With its picturesque scenery, Devon is a county that is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike throughout the year. There are of course many quaint seaside towns and beaches that attract tourists to the county during the summer months but it also boasts some lesser-known attractions which are equally appealing whatever the weather. Whether you are looking for that quintessential cream tea, breathtaking geology or something in between, Devon will not let you down.
Devon is home to some of the most fascinating landscapes in the UK, with the county even lending its name to a specific geological period - the Devonian Period. Much of the area is rural, leaving the countryside largely untouched, so visitors can see its natural beauty. This is encapsulated by two national parks in Exmoor and Dartmoor; with the latter being the location for the recent Steven Spielberg blockbuster, War Horse.
The Tamar Valley crosses from the west side of Devon into the neighbouring county, Cornwall. It is not only recognised as an Area of Outstanding Beauty, it is home to the Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project, part of the World Heritage Site of Cornwall and West Devon’s Mining Landscape. Also based near the border with Cornwall is the Morwellham Quay, Historic Port and Copper Mine. This is a thought-provoking tribute to the region’s contribution to the British Industrial Revolution and mining industry: the quay is surrounded by ships, miner’s cottages and walled gardens.
Situated a few miles from the county town of Exeter, Powderham Castle is a spectacular 600 year old castle and is one of the oldest family houses in the UK. The castle has many enchanting rooms and secret passages to explore. Set in a deer park and on the edge of the Exe estuary, visitors can enjoy the peaceful scenery and wildlife.
Another medieval fortress that is definitely worth a visit whether you live in Devon or are just visiting, is the impressive Dartmouth Castle. In the past, this imposing fortress was recognised as one of Britain’s main defences against sea-fairing enemies and includes the well-preserved ‘gun tower’. With the many remounted heavy guns, guardrooms and even a church to view; Dartmouth Castle is an exciting place to explore.
With all these popular attractions on view, it may come as little surprise that Devon is an extremely popular location for hot air ballooning in the UK. With the wind being your guide across the county, the experience of a hot air balloon ride is a great way to capture the sights of Devon from an entirely new perspective. Hot air balloons can fly up to 5,000 feet into the sky, giving passengers the perfect opportunity to take fantastic photographs and capture video footage of the Devon landscape and attractions.
Many ballooning companies will offer a Champagne toast at the end of a flight to round off a remarkable experience.
Some balloon flight operators will also provide transportation back to the original launch site. This means that passengers do not need to be concerned about getting back to their vehicles and will have maximum time to enjoy the rest of their day in Devon.