Lying at the very western end of England, the county of Devon and is wild unspoilt landscapes, granite moorland, cosy traditional villages and vast stretches of golden beaches is often considered to be one of the most beautiful regions in the United Kingdom. Popular with holidaymakers and daytrippers, here you can find rural relaxation roaming the wild moors of Dartmoor or Exmoor National Parks, hop on board a paddle steamer from Dartmouth and meander along the River Dart past quaint villages and castles. Although if you really want to uncover some of the county’s hidden gems, here are some of the best under-the-radar beauty spots to visit in Devon…
Greenway House and Gardens – Agatha Christie’s hideaway
History can be lost and historians do their best to preserve historical sites, but none have managed to preserve a moment in history quite like the curators at Greenway House and Garden aka Agatha Christie’s Hideaway. It was here that she had her holiday home, nestled on the banks of the River Dart and Agatha herself called it “the loveliest place in the world.” She even set three of her novels here, all of which feature on the Agatha Christie Literary Trail: Five Little Pigs, Dead Man’s Folly and Ordeal by Innocence. The house is beautifully preserved down to card games played by the family and Agatha Christie’s personal piano. Visitors stroll through the halls of the Christie family hideaway and enjoy the same gardens played in by the family for generations.
Beautiful beaches can be found throughout Devon, but if you want to keep away from the crowds Broadsands, Exmoor is the answer! Tucked away from the main tourist drag on the beautiful Exmoor coast, it was once voted Britain’s happiest view. The serene quality of this place is emphasized by picturesque green landscapes, dramatic rockfaces, and stunning blue waters. Those that enjoy coming to Broadsands, Exmoor enjoy a beach setting like no other, far removed from the crowded spaces we are often used to along the coast. A world away without going far!
Mouthmill in Devon is a unique stretch of beach. It is among the more remote beach locations and visitors do not always resort to Mouthmill due to its rocky landscape, but this area is a hidden gem. Rock pools throughout the area teem with sealife giving visitors a chance to get up close like no other place. Explorers enjoy diving throughout this coastal region as many shipwrecks are located here. Known as the Iron Coast, Mouthmill in Devon is a place that should not be missed!
Lundy Island is merely a two-mile stretch of land, but this area is rich with history dating back well over 3,000 years. Lundy Island was a heavy hit area during the Viking raids of Devon. Lundy Island has also been home to many Pirate attacks throughout history, but today is a quiet island with unique accommodations. Try spending the night in the high keep of the castle or Lundy’s illustrious lighthouse. History buffs rave about this spectacular island with its ruins and markers of the past.
Glen Lyn Gorge
Located in North Devon, Glen Lyn Gorge has something for everyone. Walking tours should not be missed in this area as walking along the river offers exceptional beauty. Kids enjoy the great outdoors as well as the opportunity to learn about the history of the area. Glen Lyn Gorge has an exceptional museum full of historical artefacts as well as a water wheel that shows kids the significance of water power and how it can help today. Whether spending an afternoon or a few days, you will find plenty to keep the family busy at Glen Lyn Gorge.
Overbeck’s Museum and Garden
Overbeck’s in Devon was a significant help to the war efforts during World War I. The home was used as convalescence for injured soldiers. Today it’s home to a rich history and beautiful sub-tropical gardens. Taking a trip to Overbeck’s takes you out of the hustle and bustle of daily life and into a world that is significantly slower. Stroll through the gardens or explore the house and enjoy its Edwardian era design. Take the kids out for a walk on specialized children’s trails or enjoy Overbeck’s garden tours on Wednesdays to learn more about the area from those that know it best. You may even encounter a friendly ghost or two as Overbeck’s is thought to be haunted due to its rich history. If you’re thinking of staying over in South Devon, Blue River Cottages have a great range of beautiful cottages to choose from including some dog-friendly ones (if you’re also travelling with your pooch).
River Exe Café
During your travels through Devon, you will ultimately get hungry and there is no better place to squelch that hunger than River Exe Café. Located directly on the water, views are something to be savoured and views while dining in this remarkable restaurant are something you will not soon forget. River Exe Café can only be accessed via boat and is only open from 1st April to 30th September. The café is built on a custom made barge that floats in the Exe Estuary. Locally sourced seafood is always a part of the menu and each dish is specially crafted to bring out the best of every ingredient. Reservations are recommended, so be sure to make yours before embarking on your journey! Enjoy!
The Hindu Caves
Adventure seekers can enjoy a cave experience like nowhere in the world in Devon. The Hindu Caves are perched perfectly along the Devon coastline with waterways and pathways stretching deep within the labyrinth of this cave system. Authors such as Charles Kingsley have written of Hindu Cave’s beauty and marvelled at double and triple caves found within. Exploration is encouraged at Hindu Caves, but always ensure you take proper safety equipment and some knowledge of the area. Although I must add, you do not have to go deep into the caves to enjoy the experience!