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Budleigh Salterton Scaled
Written by  admin
, Posted on Tuesday February 13, 2024

Top 10 things to do in Devon and Cornwall

7 minutes well spent

The UK provides some fantastic areas for campervan travellers to experience, and some brilliant specific spots to visit – including several down in the south west. Devon and Cornwall are two of Britain’s finest counties – somehow with a unique feel, quite different to all other parts of the country. In this edition of our blog we’ll list ten places to visit or things to do, so that you have an immediate ‘starting point’ for your own breaks down in Devon and Cornwall.

Jurassic Coast

There are no dinosaurs here – not living ones anyway – but the Jurassic coast in Devon and Dorset is a prehistoric marvel. Visit this area and you’ll encounter rocks from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods – which, combined, span approximately 200 million years of our planet’s history (give or take 10 million)! Perhaps the most visually impressive site along the coastline is the renowned Durdle Door – a naturally occurring limestone archway near Lulworth. British TV science fiction fans are likely to want to take a snap and post on Instagram at Durdle Door, as this is the site of one of Doctor Who’s infamous regenerations. Fans of 1980s pop music might also find the site nostalgic as Tears For Fears filmed the promo video for their huge hit single Shout here.

There are several museums and visitor centres at locations along the Jurassic coast which tell the story of this 95-mile long World Heritage Site, through fossil collections and more. Towns which have museums contributing to the story include Budleigh Salterton, Honiton, Lyme Regis, Bridport, Kimmeridge and Wareham – and on your tour of the region you will find plenty else of worth in these places, too.

Budleigh Salterton

Although its name sounds like a potential character from an Evelyn Waugh novel, Budleigh Salterton is actually a modest but beautiful seaside town just south of Exeter, with a population of around 7,000. Coming here, you will find spectacular coastal views as well as some great things to do.

The town lies at the mouth of the River Otter, which is a haven for migratory birds and has been declared a Site Of Special Scientific Interest, so it’s a wonderful spot for birdwatchers looking to while away some hours. A visit to Otterton Mill, a working watermill (so old it is mentioned in the Domesday book of 1068), is perfect for those looking for some social history, while a day out at Pecorama is rewarding for all of the family. This tourist attraction near the village of Beer features a huge display of model railways, several beautifully tended gardens, a couple of places to eat and drink, a shop, and the Beer Heights Light Railway which offers spectacular views over Lyme Bay and out to the distant Portland Bill (the southernmost point of Dorset).


Babbacombe Model Village

Celebrating more than 60 years as one of the most cheerful family attractions in the Torquay area, Babbacombe Model Village is a miniature representation of a fictional English town (though several of the buildings and sites are based on UK landmarks, such as The Shard and Stonehenge). Babbacombe Model Village features around 500 models and 1,000 ft of train track across four acres of land. There are several hidden puns in the names of streets, shops and buildings, and the cheerful ambience and attention to detail across the whole site is charming to behold. During the summer the model village is open until 10.30pm and the illuminations are switched on. There’s even a round of crazy golf and a human-sized coffee shop to keep you further amused.

The Golden Hind

A landmark of picturesque Brixham harbour – or, should we say, a watermark! – is the full-sized replica of the legendary ship sailed by the equally legendary Sir Francis Drake. The Golden Hind has been attracting visitors for more than 50 years, and it is possible to explore above and below across five decks. There are hands-on exhibits which offer amazing insight into life aboard this most famous Tudor galleon, and the exploits of British hero Drake’s battle against the Spanish Armada.

Westward Ho!

Picked here partly because it has one of the most curious placenames in the British Isles, the village of Westward Ho! has unusual origins (and the exclamation mark in the village name is intentional). It is named after the 1855 novel by Charles Kingsley which was set in nearby Bideford, in the north of Devon, and was a bestseller in its day. Local entrepreneurs recognised an opportunity to develop tourism in the area and opened a hotel, and things have developed in the 170 years since – so much so that an entire community sprang from this novel origin.

Westward Ho! has a very small population (around 2,500) and some spectacular views. There is a manmade sea pool set into rocks on the shoreline, which remains a popular all-year-round spot for bathers. Literary scholars may like to know that the great Rudyard Kipling spent some of his childhood in Westward Ho! – and, to commemorate this, the first stanza of his inspiring poem ‘If’ is set into the pavement on the promenade.

Minack Theatre

When you’re looking to experience an open-air theatre in the UK there can be none quite as impressive as the Minack at Porthcurno, a mere four miles from Land’s End. The Minack is carved into a lump of rock on a cliff, right next to the sea, and offers the most spectacular and dramatic natural backdrop for the arts. It was originally opened in the 1930s as a site for performances of Shakespeare’s plays, and it still stages productions between easter and summer each year. In recent years this impressive al fresco theatre has also hosted several high-end pop concerts including Suzanne Vega, KT Tunstall and Midge Ure.

The Eden Project

This world famous ecology project opened in 2001 and is well worth a day out. Located in a reclaimed china clay pit three miles from the town of St Austell, two huge adjoining domes emulate natural biomes. The larger one simulates a rainforest and the second simulates a Mediterranean environment. There is also a botanical garden outside the domes which hosts examples of thousands of UK-indigenous plant species. With lots to see and do in this spectacular environment, this is a really rewarding day out and a vivid reminder of the diversity of life on our planet. If you happen to visit during the peak summer, the Eden Project also hosts music concerts, with previous performers having included Peter Gabriel, Pulp, Paul Weller, Pixies and Pet Shop Boys – plus loads of other artists whose names don’t begin with the letter P, including Van Morrison, The Who and Björk!


Speaking of the letter P, the town of Penzance is one of Cornwall’s jewels. Looking out over Land’s End, and therefore very popular with tourists, this understated town is filled with terrific pubs and places to eat plus many independent shops and galleries. The sub-tropical Morrab Gardens and the weekly farmer’s market complete the all-round appeal if you’re looking for a low-key excellent day out.

Taking a stroll along the promenade you’ll encounter the art deco Jubilee swimming pool and the busy working harbour (with ferries departing regularly for the Isles of Scilly). Tin mining was the big industry in this area, and Geevor Tin Mine was operational between 1911 and 1990 though is now a ‘living history’ museum and heritage centre, well worth a visit if you enjoy digging in to our country’s social, industrial and economic history. Serious literary scholars might like to note that Penzance was the birthplace of Maria Branwell, mother of Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë and Anne Brontë.

Doc Martin tour, Port Isaac

Travellers of a certain age will enjoy going behind-the-scenes of fictional village Portwenn, from wholesome British TV drama Doc Martin (which ran between 2004 and 2022). The Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac hosted the making of the popular series and features a 90-minute walking tour including several memorable filming locations (such as the Doc’s house, Louisa’s school and Mrs Tishell’s pharmacy). Walkers will hear anecdotes and observations from the tour guide (a former Doc Martin extra) and then be able to enjoy Port Isaac on its own terms – there are several lovely places to get a bite to eat and something to drink. You may even encounter members of the Fisherman’s Friends, the local all-male a cappella group which sings sea shanties and has become famous!


Get in touch

When you’re looking for a bespoke campervan for sale in Devon or Cornwall, we can provide you with something truly special – and a whole heap of tips for amazing places to visit and things to do. Once you’ve been, let us know the other places you discovered for yourself – we’re more than just a provider of award-winning bespoke campervan conversions. We like to hear about the adventures you’ve had in your vehicles. Browse our website or contact us to get started!