Best Devon Towns and Villages

DEVON’S BEST TOWNS AND VILLAGES

From divine Dartmoor villages to sun-soaked sailing towns, we round up our favourite places to visit in Dartmoor and South Devon.

Sun-soaked Salcombe

Sun-soaked Salcombe

DARTMOOR’S BEST TOWNS AND VILLAGES

1. Chagford

This pretty stannary town is crammed with cafes, tea rooms, farm shops and delis. Check out Blacks for great light lunches and local farm produce, Moorland Dairy for delicious local ice-cream and Jaded Palates for a handpicked wine selection. Half-day closing on Wednesday afternoons. 

2. Ashburton

Dubbed the gateway to the moor, Ashburton is an elegant town whose fine slate-hung frontages house a well-to-do selection of delis, cafes and restaurants, most notably the Agaric Restaurant, the Fish Deli and Ashburton Deli. It's also a great place to stock up on antiques. 

3. Tavistock

Tavistock is the birthplace of Sir Francis Drake, and the UK's best market town according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England. What marks it out is its food. Country Cheeses showcases hundreds of the West Country's finest, and Crebers Delicatessen are both award winners. The farmers’ market fills elegant Bedford Square on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. 

4. Widecombe in the Moor

This remote 13th century village (above) is one of the moor's most picturesque. It has a lovely church, National Trust shop selling super-soft wool blankets and the tiny Rugglestone Inn, which has flagstone floors, open fires and Dartmoor and Butcombe Best Bitter poured straight from the barrel.

SOUTH DEVON’S BEST TOWNS AND VILLAGES

5. Dartmouth

Undeniably pretty, this naval town on Devon's south coast is a gem, with ancient narrow streets, boutique shops, art galleries and delicatessens. A cobbled market place has colourful stalls and farmers markets supplying local produce. 

6. Salcombe

The pretty pastel-coloured houses, steep streets and sandy coves of this boating town attract ‘up country’ yachtie visitors by the thousands in summer, but there are still plenty of secret places to visit.

7. 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. 

8. 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, huge antiques market on the quayside and the frilly Georgian Tea Rooms which are consistently voted the best in Devon.