The Must-See Festivals of Devon

Who says Glastonbury is the only good Festival in the South West?

When most people think of music festivals in the South West they think of that one big shindig North of the border beginning with a ‘G’.

These folks are probably not aware of a whole raft of excellent (slightly smaller) festivals that happen every year, just a few miles South. There’s a thriving music scene in the heart of Devon, one that is supported by a series of well-organised festivals. Whether you fancy slumming it in the muddy fields of Escot House or dancing in the streets of Sidmouth, there’s sure to be a music festival for you here – just make sure you buy your tickets well ahead of schedule!

Beautiful Days

90s Folk Rock band the Levellers set up this family-friendly festival over 15 years ago and, despite it’s continual success, the event has remained a medium-scale affair, making it ideal for young teenagers and kids.

The lineup is uniformly eclectic, with the only constant being the Levellers themselves who headline the final night of every festival.

There are tonnes of fun arts activities to get involved, as well as a decent range of acts including political debate and stand-up comedy.

Where? Escot Park, Talaton

When? 17th-19th August 2018


Sidmouth Folk Week

One of the longest running festival of it’s kind, the Sidmouth Folk Week has been running in some shape or form since 1955, bringing thousands of visitors into the seaside town for the entire week.

With the Summer in full swing, this is a great chance to soak up some traditional Devonshire culture (as well as some sunshine). Some of the biggest names in Folk music have graced the various venues of Sidmouth, but it’s the street-based frivolities that make this a festival worth seeing.

Where? Sidmouth

When? 3rd-10th August 2018


Chagstock Music Festival

Once described as ‘The best little festival in the South West’, this tiny festival (only 5,000 tickets are sold for the event each year) offers the music festival experience in a nutshell.

Set on the very edge of Dartmoor, you’ll feel like you’re on the brink of civilisation with as much music and activities as you could dream of handling.

An ever-changing lineup of retro bands and folk legends keeps the one stage busy – and because of the remote location partying often drifts far into the early hours!

Where? Chagford, Dartmoor

When? 20th-21 July 2018


Dart Music Festival

The story of the Dart Music Festival is a long one. Started by couple Rob and Di Lyon (who now serves as the Mayor of Dartmouth), the event runs over three days and encompasses the whole town of Dartmouth. Each year over 100 acts flock to the seaside town, to play in over 20 different venues. This is a weekend not to be missed and a great way of discovering all the hidden gems that Dartmouth has to offer. The lineup regularly features local talent, as well as other upcoming acts from around the country.

Where? Dartmouth

When? May 2018


Sea Change Festival

Although Sea Change Festival has only been running for the past 2 years, it’s already attracted some of the hottest up and coming acts from around the world. Set over a handful of venues in the peaceful market town of Totnes, this festival transforms its usually quiet host town into a thriving hub of pop culture and empowerment. Acts that have played at Sea Change include: Aldous Harding, Ulimate Painting and Temples.

Where? Totnes

When? August 24th-25th 2018

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).

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