1. A La Ronde, Lympstone
Utterly unique in every way, the 16-sided house of A La Ronde dates back from the late 18th century and is a showcase for the quirky. Built by the two spinster cousins Jane and Mary Parminter on their return from an opulent grand tour of Europe, the spell-binding interior contains the mementoes of the owners’ adventures and is a true stage to exotic expression and taste.
Quirky features you will find include a shell-encrusted gallery and even a unique real feather frieze. Visitors can also enjoy the free Garden activities and games as well as view the continuous art exhibition with sales being held every 2 weeks.
2. Arlington Court & the National Trust Carriage Museum, near Barnstaple
This idyllic Regency house is the jewel in the crown of the Chichester family run estate, offering a treasure trove of antiquities and collections in an elegant 19th century Greek revival style interior. As well as exploring the main house and servant quarters, visitors can also enjoy the Carriage Museum which is situated in the stable block to a back drop of working horses. Visitors can view the fascinating collection of various modes of transport during one’s life from a bygone era, including fine carriages.
The picturesque 19th century gardens offer pleasure grounds perfect for picnics as well as a charming walled kitchen garden which provides the charming tea room with fresh produce and an ancient heronry located in the naturally lush and abundant grounds.
Visitors of all abilities looking for a striking and memorable walk along the South West Coast path will not be disappointed with Baggy Point! Featuring a dramatic and rugged headland overlooking the famous Croyde Beach, best known as the best surfing beach in North Devon, the tranquil and natural beauty spot offers far reaching views across the Saunton Sands, Bideford Bay and Lundy. Visitor parking and the Sandleigh Tearoom and garden also conveniently provides all the services for a great day out at one of the must-see delights of North Devon!
Offering a unique opportunity to enjoy an atmospheric walk along the South West Coastal Path, this walk begins from the lobster and fishing village of Beesands and leads through a fascinating array of places. Visitors can discover the haunting ruins of Hallsands; once a vibrant community dramatically washed away in the raging storm of 1917. The walk also offers the chance to enjoy the coastal views at Start Point and also leads through picturesque farmland which is home to the very rare aromatic Penny Royal herb plant as well as native birds including gulls and kestrels.
Providing miles of natural coastline with cliffs, bays, woodland valleys, waterfalls and grassland that left even Rudyard Kipling inspired and spell-bound, the walk from Bideford Bay to Hartland allows visitors to explore the hidden beauty of this part of Devon; from the historic fishing village of Clovelly to the craggy cliffs of South Hole, wild woodland and the picturesque Peppercombe valley with its wild orchids and butterflies. Visitors can be certain there is something to excite all ages!
Conveniently located close to Salcombe and offering a levelled trail which meanders through a striking coastal landscape, Bolborry Down offers a highly accessible and enjoyable outing for all!
This medieval manor house sits in an enchanted setting of idyllic woodland and timeless riverside meadows and offers visitors with the unique experience of exploring a relaxed and ancient family home. Bradley boasts a feast of medieval detail from its authentic Ante Chapel and original lime wash concrete flagged Buttery to its fine oak panelling which dates back to Henry VIII’s time. Bradley is perfectly situated just 5 minutes from Newton Abbot offering a unique way to spend a morning or afternoon away from town.
Nestled in a charming village scene these delightful thatched vernacular buildings date back 200 years and have been fully restored to their former glory, as vibrant a working mill and forge. The Old Bakery tea room provides history on baking as well as ambient open fires and delicious traditional cream teas to serve as the perfect refreshment! A variety of picturesque paths run from Branscombe to the beach and woodlands making the perfect day out for all the family.
A glorious 700 year old estate situated in the idyllic Tavy Valley and featuring a 13th century Abbey which was once home to the hardworking agricultural Cistercian monks who farmed the land and built the impressive Great Barn.
Inside Buckland Abbey visitors can enjoy learning more in the interactive museum, of the estate’s famous Elizabethan seafarer owners, Sir Francis Drake and Sir Richard Grenville.
Visitors can also enjoy exploring the Cider House garden, the self-guided woodland trails and the meadows and orchards which all form part of the Buckland Estate.
Enjoying elevated views across beautiful Dartmoor, the contemporary and imposing medieval style castle was built by the renowned architect Edward Lutyens as a family home, and is famous as the ‘last castle to be built in England.’
Castle Drago is a joy to explore with a Georgian style drawing room with Venetian chandeliers, a Jacobean style Dining room with electric table cloth and fine barrel vaulted hallways.
The Castle sits in magnificent coastal view gardens which features a valley of glorious Rhododendron and magical woodland with which is home to the charming Bunty (Wendy) House and miniature garden. The onsite café provides the perfect respite with a delicious cream tea and beautiful trails lead on from Castle Drago to the Teign Valley and ancient gorge.
11. Coleton Fishacre
As well as enjoying the sheltered 30 acre pleasure grounds of Coleton Fishacre, visitors can also enjoy being transported back in time to the elegant 1920s inside the Arts and Crafts style family home, which embodies the very essence of the Jazz age.
Built for Rupert and Lady Dorothy D’Oyly Carte, the fine period house features many Art Deco influenced rooms and the elegant saloon even allows visitors to have the opportunity of playing the Blüther.
Outside in the beautifully maintained landscaped garden visitors can enjoy the sea view vistas as well as walking along the meandering paths, which lead enticingly past ponds and exotic flora from the Mediterranean, South Africa and New Zealand. Visitors can also relax and enjoy a picnic in the grounds as well as explore the nearby coastal path.
Enjoying a tranquil seclusion of sheltered crisscrossed pathways and a vibrant show of bluebells and purple orchids in spring, Come Wood near Honiton provides the perfect place to enjoy an inspirational woodland walk!
Situated in a fairy-tale spot which is steeped in history, beauty and intrigue, the medieval fortress of Compton Castle is the famous backdrop to many dramatic cinematic pieces featuring a remarkable interior of medieval magnificence with high curtain walls, a medieval kitchen, a Great Hall, towers, spiral staircases and portcullis.
The 600 year old castle has remained in possession of the original Gilbert family, with Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the adventurer and half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, being one it most famous occupiers.
The magical castle grounds feature a formal knot and herb garden, a romantic rose garden and a pretty ancient orchard.
Situated in a secluded creek of wild woodland, visitors can fully enjoy the natural tree specimens which grow here in abundance from Sessile Oak, Ash, Beech, Sweet Chestnut, Horse Chestnut and Sycamore. A trail leads through the middle of the wood in a north-west direction to a small quarry and lime kilns. Wonderful views over the River Dart and Bow Creek provide the perfect tranquil backdrop to this invigorating walk.
Explore the best of North Devon’s striking beaches and captivating coastline, along the South west Coast path from Croyde to Mortehoe. The scenic walk stretches from the dramatic headland of Baggy Point at Croyde, along the 3 mile stretch of Woolacombe beach and over the iconic rocky headland known as the Stegosaurus’ back at Monte Points to take in the views of the seals which bask in the coves.
Combining both coastal and woodland scenery with beautiful views over the Estuary and sea, this scenic walk provides a fully encompassing tour of North Devon, from rugged cliffs, sweeping beaches, the timeless rolling farmland and the ancient woodland of Long Wood.
The area is rich in wildlife from peregrine falcons, fritillary butterflies and lizards at Froward Point to the Manslands Wetland, ideal for bird watching.
On your journey, the recently renovated 19th century Cider Press at Woodhuish, with its Organic Farm and its traditional sheep and cattle breeds, is popular with all ages and is well worth a visit!
Boasting far reaching views over the Otter Valley, from the picturesque and intriguing Iron Age fort of Dumpdon, this outing is well worth the climb!
As well as exploring the fascinating earth work fortifications visitors can also venture into the small yet spell-binding beech wood behind and go on to see the famous Exmoor ponies grazing on the nearby rough.
Providing the perfect escape for a walk or picnic, the magnificent 900 year old parkland at Dunsland serves as a picturesque backdrop to the noble remains of the grand Tudor House which once stood here. The pretty springtime primroses and bluebells add an enchanting air to this delightful park featuring gigantic Oak, 700 year old Sweet Chestnuts and ancient fruit trees. The tranquil lake here provides a delightful spot for romantic reflection.
Make the trip to visit the last working water powered forge in England! Providing a fascinating insight into 19th century working village life, the Finch Foundry offers visitors the chance to watch the big waterwheels in action whilst learning more about the forge in its heyday with hourly demonstrations.
The pretty garden by Tom Pearse’s summerhouse provides a charming backdrop to this bygone scene and visitors can further enjoy walking on to explore the quaint village of Sticklepath and the beautiful surrounding Dartmoor countryside.
Famously coined by the acclaimed crime author Agatha Christie, as ‘the loveliest place in the world,’ Greenway Home and Garden provides an intriguing glimpse into the novelist’s private family English Riviera holiday home.
The fine Georgian house is often regarded as the finest on the River Dart and inside offers a 1950’s atmosphere with many of the famous writer’s personal collections and books on display. The beautiful grounds feature a restored vinery, rare plantings and enchanting mature woodland which idyllically bounds down the hillside to a breath taking backdrop of the Dart Estuary.
Only recently open to the public the Halwell Woods in the docile village of South Pool along the Kingsbridge Estuary offers the perfect excuse for family fun!
Explore the bluebells along the sheltered woodland walks or picnic and enjoy the sunny expansive lawn; the woods offer the perfect outing for all.
Set in one of the most idyllic valleys in all of Exmoor, visitors can enjoy a beautiful butterfly walk through deep and scenic coastal woodland of the Heddon Valley. Rare butterfly species to look out for include the silver-washed fritillary, dark green fritillary and the high brown fritillary.
Situated on the south-eastern edge of Dartmoor National Park and following along the River Dart, these hidden woodland valleys provide both tranquillity and adventure!
Hembury offers fun-filled woodland scrambles and the opportunity to explore the ancient Iron Age Hill fortress whilst Holne provides a restful tranquillity and romantic sense of the past, with windblown trees, riverside walks and a forgotten Victorian pond, for added intrigue.
At the centre of a thriving art scene and community, High Cross House near Totnes is a must-see Modernist gem!
Designed by William Lescaze in 1932 and built by Leonard Elmhirst the much celebrated modernist residence overlooks the tumbling countryside and evokes the ‘serenity, clarity and kind of openness’ that its original owner headmaster William Curry described. The house is an open venue for contemporary art exhibitions, sales, talks, demonstrations and musical recitals.
A splendid 18th century house renowned for its historical costume collection and magnificent gardens and parkland, Killerton provides the perfect day out for the whole family!
Once owned by the notable local Acland family the house now provides visitors with a fantastic chance to view its famous fashion collection and try on replica dresses and also enjoy the wide range of year round events.
The garden was designed by John Veiter and offers a rich display of year round colour and fascination, from rhododendrons, rare tree specimens, magnificent magnolia and flowering white wisteria. The grounds also feature the quaint little summerhouse which was once home to the family pet bear, Tom.
The parkland of the estate is extensive and visitors can enjoy exploring along the 60 miles of footpath which meanders idyllically along the Killerton Estate. Voluntary drive buggy tours of the garden are also available for those requiring assistance.
The charming old thatched Budlake Post Office served Killerton until the 1950s and today provides a lovely bygone tale amongst 1950s memorabilia of working Post Office life.
The fascinating cottage also features a double seated privy, a Victorian wash house and pigsty as well as a pretty cottage garden to serve as a picturesque backdrop to this idyllic and nostalgic scene.
This historical working water mill is set in an idyllic riverside setting and surrounded by farmland and orchards, providing the perfect place to learn more about the life of a Miller, with hands-on activities and the chance to view traditional skills still in practice today, such as the grinding of wheat into flour.
Visitors can happily enjoy a picturesque picnic alongside the passing River Clyst and can also explore Broadcylst’s ancient churchyard.
Situated along a quaint and nostalgic country lane this intriguing 15th century cob cottage and thatch house provides the perfect example of industrial heritage past and features a fascinating interior of smoke blackened timbers and a uniquely painted muntin screen of St Andrew. As well as exploring the fascinating cottage visitors can reach, through a cross passage, the utterly charming country-style garden which features a contemporary cob summerhouse and blacksmith’s work shop.
29. Knightshayes Court, Tiverton
Set deep in the rolling Devon countryside this mansion designed by the eccentric William Burges is a true showcase to Victorian gothic architecture, with opulent interiors to leave you spell-bound such as a replica medieval Great Hall with minstrel’s gallery and intricate gargoyles and luxuriant-style rooms and bed chambers.
Knightshayes Court also boasts to be home to one of the world’s last 3 surviving Stické Tennis Courts.
The beautiful gardens are bursting with colour all year round and provide something for everyone, from formal terraces decorated with elaborate topiary to a fully restored walled garden, which grows fresh organic produce and is even home to resident chickens. Whatever your age or interests all visitors can fully enjoy a captivating day out in this gothic revival dream world!
With breath taking views across the River Dart Estuary and Start Bay, visitors can enjoy exploring beautiful hidden coves along coastal paths which are ablaze with the vibrant colour of wild flowers each spring and summertime.
History lovers will also enjoy exploring the past of the intriguing nearby beauty spot at the Royalist Civil War Fort at Gallants Bower as well as the surrounding woodland, which provides an enchanting walk on to the dramatic cliffs of Willow Cove and Combe Point.
Famous as one of the oldest surviving Baptist Churches in England, and set overlooking the Axe Valley and beautiful east Devon countryside, this 17th century thatched meeting house provides a fascinating insight into the defiant survival of one of England’s non-conformist sects, which persevered on in secret, at a time of great persecution.
The interior still very much retains its 18th century appearance and the chapel is still used today as a place of worship and burials. It is also frequented twice a year for services run by the local Kilmington Baptist Church.
Set amongst dramatic coastal scenery this unspoilt island is a world away from the modern world and provides a natural haven undisturbed by modern cars and activity.
Visitors can enjoy exploring its abandoned stone buildings as well as its Victorian church and the 13th century Marisco Castle.
The impressive disused lighthouse which was built in 1820 and fondly known as ‘Old Light’ is well worth exploring, with the grand stone spiral staircase leading to a spectacular platform for enjoying far reaching views across the northern part of the Island.
Diving and Seal watching can be enjoyed from Lundy and nature lovers can also enjoy bird watching and discovering the native flora and fauna, such as the pretty yellow flowering Lundy Cabbage. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/familyhistory/8866830/Lundy-My-family-and-the-Kingdom-of-Heaven.html
Boasting the deepest gorge in the South West with a magnificent gushing 30m waterfall, the Lydford Gorge is a natural highlight not to be missed!
From deep oak woodland walks which leads past autumn fungi and wild garlic, a bridge takes visitors to the gorge, which is the dramatic culmination of the meandering Lyd river; resulting in the splendid 30m high Whitelady Waterfall. Visitors can enjoy learning more about the mystery and intrigue which surrounds this site, with many fascinating legends to be told, including the bubbling natural pothole known as the Devil’s cauldron.
The exhilarating woodland walks lead from the spectacular gorge to a quaint tea room and gift shop which provides wonderful refreshments after an exhilarating day of exploring the great outdoors.
Overlooking the picturesque and historical village of Musbury, this intriguing Iron Age hill fort is shrouded in mystery and offers breath-taking rural views across the Axe Valley.
Visitors can explore the ancient ramparts of the fortress and take one of the many criss-crossing paths to discover the glorious surrounding area.
Situated at the mouth of the idyllic Yealm River, the pretty village of Nis Mayo provides the perfect starting point from which to explore the glorious Passage woods, the scenic 19th century Revelstoke Drive, the stunning cliff top walks which lead past many secluded beaches such as Warren Beach and on to the historical Napoleonic and World War II sea defences at Stoke Point.
Visitors can also enjoy spotting basking seals in the coves and many rare coastal birds including the cirl bunting, along their picturesque walk.
Situated at the most westerly point of the Jurassic Coast, Orcombe Point provides the perfect starting point from which to explore the world famous coastline.
The fascinating 5m high geographical monument of Geoneedle is beautifully sculpted from the local rocks and stands proudly at the summit of Orcombe Point, to signify the importance of this unique natural and geographic heritage.
Visitors can enjoy discovering wild flora along their walk, including the green-winged orchids which produce striking purple flowers in late April. Rodney Point is a tranquil and secluded beach which is also well worth looking out for along your captivating walk.
Offering a luxuriant escape from the modern world, with striking subtropical gardens and an utterly unique collection to enjoy, Overbeck’s is the perfect family outing!
The splendid Edwardian seaside home is perched up on the breath taking cliffs above Salcombe and boasts a fascinating tour of the eccentric Scientist’s varied collection, including examples of his scientific inventions and also provides an opportunity to meet the friendly museum ghost known as Fred!
The exotic gardens offer an oasis of escapism, with the beautiful sea view grounds boasting a spectacular display of vibrant and exotic planting as well as a banana garden, woodland, and shady palms under which visitors can enjoy relaxing under.
Situated just outside the pretty market town of Bovey Tracey, with magical wild flowering meadows and pretty parkland, the picturesque grounds and period splendour of ‘Parke’ provides the perfect choice for a short scenic stroll or an invigorating ramble. The parkland includes a scenic riverside woodland walk which leads to a medieval weir, as well as a charming vegetable and fruit garden with orchard and a period ice house, fish pond, beehives which produce honey and grazing meadows used by local livestock. The idyllic setting is the perfect choice for visitors who want to enjoy the glorious outdoors in genteel surroundings!
Providing tranquil sheltered walks with views out to Exeter, Prickly Pear is a popular retreat for walkers, who come to enjoy the year round showcase of foliage and wildlife. The wood boasts a variety of beech, pine, birch, pebbled heath and scrubland and was in fact the National Trust’s first woodland property to be enjoyed by the nation.
Situated next to the beautiful village of Ringmore visitors can enjoy a fascinating setting with stunning open cliff faces and mysterious hidden coves linked by smuggler’s tracks and also views of striking rock formations, including the famous Burgh Island, which is forever immortalised by Agatha Christie. Ayrmer beach is the perfect spot for a family day out and the surrounding Ringmore valley enjoys an abundance of wildlife to spot; from adders, dragonfly, dormice and even the rare cirl bunting. Dolphins and basking sharks can also be seen off the coastline if you look carefully!
Nearby Ringmore Wood enjoys a flurry of classical English specimens including Oak and Willow and is true natural showcase, with a magical blanket of primrose and bluebells blanketing the woodland floor each spring time and providing the ideal spot in which to walk and picnic.
Offering captivating and embracing coastal views across unspoilt open farmland, the walk from Salcombe to Hope Cove is an extremely picturesque and intriguing one.
Visitors can follow the coastal walk down to the golden sands at Soar Mill Cove, to spend a day on the idyllic beach. A trip to Salcombe Estuary is sure to be full of majestic yachts and sailing ships as well opportunities to canoe around hidden coves and mysterious ship wrecks.
For history lovers the highly accessible pathway from Bolberry Down leads to the Iron Age Fort at Bolt Trail, and onto pretty and timeless villages including Hope Cove.
Built in the 1740s and home to the Parker family for almost 300 years, Saltram is a magnificent Georgian house boasting Robert Adam interiors in a fine parkland setting and within easy reach of the hustle and bustle of Plymouth.
The house features a stately Saloon which fully conjures an ‘age of elegance’ as well as many fascinating collections which are on display, including penned correspondence between the first Countess, Francis and Jane Austen.
Aside from enjoying an eye opening guided tour of the house, visitors can also dress up in Georgian costume to fully immerse themselves in the history and splendour of this fine house.
The magnificent garden and parkland with its romantic follies, is the perfect idyllic location serves as a captivating back drop to cycling, picnics and kite flying.
Open to members of the public four times a year and providing an utterly unique holiday let in between, the intriguing medieval Manor House is just part of what originally stood here and boasts many fine medieval features throughout, as well as more recent architectural features. The house offers a truly magical setting for a day out or for an intimate holiday stay in the newly renovated luxury apartment.
The magnificence of the manor house is evident in passing under the regal gatehouse as well as in the original medieval great hall and kitchen which is reputedly home to England’s largest fireplace.
Guests and day visitors of Shute Barton are also perfectly placed to reach the famous Jurassic coast and also Lyme Regis which is popular for fossil collecting.
Enjoying panoramic views across the famous Kingsbridge Estuary, Snapes Point in Salcombe is the ideal spot for bird watching, dog walking and amateur to experienced walk. Snapes Point forms part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, due to its vast range of fascinating native planting and diverse wildlife.
Providing a host of family fun for all ages, South Milton Sands is one of the most popular beaches in the South Hams, with golden sands perfect for picnics, intriguing rock pools perfect for exploring and clear calm waters ideal for swimming, wind surfing, water boarding and kayaking.
The striking rock formations which frame the bay also include the iconic Thurlestone Rock and also further off shore the infamous Shipwreck of Louis Shied, provides the perfect diving spot.
Situated in the picturesque village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, in the distinctly beautiful Dartmoor National Park, visitors here can enjoy exploring this fine 2 storey granite building, which dates back to 1537. The Church House originally held festivals and today is still very much part of the community, with clubs, societies and monthly village markets all taking place here.
Visitors can enjoy taking an independent tour of the building by collecting the keys from the former Sexton’s Cottage, which is located opposite the Church House and is now a shop and visitor information centre for the National Trust.
Located on Exmoor in the ancient rich woodland valley of Lyn, this spectacular sight has been born from the point at where the two lush valleys of East Lyn and Hoar Oak Water both dramatically collided together to form what is said to be the deepest river Gorge in England.
The surrounding 2,000 acres of woodland features a haven of wildlife such as otters and provides the ideal opportunity for an invigorating ramble or stroll, with the charming Watersmeet House and gift shop providing the perfect refreshment by way of a fresh cream tea at the end of the day.
Set at the foot of spectacular coastline and picturesque woodland walks, Wembury Beach offers a wide variety of activities for all the family, from rock pool rambles to water sports.
The 10 foot swell makes this a popular destination for surfers and the nearby Yealm Estuary is the ideal spot for kayaking and canoeing.
The famous rock formation known as Wembury Point also provides a fascinating insight into the areas past, with the jagged and illusive rocks once serving as the ideal hideout for smugglers evading the law.
Visitors can also visit the coastal woodland above, which is a joy to explore year round and especially at spring time, when the ground in amongst the meandering footpaths becomes blanketed with a spell-binding display of bluebells.