East Devon is a wonderful place to spend a holiday. Perfectly positioned on the world famous Jurassic coast, it offers stunning coastal walks where you might stumble across an ancient fossil or two whilst taking in the magnificent scenery. It's also in a great spot for accessing the vibrant city of Exeter, an abundance of lively market towns and picturesque villages, and in contrast, the bleak rugged beauty of Dartmoor is also close by.
Exeter is a vibrant, cultural and historic city, where old and new sit comfortably side by side. The imposing gothic cathedral and green is just a short stroll from the modern shopping centre, both of which provide plenty of choice for eating, drinking and a spot of retail therapy. You will also notice sections of the ancient city walls as you wander round, and if you fancy delving deep into the city’s past you can take a tour down the medieval underground passageways.
The historic quay which dates back to Roman times is just a walk or short bus ride from the city centre. With its later addition of a canal system it now provides a wonderful waterside area with shops and cafes, from which you can hire kayaks and canoes, or take a bike ride beside the estuary along the Exe Cycle Route.
For wildlife enthusiasts, the Exe estuary is a must-see. It is an internationally important site for winter migrant birds, making this area particularly special if you’re looking for Devon holiday cottages during the winter and spring. There are nature reserves close to Exeter on either side of the estuary, at Exminster marshes on one side and Bowling Green Marsh in Topsham on the other. With over 200 different species recorded here, in mid-winter it’s possible to see over 20,000 wading birds, ducks, geese and swans.
The family-friendly beach at Exmouth is well suited for all sorts of watersports, as well as sandcastle-building and paddling or swimming. Whilst kids of all ages will enjoy a visit to the Donkey Santuary at Sidmouth, or a ride on the picturesque Seaton Tramway that runs from the pretty coastal resort of Seaton to Colyford and Colyton, passing through the glorious Axe valley, taking in two nature reserves filled with abundant bird life on its route.
Or closer to home, enjoy the scenic drive through the Teign Valley into the moors, then make a stop in the “chocolate box” village of Lustleigh. There’s a pub and shop here but there’s also an easy walk to the village orchard, which provides a wonderfully peaceful place to stop and enjoy an ice cream.
With its winding lanes, historical buildings, and bustling marketplace boasting a wide variety of independent shops, cafés, bars and restaurants, the Medieval town of Colyton is a great location for shopping and eating out.
Located just 3 miles from the seaside resort of Seaton, a gateway to the stunning Jurassic Coast, a seasonal tramway links the towns, running alongside the beautiful River Axe wetlands which are teaming with birds and wildlife. Seaton is a great spot to indulge in your favourite watersports and other traditional seaside activities, or simply take a stroll along the South West Coast Path to soak up the views of the magnificent coastline from the cliffs.
Surrounded by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Colyton is the perfect setting out point for exploring picturesque East Devon and neighbouring Dorset on foot, bike, or by car too.
Enjoying huge expanses of family-friendly sandy beaches, a bustling nightlife, excellent restaurants and picturesque waterways, Exmouth is a great base for an active Devon holiday.
Exmouth’s two miles of golden sandy beaches are perfect for a family day out and there are also lots of different water sports available including kite surfing, kayaking, boating and windsurfing.
Part of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, it is possible to hunt for fossils along the beaches and there are many stunning coastal and country walks available from the town.
The friendly seaside resort of Seaton, at the mouth of the River Axe, is a gateway town to the stunning World Heritage Jurassic Coastline, with its impressive cliffs, family friendly beaches, and opportunities to uncover a piece of earth’s ancient history with a fascinating fossil find.
The town's famous tramway runs seasonally inland along the beautiful Axe estuary to Colyton and makes for a great day out for children, birdwatchers, and transport enthusiasts alike. Whilst the town itself boasts many small independent and specialist shops, and high quality places to enjoy locally produced food and drink.
The vibrant market town of Axminster is surrounded by picture-perfect countryside, and just a stone’s throw from the stunning Jurassic coastline that fringes East Devon and neighbouring Dorset.
This ancient town, nestled in the picturesque Axe Valley, is surrounded by clusters of quaint villages and swathes of unspoilt rolling countryside. The town is popular among cyclists, walkers, and bird watchers who will enjoy spotting many different species on the mud flats of the Axe estuary, which can be accessed from the town.
The pretty market town of Honiton, with its wide range of independent shops, galleries and cafés and its proximity to the stunning Jurassic coastline is a great location for a holiday in Devon.
Long-famous for its lace making and pottery, Honiton today it is more well-known for its twice weekly market, antique shops specialising in furniture, art and second-hand books, and abundance of independent shops, galleries and cafés that fill this vibrant town.
Sandwiched between the East Devon and Blackdown Hills Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and within easy reach of the Dorset AONB, Dartmoor, and Exmoor, Honiton is the ideal spot from which to explore the rich and varied natural landscape of East Devon and neighbouring Dorset.
An award winning family attraction in Exeter, Crealy Great Adventure Park is set in 100 acres of Devon countryside and offers something for kids of all ages. Easy to get to off the M5, the park is home to more than 100 animals, 30 outdoor attractions and other activities including rides, soft play, animal petting and seasonal events and shows. There’s a dog kennel that guests can use for the family pet for a £20 key deposit, but do bring your own bowls, blankets and toys and remember to book in advance. Click here for further details
A beautiful inland route that had once been all but forgotten, it’s now back on the map with a new guidebook and an interactive map listing businesses within easy reach of the path. The route takes you through a variety of landscapes, geology and national heritage, as well as giving you the chance to discover the area’s biodiversity and surrounding culture. Most of all, it’s a wonderful opportunity to explore this extraordinarily beautiful part of the world by getting out and enjoying the great outdoors on your East Devon holiday.
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WE BOOKED A WEEK IN DORSET AFTER WATCHING BROADCHURCH AND IT DIDN'T DISAPPOINT! THE BEACH AT WEST BAY IS EVERY BIT AS FGOOD AS IT IS ON THE TV. WILL DEFINTELY COME BACK BUT POLDARK HAS GOT US LOOKING AT CORNWALL NEXT!!!
Cycling in the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a wonderful way to get outside and explore the area. With miles of National Cycle Network across it, it’s also a comparatively easy way for cyclists to explore safely and really get to see the remarkable landscape that the area has to offer. With plenty of rural pubs, riverside taverns and tea shops along the routes to sit and enjoy, it’s a great day out for the while family. The Buzzard Cycle Route in particular (otherwise known as Sustrans regional route number 52) is a firm favourite amongst cyclists in the area, and is an opportunity to explore glorious East Devon on a regional 80-mile circular route around Sidmouth, Seaton, Axminster, Honiton and Woodbury. Some of the route follows the National Cycle Network Route 2 along the south coast of Devon.
Established in 1902, Soanes Cycles is one of the oldest cycle shops in the whole of Britain, with over 100 years’ experience. In Colyton, East Devon approximately five miles from Axminster and seven miles from Sidmouth, they have hundreds of cycles on display to suit all ages, abilities and pockets. Catering to all types of cycling including children’s cycles and mountain bikes, their hire service is for those aged seven and up, and pries start at £12 per day with helmets and locks available on request.
Part of the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths were established in 2006 to manage the core area of this unique wildlife habitat situated close to Exeter. Designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area, it represents one of the most important conservation sites in Europe. Preserving the unique ecosystem in the area, it’s a beautiful place to walk and see the wildlife and landscape. They simply ask that you take care when visiting and respect the natural environment.
Family and dog friendly pub offering unfussy, homemade food and specials. Conveniently positioned on the main A35 on the border of Dorset and Devon, near Axminster. Providing an extensive selection of dishes within the backdrop of the former coaching inn. Hot meals served throughout the day. A popular place for a relaxed meal or a light bite.
Hunters Lodge, Charmouth Rd. Raymond’s Hill, Axminster EX13 5SZ (T: 01297 33286)
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Brilliant food and hosts, very dog friendly (they even got treats). Do book as it can get very busy and it is worth the visit.
The former coaching Inn dates back to the 16th century, and it’s one of Axminster’s favourite places to dine out. Its cosy atmosphere, great quality food and service is a hit with everyone including our four legged, furry friends in the bar area. With a separate dining room and outside patio for the fresh air types among us there is something for everyone.
The Tytherleigh Arms Tytherleigh, Axminster EX13 7BE (T: 01460 220214)
Situated in the heart of the historic market town Axminster and a short drive from River Cottage HQ, the canteen offers guests a wonderful experience. The award-winning restaurant and deli celebrates fine seasonal food and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Coffee, cake and snacks are available all day whilst regular live music features in the evening accompanied by a fantastic selection of cocktails and English wine. There is a dedicated children’s menu too and guests can also take home some of the local produce on offer throughout the menu.
River Cottage Canteen and Deli Trinity Square, Axminster EX13 5AN (T: 01297 631715)
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We had a fantastic meal there back in April and hope to visit again next year
One of the nicest places to eat in Devon, we've been twice and had lovely food
Le Pisani is a restaurant in Axminster which serves great tasting Mediterranean food in comfortable, contemporary and stylish surroundings. Excellent foods and wine with attentive service. Renowned for their warm welcome and vibrant approach to food, encapsulating all things Mediterranean and Sunday traditional roast available with all the trimmings
Le Pisani, Church St, Axminster (T: 01297 631697)
A small pebble beach in East Devon, Beer Beach is in a picturesque fishing village that hugs the shoreline. Parking is a little distance away from the beach itself, which is accessed via a sloping road and steps at the east end. There’s one large car park that’s around five minutes away on foot, and another smaller one in the centre of the town. As the beach is such an integral part of the town itself, there are cafes and shops close by, simply by dint of its location. There are toilets above the beach, so it’s got all the makings of a charming day out for the family in the summer, or somewhere to stroll and have a cup of tea if it’s a bit cooler. There aren’t any organized activities on the beach, so if you’re bringing the kids then keep that in mind. Dogs are not allowed on the West part of the beach from 1st May to 30th September.
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Visited one evening. A beautiful beach. You can walk to Seaton on the coast path, if you feel energetic and don't mind a lot of steps. Well worth it due to the stunning views.
Seaton Beach is a mile long shingle beach overlooking Lyme Bay in one of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of East Devon. The gently sloping pebbles make this an ideal place to take a dip or try your hand at windsurfing, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding with equipment easily hired on site.
An esplanade links Seaton town at one end of the beach and the popular Seaton Beach Café at the other. The South West Coast Path runs alongside the beach and a walk to the nearby picturesque village of Beer is a real treat. Dogs are welcome all year.
Exmouth Beach is a bustling two mile stretch of golden sand at the mouth of the Exe Estuary backed by a promenade of shops and restaurants. Old meets new here, with traditional seaside donkey rides, swing boats and crazy golf alongside volley ball courts and a huge selection of modern watersports including jet skis, kite surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and windsurfing.
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet you can find that here too at the far end of the beach, where there are also some rock pools for children to explore. Exmouth is known as the gateway to the Jurassic Coast and its cliffs are teaming with fossils and geological finds. The coastline is also part of the South West Coast Path with the beach and surrounding cliffs providing some excellent long and short walks.
Dogs are welcome all year on parts of the beach and on the main beach from October to the end of April. Dog bins are provided.
A picturesque two mile pebble beach backed partly with cliffs, with plenty of space and lovely clean clear water. Along the esplanade there are beach cafes and a car park and it is only a short wander into the village for toilets, shops and pubs. Care should be taken swimming towards the eastern end of the beach where there can be strong currents due to the River Otter, and there are no lifeguard facilities.