Wollacombe beach, Devon.
Where you visit depends entirely on what you want to do. To really experience Devon, stay in a rural area, such as picture-postcard South Hams or East Devon, touched little by the hands of time.
There is plenty of scope for walking, exploring the coast to find beaches, or sampling the shops and cafes of the small towns.
There are also many popular seaside resorts – small, yet still very busy in summer. You’ll find brightly painted buildings lining narrow, winding streets, curious shops and clean, sandy beaches. Dartmouth and Salcombe are two of the best.
A visit to the bleak open moorland of Dartmoor is a must, with its wild ponies and grand views.
Opt for a short stay in the cities of Plymouth or Exeter if you want somewhere cosmopolitan, with lots of attractions. Both are historic sites: Exeter is famous for its Roman heritage, whilst Plymouth for its seafaring traditions, and as the port from which the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to America aboard the Mayflower (the Mayflower Steps can still be seen in Plymouth’s Barbican area).
Walking and Hiking: Numerous walks scatter the county, particularly on Dartmoor (368 square miles of high moorland) and the part of the 620 mile South West Coast Path National Trail – the most southerly path in the UK. Beware Lyme disease.
Biking: The county is undeveloped and relatively peaceful so good for mountain bikers.
Pony trekking: popular around Dartmoor.
Fishing: lots of pretty coastline.
Surfing: Yes, but you’ll need a wetsuit! North Devon (Atlantic/north-west coast) has good, regular surf.
Beach life: plenty of cute, clean little beaches around on the south coast and big, rolling surf beaches on the north.