Like with most places you’ll find when visiting South Devon for the first time, or even if you’re coming back for your 2nd, 3rd or 100th visit to the region, there are just so many great things to be tried whilst you’re in the area.

So to help you out and give you a starting place of what to do, we’ve put together our A – Z bucket list of the must do, visit or things to see when visiting South Devon. See how many you can tick off the list in your next visit, or with so much to see and do, keep coming back again and again to finish the list! 

Below you’ll find N – Z of our list, A - M can be found here.

N - Natural Beauty

We mentioned them briefly in Part 1, when we talked about Dartmoor National Park, but this isn’t the only protected landscape in South Devon. Much of the rolling countryside, wooded valleys and green goodness which you can see when travelling around the region falls within one of the three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) this county offers. And together with Dartmoor and the many nature reserves, parks and farmland these flourishing scenes dominate the natural landscape. Because the countryside is so amazing we had to add a visit to it on our bucket list of things to do in South Devon. Whether it’s for a stroll among the natural world, a spot for a quite picnic with stunning views or to visit an historical site head to one of the counties AONB’s, we have the South Devon AONB, East Devon AONB or the Blackdown Hills AONB to pick from.  

O - Oink Oink; Piggy Cuddles and Piggy Pilates

It’s all about pigs for O on our list and, as the home of the miniature pig; Pennywell Farm is the place to head. Piggy cuddles and pig races are just some of the fun farmyard activities which can be enjoyed down at the farm. But that’s not where the pig excitement stops, throughout the year Pennywell Farm hold special Piggies and Prosecco Nights as well as Piggy Pilates.

P - Passenger Ferry

Linking the coastal town of Teignmouth with the riverside village of Shaldon, either side of the River Teign, is England’s oldest passenger ferry. The historic Teignmouth to Shaldon ferry, which can be traced back to 1296 but is probably much older, crosses the Teign Estuary as it meets the sea. Although it’s the oldest it’s not the only passenger ferry in South Devon, other ferries can be found between Salcombe and East Portlemouth and Starcross and Exmouth whilst foot passenger ferries as well as car ferries operate between Dartmouth and Kingswear. All these ferries link the South West Coast Path, and are perfect for visitors looking to explore both sides of the river or for anyone just wanting to view the coastal communities from the water. More information on South Devon’s ferries as well as other car free ways to discover the region, check out our car free travel blog post here.

Q - Quality Tours

Find hidden gems, hear fascinating facts brought to life or explore little known places on a quality tour in South Devon. From land to sea, guided to self-guided or walking to boat trips, the range of tours and trips which can be enjoyed is vast. Dartmouth Guided History Tours brings the history of the town to life as you walk amongst the historic streets, or explore Exeter’s most interesting sites on a free Exeter Red Coat Guided Tour. If you would rather an individual tour tailored to your interests the award winning Unique Devon Tours is the tour you’re looking for. But if self-guided is more your thing, Treasure Trails is an exciting way to explore new places for both young and old, use the clues to discover new locations and solve the mystery. Or take to the seas and join Stuart Line Cruises for a boat trip along the Devonshire coast.   

R - Races

Enjoy a day at the races in South Devon. With two top racecourses to choose from, there’s sure to be a race meet that’s taking place during your visit to the area. Racing takes place at Exeter Racecourse during the winter months whilst the action moves to Newton Abbot Racecourse over the summer. Set beside the River Teign near the market town of Newton Abbot, Newton Abbot Racecourse has a packed calendar of jump fixtures. Exeter Racecourse enjoys views towards Dartmoor from its position on Haldon Hill just outside of Exeter and where you can enjoy watching a full series of National Hunt races. 

S – Soak Away at a Spa

A relaxing holiday or day trip awaits at one of South Devon’s tranquil spas and we couldn’t write a must do list without include a bit of pampering. Whether you want to unwind in the indulgent atmosphere of Cary Spa at the Cary Arms or Sirona Wellbeing & Spa at Finlake Holiday Resort, visit the peaceful sanctuary at the Ilsington Country House Hotel and Spa or Gaia Spa at Boringdon Hall. But if you’re after a more family friendly swimming pool experience, pay a visit to Ladram Bay Swimming Complex, Ashburn Spring at Cofton Holidays or Aztec Spa at TLH Leisure Resorts where family friendly swimming pools can be found. With countryside retreats and coastal getaways all on offer you can find your perfect spa break waiting for you in South Devon.

T - Templer Way

If you’re looking for a walking route across Devon which covers every type of landscape then the Templer Way is the answer. Starting at Haytor on Dartmoor this 18 mile way marked trail leads from the rugged granite tors and quarries, through country parks, around the edge of Newton Abbot, along the banks of the River Teign ending at the docks in the coastal resort of Teignmouth. The walking route traces the historic route of granite being taken from the quarries at Haytor to the docks at Teignmouth. Part of the Haytor Granite Tramway tracks and the Stover Canal which were used in the transportation of the granite can be viewed along the route and you can either walk a section or for a real challenge take on the whole 18 miles.

U - Underground

Did you know that below the streets of Exeter there is a network of passages? Exeter Underground Passages were designed to house pipes to bring clean spring water from outside the city walls in medieval Exeter. Today the passages, which are fully lit, are open to the public for guided tours where you can hear stories of wars, sieges, plagues and pestilence. As well as the passages there is a heritage centre which is packed with interactive exhibits including a talking figure of a medieval man and a full size model of a section of the passages.

V - Views

South Devon is not short of views and with what many would describe as the most photographic train line in country, there’s one place in particular where stunning sea views can be guaranteed. The train line between Teignmouth and Exeter, called the Riviera Line, travels meters away from the sea on one side and jagged red cliffs on the other before making its way along the Exe Estuary. Passing through tunnels and seaside stations the views from the train are truly dazzling and the short train trip is a great way to spend the day, stopping at one of the coastal resorts or the city of Exeter. But don’t worry if you don’t want to catch the train, along the Dawlish to Dawlish Warren section of coast, following the route of the tracks, is the Brunel Trail, a series of six interpretation boards at historical, geological or socially significant sites along the coast path which tell the story of the town and coastline of Dawlish as well as the railway during the mid 19th century.

W - Watch a Sunset

Seeing the sky full of pinks, oranges and reds from a beautiful sunset is one of the most magical ways to spend an evening with loved ones and friends. Depending what time of year you’re visiting, a sunset can be enjoyed in the late afternoon, in the early evening over a fish and chip dinner or during a late evening walk. So select a location, settle in and hope that the sky, light and clouds are ready to put on a show and fill the above with colour. The most important thing to remember is to pick a spot that’s facing west, as this is the direction the sun sets it’s where the best views can be enjoyed. As with any natural feature you can never guarantee that you’ll see a spectacular sunset, so if you’re unlucky and there are no amazing colours but the skies are clear then you’ll be in the best position for a bit of star gazing.

X - Exe Estuary Trail

OK it might not be the letter X but it’s pronounced the same! Starting at the traditional seaside town of Dawlish, with its famous black swans, and following the banks of the River Exe to the picturesque town of Exmouth, via the Historic Quayside in Exeter, the Exe Estuary Trail is a 26 miles walking and cycle route. Along the route you’ll pass through beautiful riverside towns and villages like Dawlish Warren, Starcross, Topsham and Lympstone whilst being surrounded by dazzling countryside, wildlife and river views.

Y – Your Secret Spot

No visit to Devon would be complete without a trip to the beach and with miles and miles of coastline to choose from you’ll be spoilt for choice when picking a beach to lay your beach towel on. But for our bucket list we’re not including every beach in the county, we feel a must visit place is a hidden cove. These secrets spots are a little hidden haven away from the more popular and busier beaches you’ll find in the traditional holiday resorts. The most secluded beaches along the coast may take a bit of a trek to get to, with the really concealed ones only accessible from the South West Coast Path, but we feel they are well worth the walk. For some inspiration and ideas on some of South Devon hidden beaches near the estuary town of Salcombe have a read of our guest blog post here from Toad Hall Cottages.

Z - Zoom through the sky

Feel the wind in your hair as you zoom through the sky on an exhilarating zip wire and at the River Dart Country Park you’ll find a mega Zip Wire which takes you zooming high above the lake. And while your at the River Dart Country Park you can also try Water Zorbes, have fun whilst trying to stay on your feet inside a large inflatable ball floating on the lake.

We hope the above has given you some inspiration, but we always love to hear what you would consider your most do, see and try things to do in South Devon.

Connect with us on Twitter here and Facebook here to let us know some of your bucket list ideas in South Devon.

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