Devon holidays vs Cornwall holidays

Beaches, Coastal, Days out, Family

Posted by Hannah on 13th July 2021

Devon vs Cornwall 4

It’s no secret that Devon and Cornwall are rivals when it comes to the cream tea but what else do these West Country counties come head to head over? We've taken a look at a few key aspects to help you decide which county comes up trumps! 

Will it be Devon, with it's pretty villages, romantic Dartmoor and connections to Agatha Christie? Or will Cornwall top the leader board with its pristine beaches, mouthwatering pasties and world-renowned author, Daphne du Maurier?

Read on to discover the merits of each of these stunning counties, or if you've already made up your mind, have a browse of our collection of cottages and start planning your next adventure.

Devon and Cornwall cottages


Devon beaches vs Cornwall beaches

Beaches in Cornwall - waves at Newquay, beach at Sennen Cove, and Watergate BayWaves at Fistral | Watergate Bay | Sennen Cove

It’s easy to mistake Devon and Cornwall’s beaches for those of more tropical climes, something that both counties can be truly proud of. In Cornwall, you are never far from the coast, whether it is the popular surfing beaches around Newquay such as Fistral and Watergate Bay, the secluded and quiet coves of The Lizard Peninsula or the likes of Sennen Cove close to Lands End.

Devon beaches - Croyde and a surfer at Westward Ho!Croyde Beach | Surfer at Westward Ho!

In Devon, the north coast boasts the surfing hot-spots of Croyde Bay, Woolacombe and Saunton Sands, backed by rolling golden sand dunes. If you’d rather take a walk along the Jurassic coast, the combination of sand and shingle along the south coast is for you.

For more seaside inspiration, take a look at these 10 beaches you won't believe are in Devon and, and 10 more in Cornwall.


Devon seaside towns vs Cornwall seaside towns

Devon seaside towns of Salcombe, Torquay and PaigntonSalcombe | Torquay | Paignton

The coast isn’t just about the sandy beaches and secluded coves. What about those traditional seaside towns, perfect for family holidays? In Devon head to Torquay, Paignton or Dawlish and make the most of seafront arcades, ice cream shops and busy pubs and restaurants. For something a little more sedate, Sidmouth and Budleigh Salterton are attractive seaside towns offering the perfect cream tea stop-off! For more on exploring coastal Devon, read our guide

Devon coastal cottages

St IvesSt Ives

Cornwall also has an intriguing selection of coastal towns and villages. Falmouth and Padstow offer a busy schedule of popular events while St Ives attracts artists from around the world and is home to The Tate Gallery and Barbara Hepworth Museum. For the younger generations, Newquay is the perfect combination of vibrant pubs and restaurants with a fresh coastal atmosphere. Why not explore more of the charming fishing villages in Cornwall with our guide?

Cornwall coastal cottages


Devon moorlands vs Cornwall moorlands

 Bodmin Moor

When it comes to Devon vs Cornwall moorland, both counties benefit from mysterious and rugged moorland but Devon has two! In Cornwall, discover the standing stones, ancient buildings and river valleys of Bodmin Moor. Climb to the highest peaks of Rough Tor and Brown Willy and drink in the breathtaking views.

Dartmoor is also beautiful at sunsetDartmoor

Devon on the other hand enjoys two very different, but just as intriguing moorlands. Dartmoor lies in the south where majestic, towering tours give way to charming English villages and heather-clad hills. Exmoor in North Devon breaks across the border into Somerset and stretches to parts of the dramatic North Devon coastline such as the iconic Valley of the Rocks.

If you’re feeling energetic, The Two Moors Way is a long distance walking route from Ivybridge on the southern edge of Dartmoor to Lynmouth on Exmoor’s North Coast.


Devon literary greats vs Cornwall literary greats

Agatha Christie is an inspiring author from South DevonGreenway House | Agatha Christie sculpture in Torquay | Burgh Island

It’s tough competition when you compare the likes of Agatha Christie and Daphne Du Maurier. In South Devon, follow in the renowned crime-author’s footsteps and discover Agatha Christie’ stomping ground. Stroll along the beaches where she swam, visit Burgh Island where she found inspiration, or visit the now National Trust-owned Greenway House, once the Christie family's summer holiday home.

Make sure you don’t miss any of her haunts by following the Agatha Christie trail.

Daphne du Maurier was inspired by CornwallJamaica Inn | Fowey | Bodinnick

In Fowey, Cornwall, discover the legacy that Daphne Du Maurier left behind in the area where she lived and holidayed on and off since her childhood. It's where she wrote her first novel The Loving Spirit, and drew inspiration for one of the most famous, Jamaica Inn.

The annual Fowey Festival is a great way to celebrate Du Maurier’s work.


Devon food vs Cornwall food

Devon and Cornwall have wonderful food, from pasties to seafoodPasty | Lobster pot on harbourside

The great thing about Devon and Cornwall has to be the food! As we just mentioned, the good old cream tea is a West Country favourite, but what about the Cornish pasty from the likes of Ann's Pasties?

Locally caught seafood is a big one in Cornwall too, you could be watching the fisherman unload their catch in Falmouth in the morning and sitting down to tuck into a seafood dinner at Rick Stein’s by evening. That’s not exclusive to Cornwall though, the friendly town of Brixham in Devon are a great spot for seafood too.

Cadgwith, mussels and BrixhamCadgwith | Mussels | Brixham

Devon and Cornwall both focus on locally produced food, so wherever you go, you’ll be tucking into a steak which was reared on a nearby farm in Devon or enjoying tasty cider from Healey’s Cyder Farm in Cornwall. From the tasty goodies at The Chocolate Factory near Mullion Cove to fresh and delightful vegetables of Riverford Organics – it’s all about keeping it local.

The popular seaside destination of Bude is situated on the Devon and Cornwall border so here you can really enjoy the best of both worlds.

To help you make up a delicious decision between Cornwall or Devon, take a look at our guides to the top Devon restaurants, and a mouthwatering selection of places to eat in Cornwall


Can't decide?

With both counties blessed with incredible beaches, charming villages, wild moorland and plenty of delicious places to dine out, it's a hard task deciding between Devon and Cornwall holidays! Take a look at our guides to Devon and Cornwall if you need more help to make up your mind.

Whether you choose Devon or Cornwall, we have a wide range of holiday cottages in both counties - why not explore our full collection below and find your dream holiday home?

Find a cottage in Devon or Cornwall

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.