Post in collaboration with Marsdens Devon Cottages
Being a Cornish girl, it won’t surprise anyone that I’ve also spent a lot of time in Devon. My sister and her husband live in Teignmouth, my dad and my aunt both live near Exeter, many school trips took me north of the Tamar and I frequented the county during my junior bowling days in the South West Challenge. Needless to say, it’s a county that I know pretty well.
It’s also a great part of the country to visit for an active break with friends or family. Marsdens have a fabulous selection of self catering cottages throughout the county, some even available for under £300 a week, depending on the time of year. I love the look of the Gullsway Upper apartment in Dartmouth for a family break on the water, or for a break offering lots of hiking options, Exmoor Suite has been converted into holiday apartments.
If you are planning an active break to Devon, here are my recommendations of where to stay and what to do:
Home to the famous Dartmoor ponies roaming the craggy landscape, Dartmoor National Park is a stunning moorland covering 368 square metres. I have memories of hiking Dartmoor when I was in primary school on a week residential. If you love walking, there are plenty of gentle marked routes to take, as well as guided options. For a tougher walk, why not take on your own personal Tor Challenge, visiting a number of different Tors?
Dartmoor is also a great place to try horse riding. There are also plenty of stables available to take you out on a guided hack if you have never got in the saddle before, or haven’t for a while. The views are stunning and it’s a good workout for engaging the core!
Finally, for the cyclists, you will be spoilt for choice on routes. Get those legs ready as the climbs will be hard work!
Dartmoor covers a vast area, stretching almost from Exeter to Tamar Valley, but I highly recommend the Royal Oak in Dunsford (Exeter side) for a well deserved pub meal at the end of the day.
I know Torquay can divide opinions, but I love it. Part of the English Riviera, Torquay is a seaside resort town with beautiful coastline and is great for a break with friends or families. For a rainy day, head to the bowling centre. Hit the South West Coast Path for a stunning walk or tough run. Torquay is also a brilliant location to take part in water sports, with sea kayaking being a fun way to explore the local scenery.
Be sure to try a Devonshire afternoon tea afterward (try The Grand Hotel) but remember the Devonshire way of enjoying scones is wrong. Jam before cream. ALWAYS jam before cream. Never the Devonshire way.
Torquay also boasts plenty of quirky shops, amusement arcardes and bars for when you’ve had enough physical activity!
I haven’t yet visited any of the south west parkruns, but needless to say next time I am down that way, I will be touristing. There are three parkruns located on Dartmoor, but Tamar Lakes is the one that is really crying out to me (although located in Bude, I’m wondering if it actually crosses Devon and Cornwall?). parkrun is a great way to start a Saturday and being on holiday is also the perfect excuse to check out the parkrun cafe cake options after.
Devon is a stunning county, even if they eat scones incorrectly. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of their parkruns or have any tips for an active break!