Devon's top attractions
Babbacombe Cliff Railway
Sheltered by red sandstone cliffs, the shingle beach at Oddicombe is a charming place, made even more so by its secluded position. The Babbacombe Cliff Railway has shuttled hundreds of thousands of holiday-makers up and down since it was built 87 years ago. Our tip: Visit the Babbacombe Model Village while you’re there, especially if you have children.
Adult £1.70, child £1.20 (single) T 01803 328750 W babbacombecliffrailway.co.uk
The National Parks
Dartmoor has the largest number of archaeological sites in Europe with stone crosses and circles, cairns and ancient villages. Measuring 368 square miles, Dartmoor boasts the largest area of granite in Britain, and the exposed tors are a highlight of many a walker’s holiday. There are walks to suit all abilities so, whether you fancy tackling a long-distance trail, climbing its windswept open spaces, or just strolling through the woods, you’ve come to the right place. The moor is rich in wildlife such as Dartmoor ponies, badgers, grey squirrels, weasels, hares and deer, plus an enormous range of birds.
Exmoor boasts a varied landscape of open moorland, wooded slopes, trickling streams and, on the coast, cliffs that plunge into the sea. There are many waymarked paths including the Valley of the Rocks which leads to a spectacular section of the South West Coast Path. There are many coastal attractions, notably Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway and the traditional resort of Minehead. Watersmeet (National Trust), where the East Lyn River meets Hoar Oak Water, is wonderful with deep wooded gorges through which the water flows at great speed. Wimbleball Lake, one of the west country’s largest reservoirs, boasts ten miles of pathways that extend around the lake.
Start Point Lighthouse
One of the most exposed peninsulas on the English Coast, Start Point runs almost a mile into the sea near Dartmouth. It was a constant threat to ships sailing up the Channel, so a lighthouse was built on the rocks in 1836. Our tip: It’s worth visiting on a clear day to enjoy the views.
Adults £4, children £2.50 T 01803 771 802 W trinityhouse.co.uk
One of England’s oldest homes, Powderham Castle nestles in acres of parkland beside the Exe estuary. Whatever your taste in architecture, you can’t help but admire the magnificence of the buildings and interiors. Outside there are more child-friendly attractions including a Deer Park Safari and a Pets Corner. Our tip: Visit during the summer holidays and you’ll enjoy seeing the birds of prey in flight.
Adult from £8.50, child from £6.50, family (2+2) from £25 T 01626 890243 W powderham.co.uk
Exeter’s Underground Passages
Dating from the 1300s, the passages under Exeter High Street are like nowhere else in Britain. The Passages have long exercised a fascination, with tales of war, siege and plague! Yet they had a simple purpose – to bring clean drinking water from natural springs outside the walls, through lead pipes into the heart of the city. Our tip: Visit the website and download puzzles that you can solve on your visit.
Adult £6, child £4 W exeter.gov.uk/passages
Broomhill Sculpture Gardens
Broomhill, which lies in one of the most glorious valleys in north Devon, is surrounded by hundreds of acres of beautiful woodland. The once neglected gardens now boast 300 sculptures by 60 sculptors. The Terra Madre Restaurant menu is extensive, has a Mediterranean theme and uses produce from six neighbouring farms. Our tip: Arrive at least an hour early so you can enjoy the whole Sculpture Garden before you eat.
Adult £4.50, concessions £3.50, children £1.50 T 01271 850262 W broomhillart.co.uk
If you can’t pass a mechanical digger without wishing you were in the seat, then you’ll love Digger Land at Verbeer Manor near Willand. Children, and those who are still children at heart, can ride in, and drive, different types of construction machinery including dumper trucks and diggers of different sizes. Our tip: visit the website to prebook tickets at discounted prices.
Adult £19.95, concessions £9.95, child (under 90cm) free T 0871 22 77 007 W diggerland.com
Our Recommended Campsites in Devon