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Great Days Out and Places to Go in South Devon
What makes the perfect day out in Devon?
11th May 2017

Great Days Out and Places to Go in South Devon

The answer to that might depend on whether your idea of heaven is a pretty seaside town, a day of excitement or pure escapism. Visitors often think of Devon as cute and quirky, but it is a huge county with a vast amount to explore.

With fine beaches and some great attractions, the English Riviera is famously lovely (you might notice palm trees and exotic looking gardens that are testament to the microclimate of the area). But equally, you have the wild beauty of Dartmoor very nearby, along with many other pretty towns and unsung highlights.

Here are just some of our favourite places to see and visit, along with some of the more exciting activities for families, couples and, well, just about anyone!

Family fun
For families, there are some great places to take the kids for a day out. Torquay’s Living Coasts or Paignton Zoo are two excellent animal attractions.  Alternatively, for somewhere to take energetic youngsters, head to Quaywest in Paignton for a superb selection of waterslides.

Perhaps our most popular local family attraction is the excellent Pennywell Farm, however. Kids will love the many rides, play areas and animal encounters. Meanwhile, mum and dad are sure to appreciate the fine views over Dartmoor. Look out for Rex the T-Rex!

Explore the moor

If it is fresh air and escapism you are looking for, Devon’s famous national park is the place to take off. But where are the best places to visit on Dartmoor? The full answer would require a book, let alone a blog, but we should begin with one or two ideal starting points.

Dartmeet is ideal for families and those who would like a gentler taste of of the moor. Here you can dip your feet in the River Dart, hop across grand natural stepping stones and also enjoy a cream tea and check out the collection of birds. In short, it’s the ideal spot to let off a little steam and maybe grab an ice cream.

For the more dedicated explorer, you are spoilt for choice as there are a huge number of Tors, eerie ancient history and wide open spaces. Venford Reservoir is a pretty spot to take a walk, while nearby Postbridge is another highly picturesque village, with lovely views and a classic inn (nothing hits the spot quite like a pint of Dartmoor Jail Ale after a good walk).  For lots more suggestions, try

South Hams highlights

Offering quiet, rocky coastline and some pretty towns and nature sites, the South Hams also have plenty of interest for a day out. Dartmouth is especially attractive on any mild afternoon. You could simply potter around the seafront and grab a pint and a bite to eat, or perhaps sample a bit of local history. Several of the old buildings such as the Cherub Inn have famously wonky floors and more than a story or two to tell (you’ll think that ale has gone straight to your head!). Or if you are animal crackers or shopping for gifts, you could always head for the Simon Drew Gallery.

Nor are the South Hams all about the bigger beaches and towns though, because there are also some great country houses and lesser known National Trust gems. Coleton Fishacre is one of them, with a decadent garden right by the sea. It’s also a great place for wildlife and a walk with a grand view (and is also dog friendly). See

Food, drink and crafty Detours in Devon

Do you prefer your pleasures a little more crafty? For passionate foodies and fans of the arts, there are some excellent places to visit, tour and taste your way around the best of Devon fare. If we had to boil it down to just one or two, however, in and around Totnes would probably top the list.

Totnes itself is a delight for an afternoon of browsing and is packed with independent shops, galleries and restaurants (see visit Totnes for further details). Easily one of our favourite places for couples to visit in Devon, as it is perfect for a romantic spot of pottering about

Meanwhile, right on the doorstep of the town you will also find Dartington. Home to stacks of shops and creativity of all kinds, it’s the kind of place you could leave with anything from a cracking gourmet food hamper to an original art treasure, while it’s also one of Devon’s best places for handmade gifts and alternative shopping.

Historic charm and a touch of murder in Torbay

Beyond all the glitz and bustle of Devon’s famous seaside towns, the other great delight of the county is the sheer number of curious, quirky and downright fascinating places to visit. Crime fiction fans will love visiting Agatha Christie’s favourite seaside haunt at Greenway, while there is even a special Agatha Christie Festival in September every year. 

Meanwhile, Torre Abbey has eerie ruins and secrets, along with colourful gardens packed with scultures and rare plants (including some mysterious customers that come straight out of a crime drama plot!). Or literally less than half a mile from us at Compton Pool Farm, there is also the splendid Compton Castle, which has pretty gardens, plenty to explore and a selection of lawn games and costumes to try on to keep younger guests occupied.

Steam travel, cruises and Devon life in the slow lane

One of the best ways to explore Devon in stress free style is to travel by water or by rail. Steam train rides in Devon are one nostalgic option that will appeal to those of all ages. For the ultimate in retro travel, The Dartmouth Rail and River Boat Company have fabulously authentic transport and an idyllic route to enjoy, with pick up points including nearby Torquay and Brixham. And should a classic steam locomotive not be romantic enough, there is also the chance to venture forth in an authentic paddle steamer!

If a classic cruise is more your cup of tea, however, there are also a great range of boat trips in Torbay, including day and evening journeys from Torquay, Brixham and Dartmouth. Popular Devon cruises and sight seeing trips afloat include those run by Stuart Line and Greenway Ferry.

Idyllic self-catering breaks in South Devon

With a selection of perfect holiday cottages in an delightful location, Compton Pool Farm is the ideal place to escape and discover Devon! Our self-catering lets enjoy great facilities and a peaceful atmosphere, yet are also conveniently near Torbay and Dartmoor. We have options to suit most visitors, from charming holiday lets for couples, to excellent group or family accommodation. Keep an eye on our Facebook Page and special offers page for further information and our best current deals and discounts for 2017!

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