Devon has a richness of architectural and naval history as well as the rugged natural beauty of Dartmoor and Exmoor which combined with the warmer climate compared to the rest of the UK gives it a feel good factor as somewhere to live, either in retirement or as a safe timeless haven for raising a family.
An outdoor enthusiast’s heaven with walking, cycling and every country pursuit you could think of including fishing, hawking, riding and shooting, the great outdoors has not moved on very much in the last 50 years and there is a delightful original rural feel in the county which has by and large in this writers opinion virtually disappeared in the rest of the United Kingdom.
Devon boasts five areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO Geopark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and two National Parks. Perhaps the most famous of the National Parks is Dartmoor. Its rugged beauty inspired Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, and has been used as the backdrop for Hollywood blockbusters. With 368 square miles to explore, you can walk for miles without seeing another soul or visit some of the Devon attractions to be found on the moors such as Haytor and the fascinating Dartmoor prison museum. Feeling a little more energetic? Then why not cycle the Drakes trail or encounter the herds of pure-breed Dartmoor ponies that wander the wilds? And when you need a little sustenance, be sure to check out the hospitality of the moorland pubs and restaurants, such as the wonderfully named Nobody Inn.
Plymouth might be located in Devon, but it has its own distinctive character. Plymouth is a city for the family in Devon. Steeped in history and the scene of Sir Francis Drake’s legendary game of bowls, Plymouth is also hailed as the cultural centre of the county. With great theatre, live music and art galleries, it’s full of excitement and entertainment for the whole family and one of the best places to go in Devon.
Exeter also has its fair share of history, parts of the city centre dating back to Roman times, with over 70% of the roman wall still remaining. However, it also boasts a superb high street, cobbled side streets and squares housing high street and independent shops and boutiques. If you’re looking for a relaxing cultural getaway with plenty of opportunity for retail therapy, then Exeter’s the place for you. Exeter is close enough to the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and surrounding beautiful Devon countryside that you can base yourself in Exeter and the Heart of Devon and feel like you are on your very own Devon holiday.
Torquay is the gateway to the English Riviera – an area that is packed with things to do in. Torquay is steeped in maritime history and plays host to a number of sporting events and festivals, including the Riviera’s own regatta. It also has its own UNESCO-stamped Geopark, where visitors can explore a unique ecosystem and take part in a variety of unusual activities such as Coasteering and Canoeing the Coves. If these options sound too much like hard work, don’t worry as the area is stacked with some of the best places to eat in Devon afterwards.
South Devon offers the best of countryside and coastline, whichever way you choose to enjoy it. The area is packed with water sports and gentle walks and there are plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy. South Devon is a landscape of gentle rolling hills backdropped by the drama and wildness of Dartmoor, making it a region of contrasts. Its unique character has encouraged artists and musicians to make South Devon their home, and you’ll find plenty of galleries, music festivals and alternative lifestyle centres in this part of Devon.
North Devon is home to a number of stunning stately homes set in glorious grounds, and some of the county’s best surfing beaches for adrenaline junkies. It too has its own distinct character, and the dramatic beauty of Exmoor is the perfect location to go hiking or mountain biking. North Devon’s dramatic coastline has given birth to a new pastime for the more adventurous – Coasteering. If you want to get up close and personal with both the craggy landscape and some of the local wildlife, then Coasteering is a great way to experience the drama and thrill of North Devon.
With the rich diversity of landscape anyone moving to Devon is spoilt for choice.
Thanks to Devon Tourist Board