Fantastic beaches, rural landscapes and pretty seaside villages make Devon a fabulous place to visit. But choosing the right location can be tricky! Find the perfect place for your stay in our guide to the best places to stay in Devon with accommodation options for every budget
Are you planning a trip to Devon and struggling to choose the best place to stay? We have you covered! In this article discover the best locations for your Devon stay. We share the best things to see and do in each destination plus popular attractions in the surrounding area to help you decide which is the best place to stay in Devon for your travel style and needs.
We have also chosen the best accommodation options including boutique hotels, holiday parks, lodges, holiday cottages, guest houses and B&Bs to suit a range of budgets and travel styles in each destination.
- Best places to stay in South Devon
- Burgh Island
- Best places to stay in North Devon
- Lynmouth and Linton
- Best places to stay in Dartmoor National Park
- Resources to help you plan your visit to Devon & England South West
This post may contain compensated links, meaning that if you buy through them, we get a small commission at no extra cost. Please read our full disclosure for further information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
🌊 Torquay – best for evenings out, seaside and nature
🛍 Totnes – best for shopping and alternative vibe
🏄 Dartmouth – best for water sports
⛵️ Salcombe – best for sailing
🛍 Plymouth – best for shopping
⛪️ Exeter – best for culture and parks
📚 Brixham – best for history lovers
🍦 Sidmouth – best for seaside nostalgia
💟 Burgh Island – best for fans of Art Deco and a luxury getaway
👨👩👦👦 IIfracombe – best for family fun and coastal scenery
😎 Appledore – best for relaxing
🏄 Croyde – best for surfing
🏃 Lynmouth & Linton– best for Exmoor, walking, hiking, & nature
🎑 Clovelly – best for picturesque views
🐴 Dartmoor – best for walking, hiking, nature
Best places to stay in South Devon
Running along England’s south coast between Salcombe and Seaton, South Devon is a terrific destination for easy access to both the beautiful coastline and the nature-rich countryside.
Spectacular adventures abound with a World Heritage Coast, stunning beaches, a national park, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, peaceful villages, fishing communities, traditional towns, and thriving cities. In short, there really is something for everyone!
Weather you fancy spending idyllic days at the seaside, taking long hikes through nature, cycling along well-marked trails, visiting cultural and historic hotspots, or trying diverse activities, there’s plenty to make you smile in South Devon.
Try your hand at a variety of watersports. Go horse riding through stunning landscapes. Have fun at theme parks. Photograph striking buildings. Unwind in a luxurious spa. Spend a lively day at the races. Dine on tasty local cuisine. Experience the local nightlife. Make many magical memories!
There’s a wide choice of accommodation options to suit all budgets and expectations, and you’re never far away from excellent eateries and places to shop. South Devon is a firm family favorite, yet it’s also immensely popular with groups of friends, couples, and solo holidaymakers.
Situated along the English Riviera on the English Channel, the seaside resort town of Torquay offers a diverse range of attractions and restaurants. There’s plenty to do for people of all ages, and it’s a top destination for anyone seeking blissful days on the beach and at the seaside, fun-filled days exploring nature, and lively evenings out on the town. It’s little wonder that Torquay is often highly rated when it comes to favourite holiday hotspots in England.
Great beaches around Torquay include Torquay Beach which is close the harbor, Beacon Cove, Peaked Tor Cove, Meadfoot Beach, and Torre Abbey Beach. Wander along the scenic coastline to spot natural features like the photogenic London Bridge Arch rock formation. Torquay’s glorious landscapes are listed as a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Check out Berry Head Nature Reserve for some of the area’s most splendid vistas, nature, and historic sites. Surrounded by water on three sides, the reserve sits on a headland that’s home to an attractive lighthouse and the remains of an old fortress. Look out for the protected guillemots.
Kids are sure to be enchanted at the nearby Babbacombe Model Village, and the Real Crime Museum is a top attraction for adults. Other great things to do around Torquay include exploring Kents Cavern, dining on fresh seafood, boat trips from the harbour, experiencing the nightlife, and watching a theatre show.
Cool and quirky Totnes is known for being the South West’s hippie paradise. The town exudes an alternative vibe, and you’ll find a terrific selection of independent shops and one-off boutiques alongside hip cafes that focus on organic, ethical, and fair-trade goods. If you love shopping and an alternative atmosphere, Totnes could definitely be the place for you.
Get your fill at the weekly market in Civic Hall Square, an absolute must-visit for foodies. If you visit on the third Sunday of the month, you can satisfy your appetite as Market Square turns into the biggest Good Food Market in all of Devon! There are loads of great places to eat and drink around town too – call into the Dartmouth Inn to chill out and unwind after a busy day of shopping.
Over the summer, travel back in time each Tuesday with a wander around the Elizabethan Market when vendors don period outfits.
Attractions wise, you’ve got the atmospheric Totnes Castle right on the doorstep, along with museums, Sharpham Vineyard, boat trips along the River Dart, art galleries, walking trails, a quaint steam railway, the kid-friendly Pennywell Farm, and the historic Brutus Stone which is said to be where the town was named by a Trojan Prince.
Located at the mouth of the River Dart, Dartmouth is one of the most popular and enchanting towns in South Devon. A fantastic place for anyone who wants an array of awesome watersports at their fingertips, you can enjoy activities like kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and boat trips. Wake up in the morning and get straight to the water when you stay in Dartmouth.
There are terrific walking opportunities too, and Dartmouth offers easy access to the South West Coast Path. It couldn’t be easier to get out and enjoy a terrific hike in the fresh air. Want even more outdoor leisure? There are beaches close to hand too.
The town itself is attractive with winding Elizabethan streets and historic architecture. Dartmouth really is a beautiful place to visit in Devon, England. Step inside an old 1600s merchant house to learn more about the town’s past at Dartmouth Museum. Marvel at the grand Dartmouth Castle, and check into the regal Bovey Castle if you want a taste of the high life.
Stroll around the cute nearby village of Dittisham, hop on the Dartmouth Steam Train for a nostalgic ride, visit the Greenway Boathouse, admire Flavery Church, and take full advantage of Dartmouth’s excellent shopping opportunities with a spot of retail therapy.
Historic hotel with views over the river and sea.
B&B with scenic views of the river and 7-minute walk to the waterfront.
2 Bedroom holiday home with TV, kitchen with a dishwasher and microwave.
Calling all sailing enthusiasts! For endless days of fun on the water, visit beautiful Salcombe. The sailing capital of Devon, it’s easy to set sail under the sunshine and unwind as you soak up the magnificent views while being captain of your vessel.
Salcombe offers plenty of other watersports too, particularly at Kingsbridge Estuary, along with gorgeous beaches for fun and relaxation. Poke around in the rock pools at Salcombe North Sands, take a dip at South Sands Beach, and build a sandcastle at Mill Bay.
One of the prettiest places to visit in Devon, Salcombe boasts one of South Devon’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty where you’ll find coastal paths and charming villages. The South West Coast Path runs near Salcombe too.
Discover more about the area’s seafaring past at Salcombe Maritime Museum, visit the interesting museum and sub-tropical gardens of Overbeck’s, see the brooding ancient ruins of Fort Charles, and snap some pictures of the boats bobbing on the waves at Snapes Point.
After your days of fun, there’s a good choice of places to eat, drink, and sleep. The Fortescue Inn is a recommended place for great food and a warm welcome.
Excellent location in Salcombe & good value for money.
Amazing location with stunning views.
4 bedroom holiday home with river views perfect for groups & families
The biggest city in Devon, bustling Plymouth offers a terrific assortment of attractions, activities, and amenities for all. It’s the best place in Devon for shopaholics, who are sure to love the many high street brands, boutique shops, and quirky market stalls that line the city’s lively streets.
Want everything you need under one roof? Drake Circus shopping center is home to more than 70 of the UK’s top brands and is sure to tick all your boxes. Then, head into the city to discover the treasures of Plymouth Market and West End.
For upmarket boutiques, gift shops, galleries, and a plethora of top-class eateries, don’t miss Sutton Market and the Barbican. Wander the old Royal Navy buildings, now home to shops and restaurants, at Royal William Yard.
Inject some culture into your Plymouth trip at the handsome Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park, which dates back to the 15th century. Kick back at Plymouth Gin Distillery, watch fascinating marine life at the National Marine Aquarium, gaze up at the eye-catching red and white Smeaton’s Tower, pay your respects at the Mayflower Steps Memorial, and see the Royal Citadel.
Plenty of fun awaits you in Plymouth, and you’re bound to return home with lots of great buys too!
Beautiful 5* hotel with historic interiors and elegant rooms.
Cooked breakfasts and cosy bedrooms – family friendly option.
Excellent self-catering accommodation with free WiFi and river views.
Devon’s pretty city of Exeter may be relatively small, but it somehow manages to feel much larger than it is. Perhaps that’s because of the many ways visitors can be entertained and occupied. Conveniently, many of the city’s main attractions are within close walking distance of each other.
Located slightly inland almost midway along the length of South Devon, it’s a convenient base from which to discover the many delights of the county.
Exeter Cathedral is a dazzling Gothic gem with a high vaulted ceiling and an astronomical clock. You can take an interesting tour of the roof and relax in Cathedral Green. Descend underground and tour Exeter’s Underground Passages, an ancient site and a unique attraction in the UK. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery has lots for fans of history, culture, and art.
Take time to simply stroll along the city’s streets and explore the different quarters, all with their own unique charms. There is loads of terrific shopping to do, and splendid parks are dotted all through the city.
The historic quayside offers a wealth of activities, from shopping, dining, and drinking, to boat rides, walking, and watersports. Call into the Custom House, built in the late 1600s and renovated to showcase its former glory.
Brixham is a gorgeous town in Devon. Located in the popular English Riviera, it enjoys a terrific position close to the sea. It’s a fabulous place to stay if you like beachy days, pirate heritage, and family-friendly fun.
Brixham’s beautiful harbor has long played a central role in local life. Admire elegant yachts, see the lighthouse along the breakwater, and soak in the water at the Art Deco seawater lido of Shoalstone Pool.
The full-sized replica of the Golden Hind is an impressive sight and a perfect rainy-day activity. Watch the fishing boats coming home with the day’s catch, and then visit one of the town’s excellent restaurants to sink your teeth into the freshest seafood.
Get into the swashbuckling fun on a pirate tour, when you can learn all about the area’s bandit associations in times gone by. If you’re around in early May, don’t miss the lively and unusual Pirate Festival, where you can come face to face with nefarious scallywags and one-eyed buccaneers.
Delve into the past at Brixham Heritage Museum and Brixham Battery Heritage Centre, and follow the Brixham Heritage Trail for more adventures. Take a boat ride, follow stunning cliff-top walks along the famous South West Coast Path, take kids to the nearby Paignton Zoo, observe nature at Berry Head National Nature Reserve, and wake up early to experience the hive of activity at Brixham Fish Market.
Located along Devon’s splendid Jurassic Coast, lovely Sidmouth was one a childhood holiday destination of Queen Victoria. Today, Sidmouth looks like a regency town and has something of a regal air of elegance of times gone by. There’s a true sense of timeless charm. If you’re looking for good old-fashioned seaside nostalgia, Sidmouth will be right up your street!
Feel any cares drifting away as you chill out at the seaside and enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures. Paddle in the gentle waves, peer into rockpools, go beachcombing, create imaginative sand sculptures, toss a Frisbee – the possibilities are endless.
Take a leisurely stroll along the seafront promenade while enjoying a refreshing ice cream and marvelling at the views. Pause for a breather in beautiful gardens such as the delightful Connaught Gardens – filled with colour and alluring floral fragrances, it’s the ideal place for a picnic.
Picturesque Sidmouth is part of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and it offers plenty of outdoor adventures. Go hiking along the dramatic coastline, complete with stunning red cliffs and awesome vistas, and cycle along scenic trails.
Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary is a popular day out. Home to more than 500 rescued donkeys, the gentle creatures are sure to melt your heart. Other attractions in the locale include Kennaway House, a fine Recency home, as well as Sidmouth Toy & Model Museum, and the nearby Beer Quarry Caves. At the end of each day, sample delicious meals in Sidmouth’s wide range of eateries.
The charming Burgh Island is a small tidal island off the coast of South Devon just opposite Bigbury. You can walk across a sandy strip to reach the island at low tide. If you get your timing wrong, hop on a novel sea tractor to make the short crossing.
Visitors are welcome to explore the island, but do keep in mind that there are private areas and be careful where you’re roaming. See the Art Deco hotel (where Agatha Christie stayed in times gone by) and an old chapel, and spot wildlife around the island’s fringes.
The island has long associations with famous novelist Agatha Christie. It was the inspiration for Soldier Island in her novel And Then There Were None, and it was also the setting for Evil Under the Sun, part of the Hercule Poirot series.
Burgh Island also has connections with smugglers and pirates, who once used the island as a hide out. Feel a shiver down your spine at the reportedly haunted Pichard Inn. Dating back to the 14th century, it was once a pirate’s den.
Stunning location with an Art Deco vibe
2 bedroom beachside apartment
3 bedroom holiday home perfect for families
Best places to stay in North Devon
Boasting bucketloads of natural beauty, heaps of exciting adventures, and more than its fair share of cultural hotspots, North Devon promises plenty of diversity for a fabulous vacation. Come with the family, come with your mates, come with your beloved, or come alone – North Devon won’t disappoint!
Lots of North Devon’s picture-perfect coastline is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are golden sandy beaches, ideal for sunny days over the summer months, where you can swim, surf, chill, sunbathe, and play. The spectacular coastline also has lots of great walking trails.
Away from the beaches you’ll find even more walking and cycling opportunities, with lush valleys and craggy moors just waiting to be explored. Follow the Tarka Trail, named after the famous otter, and spot the celebrated Exmoor ponies roaming the moors in Exmoor National Park.
Discover thriving modern-thinking towns, market towns, peaceful inland villages, traditional fishing villages, seaside resorts, and more. There’s a wealth of places to stay around the region and you won’t find the choice of eateries lacking either.
This could be the perfect time to discover the mouth-watering delights of Devonshire clotted cream (if you haven’t already!) – savor a cream tea and relish local fudge.
An ideal destination for families, the small coastal town of Ilfracombe offers loads of ways for everyone to enjoy themselves. The popular seaside resort is home to terrific beaches such as the shingle Rapparree Cove, the pebbly Wldersmouth Beach, and the sandy Harbour Beach.
The Tunnels Beach is one of the area’s most unique beaches, though, accessible through Victorian-era tunnels and home to a saltwater lido. Nearby, the sandy Woolacoombe Beach is a good place for surfing.
The whole family can learn more about aquatic life at Ilfracombe Aquarium. Watermouth Castle is another top place for family fun. Not only a striking piece of architecture, it’s home to collections of antiques, suits of armor, and other artefacts, as well as having an exciting theme park with rides, games, and a mini train.
Get active with walks along the South Coast Path, perfect for enjoying the sublime coastal scenery. Walk along the Victorian promenade and enjoy well-landscaped gardens. Hear ghost stories about Chambercombe Manor.
Take a picture of Verity, the larger-than-life statue that stands proudly at the harbor, or visit Ilfracombe Museum – there are lots of ways to fill your time. When it comes to mealtimes, Ilfracombe has a good number of restaurants with menus that feature high-quality local produce.
If you love a quieter pace of life, stay in alluring Appledore. A small fishing village in North Devon, Appledore is a serene place to simply kick back and watch the world go by.
Appledore has a heritage of ship building, with traces of the industry remaining today. You can discover more at North Devon Maritime Museum. The village has a well-known yacht club too, and you may spot luxurious vessels on the waves.
Wander through the maze of cobbled streets where hanging baskets add splashes of color outside whitewashed homes. Walk along the promenade while tucking into fresh fish and chips or an ice-cream. Gaze across for the water for views of Instow village, and perhaps hop on a ferry to visit this neighbor.
Appledore is well-positioned for day trips to Bideford, with great shopping, a scenic harbor, pastel-colored houses, and many pubs and restaurants. You can also take a day trip to Westward Ho!, with literary connections, a nice beach, and green spaces. Other ideas include The Big Sheep, the Dinosaur Park, and Combe Martin Wildlife.
Croyde is one of the best places to stay in North Devon for anyone who loves nothing more than grabbing their surfboard and hitting the waves. The beach is relatively sheltered making it a great spot for beginners as well as more seasoned surfers. You can spot people riding the surf at all times of the year.
Croyde’s long sandy beach is a major draw, backed with sand dunes that just bed to be explored. You’ll find even more splendid beaches either side too – Saunton and Woolacombe. The three beaches together are something of a local surfing mecca.
Combining modern amenities with an authentic olde-worlde appeal, Croyde is an appealing destination. The pretty village features cute, thatched cottages along with surf shops and welcoming pubs. Call into one of the local watering holes during the day for hearty fare like roast dinners and pies, or join the cool crowd in the evenings for a youthful vibe and live music.
As with many places along the North Devon coast, Croyde also boasts spectacular scenery. It’s a buzzing place, especially on sunny days, with plenty of visitors coming to experience the magic for themselves. The dramatic headland of Baggy Point is not to be missed.
With underfloor heating, jacuzzi, & well equipped kitchen
3/4 bedroom holiday home with hot tub
4 bedroom holiday home with terrace and sauna
Lynmouth and Linton
The neighboring areas of Lynmouth and Lynton are set in a beautiful area often referred to as the Little Switzerland of England. Despite the moniker, there are no actual mountains here. Rather, Lynton sits perched atop a massive, steep hill, with Lynmouth at the bottom.
The two areas are connected by a cliff funicular, built in the late 1800s. The sublime river gorges, craggy trails, and dense woodlands are what really give the area its Alpine allure.
Lynmouth’s beach may not be the best for swimming, but it still offers lovely walks and beautiful views. Scramble across the large rocks to discover rock pools, and take long walks along the pristine clifftops. Hike along the East Lyn River and follow the South West Coast Path to the Valley of Rocks to watch wild goats grazing amid interesting rock formations.
Spend time at the scenic Lynmouth Harbour, and watch the activity of boats coming and going. Admire the elegant architecture around the long-popular holidaying hotspot.
See the historic Town Hall and catch a movie at the intimate independent cinema now housed inside. Hunt for antiques. Admire views over the Bristol Channel. Plus, Exmoor National Park is just a short hop away.
There’s a fabulous array of eateries offering a tempting assortment of dishes, ideal for satisfying your hunger after walking up and down the hill.
Once owned by a British monarch, Clovelly is a stunningly scenic fishing village in North Devon. Especially popular with photographers, the gorgeous village hugs a 400-foot-high cliff.
Donkeys trot along the steep pedestrianized streets and the cobbled roads lead down to an ancient harbor. Interestingly, one of the most famous cobbled streets was built using stones gathered on the beach!
A place that inspires creativity, it has associations with many writers, poets, and artists. There are two museums in the village – Fisherman’s Cottage and the Kingsley Museum. Call into the Visitor Centre to watch craftsmen making exquisite wares.
Admire glorious views over the Bristol Channel. Walk through the Victorian kitchen gardens of Clovelly Court. Visit the 13th-century All Saints Church. Above all, have a memorable time!
Do note that Clovelly is privately owned and, as such, there is a charge to enter the village. Once inside, you’ll find an assortment of places to stay, as well as pubs, cafes, restaurants, and shops – in short, everything you need for a convenient and comfortable visit.
Top tip: Clovelly’s streets are steep, so wear sturdy shoes!
Stunning views and fantastic sea food
Former 16th century Coaching Inn, full of character and warmth
B&B perfect for couples. Offers free private parking
Best places to stay in Dartmoor National Park
Brooding and evocative, wild and beautiful, Dartmoor National Park is a place that truly knows how to capture the imagination. Steeped in myths and legends, the untamed landscapes evoke mystery and awe.
Covering more than 300 square miles, Devon’s Dartmoor offers a myriad of activities and attractions. Take scenic drives or challenging bike rides, hike across dramatic moors and climb towering tors, explore the landscapes by horseback, go fishing, try wild swimming – there are so many possibilities.
Spot wild ponies cantering across the moors, discover ancient ruins, admire natural treasures, and enjoy diverse attractions. You can even go wild in the treetops at Go Ape.
Come face to face with animals from across the planet at Dartmoor Zoo, a favourite family day out. You can even meet llamas, alpacas, and ponies, at places like Dartmoor Llama Walks, Lakemoor Alpacas of Dartmoor, and the Miniature Pony Centre.
Follow the Dartmoor Artisan Trail to appreciate the many talents to come from this part of Devon, and visit the Museum of Dartmoor Life to learn about the people and places of this rugged area. For culture and history, visit Castle Drogo, Buckfast Abbey, and Brentor Church. The House of Marbles is perhaps one of the quirkiest attractions in the area.
Scenic splendors across Dartmoor include Becky Falls Woodland Park, Wistman’s Wood, Lydford Gorge, and Burrator Reservoir, while there are lots of lovely gardens too.
You’ll find a wealth of accommodation options spread throughout Dartmoor, with the perfect place to suit most budgets and requirements. From campsites and cosy guesthouses to private vacation lets and fancy hotels. Dartmoor offers them all.
Resources to help you plan your visit to Devon & England South West
- Cornwall Travel Guide
- 25 places to visit & things to do in Cornwall for all the family
- Best places to stay in Cornwall
- Guide to the pretty Cornish village of St Ives