GUIDE TO MID AND EAST DEVON

Delve into rural Devon, discover captivating landscapes, peaceful villages, vibrant towns and beautiful beaches.

A 7 day ITINERARY for Mid and East Devon

With coast, countryside, towns and a city to pack into 7 days, you are sure to have a fun-filled week in Mid and East Devon.

Peace and quiet on the coast

Start your day with a gentle stroll beneath the iconic red cliffs before climbing a set of steep steps up the side of the headland, known as Jacobs’s ladder. At the top you can enjoy magnificent views over Sidmouth from Connaught Gardens over a cup of coffee in the Clock Tower Café. If you’re feeling up for a bit of a hike, head along the South West Coast Path and take the 10-mile route to Seaton, passing by National Trust site Branscombe and the pretty village of Beer. If you fancy something a little more sedate, hop in the car and head a couple of miles along the coast to Budleigh Salterton. This is the perfect opportunity to indulge in the first Devon cream tea of your holiday and vintage-style tea room, Tea and Tittle Tattle is just the place!

Top 5 historic houses

A day in the wild – Dartmoor

Start your day early so you can pack as many sights in as possible. Follow in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes and climb the iconic Hound Tor, used throughout the filming of the Hound of the Baskervilles. Drive past Princetown Prison, a sight which pierces through the rugged Dartmoor landscape. In Princetown itself you can visit the museum and discover tales of famous inmates that were once kept here. Postbridge is a great choice if you have packed a picnic and it’s home to a Dartmoor visitor centre and shop.

“Two Bridge’s Hotel on the road between Princetown and Postbridge is such a beautiful spot to stop and enjoy a cream tea. In the summer you can sit outside along the river bank amongst dozing ducks.”

Top 5 beaches

  • Exmouth
  • Sandy Bay
  • Sidmouth
  • Beer
  • Branscombe

Honiton and Axminster

These two market towns each have something special about them. Honiton is the antique capital of the South West, so for vintage furniture enthusiasts this is the place for you. For foodies, Axminster is a good choice as the home of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage which sits hidden away on a hill overlooking Axminster. Here you can take various cookery classes as well as indulge in extravagant meals cooked by the River Cottage chefs. If you just want to stop for a bite to eat, the River Cottage Canteen in Axminster makes for a lovely lunchtime stop.

“Otter Valley Dairy make incredible flavours of ice cream on the farm; using milk from their cows, it is then sold from a quaint summerhouse at the end of their driveway.”

Exmouth

For a traditional, bucket and spade day at the beach, the busy town of Exmouth is the place to go. When the sun shines, the crowds flock to the long sandy stretch. Complete with lots of seafront bars, an arcade and beautiful surrounding walks it’s the perfect family day out. If you’ve had enough of lying on the beach, you could take a boat trip with Stuart Line Cruises which explores the Exe Estuary and the East Devon coastline. At low tide you can walk around the cliff-face to neighbouring beach Sandy Bay or enjoy the views and beautiful sun set from Orcombe Point on the coast path.

“The Exe Trail runs alongside the Exe Estuary all the way from Exeter to Exmouth, through lovely towns such as Topsham and featuring fantastic water-side pubs like the Double Locks.”

Top 5 family attractions

‘The house that moved’ by Juan J. Martinez | CC BY - SA 2.0

Step back in time

You would struggle to see everything in one day in Exeter, especially if one day was dedicated to shopping, so we have given it a second day!

Firstly, explore the underground passageways which zig-zag beneath the high street and date back to the 14th century. When you make it back up to daylight, Exeter Castle and Northernhay Gardens are well worth a visit. Don’t miss the award-winning Royal Albert Memorial Museum too, having recently undergone a fantastic redesign, the museum is Exeter’s biggest must see. If the prehistoric giraffe hasn’t worn you out, see if you can find ‘the house that moved’ – A Victorian building that was saved from demolition over 50 years ago and is now thought to be the oldest building in Exeter.

“Exeter Quayside is absolutely stunning. It’s only a short walk from the town centre and here quirky shops, restaurants and cafes are cut into the hillside.”

Five tearooms not to miss:

  • The Bake House, Cullompton
  • Toast, Honiton
  • Frou Frou, Tiverton
  • Hidden Treasure tea room, Exeter
  • Primrose Tearooms, Lustleigh

‘Gandy Street’ by Gill Griffin | CC BY - SA 2.0

Shopping in Exeter

Steeped in history and offering a haven for shoppers, it would be difficult to cram everything into one day. Set aside two days in Exeter, starting with a spot of retail therapy. As well as the usual high street shops, Exeter offers numerous hidden gems which wait down cobbled streets. Gandy Street is a good place to start, a long cobbled street which sneaks off from the high street and offers a delightful array of unique gift shops, specialist items and ultimately something a little bit different. Catherine Street lies beneath the towering spikes of Exeter Cathedral and offers independent boutiques before opening out into the iconic cathedral yard. Stop here for lunch and enjoy locally sourced produce in the friendly Tea on the Green.

“For a taste of vintage and retro, head to McCoy’s Arcade, an interesting little set up on Fore Street.”

Tiverton

This market town may be small in size, but set in the beautiful Exe Valley, you don’t have to go far to find fantastic things to do. Hop aboard the traditional horse-drawn barge from Tiverton Canal Basin and kick back and relax as the boat glides peacefully through the water. The trip takes about two and a half hours to East Manley, where the boat stops and allows a short walk and a photo opportunity. When you get back it’ll be time for a cream tea in The Canal Tea Room and Gardens which is interestingly decorated with old tea pots and tea cups, housed within an old kiln cottage. If you’re after a heartier lunch or dinner in the area, Bickleigh Mill is a converted water mill with a quirky craft shop and fantastic restaurant.

“Just outside Tiverton, Yearlstone Vineyard is a great spot for lunch. From the outside terrace the view looks right down the valley. It’s dog-friendly as well so you can taste wine, eat lovely food and let your dog chill out all at the same time.”

How to make the most of Dartmoor

Discover hidden gems, secluded spots, beautiful walks and fantastic activities in one of Devon’s most beautiful places.

Mid and East Devon holidays

Find your perfect cottage holiday.

Download our free guide to Mid & East Devon as a PDF

This guide is also available to be viewed offline in PDF format simply click the button to begin downloading.

Click to download