by time spent in Italy, chef Hugo and artist Olive set up their own agriturismo right here in Devon. They nurture a polytunnel, keep chickens and pigs and bake daily bread. You can join bread making and charcuterie workshops. Settle down in front of the fire in one of the sitting rooms after a jaunt around the countryside or coast. Later, sip cocktails under the grapevines in the Garden Room and sit down for a simple supper or a four-course seasonal set menu.

For places that stand out for their individual charm and character, browse our quirkiest places to stay in Devon.

Our featured places to stay in Devon

Bay Cottage

Torquay, Devon

  • From £365 p/n
  • Self-catering
  • 2 rooms for 4

The Old Piggery, Kerswell Farm

Bideford, Devon

  • From £110 p/n
  • Self-catering
  • 2 rooms for 4

Glebe House

Colyton, Devon

  • From £129 p/n
  • Hotel
  • 7 rooms for 2

We hope our Pocket Guide has given you a small taste of Devon on Earth. If we’ve piqued your interest, take a look at our collection of places to stay and start planning your trip to this delicious county.


Explore all our special places to stay in Devon >

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Carmen McCormack

Guest Expert

Carmen is a freelance writer specialising in travel. She once lived in a bus in north Wales, skipped off to study in Barcelona, and now calls Bristol home. When she’s not tapping away on her laptop, she can be found reading (a lot), lake swimming (a little), and pottering on the allotment with husband and two kiddos. She’s currently dreaming about cold cerveza and torta in Mexico.

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