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Travel to Devon in England and Feast on an abundance of Traditional Devonian Villages

Aug 17, 2007
Devon is a County of immense beauty and a very popular summer destination for British tourists as well as foreign visitors. Its varied landscape and interesting Cities and Towns offer a lot to the traveller and its location on the South West tip of the Country gives it a milder climate compared to the rest of England. In fact, the South coast is known as the English Riviera!

Like all of the United Kingdom, the County of Devonshire is steeped in history and there is evidence scattered across the landscape and inside its main Towns and Villages. Most people who visit Devon, come for the seaside resorts like Torquay, Dawlish and Paignton, but there is so much more for the visitor to the region, though everyone enjoys the famous Devon Cream Teas!

The Gateway City of Exeter is a vibrant destination in itself with a buzzing University population and plenty to see and do. The City dates back to the Roman era and was once a stronghold garrison for the Romans known as Isca. There are some remnants of this bygone era and a lot of the local findings can be seen in the small but interesting Royal Albert Museum. The City Centre has many sights in a relatively compact area with the fabulous Norman Cathedral looking over it all. On the Cathedral yard you will find the Clarence Hotel which is widely known as the first ever Hotel in England.

Nearby to the Cathedral is the favourite lunch spot of Rougemont Castle and Northernhay Gardens, which is a lovely place to take a stroll and take in the medieval ruins and the place of the last ever Witch hanging in the Country. Just off the entrance to Rougemont Castle is the Medieval Underground Passages and tours are offered throughout the week which is surprisingly enjoyable.

Exeter Quayside has had a revamp in the last few years and is now a popular place to spend an afternoon, with quaint but popular pubs and eateries. It is also home to most of Exeters Nightlife and on Friday and Saturday nights it can get quite rowdy.

Outside of the County Capital there is plenty more to see and the vast ghostly Moorland that is Dartmoor is a popular destination for Hikers and is famous worldwide for the Sherlock Holmes story, the "Hounds of the Baskervilles".

It is easy to get to from Exeter and many people flock to the more accessible spots of Two Bridges and Hay Tor. The Moors are covered in Bronze Age mounds and history buffs will enjoy discovering forgotten sites as they walk across the misty landscape. Beware though, Dartmoor is notorious for its changing weather and it is easy to get lost. Visitors should remember to take a map and compass and to let someone know where they are going.

South Devon is as previously stated a tourist hotspot and can get very busy during peak seasons like Summer and Easter. With beautiful long sandy beaches and the typical English seaside activities, it has plenty to offer families. What a lot of visitors forget though, is that there is also plenty of history in this part of the County as well. The Castle in Dartmouth - a major fortress in previous times and the popular Berry Pomeroy Castle near Totnes, this is believed locally to be the most haunted Castle in the United Kingdom.

Further down the coast to Plymouth is the place where the American forces practised for the Normandy invasion during World War Two. Here at Slapton Sands hundreds of American Servicemen lost there lives, when a German E-boat attacked as they carried out an exercise in preparation for the D Day landings.

It is also in this area that the abandoned village of Halls Sands is located. It was deserted in 1917 when the Sea took over the land which was once protected by a huge shingle beach. Rather stupidly the Government of the time, allowed a private company to dredge the land for the valuable shingle and its result was to leave a once prosperous sea faring community a ghost town. Walking down the steps to the ruined settlement is slightly risky but walking amongst the remains is a sombre and interesting experience.

Just inland of this part of the Devonshire coastline is Buckfastleigh, which sits on the road from Plymouth to Dartmoor. It is a pretty market Town and is visited mainly for Buckfast Abbey which sits on a ruined abbey that was originally built in the Ninth century.

North Devon is not as popular as the South, as its coastline is generally wilder than its opposite number but it does have its attractions. As well as sharing Exmoor with Somerset, it has Clovelly a lovely little harbour Town which is very popular indeed (though it is quiet at night), two of the best surfing spots in the Country at Braunton and Croyde and Ilfracombe which is North Devons largest seaside resort. The Island of Lundy sits in the Bristol Channel north of the Devon coast and is a haven for day trippers looking to see the nesting birds which have made the Island famous locally.

There is an abundance of traditional Devonian Villages scattered around the region and it is really pleasant to take a drive and discover them for yourself. An especially lovely area is around Ottery St Mary in East Devon where you will find many chocolate box cottages and narrow country lanes. Ottery St Mary itself is a popular place for Guy Fawkes Night the traditional English celebration in November, when the Tar Barrelling event occurs. Local men set alight to a barrel of tar and take it in turns to carry it on their backs around the Town until it burns to nothing. It may sound strange - but it is a great night out and a really atmospheric celebration.

There are plenty of Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts around the County and especially in the more popular southern seaside resorts, though they can get booked out in summer. Exeter, the County Capital has some special and quirky little hotels and if you are willing to extend your budget, then the Clarence hotel on Cathedral Close is a beautiful setting.

Devon is well linked with the rest of the Country, with a rail and motorway network up through the West Country and to the North and East. Exeter Airport is growing larger each year and is now linked by budget airlines to many destinations in Europe and the UK.

Some flights to the USA and Canada do exist but are few and far between. It would be better for visitors from the Southern Hemisphere and North America to fly into London and then travel on to the West Country by Land or the many local flights available.

Flights to London are regular from practically every Country you can think of... Flights from the USA start from US$300 from the east coast and around $400 from the west coast.

Flights from Australia and New Zealand will be around A$2000 and NZ$2500.

Trains from London to Exeter cost around 60 return, but if booked in advance then you could find a cheaper deal. National Express the national bus service has links to Exeter and if you can put up with the journey it will only cost around 30 return.

The currency of Great Britain is the Pound Stirling which divides up into 100 pence.
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