For those of you who don’t know, when I’m not off galavanting around the world, I am actually based in Devon, in the South West of the UK (or at least my immediate family are based there). The county of Devon spans from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south and boasts some picturesque beaches, seaside resorts, fishing towns and ports, oh and A LOT of hilly countryside… with a lot of sheep. Although I have a habit of moaning about how bored I am whenever I return home, I do have to say that after spending any amount of time in big built-up and rather grey cities such as Manchester and London, I always come back with a strong sense of appreciation for Devon. There is something to be said for being surrounded by green, hilly, blossoming fields, a huge blue coastline ….. and lots of sheep.
Here are my personal favourite Devonshire gems:
Dartmoor is a humungous area of moorland stretching over 954 square kilometres which is ultimately why I always get lost whenever I visit. Protected by National park status and previously used as a military firing range, it has quickly become a popular tourist destination and homes about a billion horses and sheep who are always really interested to see the interior of your car… On a side note, if you are planning on taking a little hike around Dartmoor then I would highly advise you wear some sturdy yet comfortable boots/shoes as the terrain has a habit of changing from flat to rocks very quickly and during rainy days it can become extremely muddy!!
I’m going to be honest, if you ask the majority of people who currently reside or have previously resided in Plymouth (myself included) and who aren’t over the age of 65, they will most likely tell you that Plymouth is not exactly what most of us would refer to as a ‘Gem’. That being said, as much as I detest the place at times, there are some really amazing spots within the city and on the outskirts of it. Plymouth Hoe (pictured above) and the Barbican pretty much make up 80% of my fond childhood memories and on those (rare) sunny days, you’ll find it packed with locals and tourists alike. With a long row of pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants lining the Barbican and overlooking the harbour, its the perfect place to relax and unwind as the sun goes down and they always provide some great live music. Saltram house in Plympton is another favourite of mine and is one of the UK’s best preserved Georgian homes which has been used for several film settings including Sense and Sensibility. The gardens surrounding it are absolutely beautiful during the summer season and don’t get me started on the restaurants cream and scones, a typical Devonshire delicacy!
The city of Bath is located in Somerset, South West England and is well-known (at least amongst us Brits) for it’s ancient Roman-built baths as well as its status as a World Heritage Site. This is one of my favourite cities in Devon as it manages to perfectly balance both modern and ancient architecture whilst still maintaining that ‘quaint’ feeling. There are plenty of guided tours of the city on offer and some extremely beautiful hotels which often advertise cut price packages. for more information, take a look here: visitbath.co.uk
The River Dart rises high on Dartmoor and releases to the sea at Dartmouth and is a rather picturesque place for walking and cycling. It is surrounded by numerous clapper bridges and several small waterfalls, as well as various wildlife. As parts of the river flow relatively high up on the moor, during winter season you can will find much of the river has frozen over, whilst the surrounding woodland area is covered in thick, white snow- honestly just beautiful. To find out more about the various walking tracks and campsites dotted along the River Dart, take a look at www.riverdart.co.uk
If you are a beach-lover then I would also suggest you visit Bigbury beach, Kingsands (pictured above), Salcombe bay and Dawlish warren – all are just as picturesque as the next and offer something a little different!
And if you still feel after reading this post you’re still not convinced that Devon should be on your bucket list then I suggest you head over to www.thecrazytourist.com where you’ll find a whole boat load of beautiful places to visit in and around the UK!something a little different!