The beaches are considered some of the best in the world, let alone the UK
Things To Do
Take a trip on the Lynton-Lynmouth Cliff Railway for great views of the North Devon coast. The funicular railway avoids a hearty climb between the two Victorian towns.
Enjoy the 65-acre gardens when you visit RHS Rosemoor, the Devon home of the Royal Horticultural Society. With tranquil gardens, an arboretum and family friendly woods complete with activities and children’s trails, this is not just about highbrow horticulture.
Watch craftsmen at work at the world famous Dartington Crystal. From viewing galleries above the factory floor, you can see them working with the molten glass and shaping the crystal before your eyes. Discover the story of glass in the Visitors Centre and ‘stock up’ on glassware in the factory shop.
Explore the world of the honeybee at Quince Honey Farm near South Molton. Get intimate views of the workings of bee colonies inside the hives without the need for protective clothing, discover everything there is to know about bees and making honey – and have the chance to taste and buy honey and beeswax products.
Hire a bike and take a leisurely traffic-free cycle ride along the whole or a section of the 180-mile Tarka Trail. A particularly popular coastal section is from Bideford to Instow.
For North Devon, the quickest route is to use the A361 off junction 27 of the M5. Parts of this are dual-carriageway, with many speed cameras and the route does undulate as it follows the contours of the hills and valleys. There can be traffic delays as the road funnels to a single-lane section at Tiverton and also when crossing the River Taw at Barnstaple.
The A39 (junction 24 on the M5) to North Devon is not recommended for caravans, with steep hills at Porlock (1:4 – although a small, but twisty toll road avoiding the hill runs alongside), Countisbury (1:4) and Barbrook (1:4) – and the A39 has its fair share of hairpin bends, too!
That said, the A39 is one of the best roads for stunning views of the North Devon coastline and Exmoor when exploring by car without towing. Approach Lynton and Lynmouth and Devon’s slice of Exmoor from the west to avoid the steep hills.
An alternative route from the east uses the A303 linking to the A30 and the M5 at junction 29. This is a restricted junction, with access onto the M5 westbound only from the A30. A quick scuttle around Exeter and you’re onto the A377 to Barnstaple.
Go steady on the minor roads. With high hedges and narrow, twisty lanes – particularly in the areas around Hartland and no-through-roads to the coast that can be busy with traffic – long forward visibility is not an option.