At first, I had only heard about the charming coastline of Devon in southwest England. Naturally, when I visited the UK in April last year, it was one of my top sights to visit, and thanks to the fact I was visiting a friend with a car made the opportunity that much more feasible.
What’s awesome about traveling to different cities outside of London is that you can find awesome deals on adorable bed and breakfasts. I spent a lot of time on Orbitz and Travelocity trying to find the best deals – research this ahead of time for your trip because there are always awesome prices for good quality hotels. I didn’t have any specific things I wanted to see in Devon aside from the coast, so the journey to finding a hotel was all about finding one with a lot of character (and a full English breakfast!). I came across an incredible deal on the Cedars in Devon. The photo of the main lobby and restaurant house was enough to make me swoon and die from excitement. It’s a part of the Old English Inns collective – I stay at many of their establishments!
Another huge difference between bed and breakfasts in other cities compared to London, is the actual breakfast selection. My friend and I were stunned to find we could order a full English breakfast at no additional charge. If you weren’t feeling that, they had tables laden with fresh fruit, mini glass jars of honey and jam, croissants, pastries, muffins, granola, yogurt, tea, etc. They also had a breakfast menu full of complimentary choices. I’m talking a complete meal at no additional charge!
We arrived at night, having spent the earlier part of the day traveling and visiting friends in London, and spent a cozy evening in looking at brochures and pamphlets from the hotel lobby about sites nearby. We also had a useful book about National Trust sites with a directory of all the gorgeous homes and castles open for the general public. We had a really hard time narrowing down the choices (and almost visited a gnome reserve!) but finally decided on 2 spots for the next day.
Castle Hill Gardens is a gorgeous, expansive house and parkland featuring the remains of Castle Hill, the home of Earl Fortescue in 1730. There is also a lovely Palladian House where his descendants still live. We were fortunate to visit on a day where we appeared to be the only visitors! Being April, it was still a bit chilly and windy in England, but the day was a sunny one, perfect for wandering around the grounds. I definitely recommend this spot for visitors! I definitely wouldn’t mind visiting again. Be sure to bring an extra few pounds for admission, or to donate to the “be nice and honest” box if no one is there to receive you.
After Castle Hill, we drove to an area called Watersmeet for hiking and nature exploring. There was a sweet little tea shop nestled at the bottom of a mountainside, and you have the option to choose several different walking paths labeled on a pamphlet, some longer or more difficult than others. Because we had already walked a great deal and still needed to venture to the coastline, we opted for one of the easier routes. It was just as gorgeous, and we saw a great deal of pretty scenery.
I couldn’t tell you how we managed to find the coast. We truly just stumbled upon it by accident, but it was a welcome sight. There were many little shops nestled together facing the water, and we could see the jagged cliffs in the distance. Finally being able to sit back and relax for a little bit after hiking was the best way to end the day, not to mention snacking on some scones.
We did Devon in one day, but I would recommend you give the area more than that to really experience all it has to offer. You could easily make Devon into a weeklong adventure, especially if the city feel of London isn’t for you but you still want to experience England. The hills are to die for, and the amount of sightseeing available is enough to make me want to plan a trip strictly around Devon. I am definitely going to go back! Some places are easy to walk to, but it does seem best to be able to rent a car or contact a friend you may know who can be your chauffeur for your trip!
I took pretty much every brochure the Cedars had available, so here are some additional places (gardens) that may be worthwhile to visit on your next trip to Devon!
Here are some selections in Devon from the National Trust booklet:
A la Ronde. Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum. Baggy Point. Bolberry Down. Bradley. Branscombe: the Old Bakery, Manor Mill and Forge. Buckland Abbey, Garden and Estate. Castle Drogo. The Church House. Coleton Fishacre. Compton Castle. Finch Foundry. Greenway. Heddon Valley. High Cross House. Killerton. Killerton: Budlake Old Post Office. Killerton: Clyston Mill. Killerton: Marker’s Cottage. Knightshayes. Loughwood Meeting House. Lundy. Lydford Gorge. Overbeck’s. Parke. Saltram. Shute Barton. South Milton Sands. Wembury Beach.
If you have visited any of these places or others in Devon and loved them, tag me on Instagram @kaitwinston and use #kwptravel to share with others!