Devon, the jewel of southwest England, is a destination that beckons with its stunning landscapes, rich history, and charming villages. However, beyond the well-trodden paths, there lies a collection of hidden gems that truly capture the heart of this diverse county. Join us as we explore these secret treasures, each offering a unique experience that promises to enrich your visit to Devon.
1. Buckland Abbey
Why Visit? Nestled near Yelverton, Buckland Abbey is a 700-year-old historic house and garden. Once a Cistercian monastery, it later became home to Sir Francis Drake. The house is filled with intriguing artifacts, including Drake’s famous drum, and the gardens are a picturesque delight.
How to Get There? Easily accessible by car, it’s just a short drive from Plymouth. Public transport options are available too, with local bus services running regularly.
Contact Information: Visit the National Trust website for Buckland Abbey or call 01822 853607 for more details.
2. Dartington Hall
Why Visit? Situated near Totnes, Dartington Hall is a stunning blend of history, art, and culture. Its beautiful gardens and medieval hall provide a tranquil setting, and the year-round events cater to a variety of interests, from music to theatre.
How to Get There? Dartington Hall is accessible by car from the A385, or by train to Totnes, followed by a local taxi or bus.
Contact Information: Visit the Dartington Hall website or contact them at 01803 847000.
3. Beer Quarry Caves
Why Visit? Discover the underground beauty of Devon at Beer Quarry Caves. These vast man-made caves offer an unparalleled glimpse into the region’s ancient stone quarrying industry. Guided tours illuminate the life of the quarrymen and the impact on the village of Beer.
How to Get There? Located near Seaton, the caves are accessible by car, or by train to Axminster, followed by a bus to Beer.
Contact Information: Visit the Beer Quarry Caves website or call 01297 680282.
Why Visit? The historic village of Clovelly is a time capsule with cobbled, car-free streets, donkey rides, and stunning sea views over the Bristol Channel. The journey through the village down to the harbour is an experience in itself.
How to Get There? Located near Bideford, Clovelly is accessible by car or local bus services from surrounding towns.
Contact Information: More details can be found on the Clovelly website or by calling 01237 431781.
5. Hartland Abbey & Gardens
Why Visit? This family-owned estate near Bideford tells the story of England through its transition from monastery to family home. The house and gardens are filled with intriguing artifacts, beautiful artwork, and even a touch of Hollywood – it’s been a filming location for several TV shows and films.
How to Get There? By car, follow the signs from Hartland village. Limited public transport is available, so driving is recommended.
Contact Information: Visit the Hartland Abbey website or call 01237 441496.
Why Visit? For a taste of prehistoric Devon, Grimspound on Dartmoor offers a unique connection to the past. Walk among Bronze Age hut circles in this ancient settlement, and enjoy the breathtaking views of Dartmoor.
How to Get There? Grimspound is best reached by car, following signs from the B3212.
Contact Information: For more information, consult the Dartmoor National Park’s website.
7. Saltram House
Why Visit? Saltram House near Plymouth is a showcase of Georgian grandeur, with preserved interiors, an impressive art collection, and rolling landscapes perfect for a leisurely stroll.
How to Get There? It’s accessible by car, or take the train to Plymouth and then a local bus service.
Contact Information: Visit the National Trust website for Saltram House or call 01752 333500.
8. Valley of the Rocks
Why Visit? Near Lynton, the Valley of the Rocks offers a geological wonder with its striking formations. Ideal for walkers and photographers, this coastal location is sure to inspire.
How to Get There? By car, follow signs from Lynton. Local bus services also run here.
Contact Information: Information is available through the Exmoor National Park’s website.
9. Watersmeet House
Why Visit? Watersmeet House near Lynmouth is a charming spot where rivers meet amidst lush woodland. Enjoy a walk followed by a traditional Devon cream tea at the café.
How to Get There? Accessible by car or take a local bus from Lynmouth.
Contact Information: Visit the National Trust website for Watersmeet or call 01598 753348.
10. Gara Rock Beach
Why Visit? For a secluded coastal experience, Gara Rock Beach near Salcombe offers breathtaking views and peaceful surroundings. A hidden gem for beach lovers!
How to Get There? Best accessed by car from Kingsbridge or Salcombe.
Contact Information: Visit the South Devon AONB website for more details.
Devon’s hidden gems offer more than just picturesque landscapes; they provide unique experiences and a rich taste of England’s cultural heritage. Whether your interests lie in history, nature, or simply enjoying some authentic local charm, these treasures of Devon await your discovery.