• Countryside Pastures, parks and promenades
  • Country life Cream tea by the sea

Devon is the stuff of childhood dreams. Sun-kissed beaches and quiet little coves hark back to a time when all you needed for a day of unbridled pleasure was a bucket and spade, acres of sand and the promise of an ice-cream before bed.

Today, surf’s up for a new generation of coastal devotees, keen to rediscover rural delights without abandoning urban expectations. And not just on the beach, either: Dartmoor, in all its ruggedly spartan glory, provides the county with a dramatic, windswept heart (perfect for walking, riding and cycling) that’s serviced by a swathe of picturesque villages. Gastronomically, Devon punches well above its weight, with clotted‑cream teas and a rich pantry of home‑grown produce – all readily proffered by an ever‑spreading spate of fine new restaurants keen to make the most of the fact that, on every level, Devon delivers.

Do go/Don’t go

Think twice about the seaside resorts during school holidays unless you really <I>really</I> love kids.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Your best bet in these parts is Plymouth airport: Air Southwest (www.airsouthwest.com) flies there from London Gatwick, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Jersey.
  • Trains There are regular trains from London Paddington to Exeter and Plymouth with First Great Western (www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk); journeys take just over three hours. Virgin Trains (www.virgintrains.co.uk) also connects Plymouth to London, as well as other regional hubs such as Newcastle, Leeds and Glasgow.
  • Automobiles Drive from the London orbital to Exeter in under four hours (traffic permitting) on the A303. The M5 connects Devon to the north via Bristol (90 minutes) and Birmingham (three hours). A car is invaluable once there, for pootling along the coast or country‑lane cruising.
  • Taxis Even at train stations, it can be hard to find a cab, so book your pick‑ups ahead. Plymouth Taxis (+44 (0)1752 606060) is a licensed fleet of wheelchair‑friendly London cabs. In Tavistock, try Jay Cars (+44 (0)7860 298808).