7 of the Best Places to Stay in Devon


Rolling hills, spectacular sea views and award-winning sandy beaches make Devon one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations. From watersports and art galleries to coastal walks and pretty fishing villages, it’s no exaggeration to say it’s a region that has something for everyone. 

Whether you’re a regular traveller or an occasional wanderer, there’s a lot to see and do in this glorious county – so choosing where to stay can be tricky. 

To help you decide, here’s our handy list of the best places to stay in Devon, including the north coast’s surfing beaches, Dartmoor National Park and the character-packed seaside villages in the south. 

Discover Devon's best towns to visit for your holiday in south-west England.

Jagged rocks on the seashore in Devon (Red Morley Hewitt/Unsplash)


First up? The traditional and vibrant English Riviera resort of Torquay. There’s plenty of family-friendly attractions and activities here, including local museums, coastal walks and – if you’re feeling adventurous – surf tours. 

Spend an afternoon browsing the town’s intriguing independent shops before basking in the sun while strolling down the palm-lined promenade. Later, you could go for an evening swim in the sea before watching the sunset with a portion of award-winning fish ‘n’ chips. Or, if you’re feeling extra special, book an evening meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant overlooking the harbour. 

In Torquay for a few days and wanting to explore a little further afield? Take the ferry across the bay to Brixham and spend time on the fab fishing village’s serene coastline. It’s only a 30-minute journey – totally doable as a day trip – and there’s always something going on.

Take a look at campsites in Torquay.

Explore the romantic landscape of Dartmoor National Park (Jack French/Unsplash)


Stretching across 368 square miles of South Devon, Dartmoor is a romantic place. Pack your walking boots to traverse the national park, one of the best places to stay in Devon for access to wilderness. Within the awe-inspiring landscape are castle ruins, deep river valleys, distinctive hills and huge expanses of heathland. 

As well as exploring swathes of dramatic scenery, you might want to set aside some time to visit the likes of Dartmoor Zoo and Pennywell Farm or go cycling and horse riding. 

On the southern side of the park is Ashburton, a lively historic town home to little antique shops, bookshops and eateries. A visit to the nearby market town of Tavistock, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, perhaps more importantly, home of the cream tea, is another worthwhile way to spend the day.

Wake up in the wilderness of Dartmoor.


If watersports are your thing, Salcombe’s just the spot. Try wakeboarding, kayaking, sailing or paddleboarding – whatever floats your boat, you can do it here.  

Speaking of boats, why not hire one for a few hours and cruise up the river with a picnic? Or just sit back and relax on a guided tour of the Salcombe Estuary. Of course, if you prefer a quick morning dip that’s possible too. 

Rather stay on dry land? There’s still plenty going on. Salcombe has a fantastic selection of shops selling everything from home furnishings to fishing gear. You could also book yourself into the local gin school and make your own alcoholic drink from scratch (or just have a swift one at the bar).

Search for places to sleep in Salcombe.

Take in the sea views at Ilfracombe (Harry Robinson/Unsplash)


This endearing town is in Exmoor National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and is both a celebrated family holiday destination and a handy base for touring North Devon. Admire the colourful sea creatures in the aquarium before getting up close and personal with wildlife by joining a sea safari that runs from March through to October. 

Although Exmoor is one of the lesser-known national parks, it’s definitely worth exploring. Spanning 267 square miles, it sits on the border between West Somerset and North Devon and is known for open moorland and towering cliffs. 

Before you leave, make sure to walk part of the South West Coast Path – the Valley of the Rocks is especially scenic – and soak up the spectacular surrounds. There’s also a whole host of dog-friendly beaches to visit with a canine companion in tow.

Head to a holiday park in Ilfracombe.


First things first… Woolacombe has previously been voted best beach in the UK and is also on our list of the county’s top stretches of sand. Over the years, this North Devon slice of heaven has won the Blue Flag and Premier Seaside Beach awards for its water quality, facilities and overall cleanliness. The views surrounding the seaside resort are stunning, as are the nearby coves of Barricane and Combesgate, which are top spots for surfing, swimming and rockpooling. 

Head across the water from Woolacombe to Lundy Island for a look at Devon’s puffin population. Just make sure to pack the binoculars: this protected site is often visited by seals, dolphins and small sharks too.

Woolacombe also edges some stunning coastal paths and the village has warm and friendly vibes. Grab a seafood dinner at a local pub or restaurant, perhaps before hitting the oldest-running nightclub in England… 

Set up camp on a farm in Woolacombe.

The award-winning beach at Woolacombe (Peter Ford/Unsplash)


This list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Plymouth. Home to the UK’s largest aquarium (with over 4,000 sea creatures), as well as intriguing local sites like the Mayflower Steps – where the Pilgrim Fathers set off for the New World – this buzzing port city is an excellent base for a short break in Devon. 

To delve into the city’s fascinating history, visit The Box – a museum, art gallery and archive of Plymouth. On a clear day you could also head over to Smeaton’s Tower, a lighthouse with phenomenal views. 

Take a dip against the art-deco backdrop of Tinside Lido during the summer months. Consistently voted one of the best outdoor pools in Europe, it’s a slice of British seaside history. 

To finish off your day, pull up a pew at a bar or restaurant overlooking one of Plymouth’s many marinas and absorb the atmosphere with a bite to eat. 

Check out where to stay in Plymouth.


Last but not least is Dartmouth, a scenic harbour town full of cosy streets and historic landmarks. Like a lot of places in Devon, the surrounding countryside is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – so expect staggering scenery and a sparkling waterfront. 

The town sits at the mouth of the River Dart, which has been used for thousands of years and now hosts watersports like paddleboarding, kayaking and sailing. Try to fit in a trip to Dartmouth Castle or Agatha Christie’s Greenway holiday home, now owned by the National Trust, as well. 

If you’re an early riser, head to Bayard’s Cove to watch the sunrise over the harbour before finding a spot for breakfast (or just head back to bed…). 

The bohemian market town of Totnes, the second oldest borough in England and an eccentric place for a wander, is around a 30-minute drive away from Dartmouth. The high street is lined with organic food shops and independent boutiques, and you can pick up locally sourced produce at the town’s markets every Friday and Saturday.

Scroll through the best campsites in Dartmouth


Now you’ve narrowed it down to the best place to stay in Devon, check out our collection of Devon campsites for all tastes and budgets. Or plan the rest of your trip with our South West camping guide.