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our top attractions in South Devon

  • places to visit
August 8, 2021

Whether you’re searching for a seaside getaway or a countryside escape, South Devon has everything you’re looking for.

Our stunning Hawkchurch Resort & Spa is perfectly placed in South Devon for you to discover all it has to offer. Being surrounded by the picturesque Devonshire countryside and only a short drive away from the golden sands of the Jurassic Coast.

We thought we would help to narrow down the best attractions so you can start planning your getaway with a list of our top picks below.

Beer Beach

Seaton, EX12 3BZ / 20 min drive

Overlooking Beer Beach, with limestone cliffs on a sunny day with boats on the beach

A wonderful shingle beach that’s surrounded but stunning limestone cliffs. Only a short walk away from the charming and picturesque village of Beer, with independent shops and stores waiting to be explored. The beach was once a smuggler’s haven with its cove-like features. There are mackerel fishing trips available to book as the beach still operates as a fishing port, with specially designed boats that are launched by very skilled fishermen.

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Seaton Jurassic Visitor Centre

Seaton, EX12 2WD / 20 min drive

Take a journey back in time and see all the local discoveries from fossil hunters and geologists over the decades. The Jurassic Coast is home to thousands of prehistoric fossils and you can learn all about them at the visitor centre. Jump aboard the time-ship which will take you back 200-million years to the Jurassic seas, where you can control what kind of prehistoric creatures you want to meet. During your journey, you’ll also be shrunk down and land in a giant rock pool display, with spectacular models and hands-on activities to explore.

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Exe Estuary Trail

Exmouth, EX8 1 DG / 1-hour drive

overlooking the river exe and the esturary

A newly constructed 16-mile cycle and walkway through beautiful scenery. The trail is mostly flat so can be enjoyed by all (even the fur-buddies in your life!). It runs around the whole the Exe Estuary and links Exmouth, Exeter, and Dawlish Warren while running along the picturesque River Exe. Whether you choose to walk or cycle the trail, it’s a wonderful couple of hours out, enjoy the countryside and seeing Exmouth in a whole new way.

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Stuart Line Cruises

Exmouth, EX8 1FE / 55 min drive / Pre-booking needed

A multi-award-winning, family-run passenger boat company, offering a fantastic way to see the Jurassic Coastline. The cruises have been running since 1968 and are hugely popular way to see the coast, with the calm waters of the River Exe helping throughout the year. They have a whole host of different cruises you can book to see the best that South Devon has to offer.

  • Guided bird watching
  • Day trips to the English Riviera
  • Circular cruises of the Jurassic Coast
  • Exeter Canal Cruises into the heart of the city

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Exeter Cathedral

Exeter, EX1 1HS / 1-hour drive

indoors at Exeter Cathedral showcasing the vaulted ceiling

Discover a thousand years of inspiration at one of Europe’s most significant cathedrals. Exeter Cathedral offers history, architecture, and unique treasures all in one place, being home to the world’s longest, uninterrupted, Gothic stone vaulted ceilings. See the sledding flag from Scott’s legendary British Antarctic Expedition and a 15th Century astronomical clock, which shows how the solar system was understood during that time. There are also family activities and guided tours to enjoy.

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Beer Quarry Caves

Seaton, EX12 3AS / 30 min drive / Pre-booking needed

Book a guided tour of the 2000-year-old, man-made caverns! These mind-boggling caverns run deep and were carved out by the brave men and boys for the stone to be used in some of the most prestigious buildings in the country, including Exeter, Winchester, St. Pauls, and Norwich Cathedrals. Up until the 16th Century they used picks to cut the rock, but in the early 18th Century they started using handsaws, all done by candle-light for up to 14 hours a day. Learn more about the quarry caves and the people who worked there on your tour.

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The Donkey Sanctuary

Sidmouth, EX10 0NU / 25 min drive

grey baby donkey standing with mother in a meadow

Visit the hundreds of acres that lots of rescued donkeys call home. The resident donkeys love to meet new people and showing off their fun and unique personalities. The sanctuary is an award-winning attraction and is free to visit. Why not adopt a friendly donkey and help rescue others all over the world? It’s a wonderful day out for all ages, with activities, talks, and walking trails available to book too.

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There really is something for everyone in South Devon, with so much history to explore you’re sure to love spending time with us at Hawkchurch Resort & Spa where you can enjoy a fascinating day out in the local area, and fantastic spa facilities in the evening.

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