Nestled between Somerset and Dorset to the east and Cornwall to the west, Devon offers the best of the countryside and the coast alike. Whether you’re looking for a weekend away with long walks on the beach, glimpses into daily life on a working farm, historical sites in old city centres or breath-taking views of the natural world, Devon has it all.
Devon is well-connected by rail, whether you’re travelling from London or further west to Cornwall. If you’re planning to travel throughout Devon and Cornwall, buy a Freedom of Devon and Cornwall ticket to get unlimited off-peak rail travel on South Western Railway, GWR and CrossCountry services.
Many attractions are also accessible by bus. When purchasing your rail tickets, you can add PlusBus tickets that’ll allow you to use any of the buses at your destination without any peak restrictions.
Attractions in Devon
Take the train to Exeter and arrive in a city full of historical sights. The iconic Exeter Cathedral is a must-see. It’s over 900 years old and features the longest unbroken stretch of Gothic vaulting in the world. Performances by the exceptional choir, which take place for free most weekdays, are not to be missed, nor is the impressive library of documents and literature. Some even say it was the inspiration for Hogwarts’ Great Hall.
On the south coast, hunt for fossils amid sweeping views at UNESCO World Heritage Site the Jurassic Coast. In Plymouth, learn about the region’s storied maritime history. It’s where Sir Francis Drake heard of the Spanish Armada’s invasion then, after finishing his game of bowls, took to the high seas to defeat them. It’s also where the Pilgrims set sail on the Mayflower for America 400 years ago in 1620 and the Royal Navy has been based for over 600 years on Europe’s largest naval base. Head to the English Riviera to relax by the sea and see the sights onetime resident Agatha Christie immortalised as the settings for many of her stories. Up north, you’ll find charming fishing villages and farms aplenty – stop into one of their little shops for fresh produce or some locally-made cheese.
If you’re more interested in hiking, experience the breath-taking landscapes in Dartmoor and Exmoor. Pack a picnic and set off for a day hike or spend a few nights at one of the picturesque campsites or B&Bs.
Shopping in Devon
If you’re looking for quirky gifts and farm-fresh produce, Devon is the place for you. The independent shopping and arts and crafts scenes are second to none. If you’re heading to Exeter, the Cathedral Quarter’s Gandy Street is well-known for its array of vintage shops along the charming, cobblestone street, and the nearly 900-year-old Pannier Market in Tavistock offers a variety of local fare. Crafts fairs take place regularly throughout the region, and there are dozens of farm shops dotting the county - taste local cider, stock up on seasonal vegetables or sample almost any dairy product you can dream of.
In need of an afternoon pick-me-up? You’re in luck as Devon is the home of the cream tea. Believed to have originated at Tavistock Abbey, the cream tea can be enjoyed at any number of cafés scattered across the county, and remember – when in Devon, it’s cream, then jam.
Devon is home to some of the best seafood the country has to offer. Whether you want to indulge in local crab or just grab fresh fish and chips after stepping out of the sea, the options are endless.
Of course, if you’d rather just go for a pint, you’re in luck – quite a few of Devon’s pubs have been voted the best in the country.
Hotels in Devon
Along with its diverse landscape, Devon offers a broad range of accommodation. If you’re keen on camping, there are sites throughout Dartmoor, Exmoor and along the coast. There are also a number of glamping and yurt sites, for all the access to nature but none of the need to pitch your own tent.
If your idea of ‘roughing it’ is staying in a hotel with a window open, Devon offers plenty of accommodation in more permanent structures. The bigger cities and towns will have plenty of choices if you're on a budget, as well as more luxurious options, both chain and boutique.
And if you’re looking for something unique, there are a number of charming bed and breakfasts throughout the county, or you can try something different and stay on a working farm.
The average travel-time is around 3 hours and 55 minutes. However, keep in mind that travel times on weekends and holidays may be longer. To find out the exact travel time for a specific date, please visit our Train Times page.