A to Z bucket list of things to do in Devon this summer
- Credit: Archant
Complete all of these activities and you can safely say you’ve had a truly incredible summer in Devon. With walks, places to eat and drink, events, activities and experiences, this is the ultimate Devon summer bucket list
A… A la Ronde
This quirky 16-sided house is one of the county's most unusual National Trust properties both inside and out. Inside you'll find a vast selection of oddities collected by Jane and Mary Parminter during their 18th century tour of Europe while the unconventional dimensions of the exterior give photographers plenty of angles to work with. The wider estate is also full of flora and fauna that flourishes at the height of summer.
B… Beaches, beaches and more beaches
With 450 miles of coastline, Devon has more beaches than you could ever possibly need. While it will take a mammoth effort to visit every single one in the county, our guide to 16 of the best will help you pick a few that will be most suited to what you want to do whether that be surfing, fossil-finding, sandcastle-building or simple sunbathing.
C… Cream first cream tea
If you're from Devon then by now you'll be well aware that a cream tea must be served cream first and having it any other way is near sacrilege. Wherever you are in the county a delicious cream tea will never be far away and hopefully our selection of great places to go will point you in the right direction.
The tors, moorland and villages of this National Park are well established as the sites of some of Britain's top walks yet the majority of such walks are typically undertaken without a llama by your side. This is where Dartmoor Llama Walks comes in as they provide you a friendly llama or alpaca to accompany you on what will surely be the most unusual four-hour walk you'll ever do.
Try saying that as quickly as you can ten times in a row! As with Dartmoor not too much needs to be said about this National Park so again we've picked one of the area's quirkier activities. You can choose a variety of lengths and locations for your walk which includes a thorough introduction to falconry with either Lady Macbeth or Cassius, the company's two resident birds of prey.
F… Fishing then fish and chips
Whether it's out at sea or in our rivers and lakes, Devon's fishing is wonderfully rich and varied. For sea fishing we recommend M and S Charters from Exmouth and Bluefin Charters from Ilfracombe while for freshwater fishing Kingslakes have a number of cottages next to lakes and Arundell Arms has private fishing on 20 miles of river bank. After your day out on the water head back to dry land to seek out one of these top Devon chippies.
Dartington Crystal's glass factory is the only one of its type left in the country and it's open for visitors to witness every stage of this fascinating process. After learning about the history of glass making in the area, you'll be able to watch expert blowers turn the raw material into the flawless pieces the company is renowned for.
Check out these other places to visit:
- 1 Win a diamond ring worth £1,000
- 2 How you can walk in the footsteps of Dracula in Whitby
- 3 Photography focus: 5 stunning Yorkshire Dales landscapes
- 4 From The Dig to Harry Potter - 5 films shot in Suffolk
- 5 Win a watercolour painting of Gosfield by artist James Merriott
- 6 Afternoon tea deliveries in Norfolk
- 7 Win a signed limited edition print by Fiona Odle
- 8 5 of the most romantic walks in Yorkshire
- 9 Hideen gems in the Peak District - Noon Stones circle, Birchover Triangle, Bleaklow Head
- 10 6 waterfall walks in Derbyshire and the Peak District
H… Hartland Abbey and Quay
When exploring the beauty of this particular part of North Devon a stop at this gorgeous 1790s mansion and the nearby coast is a must. Starting out as a monastery before being developed as the grand ancestral home of Henry VIII's wine cellar keeper, the building and its surrounding gardens have elements from various architectural periods which makes for a wonderfully eye-catching visit. We featured the drive down to Hartland Quay in our round-up of Devon's prettiest streets so you can see just what your drive to the coast will be like.
I… Ice Cream
When you're on your day out in the county keep your fingers crossed for perfect weather so you can cool down with an ice cream from one of the many great shops in the county. If you're in North Devon get your fix from a Hockings van, for ice cream from 'cow to cone' in East Devon try Otter Valley Dairy and your best option in South Devon will be Salcombe Dairy.
J… Jack Wills
The distinctive fashion brand may now be known internationally with over 300 stores worldwide but far fewer people know that it started right here in Devon. Visit Salcombe's Fore Street to pick yourself up a few new items for summer from the company's first location to ensure you look fully prepared for the season. On an interesting yet unrelated note, Jacobstowe near Okehampton is the county's only town or village that starts with a J.
K… Killerton and Knightshayes
Here we have two of Devon's best known National Trust sites located just half an hour drive from one another, making it very easy for you to visit both locations in one grand day out. Both Killerton - a Georgian home built by Sir Thomas Acland - and Knightshayes - a gothic-style house from the Victorian period - are surrounded by hundreds of acres of gardens, countryside and woodland that can be explored to your heart's content.
L… Lundy Island
Whether you're visiting this island in the Bristol Channel or staying in one of its 23 holiday properties, you'll find a piece of near flawless island life just a short trip from the North Devon coast. Due to its isolation - visitors will typically only use the MS Oldenburg to reach the island - it has a unique collection of wildlife that are fortunate to call this rugged three-mile long and half-mile wide island home.
M… Michelin-starred eateries
With an abundance of incredible seafood and other local produce nearby, our county's restaurants certainly have an enormous amount of choice when it comes to preparing their mouthwatering dishes. Top locations include Lympstone Manor, Gidleigh Park, The Masons Arms, The Elephant Restaurant and The Olive Room, meaning you'll never be short of fine dining options.
N… Night sky experiences
Exmoor is Europe's first dark sky reserve and so understandably it is a popular spot for astronomers and stargazers. As well as just simply admiring the stars on a clear night, you could get involved with the Dark Skies Festival, hire a holiday cottage set up for stargazing or sign up to a stargazing experience night to get some top tips from astronomy experts. You could also join the Exmoor StarGazers group to be part of a friendly society made up of various levels of experience.