50 Romantic Holiday Ideas for Devon

Planning a romantic break in Devon? Here are 50 ideas for romantic things to do on a couples’ holiday in Devon - from staying in a chocolate-box thatched cottage, to visiting sun-soaked beaches and cosy country pubs.

Brent Tor is one of Devon’s most romantic destinations

Brent Tor is one of Devon’s most romantic destinations

1. Stay in a chocolate-box thatched holiday cottage

Could there be a more romantic place to stay on a couples’ break in Devon than your own thatched cottage? Our luxury Devon cottage, in the pretty thatched village of North Bovey in Dartmoor National Park, has a crackling log fire, huge bath for two, epic views and a romantic rose garden. It’s just made for romantic breaks, honeymoons and mini moons.
> Learn more about Moorland View Cottage

Rent your own chocolate-box cottage

Rent your own chocolate-box cottage

2. Climb to a 12th century hilltop church

The ruggedly romantic landscape of Dartmoor offers an abundance of walking opportunities, and with 368 square miles to explore, it's not hard to find a private spot. One of the most romantic places visit in Devon is the tiny parish church of The Church of St Michel de Rupe, sitting atop Brent Tor, with spectacular views of Dartmoor.
> More romantic Dartmoor walks

3. Sip wine in a vineyard, Totnes

With views of the River Dart and Capability Brown-designed hillsides, the award-winning Sharpham vineyard in South Devon is made for lazy afternoon wine tastings. Three miles south of Totnes off the A381, it’s chiefly known for its crisp, sparkling white wines, as well as its delicious cheeses. Perched above the meandering River Dart, it's become one of the UK's best-known winemakers. You can explore the vine-covered slopes, followed by a wine and/or cheese tasting in the shop, or plump for the full guided tour. After a tour of the vines, sit down for delicious food from a daily-changing blackboard menu at the rustic bistro of Sharpham Wine & Cheese. The choices revolve around local treats, so expect smoked fish, crab salad and Lyme Bay scallops, as well as the estate's own wines and cheeses. Book ahead. Opens longer hours in summer.
> More romantic Devon cafes
> Other things to do in Totnes

4. See how the other half live, Kenton, near (ish) Topsham

One of the oldest family seats in Devon, Powderham Castle, set in its own deer park, belongs to the Earl of Devon. Added to and altered repeatedly over its six-hundred-year history, tours take in the medieval core, neo-classical areas and Victorian kitchen. 
> More Devon attractions

5. Have lunch at the River Exe café, Exmouth

Our most romantic alternative-eats destination, at least on a sunny day, is the new River Exe Café a floating shed-cum-pontoon moored off Exmouth. Serving seafood dropped off by passing fishing boats, the sea-to-plate interval can be as little as five minutes. Get there on the new Topsham to Exmouth cycle path, then catch a water taxi to the café. Closed winter. Booking essential. 
> More romantic Devon cafes

6. Climb a Dartmoor tor

For a heady shot of invigorating country air and instant perspective on your surroundings, take the two to three-hour walk up Easdon Tor, the hill you see from the main bedroom window of Moorland View Cottage. From the top you’ll see 360-degree views of Dartmoor and be kept company by wild Dartmoor ponies who come here to graze.
> More Dartmoor walks

7. Dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant, Chagford

 Gidleigh Park is a grand Tudor-style country manor hotel, set in 107 acres of Dartmoor woodland outside Chagford. Creative menus are delivered with pin sharp accuracy, and there’s a 50-page wine list to choose from. Well worth the £100+ price tag. Work up an appetite with a walk around the grounds. 
> More Devon fine dining restaurants

8. Take a tour of Britain’s last castle, Drewsteignton

Lustleigh is one of Dartmoor’s prettiest villages

Lustleigh is one of Dartmoor’s prettiest villages

Lutyens-designed Castle Drogo is a quasi-mediaeval granite castle that was the last to be built in Britain. Inside is Drewe's remarkable collection of venerable artefacts, such as 17th-century tapestries. The views of the Teign Gorge and Dartmoor are magnificent, and there’s a stunning walk along Fingle Gorge from the grounds (see ‘Walk a Dartmoor Gorge’). It’s currently undergoing restoration – please check their website for latest progress. 
> More Dartmoor attractions

9. Walk to Lustleigh

Strike out for the beautiful two-hour walk from North Bovey to Lustleigh, taking in gorgeous views, a Roman fort and the magical woodland glen of Lustleigh Cleave, with its two-story high boulders. To top things off there’s a pub at the end, The Cleave (check ahead for opening times). Book a taxi back if you’re not up to the return walk (book ahead).
> More Dartmoor walks
> More divine Devon towns and villages

10. Make your own wedding rings, Chagford

Getting hitched? Design your own silver wedding rings in an introductory session into silversmithing. You'll learn how to cut, file, solder, sand and polish your own ring, and finish it with different textures and patinas. Visit Silver and Moor for details.

11. Stock up in Chagford

This pretty stannary town is a romantic destination for shopping and sitting in cafes. Check out Blacks for great light lunches and local farm produce, Moorland Dairy for delicious local ice-cream and Best Cellars for a small, but perfectly formed wine selection. The town has half-day closing on Wednesday afternoons. 
> Devon’s best independent food and drinks shops
> More divine Devon towns and villages

12. Take a road trip

There’s no more romantic way to blow away the cobwebs than with a drive across the high moor. The circuit to Widecombe, Buckland and around to Ashburton takes in 14th century churches, clusters of granite and thatched cottages, gurgling brooks and ancient bridges.
> Our favourite Dartmoor scenic drive

13. Drink Dartmoor ale straight from the cask, Widecombe-in-the-Moor

With flagstone floors, open fires and Dartmoor and Butcombe Best Bitter poured straight from the barrel, the Rugglestone, a Grade-II building in remote Widecombe, is the moor-dwellers’ choice. The rudimentary bar is tiny, providing plenty of opportunity to join in on the old boys’ conversations. The two restaurants - one of which has an open log fire– are more spacious, and outside, over a small bridge, is a large sheltered garden with picnic tables and fabulous views. 
> More romantic Devon pubs

14. Walk a Dartmoor gorge

Taking in a fairy-tale castle, oak-lined gorge, ancient stone bridge and traditional pub, this two-hour walk along the Teign River is one of the most romantic things to do for couples on Dartmoor. Hunter’s Path runs higher up the valley, while Fisherman’s Path traces the spectacular wooded riverbank path, where kingfishers and woodpeckers dart between shaded pools, and trout, salmon and otters frolic in deep, clear waters. The small rocky beaches are perfect places for picnics and toe-dipping. Look out for glimpses of Prestonbury Castle Iron Age hill fort on the other side of the valley. At the bottom of the gorge is the age-old Fingle bridge, which has recessed buttresses for packhorses to pass. Behind it is Fingle Bridge Inn, which serves a mean cream tea and has a pretty terrace overlooking the river. In spring, the woodlands here are carpeted with bluebells and daffodils.
> More Dartmoor walks

15. Take in a view 

Haytor is one of Devon’s most famous views: on a clear day you can see the coast, the Teign estuary, the moors and rolling countryside in between. The Rock Inn in Haytor Vale is a good option for food afterwards. 
> More Dartmoor walks

16. Stroll around a picture-perfect thatched village

North Bovey is our favourite Dartmoor village because that’s where our romantic holiday cottage is, but Lustleigh, tucked away in a wooden cleave, comes a close second. It’s a rural idyll, completed by a 13th century church, cricket pitch, communal apple orchard, tea room, village shop and a friendly pub, The Cleave. The three-hour walk there from the cottage is one of our favourites.
> More divine Devon towns and villages

Horse-riding on Dartmoor

Horse-riding on Dartmoor

17. Horse ride across the moor

Shilstone Rocks Stables, in Widecombe in the Moor, is the most safety conscious stable around, and offers hacks in small groups tailored to experience. Also very good, and slightly cheaper, is Babeny stables, who do two-hour hacks for £30. 
> More romantic Devon activities

18. Go butterfly spotting, Dunsford

A two-mile stretch of woodland that runs along the River Teign from Clifford Bridge to Steps Bridge, Dunsford Nature Reserve has 20 species of butterfly including the rare pearl-bordered, high-brown and silver-washed fritillaries. Look out for woodland birds, as well as wagtails and dippers and the occasional kingfisher. The river walk is also wonderful for spring flowers. 
> More romantic Devon activities

19. Swim in a stream-fed pool, Chagford

Just a ten-minute drive from North Bovey, this pool can't be far from heaven. Swallows nest in the changing rooms and dive-bomb the swimmers, and with the sound of the river Teign running past stepping stones, it's as relaxed as a swimming pool gets. It’s river fed, so is chilly.
> More romantic Devon activities

20. Fish for your supper, Drewsteignton

Dartmoor is renowned for its sparkling clean rivers teeming wild brown trout, sea trout and salmon. If you have a licence, stretches of the East and West Dart Rivers may be fished on the purchase of a Duchy of Cornwall permit, available at the post office at Postbridge. Fingle Bridge is another beautiful spot; the Fingle Bridge Inn sells daily permits.. Dartmoor also hosts stunning lakes and reservoirs surrounded by towering tors. Information is available from the South West Lakes Trust. Bovey Castle runs private fishing lessons.
> More romantic Devon activities

21. Hunt for antiques, Ashburton

Dubbed the gateway to the moor, Ashburton is an elegant town whose fortunes were founded on cloth and mining. It is one of Dartmoor’s four stannary towns, where tin was bought to be taxed – and its fine slate-hung frontages house a well-to-do selection of antique shops, delis, cafes and restaurants. Most notable of the latter is the Fish Deli and Ashburton Deli. 
> Devon’s best shops
> More divine Devon towns and villages

22. Go canoeing or kayaking, near Ashburton

The River Dart is the most popular canoeing destination in the national park and the white water is considered by many canoeing enthusiasts to be amongst the best mid-grade runs in the west.  The River Dart Country Park runs guided excursions. 
> More romantic Devon activities

23. Swim in the River Dart, Holne

The leafy setting, the clean water (that brown colour is healthy peat) and the sheer fun of Spitchwick justifies its popularity. There’s a romantic swimming and picnic spot with a high corner pool, a deep, tranquil lower corner pool for serious swimmers; and a cliff for daredevil jumpers. It can get busy on a hot day as families gather to picnic on the common, and parking can be a problem - get there early for a space, or walk the half-mile from the car park at New Bridge. 
> More romantic Devon activities

24. Take to the skies, Ivybridge or Exeter

One of the most romantic things to do in Devon is to take a hot air balloon flight over beautiful Dartmoor, or down to the south coast with local company Aerosauraus. A group ride from either Ivybridge or Exeter has a maximum of 16 other passengers, or book a private flight if you’re budget is up to it.
> More romantic Devon activities

Love is in the air… on a hot-air balloon ride over Dartmoor

Love is in the air… on a hot-air balloon ride over Dartmoor

25. Have a romantic tête-à-tête in Grade-1 listed gardens, Tavistock

Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this is a wildly romantic verdantly-gardened Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor. Wander around hotel’s romantic Grade-1 listed gardens, with shell houses, grottos and hidden glades for a romantic tête-à-tête. While you’re there, have a traditional Devonshire cream tea (see below).
> Devon’s most romantic gardens

26. Indulge in a cream tea, Milton Abbot, near Tavistock

Devon is the home of the cream tea; no visit would be complete without one. One of our favourites is served up at The Endsleigh for its supersized offerings and sublime setting. Just-baked scones are served up with help-yourself quenelles of thick, clotted cream and gloopy strawberry jam, alongside fragrant loose-leaf tea in bone china cups. The wood-panelled drawing room has log fires and views of the Tamar Valley. 
> Devon’s best cream teas

27. Leaf peep, Yelverton, near Tavistock

Set in the ruins of a 16th century vicarage, the Acer glade at The Garden House is one of the most romantic destinations in Devon to see Autumn colour.
> Devon’s most romantic gardens

28. Visit an ancient dwarf oak forest, Two Bridges

Wistman’s Wood is a vestige of the prehistoric dwarf oak trees that used to cover Dartmoor. Here, moss-covered, boulder-strewn woodland floor is dotted with stunted oaks furred with mosses and lichen. The easy one-hour walk starts from the Two Bridges Hotel, near Princetown.
> More Dartmoor walks

29. Dine at the Dartmoor Inn at Lydford

On the fringe of Dartmoor and a stone's throw from one of the National Trust's prettiest walks to Lydford Gorge, the Dartmoor Inn is the perfect blend of olde worlde pub-meets-contemporary diner. Sunday lunch features all the traditional favourites with a modern twist. Desserts are not to be missed either, and come with a helping of seriously good clotted cream. Book ahead. 
> More romantic Devon pubs

30. Cycle the Granite Way

Elendor Cove is one of Devon’s most romantic places to visit

Elendor Cove is one of Devon’s most romantic places to visit

Skirting the edge of Dartmoor, this 11-mile traffic-free track running from Okehampton to Lydford gives romantic views of Okehampton Castle, Meldon Viaduct, Meldon Lake, Exmoor, Bodmin Moor and, of course, Dartmoor. The Dartmoor Inn, a wonderful gastro pub, is perfectly sited at the end of the trail for a rewarding feast. 
> More romantic Devon activities

31. Bask on the beach

It’s hard to choose from the array of beauties on the south coast, but Mill Bay, a quick ferry ride across the water from Salcombe, tops our list for being seaweed-free and warmed by the sun all day. In the summer, it gets busy, so take an Ordnance Survey map to walk to quieter coves further up the coast, or hire a tender boat from town. Further west along the coast, wetsuits outnumber bikinis on south Devon’s only surf beach, Bantham. Look out for stand-up paddle surfers, a quirky new take on the sport. Lannacombe Sands is a local secret. This small, sandy horseshoe cove near Kingsbridge, is at the end of a long dirt track and only has space for six cars, so get there before 10am and you’ll be assured a spot, even in the height of summer. North east along the coast from Salcombe, nestled below wooded cliffs, is Blackpool Sands, a mile-long, privately owned sweep of shingle. By day, swimmers can practise their dives from a floating dock; at sunset, the café serves beach BBQs. Beware, it attracts families in their droves during the school holidays. For a beach with history, Slapton Sands is the place to go. More than 600 US servicemen were killed on this three-mile stretch of shingle when German E-boats attacked their D-day rehearsals. A Sherman tank on the sand commemorates them. 
> Devon’s best beaches

32. Visit Salcombe

Undeniably pretty, the pastel coloured houses, steep streets and sandy coves of this boating town attract ‘up country’ yachtie visitors in the summer, but is one of Devon’s most romantic destinations all-year-round.
> What to do on a day trip to Salcombe
> More divine Devon towns and villages

33. Walk the South West Coastal Path

Britain’s longest footpath traces the north and south coasts of Devon, offering easy access to wild and windswept cliffs, secluded sandy coves and tiny hamlets. The three-hour walk from Bolt Tail, near Hope Cove, to Bolt Head, near Salcombe, is our favourite, offering views of romantic beaches and jagged headlands. For a longer walk, start further up the coast at Bantham, and stop off at The Beach House at South Milton Sands for lunch en route.  
> More Devon walks
> More Devon attractions

Sun-soaked and salty Salcombe

Sun-soaked and salty Salcombe

34. Drink in an old pirate’s island haunt, Bigbury on Sea

The Pilchard Inn is a creaky, weather-beaten smugglers inn dating from 1336 oozing with swashbuckling history: ask about the pirates’ escape tunnel. Getting there is all part of the fun. Perched on the tiny, tidal outcrop of Burgh Island, surrounded by sandy beaches and choppy seas, it’s cut off from the mainland twice a day so you’ll need to consult a tide table when planning your visit. When the seas have parted, it’s a short walk across the spit. When the waters start coming in, a high-sided ‘sea tractor’ ferries passengers across. 
> More romantic Devon pubs

35. Have Sunday dinner at art deco Burgh Island

One of Devon’s most romantic places to visit for couples, this vintage art deco hotel is perched atop a privately-owned island just off the south Devon coast, and is much as it was when Winston Churchill, Noel Coward and Agatha Christie beat a path to its door in its 1930s heyday. Non-residents can dine there on Sundays. Booking essential. 
> Devon’s best fine dining restaurants

36. Eat crispy squid at The Beach House, South Milton Sands

This weather-beaten clapboard shack overlooking the dramatic sea arch of Thurlestone is right on the beach, making it a perfect pit stop for a romantic Devon coastal walk. Crab cakes, crispy squid and bacon sandwiches are served up on rustic wooden tables in an amiable atmosphere. Check ahead for opening times.
> More romantic Devon cafes

37. Shuck oysters, Bigbury

Don’t be put off by the garish décor at this former oyster farm: the freshness of the oysters at The Oyster Shack is famous. Handpicked from the River Avon less than half a mile away, the meaty molluscs are served with a huge selection of mouth-watering sauces. 
> Devon’s best restaurants

38. Eat at The Millbrook, South Pool, near Kingsbridge

Probably the only place in Devon where pigs’ trotter patties and escargots appear on the same menu, this cosy pub is old-school Devon meets French auberge. On a babbling brook and close to a tranquil creek, it’s accessible by boat from Salcombe so, in summer, yachtie crowds come and go with the tides. There’s live gypsy Jazz every Sunday and fish barbecues in the summer. 
> More romantic Devon pubs

39. Eat fish and chips by the sea, Dartmouth

Dartmouth is a romantic sailing town in town

Dartmouth is a romantic sailing town in town

Serving one of the best fish and chips in Devon, the Rock Fish Grill is a stylish beach shack-style takeaway and restaurant on Dartmouth’s harbour run by celebrity chef Mitch Tonks. The menu includes locally-landed scallops and oysters, along with classics such as jellied eels, cockles, cracked crab and potted shrimp.
> More things to do in Dartmouth

40. Boat up the River Dart

Winding its way from Dartmoor to the port of Dartmouth on the South Devon coast, the Dart is grown-up’s playground in the summer, with yachts and pleasure boats plying between beaches, historic sites, villages and vineyards. Take a trip on one of the boats, or on the UK’s last remaining coal-fired paddle steamer, returning home after 47 years. For a truly romantic Devon experience, hire a private boat up the Dart, or the Picnic Boat, which take you on a private boat trip, with a delicious lunch included. You can stop off in little bays to go crabbing, or take a vineyard tour at Sharpham. There’s cover in case of bad weather. 
> More things to do in Dartmouth

41. Go sea kayaking

Sea kayak outfit Sea Kayak Devon run trips to otherwise-inaccessible coves and caves along the south coast. Watch out for seals trying to hitch a lift!
> More things to do in Dartmouth

42. Visit Agatha Christie’s home, Galmpton, near Dartmouth

Agatha Christie’s private holiday home on the River Dart is much as it was when the crime writer stayed here seeking inspiration for her books. First editions line the shelves, along with family photos and collections of botanical china and archaeological finds. Even if you’re not a fan, the house is worth a visit for its beautiful setting on the River Dart and gardens: don’t miss the peach house, winery and fernery. You can drive, but the most scenic way to arrive is by ferry from Dartmouth. Closed winter.
> More things to do in Dartmouth
> More Devon attractions

44. Enjoy a waterside tipple, Ashprington,
 near Totnes

A waterside pub makes summer complete, and we defy you not to fall in love with the 17th-century Waterman’s Arms, overlooking tinkling Bow Creek, near Tuckenhay. Hidden away at the bottom of a steep valley, the streamside tables are perfect for savouring a pint of the fine Palmer’s Copper Ale. The lunches, sourced from local suppliers and served under an outdoor awning, attract foodies from as far away as Exeter and Plymouth. Another enticing option is the Maltsters Arms in Tuckenhay. On the River Dart, it has its own jetty and is big on open fires in winter and guest beers all year round.
> More romantic Devon pubs

45. Visit a stately home, Plympton, near Plymouth

The National Trust property of Saltram House may look familiar: it was used as the Dashwood’s’ pad in Ang Lee’s film of Sense and Sensibility. The grand Georgian façade has a Robert Adam interior with original Chippendale furniture, Wedgwood China and portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds. 
> More Devon attractions

46. Take a city tour, Exeter

Exeter, Devon’s congenial capital, has a fine Norman cathedral, a flourishing university, pretty Georgian streets, a few Roman ruins and a 14th century network of underground passages. The quayside has been attractively renovated, with antique and craft shops, cafés and pubs.
> The best places to visit in Exeter
> More divine Devon towns and villages
> More Devon attractions

47. Visit Topsham

The estuary-side town of Topsham is a delight: its narrow lanes wind towards the harbour, which is ringed with restaurants, pubs and antique shops. Other attractions include an appealing run of 18th-century Dutch-style gabled houses, a long riverside strand and a huge antiques market on the quayside. Many shops close on Sundays. 
> More divine Devon towns and villages
> More Devon attractions

Star-gazing on Hound Tor

Star-gazing on Hound Tor

48. Visit the White Lady Gorge, Lydford, Dartmoor

One of the most romantic locations for couples to visit in Devon is Lydford Gorge, nestled in the north-western reaches of Dartmoor. Owned by the National Trust, the oak tree lined gorge is the deepest in the South West, stretching 1.5 miles from Lydford Village. A fairly strenuous, three and a half mile round walk, high above the gorge, brings you past the spectacular 30 metre White Lady Waterfall which cascades majestically into the chasm below. Following the route around, you will descend into the gorge and return via a low path beside the River Lyd which carves a tumbling course through the steep-sided valley. Towards the end, the trail rises slowly up to the Devil's Cauldron where a metal grid is the only thing separating you from the ferocious whirlpool below. If you want to be sure to have the romantic location for yourself, the best time to visit is shortly after it opens in the morning.
> More Dartmoor walks
> More Devon attractions

49. Watch the sun set on Croyde Bay, North Devon

What could be more romantic than walking hand in hand across the pristine sands of a tranquil bay while the last light of the day ebbs away beyond the horizon? West-facing Croyde Bay in North Devon is perfect for observing one of the most awe-inspiring sunsets in the South West. The beautiful swathe of sand is stunning during the day and becomes illuminated by a warm, golden light as the sun melts into the sea at nightfall. Backed by sand dunes and framed by dramatic cliffs it's a great opportunity to crack out the camera and take a few photos which wouldn't look out of place in an exotic honeymoon brochure.
> More things to do in North Devon

50. Stargaze

With clear, dark nights, Dartmoor is a fantastic place to view the night sky, with the Milky Way often clearly visible.  Grab a picnic rug from the cottage, a torch, blanket and bottle of wine and head to the top of Hound Tor, one of the most romantic easily accessible places to stargaze on Dartmoor.
> More romantic Devon activities

 

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