Testimonials: Living in Devon

Thinking of moving to Devon?

For many people living in other parts of the UK, the prospect of moving down to us here in Devon seems like an attractive prospect.

The weather is warmer down here, the population density is amongst the lowest of all the counties in Britain and there are two golden lines of coast to enjoy. If the only thing stopping you seriously considering making the move down to Devon is a lack of first-hand opinions, then look no further!

We’ve had a chat with some of our friendly locals here to give us their honest opinion of what it’s like to live and work in Devon:

Jed Burnhop – Oven Cleaning Technician

“I work on the road as an oven cleaning technician – which is a fancy word for professional oven cleaner. I’m based just outside of Dartmoor in a village called Cheriton Bishop. The great thing about living here is my proximity to both the wild expanse of Dartmoor and main road connections to the rest of Devon.

After a day of driving all over the county, I always feel so relieved to get back off the busy roads and onto the country lanes that take me back to my home in Cheriton. It’s quiet and peaceful here, which is just what I need after a long day on the road!”


Alice Barnett – Primary School Teacher

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind myself that I’m living in the 21st century – it’s that antiquated here in Lower Lovacott. My colleagues at the school often sympathise with me for living so close to the school, but I really don’t mind.

It takes me 5 minutes to walk to work and I’m within easy driving distance of the North Devon coast which suits me fine. I might be living a quiet, rural teacher’s existence during the week, but on the weekends I’m off in my camper van, catching surf on the beaches! I wouldn’t change it for the world.”


Matthew Forbes – Student/Customer Service Assistant

“When I first moved to Exeter it was a bit of a shock. I moved from London to study here and naively expected one Southern city to be the same as any other – I was so wrong. Initially I thought I’d get bored, it’s so small down here that you can walk round in just a couple of hours.

After meeting some new friends and getting a job in the local supermarket, things started to change. I cycle everywhere here, which means I can get anywhere I want in 10-15 minutes, that’s a lot quicker than London – trust me!”


Sarah Jacobs – B&B Manager

“Whenever I have guests visiting, the first thing they mention is how hard it is to get to us here in Exford. But that’s why they come and stay with us really: for the isolation.

We’re literally bang in the middle of Exmoor National Park and whilst the quiet might take a bit of getting used to, it’s something that I’ve really grown to appreciate, especially when I make trips into Minehead to pick up the shopping. There’s really room to breathe here, plenty of pubs to walk to and the beach is only a short drive away – why would I go anywhere else?”

Ultimate Devon Foodie Getaways

Looking for a luxurious foodie weekend getaway?

Whilst you could spend a weekend in Devon exploring the wilderness of Devon or catching some waves on the North Coast, it’s also a great place for serious foodies too.

Many of the top chefs from London move down here to experience a slower pace of life and bring their cooking talent to a more rural setting. Thanks to the wealth of local produce on offer, these chefs can source all their ingredients from within a few miles, which means that the food is as fresh at it comes. Whether it’s organic vegetables, grass fed beef or even sparkling wine: Devon’s producers ensure that your meal will only be a short hop from farm to table.

Treat yourself to a touch of luxury by booking a table at one of these excellent Devon restaurants:

Ilfracombe

Devon-born chef spent 12 years working in some of the finest restaurants in the South before fulfilling a lifelong dream of opening his own restaurant in the seaside resort of Ilfracombe. The Olive Room is the young chef’s showroom for his prodigious talent and after only two years of his service, his hard work was rewarded with a Michelin Star. A taster menu at The Olive Room costs £80, factor in another £30-40 for a decent bottle of wine.

Where to Stay: Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel (Trimstone) from £63 p/night.

Whilst You’re Here: Watermouth Castle is an early 19th Century building well worth visiting.


Torquay

Mostly known as a seaside resort of somewhat ill-repute, Torquay is building a reputation as an up and coming, modern holiday destination. Coming top of the pick for foodies is the Michelin-starred The Elephant Restaurant and Brasserie. A bright and informal dining experience awaits visitors looking to taste some of the best locally sourced seafood with frequent collaborations with special guest chefs making each experience different.

Where to Stay: Lincombe Hall Hotel (Meadfoot Road) from £100 p/night (with Breakfast).

Whilst You’re Here: Kents Cavern offers a glimpse into our prehistoric past with guided tours running 7 days a week.


Plympton

There aren’t many pubs in Devon that can claim to have the same historical heritage as The Treby Arms. Built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the mid-19th Century, it’s now the home of Luke Fearon and his talented team of chefs.

Despite gaining and losing a Michelin star, the standard of service at The Treby Arms is uniformly excellent, serving high-end takes on pub classics at a reasonable price. The taster menu is £65, whilst mains from the menu are priced between £12 and £38.

 

Where to Stay: St. Elizabeth’s House Hotel (call 01752 344 840 for rates).

Whilst You’re Here: Build up an appetite at Delta Force Paintball Plymouth before settling down for dinner.


Teignmouth

Sat on the mouth of the River Teign, this peaceful town that offers a secluded weekend break, away from the busier tourist hubs nearby. Perhaps it’s this isolated location that explains why the talented team at The Owl and the Pussycat are yet to receive any accolades for their efforts, nonetheless, excellent reviews have been coming in thick and fast for this well respected establishment. With a menu that draws from classic British flavours and makes the most of locally sourced butchery, this restaurant is a hidden gem that’s well worth the trip.

Where to Stay: The Ness (Shaldon) from £80 p/night (with Breakfast).

While You’re Here: Take a South Devon Wine Tour to discover the underrated vineyards of the local area (from £85 for the day).

Rainy Day Activities for Families

What to do when it’s raining and pouring…

Come visit us during the Summer months and you’ll be treated to some of the warmest weather in the UK, however if you’re thinking of visiting in the next couple of months then you do run the risk of getting caught in a day or two of rain.

Whilst your chances of being rained on are increased at this time of year, you can still take advantage of cheaper rates for both accommodation and attractions.

Here are a few great activities for families looking to get some shelter from the rain:

Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter

Although some kids might well roll their eyes when you mention a museum, they’ll soon change their tune when they’re greeted by Nelly, the giraffe. The Royal Albert recently underwent a  complete renovation, so now’s a great time to visit the vast collection of taxidermied exotic animals.

There’s at least 2-3 hours of activity here, as you long as don’t let your kids run too far ahead – plus there’s also a cafe that you can duck into should the rain persist.

Entry: Free for all.

Opening Times: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm (Closed Mondays & Bank Holidays)


The Big Sheep, Buckfastleigh

There are a handful of all-weather activity centres scattered across Devon, but The Big Sheep takes the biscuit when it comes to rides, attractions and entertainment. Whether you visit during Summer or Winter, there are seasonal events throughout the year that are guaranteed to keep your family dry and entertained. Sheep Racing takes place daily, there’s also The Sheep Show which is on twice daily, offering families a chance to learn all about the different kinds of sheep that are kept within the grounds.

Entry: Babies under 12 months: Free – Children under 3-ft: £3.50 – Children & Adults: £7.50

Opening Times: Weekends 10am-5pm (Prices & Times for Winter season, see website for Summer details)


Waves Leisure Pool, Torquay

If you can’t beat them, join them! With the rain pouring down outside, you may as well get wet in Devon’s best indoor leisure pool. You’ll have to wait until 09:00 for the safety pool cover to be taken off the main area for kids as the period before is reserved for adult swimmers only.

Once the pool opens up to the general public, you and your kids can take full advantage of the flumes, jets and play areas which is sure to tire out your kids.

[If you want to roll lunch into the plan then you can take advantage of the Dip’n’Dine option for just £7.]

Entry: Free for Under 3s – 3-15 years: £3.60 – Adults: £4.50

Opening Times: Varies. Check website for details.


Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh

If your kids are animal enthusiasts then you’ll want to make a trip to Pennywell Farm whatever the weather. Although the starring attractions are the Farm’s miniature pigs, there’s also a big range of other animals to see, including: alpacas, tortoises, lambs, horses and more. The activity board at Pennywell changes on a daily basis, get there early and you can take part in egg collecting, goat milking and ferret racing.

Entry: Free for Under 3s – 3-16 years: £11.95 – Adults: £14.95

Opening Times: Opens on 25th November for Christmas Season activities. Farm Season opens on 10th February.

Festive Getaway Ideas

3 Festive Getaways for You and Your Partner

The Festive period is a great time to get away with your partner and Devon is the perfect destination escape to!

The hustle and bustle of city life can often drive people up the wall, especially when the shorter winter days come into effect, so why not head down South for a weekend break this Festive period to make the most of the clean air and longer days?

Whilst it might not be the best time of year to rough it in a tent, the October to mid-December period is a good time to book a room in one of Devon’s many fine hotels. During the off-season you’ll find rates are a lot cheaper in seaside towns and whilst you’re down you can get in on the festive vibe by attending an event that is completely unique to the area.

Take a look at our 3 Getaway Ideas and don’t forget to send us a message if you end up going on any of them:

Exeter

Exeter might be referred to as the ‘Capital of Devon’, but it’s really more of a large town that a city. Surrounded by the ruins of an ancient Roman wall, this ‘city’ is steeped in history and very pedestrian-friendly, so you can leave the car in the hotel car park. There’s the usual rogues gallery of restaurants on offer as well as a few stand-out independents such as Harry’s Restaurant (Longbrook Street) and The Conservatory Restaurant (North Street).

Where to Stay: Southernhay House Hotel (Southernhay Street) from £167 p/night

What to Do: St. Leonard’s Christmas Fayre – 2nd December 2pm-6pm


Dartmouth

There’s nothing like a weekend by the sea to blow the cobwebs out and Dartmouth is far and away one of the most scenic that Devon has to offer. One of the smaller towns in the local area, Dartmouth has all the amenities that you’d expect from a town with the addition of a whole raft of charming, family-run restaurants including: Rockfish (S Embankment) and The Seahorse Restaurant (S Embankment).

Where to Stay: Royal Castle Hotel (The Quay) from £125 p/night

What to Do: St. Saviour’s Church Advent Fair – 2nd December from 10am


Paignton

If you’d rather get a taste of a more traditional seaside town, then Paignton could be right up your street. Officially a part of the English Riviera, Paignton was once a small fishing village, however it was transformed by railway links built in the late 19th century. Within 10 years, the village had morphed into a thriving seaside resort with tourists coming from London and Torquay by train. By far it’s biggest attraction, Paignton Zoo was built in 1923 and remains a must-see for people of all ages.

Where to Stay: Marine Hotel (Seafront) from £160 p/night

What to Do: Santa’s Traditional Christmas at Paignton Zoo – 16th-24th December