There are so many things to do in Devon throughout the year, no matter the weather, that you’ll be spoilt for choice wherever you choose to base yourself during your holiday. From great outdoor activities to days out for the entire family, you certainly won't get bored.
North Devon is home to some of the best activities and attractions in the region and provides an adventure for everyone. You’ll find a host of beaches with stunning sandy shores and fabulous surf to catch the next wave. For families looking to soak up the country air, take to your bike or enjoy a stroll through the nearby National Park of Exmoor for beautiful scenery and a range of charming villages to explore.
There are popular attractions and things to do in North Devon if you’re looking for an exciting and interactive adventure. Take a look at some of the best things to do in the region.
Have fun at exciting family attractions
Children and adults alike will love the variety of attractions on offer in North Devon. A popular choice for a mix of excitement and adventure is the Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park. With animal experiences, the Dino Express Train ride and an indoor play zone, it is perfect for family fun whatever the weather. Also, try out Exmoor Zoo for kids who love exotic animals and would appreciate the opportunity to see a lion or an elephant up close.
If you’re looking for some hair-raising rides, a visit to The Big Sheep is an ideal spot to have fun come rain or shine. Enjoy a range of rides and activities including the Eweston Train Ride, the amazing jumping pillows and Ewetopia Indoor Playground. There’s also thrills aplenty at The Milky Way Adventure Park, the home of Devon’s tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster, as well as the county’s biggest indoor adventure play area. Or, channel your inner Viking at North Devon's first axe-throwing venue, Norse Hawk Activity, where you can hone your skills on the indoor and outdoor ranges before enjoing a more sedate picnic in the Viking Garden.
Discover some fascinating local history
North Devon’s history is rich and varied, with an abundance of National Trust and English Heritage properties to discover and some great museums to keep all ages intrigued. Arlington Court is a magnificent Regency house and formal Victorian garden near Barnstaple. From its fascinating collections of model ships, costume and pewter objects, to its National Trust Carriage Museum with over 45 horse-drawn vehicles to admire and acres of beautiful grounds to explore, there is plenty to do here.
For those interested in military history, a visit to the Cobbaton Combat Collection gets you up close to exhibits from the Boer War right up to the First Gulf War, with a whole host of tanks, guns, helmets, artillery, grenades, and bombs to see. Alternatively, Watermouth Castle not only houses a collection of Victorian antiques, but it is also home to a theme park, making it a perfect day out in North Devon for the whole family.
Enjoy exhilarating outdoor adventures
From North Devon’s coast to countryside, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. For walkers and cyclists, the Tarka Trail offers 180 miles of relatively flat, traffic-free routes through picturesque woodland and nature reserves, and alongside glistening estuaries. Created from a disused railway line, this is one of the best ways to experience North Devon’s scenery and wildlife.
The Exmoor National Park has over 1,000 kilometres of bridleways and footpaths to navigate and is a nature lover’s playground. Whether you tackle this wild, untamed land by foot, by bike or by horseback, the views are simply breathtaking with the chance to spot the iconic rare-breed Exmoor ponies, red deer and a plethora of rare birds. Fast flowing rivers provide excellent spots for fishing, while after dark, the national park is a dark sky reserve making it an idyllic location for stargazing.
On the coast, there are heaps more adventures to be had with a myriad of water sports available on North Devon’s beaches such as Westward Ho!, Saunton Sands, Woolacombe and Croyde Beach. Try your hand at surfing, paddle boarding, sailing and diving, as well as kiteboarding and kayaking. For an adrenaline rush, a coasteering tour of the coastline involves swimming, climbing and jumping into the ocean swells from great heights, or for a more relaxed way to explore the coast, you could opt for a boat trip or enjoy a leisurely walk along the South West Coast Path. The South West Coast Path is one of the many great walks we feature in our locals’ guide to North Devon’s best walks.
Explore charming locations
Combe Martin is nestled within a lush valley and is right on the cusp of Exmoor National Park which is an ideal location for those wishing to explore this rugged destination. Combe Martin’s picturesque sheltered bay is perfect for the whole family with outstanding water quality that is great for paddling, water sports and exploring clusters of rock pools with the kids.
Check out our local’s guide to Combe Martin.
Ilfracombe provides the whole family with a traditional seaside holiday where you can spend the day building sandcastles at the beach, visiting attractions such as the popular Watermouth Castle, devouring a Devon Cream Tea or taking a trek along plenty of great walking routes in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Check out our local’s guide to Ilfracombe.
Clovelly is an ancient fishing village steeped in tradition and charm, where donkeys are the only form of transport. Take a wander down its steep, traffic-free cobbled main street which leads to a picturesque working harbour where fishermen mend their nets. Enjoy a spot of crabbing on the quay before dining on freshly caught lobster in one of the cosy waterside pubs.
Check out our local’s guide to Clovelly.
Where to stay in North Devon
Offering stunning panoramas over one of the UK's (and Europe's) most popular beaches, Oceans Away is the perfect retreat to experience the best views North Devon has to offer. The fantastic balcony offers breathtaking sea views and the hot tub means you can enjoy them in comfort and warmth. Sleeping up to six people in three comfortable bedrooms, there is plenty of space for you and your family or a group of friends. If you want to enjoy Woolacombe Beach, this cottage is the ideal property for you.
Book Oceans Away today.
A traditional barn conversion with spacious open-plan living, this property has everything you need to enjoy a stay in North Devon. Thornewidger Barn can accommodate up to 12 guests and two dogs, meaning there is plenty of room for everyone. A games room with table tennis and pool table provides a great range of things to do, whilst its rural location offers you the chance to escape into the countryside.
Book Thornewidger Barn today.
Offering a slightly different type of retreat, Orchard Lodge is a traditional New England-style lodge in a truly idyllic spot. Found on a smallholding, where guests can interact and help out with the farm animals, this property is perfect for four guests and two dogs seeking an alternative holiday to the usual seaside break. Ideal for a family trip or romantic retreat, this lodge is a great choice for your next North Devon holiday.
Book Orchard Lodge today.
Book your next holiday
North Devon is packed with top things to do and places to see during your break. Enjoy the region’s natural beauty topped with charming locations whilst relaxing in one of North Devon’s top holiday spots. Stay at one of our fantastic Devon cottages and you're sure to have a holiday to remember.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.