Why go on a Devon Road Trip? Well, Devon is a pretty big UK county with 2 coastlines and plenty of inland places to visit in Devon. It’s beautiful and offers a range of beaches, hikes, towns and activities.
I also love Devon for its location, I know Cornwall is where most people rave about and want to go in the South West, but getting to Cornwall really is much further than Devon and those last country roads to get to Cornwall really do seep energy and time from your road trip! (I talk from experience!)
Whereas a road trip to Devon benefits from nearby motorways and A roads to help connect you much easier to other places in the UK, especially for a London to Devon road trip!
In this Devon travel blog, I’m going to give you the best places to visit in Devon, how to plan your Devon road trip, how to plan your Devon itinerary and where to stay in Devon!
Plus, I’ve detailed my 3 day Devon itinerary from my recent road trip in Devon as it was very good so you can follow it, or take ideas from it!
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Devon Road Trip
Best Places to Visit in Devon
Here is a list of the best places to visit in Devon so you can get an idea of where you would want to visit on your Devon road trip.
Below the list is a Devon map to help you see where all of these places are and plan where to go in Devon because the county does span quite a big area and in my opinion, it’s best to stick to particular areas each day of your road trip in Devon so you aren’t constantly on the road!
- Branscombe Beach
- Budleigh Salterton
- Dartmoor National Park
- Combe Martin
- Westward Ho!
- Lundy Island
- Saunton Sands
- Barricane Beach
Map of Places To Go on a Devon Road Trip
Planning a Devon Road Trip
Personally, to help me plan the best Devon itinerary I focused on a different area every day as you will see in the 3 day Devon itinerary section below.
I did the South Coast of Devon one day, the middle another day and the North Coast of Devon the next day.
When planning where to go in Devon and planning your itinerary around the best things to do in Devon, it’s worth noting that it does take more time to travel from one place to another in Devon than in other areas of the country because of the smaller roads, and the busy roads if you visit Devon in the summer months.
Car Hire for your Devon Road Trip!
If you don’t have a car for this Devon road trip you’ll need one as public transport around Devon isn’t that frequent and is not going to take you to all the best beaches in Devon and best towns in Devon!
I recommend Rentalcars because they search all of the top rental companies like Budget and Hertz to get you the best price!
Remember to use Rentalcars to look at prices for pick up close to your home as well as in major places in Devon like Exeter because it might be cheaper to hire a car in London for example and travel to Devon on a London to Devon road trip rather than get the train or bus and hire a car from Devon!
On that note, let’s touch on the roads in Devon! On my Devon road trip, I found myself driving down a lot of small, narrow, windy country lanes and this is very common on the Devon Roads!
- Make sure you have petrol and fill up when you get low rather than waiting to the last minute as country roads are lacking in petrol stations.
- Drive really slowly along country lanes, even if someone is behind you. 20mph is a good speed.
- Keep looking ahead! I know we look ahead when driving but looking even further ahead and looking around corners more is best to check for oncoming traffic.
- Be mindful of the pull in points so if you need to back up you know where the last one was.
- If someone pulls in for you, always put your hand or a few fingers up off the steering wheel to say thank you. People really appreciate it here!
There are many different Devon itineraries you can do depending on what you want out of a trip to Devon. Your itinerary might also be set upon you doing a Devon and Cornwall itinerary which is also a popular thing to do.
However below is how I spent 3 days in Devon seeing the South Coast, the Middle and the North Coast!
3 Day Devon Road Trip
I stayed at Royal Oak Farm in one of their stargazing cabins, I actually arrived 2 days before as I spent a day exploring Dorset first (so I guess I did a Devon and Dorset road trip really!)!
Sidmouth Beach & Donkey Sanctuary
Sidmouth is a victorian style seaside town. It’s one of the traditional Devon towns to visit because of its architecture and its reputation of being where Queen Victoria used to go on holiday when she was a child.
Sidmouth has lots of cafes in the town and along the seafront and lots of shops, including many jewellery shops! It’s a pebble beach but a nice one and when I was there on a sunny day people were sunbathing, swimming in the calm waters and doing water activities like kayaking and paddle boarding.
After the beach, I drove 10 minutes to Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary which was a lovely place to visit and I can see why it’s one of the recommended things to do in Devon!
It’s actually quite a big site where you walk around the stables and paddocks seeing the Donkeys grazing. Whilst there aren’t many opportunities to pet the donkeys it is a lovely activity for children in Devon and there’s also a gift shop, cafe, toilet facilities etc.
Branscombe to Beer Coastal Walk
A coastal walk was high on my list of things to do on my Devon road trip itinerary because there are coastal footpaths all the way along the coast of Devon and Branscombe to Beer came highly recommended.
After driving down quite a long countryman I came to Branscombe Beach which is also a nice pebble beach. Had I had longer been here or been with friends, I would have loved to of walked down the beach towards Beer to a more secluded and empty part of the beach because from the coastal walk I kept looking down at the empty pristine beach and water!
The walk from Branscombe Beach to Beer Beach is 2 miles. The start is the hardest with a killer incline but once at the top, it evens out through the fields.
The village of beer is one of the top places to visit in Devon! Yes, it’s actually called Beer and yes, it has quite a few pubs! It’s only small but very cute with a few pubs, small shops, cafes and a lovely beach.
Next to Beer is Seaton which is the main town. Visiting here will complete a really good 1 day on the South Coast of Devon seeing lots of beaches and towns in Devon.
In Seaton, the most popular thing to do is to go on the Seaton tramway which does a 3-mile route through East Devon’s Axe Valley! If you are doing this Devon road trip with children, the tramway could be more of the main focus this day as it’s a good day out in Devon!
Each drive I did today visiting places on my Devon road trip took between 20-30 minutes along A roads and country roads which was a pleasant day of driving.
I checked out of my accommodation on the South Coast of Devon and headed west for my inland day in Devon which was a 1 hour drive.
Dartmoor National Park
Another big thing on my Devon bucket list was visiting the Dartmoor National Park for a hike, but mainly, to see the freely roaming Dartmoor Ponies!
The Dartmoor National Park is full of ‘Tor’s, they’re not as big or as famous as the ‘Tor’s in the Peak District but this meant that I could spend a few hours hiking in Dartmoor National Park walking from one to another!
I parked up in Haytor Car Park (where I saw ponies in the car park) and walked along the main footpaths to Haytor Tor, Hound Tor, Saddle Tor and Black Mountain on what is known as one of the Haytor Walks.
After a good walk and plenty of fresh are I drove North to Barnstaple. This journey took me a bit longer than expected at 1 hour 30 minutes as I had to head back onto motorways to get from West Devon to North Devon.
Barnstaple was a good base to stay to see North Devon but if I was planning this Devon road trip itinerary again I would have stayed further North near or at a beach like Woolacombe as I spent 30 minutes getting there in the morning and would have rather of woken up by the coast!
Woolacombe is a really popular holiday destination in Devon, there’s lots of holiday accommodation, a huge beach and good surf, so if surfing is on your list of things to do in Devon, book a lesson with surf school in Woolacombe is a good thing to do!
Putsborough Beach is at the end of Woolacombe beach and I got told by a few Devon locals that this is their preferred beach in the area!
Other beaches near Woolacombe which are perfect to explore on your last day in Devon are Saunton Sands, Westward Ho!, Ilfracombe Beach and Combe Martin.
There’s also a coastal path connecting many of the beaches on the North Coast of Devon, as you can see this Devon itinerary is really about being outside and active so adding a coastal walk onto todays itinerary in Devon is a good idea too!
Where to Stay in Devon
There are lots of accommodation options in Devon!
If you are doing this Devon Road Trip in a campervan or van (we know #vanlife is so popular right now!), there are lots of places to camp on the coast and in the National Parks, websites like Pitch Up are great for finding these.
This is the same, if you are planning on camping on a Devon Road Trip, you’ll love the high amount of campsites in Devon!
Glamping and Road Trips go hand in hand which is kind of what I did! I did a type of glamping in Devon staying in a Stargazing Cabin which you can view here!
I have found that for cool and unique accommodation, Cool Stays is a great place to look!
For Self Catering Cottages and Houses in Devon to use as a base on your road trip in Devon, Holiday Cottages has lots of options!
For all other accommodation options when looking into places to stay in Devon, I recommend Booking.com!
FAQ About a Devon Road Trip:
How long does it take to drive around Devon?
From the Northern Coast of Devon Cornwall to the South Coast of it takes about 2 hours to drive around Devon, however, because you are going to be stopping a lot on your Devon Road Trip and itinerary the distances will be much shorter.
Is it easy to drive around Devon?
Yes, the roads can be narrow, windy and busy in places in Devon but in general, the roads in Devon and good and easy to manage with the help of a satnav.
How many days do I need in Devon?
2 Days in Devon is enough to see a number of places in Devon, 3 days is also a good time. However some people easily spend 7 days in Devon on a holiday in England which is a good amount of time to relax on some days and visit new places on other days.
What is the best time to visit Devon?
Most people visit Devon in the Summer months so they benefit from the warmer weather however Devon can be visited all year round. The positive to going to Devon in the winter is fewer people even if the weather isn’t as good. Spring and Autumn are also considered the best time to visit Devon.
I hope this helps you plan your Devon Road Trip and your Devon itinerary!
- For more posts to help your plan your trip and see more of South England see:
- How To Visit Cheddar Gorge. Things To Do, Cheddar Gorge Walks & Parking!
- 25 BEST Things To Do in Lyme Regis and Near Lyme Regis!
- 15 Hidden Gems in Cornwall To Visit To Escape The Crowds!
- Things To Do in Padstow & Things To Do Near Padstow!
- 10 Reasons to Book a Stargazing Cabin in Devon at Royal Oak Farm!