The BIG guide to holidays in Devon for families
Welcome to a little slice of heaven – the place we are lucky to call home and where thousands of people venture each year for family-family holidays. This guide to holidays in Devon for families brings together all the great reasons why it is a top choice for a UK staycations.
Whether you’re looking for a beach holiday in the UK, activity holidays, family hotels, self-catering cottages or glamping, there’s a vacation suited to you. There’s even a generous selection of holidays in Devon with dogs, so you can bring the whole family. Hurrah!
If you’d like to know something not mentioned here then leave me a comment and I’ll share what I know.
Where to stay in Devon
Devon boasts many excellent places for a family holiday: from the quintessential seaside resorts of Torquay, Dawlish and Woolacombe to the pretty harbour towns of Salcombe, Clovelly and Dartmouth. Then there’s the Jurassic Coast destinations of Beer, Seaton and Sidmouth.
But Devon isn’t all about the sea. There are characterful country towns like Hartland, Bovey Tracey and Tavistock. Devon also has two historic cities – Exeter and Plymouth – and two National Parks – Dartmoor and Exmoor – where families can stay and enjoy outdoor adventures.
Here are some of the best places to stay in Devon with accommodation ranging from campsites to family hotels:
Caravan and camping sites in Devon
Devon has hundreds of caravan and camping sites to choose from with all levels of facilties. If you’re looking for a Devon camping site with a theme park close by then we can recommend Crealy Meadows near Exeter. If you prefer something with sea views then take a look at Manor Farm Caravan Site in Seaton or Ladram Bay Holiday Park also in East Devon.
If you want to explore Dartmoor then we can recommend Woodovis Park campsite near Tavistock for great facilities and a swimming pool. If North Devon is your destination then Welcombe X is easily accessible for caravans, right by the Atlantic Highway. What it lacks in peacefulness is made up for with its location near Hartland, which has plenty of merits as a North Devon holiday spot.
Glamping in Devon
If you enjoy camping and caravan holidays then you might also be interested in glamping. There’s no shortage of glamping holidays in Devon where you can enjoy the great outdoors in camping accommodation more luxurious than a standard tent.
Here are some locations to try:
Read about all our recommended places for glamping in Devon.
Holidays in Devon near the beach
If you are looking for Devon holiday destinations that will put you near the beach then take a look at accommodation in Dawlish, Torquay, Paignton, Ilfracombe, and Woolacombe. This is where you’ll find sandy beaches perfect for a traditional seaside holiday. Ladram Bay Holiday Park has its own private beach.
Dog-friendly hotels in Devon
The Grand Hotel in Torquay is a family and dog-friendly Devon hotel by the sea, as is Langstone Cliff Hotel in Dawlish Warren. If your canine companion would prefer walks on the moor than we suggest taking a look at The Moorland Garden Hotel on Dartmoor.
Activity holidays in Devon for families
You’ll find plenty of opportunities for cycling in the Tamar Valley and walking on Dartmoor during a holiday in Devon. Walk 300 miles along the South West Coast Path both in South Devon and North Devon.
We can also recommend adding a visit to Haldon Forest Park to your holiday. Here you can tackle the mountain bike trails, swing through the trees on the Go Ape and Go Ape Junior courses and have a go on segways.
If you’d like plenty of activities at the place you are staying then take a look at River Dart Country Park near Ashburton. Here you’ll find canoeing, high ropes, zorbing and adventure play grounds. The country park has a campsite where you can pitch your own tent or bring a caravan or motorhome.
Facilities include a toilet block, shop and restaurant/bar, plus unlimited access to the free activities in the country park. Activities involving climbing or hiring equipment have an additional cost. There’s also a B&B in the manor house during school holidays.
For more inspiration for holidays in Devon take a look at #TinBoxDevon on Instagram where you’ll find dozens of snippets from our adventures.
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Looking for more vacation inspiration? Here’s more of the best family holidays in Devon.
Things to do in Devon with kids
Since moving to Devon three years ago we have notched up dozens of days out on the coast, at Devon theme parks and attractions, at historic houses and in the countryside. For the full picture read my big guide to things to do in Devon with kids.
Find Devon attractions and family activities near where you are staying in this list:
- Things to do in East Devon
- Things to do in North Devon
- Things to do in South Devon
- Things to do on Dartmoor
I also have guides to things to do in Devon towns:
And if you’re visiting when the kids are off take a look at these school holiday guides:
- February half term in Devon
- Halloween in Devon
- Christmas in Devon
- things to do in Devon this winter.
Fancy hopping across the county border into Cornwall? There’s plenty of family days out in Cornwall just a short drive from Devon!
Things to do in Devon in winter
When we first moved to Devon I found the winter really tough. Devon is mainly a summer holiday destination and a lot of the obvious things to do don’t seem to be available between autumn and spring.
But after fours years, we’ve pinned down how to have fun in Devon in the chillier months. Here’s some ideas for things to do in Devon in winter, including events, indoor fun and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors too.
Events in Devon
If you’d like to know about the top festivals, regattas, country shows and other family-friendly events happening locally then hop over to my round up of what’s on in Devon this year.
The best Devon beaches
Devon is blessed with countless characterful beaches. The north coastline faces the Atlantic and has a combination of rocky shores that are great for exploring and long sandy stretches with rollers that make for a surfing paradise. Read more about:
On Devon’s south coast there are plenty of small coves sporting red and golden sand, shingle, and traditional seafront towns. Find out more:
If you’re looking for some hidden gems then here are some of the lesser known Devon beaches.
Take a look here for more recommended Devon beaches including dog-friendly beaches, Blue Flag beaches and fun places for kids to explore.
Where to eat in Devon
We are big fans of seafront cafes and restaurants in Devon, visiting them during our many dog walks. Here are some of our favourite Devon cafes:
- The Guardhouse Cafe at Berry Head, Brixham – perfect for breakfast, lunch and amazing cake | dog-friendly
- Cantina at Youngs Park, Goodrington – great for brunch, lunch and brilliant cakes | dog-friendly
- Venus Cafe at Blackpool Sands, Dartmouth, and other locations – fab brunches, lunches and cakes | dogs allowed in attached doggy cafe
- The Gastro Bus, at Bantham Beach, Bigbury – great for hot snacks and drinks | dog-friendly, plus dogs allowed on part of beach all year.
If you are looking for places to dine while exploring Devon’s pretty towns, here are a few we rate highly:
- Cafe Alfresco in Dartmouth – great for brunch | dogs allowed in courtyard
- The Royal Seven Stars in Totnes – perfect for a special lunch or dinner | dogs allowed in bar area
- Pie Street in Totnes – delicious home cooked pies with chunky chips and seasonal veg | dogs-friendly
- Harbour House Cafe in Kingsbridge – freshly prepared Vegetarian cuisine | dog-friendly
- ODE&Co in Shaldon – freshly prepared pizzas on sour dough bases.
How about a holiday in Cornwall too?
If you want to extend your holiday in the South West of England why not check out my guide to family holidays in Cornwall too? You can see more snippets from our trips to Cornwall with kids and a dog on Instagram.
Have you spent holidays in Devon? Do you have any recommendations for me or anything else I can write about on the blog? Leave me a comment or get in touch.
Disclosure: we were invited to stay or review some of the places listed in this guide. I’ve included them because we genuinely rate them alongside experiences we have paid for ourselves.
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