Shopping in Devon
In addition to Devon’s idyllic beaches and vast, open scenery, you’ll also enjoy some of the most unique shopping experiences in the country. You’ll find big name brands, exclusive boutiques and local crafts, catering for every taste.
Farm shops: Farm shops, and their quality local produce, are quickly becoming the best places to shop in Devon’s charming towns. You’ll find quaint spots that specialise in cheese, wine, meat, dairy produce, local ales and local catches. We’d particularly recommend Darts Farm near Topsham, and Occombe in Paignton if you’re in the area.
High street shopping centres: If you’re seeking high street brands for some serious retail therapy, then Drake Circus shopping centre in Plymouth could be exactly what you’re looking for, with over 60 shops and restaurants. Located in the heart of Exeter, you’ll also find Princesshay Shopping Centre, with over 70 of your favourite brands and plenty of spots to eat and drink.
- Independents and the art shops: With a flourishing arts scene waiting to explored in Devon, a visit to one of the local art shops or galleries is a definite must. You’ll find unique pottery, fine art, handmade furniture, photography and crafts - all of which are often inspired by the county’s scenery. In addition, make sure to browse Devon’s many independent and vintage stores, where you can pick up handmade clothing, jewellery or gifts.
Things to do in Devon
Devon offers you complete freedom to explore the great outdoors, removing the stresses and strains of everyday life. You’ll become absorbed by the county’s rural beauty as you hike along coastal paths, dip your toes into the sea or take a picturesque boat trip on the shores. You’ll also find plenty of cycling, fishing and surfing opportunities.
Woolacombe Beach: This perfectly-maintained beach looks stunning in all weathers, with blissfully blue waters and breathtaking sunsets. It’s also renowned as being one of the best surfing spots in the whole of Devon, for both beginners and seasoned professionals. If surfing isn’t to your taste, come armed with a beach ball or bucket & spade, and enjoy Woolacombe’s vast sands.
A day trip to Torquay: Visitors will enjoy jaw-dropping views, quaint shops, cafes and a marina. A visit to the historic Torre Abbey is a must – this beautiful building also houses an art gallery.
- Sea Dream Boats and Cruises: Head to Topsham for the day and enjoy some of the finest maritime sea cruises around. You’ll board the Sea Dream and be taken on a memorable guided tour around the surrounding shores.
Places to eat and drink in Devon
Devon has been awarded Fairtrade county status since 2008, so you can be assured that all of the fruit, veg, meat and fish you’ll enjoy at restaurants will be of the best quality. The county is perhaps most famous for its fish & chips, homemade fudge, filling pasties and cream teas, so make sure you sample at least one. Enjoying some ‘scrumpy’ (or cider, if you’re not from the area) and some locally-brewed ales should also be on your to-do list during your stay.
Gidleigh Park: This unbelievable gourmet spot is one of only a few restaurants in the UK to be awarded two Michelin stars, so any enthusiastic foodies should book immediately. The Tudor-style country manor can be found hidden in 107 acres of Dartmoor woodland, offering a “modern, technical and meaningful” take on fine dining.
Riverford Field Kitchen: Fine, fresh and local food is always on the menu at Riverford, as this organic farm is famous for serving humongous bowls of hearty, unpretentious cuisine. Booking is rather essential, as this spot is something special.
- The Beach House, South Milton: This clapboard shack overlooks the famous sea arch of Thurlestone, offering a warm welcome right on the beach. Food is simple and impeccable, as you enjoy crab cakes, crispy squid or bacon sandwiches all served on rustic wooden tables.
Culture and nightlife in Devon
Devon is famous for its plethora of lively watering holes to keep you entertained in an evening. If you find yourself in Plymouth, you’ll discover a whole host of exciting goings on. KARST - Plymouth’s main independent art venue - is completely artist-led, presenting some of the most thought-provoking contemporary exhibitions out there. A trip to the Theatre Royal Plymouth, the Barbican Theatre or the Peninsula Arts venue proves a great way to spend the evening – you’ll be left spellbound by first-class performances.
Exeter Cathedral: Residing in the smaller of Devon’s two attractive cities is Exeter Cathedral. This historic attraction was built in the 12th century and boasts an eye-catching exterior made from honey-coloured stone. Guided tours of the cathedral take place every day, but you can also utilise the free audio guides for a self-guided tour.
Dartmouth Steam Railway: These vintage trains transport you back in time to the days of steam, as you chug from the seaside of Paignton to the mesmerising banks of the River Dart. The scenic 7-mile journey takes around 30 minutes.
- The Bridge Inn, Topsham: The nightlife in Devon largely revolves around visiting the county’s hospitable and lively pubs, and certainly The Bridge Inn proves one of the finest. It stands as one of England’s last traditional ale houses and is often referred to as a ‘museum-with-beer’. You can even see bunting from George V’s 1911 coronation.