DevonEngland, United Kingdom

A popular vacation destination for local residents, this county has patchwork fields, charming fishing villages, gloomy moors and golden sand beaches. 

Devon encompasses some of England’s most spectacular natural scenery. Go surfing, kayaking or strolling along the county’s lovely beaches. Sample local wines, explore excellent galleries and pony trek across wild and beautiful moorland.

Exeter, Devon’s unofficial capital, lies along the county’s southern coast. An ideal base for exploring the region, Exeter is defined by a gorgeous Gothic cathedral which overlooks the city’s medieval and Georgian buildings. Check out the city's sophisticated restaurants and shops or cycle around the lively quayside area.

Also along the county’s southern coast is Plymouth, Devon’s largest city. Relax in a café along Plymouth Hoe, a lush headland with lovely views over the bay. Explore the hip bars and galleries of the historic Barbican district. The Pilgrims set sail for the New World on the Mayflower from here in 1620.

Visit Torquay, which is part of the area nicknamed the “English Riviera” for its bright blue waters and palm trees. Devon’s most important resort area, Torquay is also the birthplace of mystery writer Agatha Christie. Check out the exhibit dedicated to Christie at the Torquay Museum, which includes a variety of the author’s photos and handwritten notes.

Head to the northern coast to explore Lynton and Lynmouth, twin coastal towns that have attracted artists and writers for centuries with their picturesque landscapes. Go for a ride on the Victorian cliffside railway that connects the two towns. Operating since 1890, this remarkable railway ascends and descends the cliff face using the weight of water in its tanks.

No visit to Devon would be complete without a stop in Dartmoor National Park. Hike to secluded lakes or kayak along turbulent rivers in this bleak but beautiful landscape.

Devon is a particularly popular destination from mid-July to mid-September, so it’s best to plan your visit away from these months if you want to avoid the crowds. Devon’s Exeter International Airport offers flights to and from many U.K. airports and a number of international airports too. Reach Devon by train or bus from most major cities.