The main town of North Devon and formerly a river port which played an important role in warfare and trade to the rest of the world. Much of the towns fascinating history can be learned from the guided heritage trails, the museum and library. The restored Lynton & Barnstaple railway is well worth a visit, the short journey has stunning views out across the valleys.
The Queens Theatre showcases a variety of drama, musicals, ballet and children’s events throughout the year. Tours of the former court rooms are available in the Guildhall along with other ceremonial chambers. Another feature of the town is the 16th century arch bridge across the River Taw and also the Queen Anne’s Walk. There are plenty of walking trails to choose from around the estate at Arlington Court, and the Carriage Museum on site has collections of historic dog carts, coaches and chariots.
The Broomhill sculpture gardens are great for a relaxing walk, and in case of a rainy day the Lets Go! Centre has a range of entertainment including a skating rink and ten pin bowling. For a great family day out visit Exmoor Zoo, with hundreds of exotic mammals, birds and insects. Through the day you can catch the many talks and feeds including the famous Exmoor Beast session.
From Tavistock and the rivers Tavy and Tamar to the English Riviera of Torbay, and the nautical town of Dartmouth north across Dartmoor (with its famous miniature ponies) to the surfing beaches of Croyde and Woolacombe, there can be few counties in England that offer such a broad spectrum of experiences to the visitor.
Located in the South Westerly reaches of England, Devon shares a southerly border with Cornwall, and an easterly border with Somerset and Dorset. To the north and south the Bristol and English channels provide miles of beautiful coastline, and numerous attractions to the county.
Areas of Oustanding Natural Beauty (5), National Parks (2) and many other parks and reserves make it very easy to get off the beaten track, but the cities of Plymouth and Exeter are as modern and vibrant as they come.
Inland are a number of country landscapes to explore; Tarka Country to the north, taking its name from a famous novel, offering the Tarka Trail; a fantastic cycle route through the beautiful country landscapes. Centrally, Dartmoor National Park is the largest open space in South England, and offers miles of rugged and wild moorland for keen walkers to explore.
Dartmoor Zoological Park is situated on the edge of the moor. The zoo is the inspiration behind a Hollywood film, and home to an impressive range of exotic animals. Along the south coast is the spectacular Jurrasic Coast World Heritage Site, reaching from Exmouth along into Dorset, and offering a spectacular coastline to discover.
Further south along the coast is the borough of Torbay, home to some of Devon’s most popular seaside resorts and tourist spots, and known as the English Riviera. Devon’s county town is the attractive city of Exeter, offering a mix of historical and modern architecture and culture. To the south is the University City of Plymouth, a historic port, and home to The Hoe, a popular public open space offering a range of attractions.
Devon is the third biggest county in the UK by area, but it's quite easy to get around. In population, it is only the twelfth largest, so it's really not very crowded! Geographically and in spirit quite unlike the neighbouring counties, Devon is characterised by the granite structure that forms Dartmoor rising out of its distinctive red soil, and the very different Devonian rock structure underlying Exmoor. The Devonian geological period was actually named after Devon since it was here that these rocks were first studied.
England’s peninsula incorporates the counties of Cornwall and Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Bristol. This region is mostly rural so is perfect to escape the everyday hustle and bustle, whether relaxing with the family by the seaside or exploring the wild moors and rugged coastline. The area boasts hundreds of beautiful sandy bays to choose from and fantastic surfing opportunities. The historic cities of Exeter, Bath and Gloucester are definitely worth a visit, and with transport links all the way down to Penzance even the famous Lands End and remote Isles of Scilly can be reached.