Devon is the only county in the UK with two separate coastlines, one to the north and one to the south. This county is a favourite holiday destination with people from all over Britain, some of whom visit year after year. Much of this is due to Devon’s stunning coast and warm sunny weather, but there’s more to Devon than seaside and sun.
Situated in the south-west of England, between Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset, Devon was once known as a dark land of mines and mysterious moorland. The original Celtic people who lived here were known as ‘the deep ones’ and they lived a harsh life in the steep valleys of Devon.
Today Devon boasts pretty fishing villages, sandy beaches and a complex and interesting inland of rugged landscape, including The Dartmoor National Park. The north coastline of Devon offers only a few popular destinations, such as Ilfracombe and Woolacombe.
The south coast is much more popular with visitors and takes in part of the Jurassic coast to the east. Spend some time in Beer and Sidmouth and discover the pebbly, fossil rich beaches. Sidmouth is also home to The Donkey Sanctuary, which makes a great day out.
The Donkey Sanctuary operates as a charity and is free to enter, although donations are appreciated. Working to give a home to and care for donkeys and mules, the sanctuary allows you to get up close and personal with these beautiful animals. At Newton Abbot to the west The Miniature Pony Centre features miniature Shetland Ponies and Mediterranean donkeys. The centre also offers birds of prey displays, farm animals and a pets’ paddock.
To the west you’ll find the popular resorts of Torquay and Paignton, which form part of The English Riviera. Agatha Christie was born here and spent much of her life in this area. You can take a tour, following in the famous crime writer’s footsteps.
You can also visit Agatha Christie’s holiday house and spend time at the annual Agatha Christie Festival. The English Riviera is home to various animal parks, farms and aquariums, the most popular being Paignton Zoo. Paignton Zoo is an award winning zoo which houses thousands of animals and plants, making it a favourite with families during the half term break.
Further to the west you’ll arrive at Plymouth. Plymouth makes much of its maritime history and Plymouth Hoe is a good place to gain an idea of how important that history is. The Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Plymouth Sound, the natural harbour here, when they set off for the new world.
Captain James Cook and Scott of the Antarctic also sailed from these shores. Views over Plymouth Sound are spectacular and you can stand on the very spot at Plymouth Hoe where Sir Francis Drake played bowls.
Inland, Devon is a county of beautiful countryside, farms, castles and picturesque towns and villages. Dartmoor National Park provides an opportunity for open spaces like no other in Southern England. This area is perfect for walking and features ancient monuments and some stunning waterfalls.
With a mix of mysterious landscape, historical connections and seaside fun, Devon is the perfect place to spend the UK school holidays.