Last minute Devon holidays
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Devon is a county in the south-west of England, with Cornwall to the west and Dorset and Somerset to the east. With cliffs and beautiful beaches on both its northern and southern borders, Devon in the only British county with two separate coastlines. A largely rural area, Devon is home to Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks. However, the historic cities of Plymouth and Exeter are also located in the county. The economy is heavily dependent on tourism, with many visitors flocking to its unspoilt beaches and seaside resorts every year.
Wherever tourists stay in Devon, they will never be far from a beach. Woolacombe has arguably the best beach in North Devon with three miles of unspoilt sand. Croyde Bay, Saunton Sands and Westward Ho are all worthy alternatives. In South Devon, near the town of Paignton, is Goodrington Sands, which boasts a large, family-friendly, sandy beach. This is a popular place for watersports for beginners and the more advanced. Nearby alternatives include Dawlish Warren Beach and Slapton Sands.
Exeter Cathedral is located just a short walk from the station in the centre of the city. It has nearly 100 metres of unbroken Gothic vaulted ceiling, the longest in the world. Other attractions include the astronomical clock, dating back to the 15th century, and 50 intricately carved seats, called misericords. Access is free for children who are accompanied by an adult.
Located in Plymouth in South Devon, this is Britain’s largest aquarium and is divided into four zones. Plymouth Sound showcases the local marine life. Eddystone Reef is dedicated to the sea life around the coasts of the UK. Atlantic Ocean has a number of exhibits for the life in this ocean, including the sharks of the Caribbean. Blue Planet houses the Giant Pacific Octopus and has an exhibit dedicated to the Great Barrier Reef. Family tickets are available.
Located just 15 minutes from Exeter, the more adventurous tourists can burn off their excess energy by going on zip wires or the Tarzan Swing, whilst enjoying beautiful views of Dartmoor. Those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground can enjoy the numerous walking and cycling trails. Bike hire is available. There are plenty of picnic areas for visitors with their own food, whilst the Ridge Café caters for those who prefer a hot meal.
Located in Torquay, these caves were home to the first people who ever lived in the area. After enjoying a guided tour of the Cavern, visitors can trek on the Stone Age themed woodland path. Children can take part in an archaeological dig and meet Cavog-the-Caveman. Food is available at the café and mementoes can be purchased at the gift shop.
This hotel is just a few minutes walk from the centre of Sidmouth. It has a restaurant, luxury spa and an outdoor pool. It is just a few steps from the beach, while free bike hire is available for those who want to travel further.
This hotel has all the leisure facilities expected of a four-star hotel, including a gym, sauna and swimming pool. Guests can enjoy excellent food and an impressive view of Plymouth Sound at the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill.
This hotel is situated in central Exeter, walking distance from the station. It has a restaurant and a Costa Coffee cafe. Rooms have air conditioning, free WiFi and a flat screen television.
The warmest months to visit Devon are July, August and September, but in July and August, the beaches will be at their most crowded. In September the resorts and attractions will be less busy and the prices are likely to be lower, but the temperatures will still be warm.
Devon is easy to get to by road, rail or by air. Motorists from the north will drive down the M5 all the way to Exeter, whilst drivers from the west will either take the M4 to the M5 or the A303/A30 straight to the West Country. Devon has two main railway lines, the Great Western Railway that runs from Paddington and South West Trains that runs from Waterloo. Exeter Airport is an international hub and is situated six miles from the centre of the city.
The recommended length of stay for visitors depends on whether they plan to return. Tourists will need at least two weeks to explore all the natural and urban attractions in Devon. This includes both the North Devon coast, a recognised Area of Natural Beauty, and the beaches and Jurassic coastline of South Devon. It also includes both Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks. Tourists will also want enough time to visit the cities of both Exeter and Plymouth.
Devon is not just renowned for its beaches, its rugged coastlines and its two national parks. It is also has a whole cuisine unique to the county. Tourists can enjoy a Devonshire tea, which is served with scones, known locally as Devonshire Splits, served with clotted cream and topped with jam. After a traditional fish and chips, diners can finish their meal with junket, traditionally known as curds and whey, which is a popular milk-based dessert. Devon fudge is a favourite gift given by returning tourists, as is Devon’s cider, also known as scrumpy.