March 14, 2024

Destination: Devon & Cornwall


In this article

A 2024 Guide to Visiting Devon & Cornwall

Jutting out into the Bristol Channel, the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean beyond, the counties of Devon and Cornwall are popular English holiday destinations.

Flanked on three sides by the sea, they offer visitors over 1200 miles of coastline to explore. Towering cliffs drop down to secluded coves or long sandy beaches. With a long history in fishing and seafaring, there are hundreds of small harbours to see too, boats bobbing on the water.

But look beyond the deeply-rooted maritime culture and you’ll find the interior of Devon and Cornwall just as captivating as its coastline. Undulating hills are crisscrossed by thousands of tiny roads, footpaths and cycling routes. At their intersections, you’ll find beautiful, whisper-quiet villages or bustling market towns.

For international visitors, Devon and Cornwall give you the perfect taste of England’s seaside culture, history, landscape, society and cuisine – amongst many other things of course!

Are you planning to visit Devon and Cornwall in 2024? This article gives you a background to the region, all the key visiting information and plenty of facts, first-hand experience and insider hints and tips along the way – there’s even talk of hogsheads, an explainer on why it’s Foy’ not ‘Fow-ey’ and why you need to try a Saffron bun. Let’s go to Devon and Cornwall everyone…


Where are Devon and Cornwall?

Although residents of Devon and Cornwall would hate for us to lump them together, these two England counties measure around 4000 sq miles – that’s roughly six times the area of Greater London or five times the area of another popular England holiday destination the Cotswolds. That’s plenty for prospective travellers to get their teeth into, even international visitors from much larger countries like the US and Australia.

The harbour at Mevagissey. Image: Visit Cornwall

Within Devon and Cornwall, 6 areas have been given the designation: National Landscape. They are: North Devon, East Devon, South Devon, the Blackdown Hills, the Tamar Valley and Cornwall. A National Landscape is an area of land which represents significant value for conversation purposes. Until November 2023, these were referred to as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or AONBs. 

Slightly confusingly, the two moorland areas in the regions, Exmoor and Dartmoor, aren’t part of the National Landscape, but in fact, have been given the National Park designation. Fun fact, Devon is the only county of England to have two National Parks.

Map of Devon and Cornwall

Travelling in Devon and Cornwall

Being away from the more major cities in England, Devon and Cornwall can be a bit harder to get to. The region is served by one major motorway, the M5 whilst the Great Western Railway operates all of the trains in Devon and Cornwall.

From London – the likely arrival if arriving from abroad – travellers can choose to drive to the region, although catching a train is perhaps the easiest and fuss-free option. 

For Devon, the stations at Exeter (East and North Devon) and Plymouth (West, Central and South Devon) are perhaps the wisest choices., 

Down into Cornwall and Bodmin Parkway, Falmouth and Penzance are the county’s major train stations. Several scenic branch lines take you onwards to other places in Cornwall like Newquay and St Ives.

The rail network in Devon and Cornwall. Image: Great Scenic Railways

A charming trip we can recommend is the journey on the Looe Valley Line. Assuming you are travelling from London, take the Penzance train and alight at Liskeard before jumping on the small, one-carriage train to Looe on the South Cornish coast. 

This small train doesn’t get up much speed, but chugs in and out of wooded valleys and overlooks charming estuaries. The journey to Looe even requires a meandering route to the old station at Coombe, before the train reverses and heads south to the coast. Looe is a place where you can easily while away a week’s holiday time. Just be sure to walk the coast to Polperro, it’s stunning! And you can get the bus back to Looe too!

Once you’ve arrived in the South West, Devon and Cornwall have limited public transport options, with only a few small train stations and bus routes available. Therefore, the most convenient way to get around the region is by car. 

However, if you prefer a more sustainable approach, walking or cycling could be incorporated into your holiday, allowing you to explore the best parts of the region on foot or by bike.


Devon and Cornwall have a rich and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. From the Bronze Age to the present day, these two counties have been shaped by their geography and the industries that have thrived there. 

Three industries in particular have played a significant role in shaping the culture, landscape, geography and people of Devon and Cornwall: fishing, mining, and agriculture.

Bodmin Moor
The wilds of Bodmin moor prove there's much more to Devon and Cornwall than beaches. Image: Matt Jessop

Fishing in Devon and Cornwall

Devon and Cornwall have a long history of fishing, with the sea providing a vital source of food and income for coastal communities. Fishing boats have been a common sight in the harbours of Devon and Cornwall for centuries, and the industry has evolved over time to meet changing demands.

In the 19th century, pilchard fishing was a major industry in Cornwall, with over 50,000 hogsheads (a type of barrel) of pilchards being exported each year. The pilchard industry was so important that it was known as “the silver harvest” and had a significant impact on the local economy. However, the industry declined in the early 20th century due to overfishing and changes in technology.

No visit to Devon and Cornwall would be complete without sampling some Fish and Chips, locally caught of course.

Today, fishing is still an important industry in Devon and Cornwall, with a focus on sustainable fishing practices. The region is known for its high-quality seafood, including crab, lobster, and mackerel. The annual Falmouth Oyster Festival is a popular event that celebrates the rich maritime heritage of the region. The towns of Newlyn, Plymouth and Brixham continue to run notable fishing fleets.

Mining in Devon and Cornwall 

Mining has played a significant role in the history of Devon and Cornwall, with the region being home to some of the richest mineral deposits in Europe. Tin and copper were the most valuable minerals, and the mining industry reached its peak in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The mining industry had a profound impact on the landscape of Devon and Cornwall, with mines dotted across the moors and cliffs. The industry was also a major employer, with thousands of people working in the mines and associated industries. However, mining was a dangerous and often gruelling job, and accidents were commonplace.

One of the most notable mining sites in Devon and Cornwall is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape. This site includes over 200 years of mining history, with the remains of engine houses, mining shafts, and other structures still visible today. The site is a testament to the ingenuity and hard work of the miners who worked there.

Agriculture in Devon and Cornwall

Agriculture has been an important industry in Devon and Cornwall for thousands of years, with the mild climate and fertile soil providing ideal conditions for farming. The region has a long tradition of pastoral farming, with cattle and sheep being the most common livestock.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the agricultural industry in Devon and Cornwall underwent significant changes. The introduction of new farming techniques and machinery led to increased productivity and efficiency.

Tractor ploughing fields in Devon
Like most places in Britain, the mechanisation of farming radially changed the face of agriculture in the 21st century. Here a tractor ploughs a field in Otterton, Devon. Image: Red Zeppelin

Thanks to good weather, the region also became known for its fruit and vegetable production, with apples, strawberries, and asparagus being particularly popular.

Today, agriculture remains an important industry in Devon and Cornwall, with a focus on sustainable and organic farming practices.

When to visit Devon and Cornwall

The weather in Cornwall and Devon is mild in winter and cool in summer. Average temperatures range from 68°F (20°C) in the summer to 33°F (1°C) in Winter. It’s not uncommon for it to rain during the summer, but most of the region’s precipitation falls in the colder months of the year.

Thanks to the Gulf Stream, a process which brings warmer seas (and temperatures) from the Gulf of Mexico to Britain; Devon, and Cornwall in particular, enjoy milder weather than other places in the world at the same latitude.

This mild climate means the area is well-known for its agricultural produce and a home to several botanical gardens. Green-fingered travellers should head to the gardens at Trebah and The Lost Gardens of Heligan to enjoy the sights, smells and sounds. Trebah, with its beach, is our favourite.

Trebah Gardens
The incredible foilage on display at Trebah gardens. Image: Matt Jessop

Spring (March through to early May) is a good time to visit Devon and Cornwall. The weather gets noticeably warmer here much earlier than in other parts of Britain. 

Come February, and sometimes even earlier, greenery begins to rise from its winter slumber. It’s hard not to overlook classic English flowers like Snowdrops and Daffodils, but one of our favourite wild plants, Wild Garlic, can be found in abundance from February through to April in Devon and Cornwall. The plant thrives in damp, shady places like woodland or shady roadside verges. The faint garlic smell hanging in the air is a surefire sign that winter is most definitely over and summer is coming.

To catch the most inclement weather and to see Devon and Cornwall in its prime, summer is the best time to visit. Going in summer does come with its downsides though – Devon and Cornwall can be much busier, especially with British families and their children on their summer seaside holidays.

But as the temperature rises in Devon and Cornwall, there are several advantages to enjoy. The summer weather makes it extremely satisfying to go on early morning hikes, especially if that involves a dip in the sea, or feeling the sand between your toes on one of the area’s many beaches. 

Summer makes biking in Devon and Cornwall even more enjoyable. Just be sure can rejuvenate yourself best by spending time in a traditional British pub, sipping a pint as the sun goes down.

Waves at Lizard Point
A good swell with waves crashing the shore at Lizard Point. Image: Benjamin Elliot

Fall is a great time to visit the UK. Visit Devon and Cornwall in the fall and it’s often quieter and as another plus, it’s often cheaper too. Winter in Devon and Cornwall (November through to February) is much cooler than the summer months, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of things to do. Watch a storm blow in at Porthleven. Dive into an art gallery to marvel at the talent of local painters and photographers. Sample some local seafood in the evening.

Where to stay in Devon and Cornwall

Devon and Cornwall offer a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences, from traditional British hotels to luxurious options, Airbnb and rentals. This wide variety is a testament to the thriving tourism market in the region.

Devon and Cornwall Hotels

At Active England our team members have frequented more hotels in the region than we care to imagine. But some of our favourite hotels in Devon and Cornwall include The PIG at Harlyn, near Padstow and The Three Crowns Inn in Chagford, Dartmoor. These are two perfect bases for exploring the region – one on the North Coast of Cornwall and one further south and west in Devon.

The Pig at Combe hotel in Devon. Image: Jake Eastham

Many hotels in Devon and Cornwall exude a warm, cosy ambience that makes guests feel right at home. Picture yourself sinking into a plush armchair at the end of a long day, surrounded by the region’s signature stone. Don’t forget to indulge in some quintessential English cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. 

However, if you’re looking for a more unique and upscale experience, we suggest checking out our top ten picks for luxury hotels in Devon and Cornwall. These accommodations boast modern amenities but are often situated in historic buildings steeped in centuries of tradition.

What to see and do in Devon and Cornwall

Whether your idea of a vacation is a packed itinerary or something more sedate, Devon and Cornwall are packed with things to see and do.

Top Attractions in Devon & Cornwall

From picture-perfect harbours to golden sandy beaches to historic country houses and magnificent gardens, there are many places to visit in Devon and Cornwall. Here’s a condensed list.

  • Eden Project – Botanical gardens with giant biomes.
  • Dartmoor National Park – Vast moorland with granite tors and wild ponies.
  • Tintagel Castle – Mythical birthplace of King Arthur.
  • St. Michael’s Mount – Island castle accessible by causeway or boat.
  • The Lost Gardens of Heligan – Restored Victorian gardens with exotic plants.
  • Land’s End – Dramatic cliffs and views of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Falmouth Maritime Museum – Exhibits on boat building and seafaring history.
  • Minack Theatre – Open-air theatre set into a cliff face.
  • Plymouth Hoe – Promenade with views of Plymouth Sound and historic landmarks.
  • The Tate St. Ives – Art museum with modern and contemporary works

Towns in Devon and Cornwall

Other than the two cities of Exeter and Plymouth there are many large towns in Devon and Cornwall. In Devon, Torquay, Paignton and Exmouth are the major towns on the South Coast with Barnstaple to the North. Tiverton, Newton Abbot, Tavistock and Crediton are towns inland in Devon.

Over in Cornwall, the major towns include the likes of Penzance, Truro, St Austell, Falmouth, Newquay, Bodmin, Camborne, Redruth and Wadebridge.

As far as the smaller towns in Devon and Cornwall go, it’d be hard not to choose those on the coast. First on our list is the charming port town of Fowey – the setting for Daphne Du Maurier’s classic gothic novel, Rebecca and known for its stunning harbour, narrow streets and historic buildings. Although it’s written Fowey, just be sure to pronounce it as the locals do. It’s Foy, not Fow-ey.

The Fowey Estuary. Image: Visit Cornwall

The town has a rich maritime history, with the town playing an important role in the export of china clay from the nearby quarries. Notable buildings in Fowey include the 15th-century St. Fimbarrus church and the Tudor-era Place House. 

Our second favourite town in Devon and Cornwall is Padstow. It is famous for its picturesque harbour and delicious seafood restaurants, many of which are run by notable chef Rick Stein. One notable fact is that Padstow is also home to the annual May Day ‘Obby ‘Oss festival, where locals dance through the streets with a giant hobby horse to welcome the arrival of spring.

Our last vote goes to yet another Cornish town (sorry Devonians!), St Ives. Another town on the North Cornish coast, St Ives is known for its beautiful beaches, art galleries and narrow streets lined with colourful houses. Once a major fishing port, St Ives is now primarily a tourist destination with the Tate St Ives gallery, showcasing contemporary art from around the world.

Villages in Devon & Cornwall

Devon and Cornwall are dominated by smaller residential areas that are clustered around narrow lanes or clinging to steep-sided cliffs. These areas are worth visiting to truly appreciate their charm. Most of them have remained relatively unchanged despite the progress of modern life, which is why they offer visitors a glimpse into what life in England was like centuries ago. 

Rather than list an exhausting number of places to visit, we’ve managed to narrow down our favourite villages to just three. At number one is: Porthleven. On the South Coast of Cornwall is this small but charming village with a lovely harbour, a pier that must be walked along (in good weather only we hasten to add – the village is known for its storm watching) and a host of good eateries.

Porthleven Harbour
The harbour entrance at Porthleven. The church tower to the left. The Ship Inn pub is the white building on the right. Image: Helen Hotson

We also like to walk out of the village, east up past the rows of cottages that overlook Mount’s Bay, towards Loe Bar and The Loe – Cornwalls’ largest freshwater lake. Back in Porthleven, snaffle a Philps pasty on the quayside, or enjoy a cracking coffee at Origin.

Number two on our list is Port Issac. Port Issac is a picturesque fishing village located on the North Cornish coast. It is famous for being a filming location of the popular TV series Doc Martin, but the village’s narrow streets, whitewashed cottages, and a small harbour make it worth a visit in its own right. It is also home to a lifeboat station, which has been operating for over 150 years. The pictures of old lifeboats being hauled through the village streets are really something.

The last village on our hit list is Appledore, another picturesque fishing village situated at the mouth of the River Torridge in North Devon. With its narrow streets and colourful houses, the village has a charming character that has been attracting visitors for centuries. 

Appledore has a rich maritime history, and the village was once a hub for shipbuilding and sail-making. Today, it is a popular spot for fishing, sailing, and crabbing. The village is also home to a fascinating maritime museum, showcasing the history of the local fishing industry. Appledore is said to have inspired Charles Kingsley’s classic novel, “Westward Ho!”

6 of the Best Beaches in Devon & Cornwall

With over 500 to choose from, beach lovers are spoilt for choice in the South West. Our list doesn’t include the big hitters like Saunton Sands, Croyde, Watergate Bay, Perranporth, or Porthmeor but some lesser-known spots that are definitely worth visiting.

Sennen Beach

Best for: Surfing
Sennen, Penzance TR19 7AZ

Sennen Beach in Cornwall is a must-visit destination for beach lovers. This stunning location boasts a long stretch of golden sand that is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. 

Gwithian Sands

Best for: Dog walking
Hayle, TR27 5BT

Located on the North Cornish coast, Gwithian Sands is part of the huge stretch of sand known as The Towans (Cornish for dune) that runs from the Godrevy Lighthouse all the way down to Hayle Beach and the Hayle Estuary.

The sandy beach at Gwthian. You can see Godrevy lighthouse in the right hand corner of the pictures. Image: Ian Woolcock

With St Ives over to the West, this beach always seems to be blessed with great weather and great light quality, no matter the weather. Although whenever we’ve visited there was always a good offshore wind blowing in. This part of the beach allows dogs year-round, and at low tide, it’s a great place to give your pooch a blast on the beach.

If you’re on the hunt for some sustenance after your walk, the Sunset Surf Cafe, back up near the car park is great. There’s ice cream of course, but the larger bites on offer here are great too – the Egg’s Benedict is cracking. For dog owners, there’s plenty of outside seating on the terrace or lower down in the garden. 

Praa Sands

Best for: A beach saunter
Penzance, TR20 9TB

Praa Sands is a beautiful, wide sandy beach on the south Cornish coast. With crystal clear waters and stunning coastal views, it is a popular destination year-round. The beach is great for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing, and is surrounded by rugged cliffs and rock formations. 


Best for: Peace and quiet
Helston, TR12 6PN

On the Lizard Peninsula, just south of the Helford River is the tiny village of Porthallow and its small beach. Whilst the pebbly, rock-strewn beach might not be everyone’s cup of tea, we love the remote location of this tiny ex-fishing village. Scramble over the beach and down to the water’s edge before finding a comfortable place to perch. Usually, there are several large boats moored out to sea and with a good pair of binoculars you can easily while away a couple of hours.

As it’s on the South West Coast path, you’ll probably spot walkers ambling down to the beach before beginning their progress back up the hill and onto the comically named village of Flushing.

If you’re feeling more energetic take a walk away from the beach inland. Pass the old fisherman’s cottages and take the footpath that follows the stream up into a wooded area and a traditional meadow field. In summer, there’s almost no other place we’d rather be.

The Five Pilchards (a nod to the fish that was once the main source of gainful employment in the village) is a typical Cornish pub with, no-thrills but good for a pint of local ale to quench your thirst.

The beach at Porthallow is almost always deserted. Image: Ian Woolcock

Lee Bay

Best for: Rockpooling
Ilfracombe, EX34 8LW

On the North Devon coast, and a stone’s throw from the popular beaches at Woolacombe and Croyde is Lee Bay, a very secluded cove surrounded on three sides by cliffs. 

Arriving by car, you’ll drop down through the village of Lee on a steep hill. There’s a tiny car park that you might be able to find a space in. 

There’s a rather incongruous concrete path from the road out onto the beach but the beach itself is a rock poolers’ delight with thousands of nooks and crannies to dip your net into.  For the adventurous, you can scramble over some larger rocks and for those looking to relax, there are several sandy inlets to lay out in. Just keep an eye on the tide here, it seems to come in very fast and it could be easy to get cut off! And with strong currents in the area, this isn’t a beach for swimming.


Best for: Swimming
Plymouth, PL8 1BL

Mothecombe Beach is a hidden gem on the south coast of Devon, offering a long stretch of golden sand and crystal-clear waters. The beach is surrounded by unspoiled countryside and woodland, making it a peaceful and scenic spot for a day out.

Walking in Devon & Cornwall

Walking in Devon and Cornwall is a fantastic way to explore the stunning countryside and coastal scenery of the southwest of England at any time of the year, even in winter.

For any walker, the South West Coast Path is a bucket list challenge that could easily fill a lifetime. The route stretches over 630 miles from Somerset to Dorset but a particularly beautiful section of this path is the stretch between the town of Salcombe in Devon and the village of Polperro in Cornwall, which offers breathtaking views of rugged cliffs, secluded coves, and picturesque fishing villages. 

Don’t ignore inland either. Dartmoor National Park for example has plenty of walking routes to get excited about.

Waking on a Cornish beach. Sand in your toes, wind in your hair. Lovely. Image: Nicola Monfort

Cycling Devon & Cornwall

There’s no getting around, biking in Devon and Cornwall can be tough, but it is always incredibly rewarding – something that cyclists who have tackled the classic Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle route will attest to. 

Being coastal counties, roads in Devon and Cornwall usually plunge into seaside areas before winching their way back up – but there are flatter routes too. Devon, in particular, is packed with some easier routes, many of them like The Tarka Trail are free of cars, making them an absolute joy to ride. The Camel Trail is another goodie, but this time over in Cornwall. We like the Upper Camel route so much that we included it on our Hidden Hundred – 100 of the most unique places to visit in the UK.

Some of our favourite bike riding in Cornwall, but again not for the faint-hearted, is the lanes that crisscross the Lizard Pennisula, south of the Helford River. Wind your way up and down lanes, glimpsing the sea through tall hedgerows as you pedal.

Swimming in Devon & Cornwall

If you’re planning a trip to Devon and Cornwall, make sure to take a dip in the sea at some of the region’s stunning beaches and swimming spots

The water temperature can be a bit chilly, but thanks to the Gulf Stream, the sea is often warmer in Devon and Cornwall than in other parts of the UK. 

Some of the most notable beaches for swimming include Woolacombe Bay in Devon, which boasts a three-mile-long beach with crystal-clear waters, and Fistral Beach in Cornwall, known for its excellent surf and swimming conditions. But there are hidden places to dip too, away from the crowds.

Our swimming tours in Devon and Cornwall seek out the best places, all with the aid and hospitality of a guide.

Swimmers in Devon, with a classic coastal scene behind. Image: Ben Arthur

Devon & Cornwall Food and Drink

No guide to Devon and Cornwall would be complete without a discussion of food and drink. Both Devon and Cornwall are largely agricultural areas and it’s common to come across a tractor and trailer on the road, spot a herd of cows over the hedge or vegetables growing on a hillside. Grab up a plate, pour a glass, it’s time to dine.

Of course, the Cornish Pasty, the Cream Tea and the local seafood still draw huge, huge appeal for locals and international visitors alike, but we’d encourage you to look beyond the more popular offerings to something more left of field. 

Cornish Yarg (Lynher Dairies) is a semi-hard cheese made from cows’ milk, wrapped in Nettles of all things.  The nettles are frozen, which removes their sting, before being applied t the cheese to give its unique flavour. Cornish Earlies (F.G Pyror) are various potato varieties that are usually one of the first new season potatoes to be available in Britain – give them a try if you’re visiting in early Spring.

Padstow Lobster
Yes, we know we said look beyond seafood, but when the Lobster and chips looks this good, how could you resist? Image: Jake Eastham

For an alternative afternoon tea try Saffron Buns (The Cornish Company), a Cornish Fairing (Furniss Biscuits) or a Devonshire Split, all washed down with a steaming hot cup of Cornish Tea.

Staying on the sweet theme, no visit to Cornwall would be complete without a Roskillys ice cream, made from the milk from a herd of organic Jersey cattle which graze on pastures that have changed very little in the past hundred years.

Drinks specialist Luscombe manufactures a huge variety of moorish soft drinks that you should definitely try. Want to try a traditional British beer? You’ll be needing a pint of Tribute or Proper Job (St Austell Brewery). Prefer something stronger? How about a Gin and Tonic with Tarquin’s Cornish Gin?

There are two farm shops that we always, always visit when heading down to the South West; although they are best suited to those travelling by car rather than public transport. Strawberry Fields, just outside Launceston is perhaps our favourite. The shop is lined with local goodies and the onsite restaurant and cafe is a cracker. The breakfast with fried potatoes is just the ticket at any time of the day and of course, they serve creamed teas.

The other farm shop we’d love to recommend is Trevaskis Farm. Again, it’s a great hub of local produce (the vegetables are particularly good we’ve found) and the food they serve here is honest and well-priced. Our favourite thing on the menu is the ‘Full House Salads’ (choose the home-cured Lop ham one!) and there’s even a traditional dessert selection under glass that you just can’t leave without. Ours is a custard slice, please!

Raspberry tart at The Pig Harlyn
Sweet or savoury. Foodie visitors to Devon and Cornwall are well catered for. Image: Jake Eastham

Devon & Cornwall Pubs

Devon and Cornwall are home to some of the oldest and most iconic pubs in the UK. With their rich history, charming architecture, and unmatched hospitality, these pubs are a must-visit for anyone visiting the region.

One of the most notable pubs in the area is The Old Inn in St Breward, which dates back to the 11th century. This historic pub has a thatched roof, low ceilings, and a cozy fireplace, making it the perfect place to enjoy a pint after a long day of exploring the Cornish countryside.

Another popular pub is The Ship Inn in Mousehole, Cornwall. This pub overlooks the small harbour and has been serving locals and tourists since the 17th century. 

In addition to their rich history and unique charm, the pubs of Devon and Cornwall are also known for their ghost stories. The Jamaica Inn in Bodmin, Cornwall, for example, is said to be haunted by the ghosts of smugglers who once frequented the pub.

Devon & Cornwall Restaurants

Devon and Cornwall are home to some of the best restaurants in England, with a focus on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. From Michelin-starred fine dining to casual beachside cafes, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.

For a truly special dining experience, Michelin-starred restaurants are a must-visit. In Devon, Gidleigh Park in Chagford has held two Michelin stars since 1999, thanks to the innovative dishes created by head chef Chris Simpson. Other Michelin-starred restaurants in Devon include The Elephant in Torquay and The Masons Arms in Knowstone.

Cornwall is also home to some fantastic Michelin-starred restaurants, including Paul Ainsworth at No. 6 in Padstow and Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac. Both restaurants focus on locally sourced seafood, with Outlaw’s restaurant holding the prestigious title of the UK’s best restaurant in 2018.

For those seeking a more relaxed dining experience, there are plenty of fantastic options in Devon and Cornwall. The River Cottage Kitchen and Deli in Axminster serves up delicious, organic, locally sourced food, while The Crab Shack in Teignmouth offers up fresh seafood in a casual beachside setting.

In Cornwall, Porthminster Beach Cafe in St Ives is a popular spot for a relaxed lunch or dinner, with stunning views over the beach. The Hidden Hut in Porthcurnick serves up delicious, simple dishes in a rustic setting, making it a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike.

Fat Apples Cafe near Helston on the Lizard peninsula is another of our go-to’s. The salads on the lunch menu are fantastic and packed with such variety. Unfortunately like a lot of places in Cornwall and Devon, Fat Apples has seasonal opening hours and isn’t open during the winter months.

7 interesting facts about Devon and Cornwall

  1. The town of Totnes in Devon was the first in the UK to declare a climate emergency, in 2018.
  2. The Eden Project, a popular tourist attraction in Cornwall, is home to the world’s largest indoor rainforest.
  3. The Tamar Bridge, which connects Devon and Cornwall measures 335 meters in length.
  4. Devon has a long maritime history and is home to several historic ports, including Plymouth, which was the departure point for the Pilgrim Fathers’ voyage to America in 1620.
  5. Cornwall’s history in mining continues with the working Slate mine located in the village of Delabole. It has been producing high-quality slate for over 400 years.
  6. The Cornish chough, is a type of bird that was once extinct in the UK but has been successfully reintroduced in recent years.
  7. At 8000 miles, Devon is the county of England that has the longest road network.

That wraps up our bumper travel guide to Devon and Cornwall. We look forward to seeing you in the area – preferably on foot, on your bike or in the water!

Devon and Cornwall Event Calendar 2024


Devon County Show: A showcase of the best of Devon, with farm animals, food and drink, and entertainment.


Royal Cornwall Show: A similar event to the Devon County Show, but for Cornwall, featuring the best of Cornish agriculture and culture.

Eden Sessions: A series of outdoor concerts held at the Eden Project, featuring big-name artists and a stunning backdrop.


Penzance Literary Festival: An event which celebrates words in all their forms.


Falmouth Week: A week-long celebration of sailing, with races, entertainment and more.

Port Eliot Festival: A literary festival that takes place in the stunning Port Eliot Estate, featuring talks, music, workshops and more.

Boardmasters Festival: A popular music festival that takes place on the beautiful Cornish coast, featuring a mix of genres and activities.

Sidmouth Folk Festival: A celebration of traditional folk music and dance, with concerts, workshops, and more.


Plymouth Seafood Festival: A celebration of the best seafood the region has to offer, featuring cooking demos, tastings, and more.


Apple Day Celebrations: A celebration of the apple harvest, featuring cider tastings, apple-themed treats, and more.

Halloween Events: From spooky ghost tours to pumpkin carving, there are plenty of Halloween-themed events to enjoy across Devon and Cornwall.


Bonfire Night Celebrations: Fireworks, bonfires, and hot food and drink are the order of the day on November 5th across Devon and Cornwall.


Christmas Markets: Festive markets can be found across both counties in the lead-up to Christmas, offering handmade gifts, local food and drink, and festive entertainment.

That wraps up our bumper travel guide to Devon and Cornwall. We look forward to seeing you in the area – preferably on foot or on your bike!

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Devon & Cornwall Tours

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