Autumn in Devon

Autumn in Devon

If you love walks under golden sunshine and auburn leaves, toasting your toes by open fires, and sipping on a glass of something delicious in a luxury retreat, then a Boutique autumn in Devon is sure to appeal. One of the most beautiful counties in the UK for spellbinding escapes, it offers an enticing mix of country and coastal magic.

Ready to welcome you for an unmissable seasonal sojourn, here’s our guide to autumn in Devon filled with memory-making inspiration.

Places to Eat

Lympstone Manor

A view of Lympstone Manor under twilight skies

One of Devon’s Michelin star restaurants, Lympstone Manor in Exmouth is home to a multi-awarding restaurant that overlooks the Exe Estuary and the start of the Jurassic Coast. On the outside, nearly thirty acres of grounds flourish manicured verdure, while on the inside, glistening glasses and sparkling silverware glint in the light of floor-to-ceiling windows in the ornate restaurant. Book ahead and savour moments of dining finery with lunch, afternoon tea or decadent dinners this autumn.

The Masons Arms

The thatched exterior of The Masons Arms pub in Knowstone

For haute cuisine in a cosy pub setting, turn your attention to the Michelin star Mason Arms in Knowstone on the edge of Exmoor. A delightful gastropub with roots dating back to the thirteenth century, it promises all the charm, ambience and, of course, fine flavours you could wish for. Step inside this thatched gem and secure your favourite table, ready to peruse a menu of finely crafted meals composed of seasonal ingredients, infused with modern British and classic French influences.

The Seahorse

Plates of seafood being enjoyed at The Seahorse in Dartmouth

The Seahorse in Dartmouth is one of the leading seafood restaurants in Devon. Located on the banks of the River Dart, it affords a beautiful vantage point overlooking the activity of the waterway and the toing and froing of boats. Take a seat outside in the crisp autumn air or gather inside the ambient interiors and enjoy friendly service and some of the best seafood in the South West. For the full experience, you can also take a drink at the restaurant’s bar, Joe’s Bar, named after a local sailor.

Cornish Arms

The cosy interiors of The Cornish Arms pub in Tavistock

One of the top restaurants in Devon, The Cornish Arms in Tavistock is the perfect place to go for hearty eats, fine wines and delectable treats after soul-stirring walks on Dartmoor. A Michelin Bib Gourmand pub in a picture-perfect village, it promises wholesome British fare alongside a well-stocked bar of favourites. Head out onto the moors to walk up an appetite or venture straight over for a delicious meal, ready to relish the warm atmosphere and expertly curated dishes of Devonshire produce.

Café Rio

An aerial view of Cafe Rio at Maidencombe Beach near Torquay

For somewhere different to go this autumn for a warming pick-me-up, make way to Café Rio. One of our favourite hidden cafés in Devon, this seaside gem is tucked at the bottom of striking red cliffs at Maidencombe near Torquay and boasts glorious views over the sea. Wrap up in your cosiest layers and tread footsteps along the shore before visiting the café and browsing its feel-good dishes. On the menu is an array of freshly-made food, cakes, snacks and hot and cold drinks.

Places to Visit

Bellever Forest

Dartmoor ponies grazing between the trees at Bellever Forest

Synonymous with the magical season of autumn, the annual transformation of trees from emerald to ruby in Devon is a real sight to behold. Dazzling onlookers with a fiery flourish, the trees at Forestry England’s Bellever Forest make for a particularly enchanting backdrop for autumn walks. Located within Dartmoor National Park and tracing the banks of the East Dart River, it exudes peace and tranquillity and promises natural beauty at every turn along a variety of trails and footpaths.

Haldon Forest

A deer in a woodland glade at Haldon Forest

For a wonderful walk under golden canopies while crispy leaves crunch underfoot, there’s no better place than Haldon Forest. One of the most beautiful woodlands in Devon, it covers more than 3,500 acres in the Haldon Hills and is knitted with trails for walking, running, cycling, horse riding and more. Only a short distance from Exeter yet far removed from the activity of the city, it invites for fairytale autumn adventures for all generations, and dogs too.

Valley of the Rocks

An aerial view of the Valley of the Rocks in North Devon

One of the best things to do in North Devon, the Valley of the Rocks is a wonderful place to visit all year yet is especially stunning in autumn. Brushed with bronze and copper-coloured bracken that coats the basin-shaped landscapes, it showcases gorgeous aesthetics that call to photographers and wanderers alike. Drive over or follow the South West Coast Path from Lynton cliff railway station to make the most of this dreamy time of year. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for the valley’s resident goats as you go.


An aerial view of the city of Exeter in Devon

The city of Exeter in Devon is one of the best places to spend slow mornings and leisurely autumn afternoons. Dating back hundreds of years, this historic city is filled with characterful streets that are lined with an assortment of boutiques, galleries and eateries. Pop in and out of shops for some take-home treasures before settling into a café to indulge in a culinary reward. Of course, a trip to the iconic Exeter cathedral, one of the world’s finest examples of Decorated Gothic architecture, is also a must.


A view of the coastal town of Salcombe in The South Hams

Salcombe is a beautiful seaside town lying within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in The South Hams. Sitting alongside the Kingsbridge Estuary, it is widely hailed as one of the prettiest places in the South West and well-known for its first class scenery, shopping and sailing. Venture over this autumn to meander its attractive streets, sandy beachfronts and famous gardens. For a unique experience in Devon, Salcombe Gin and Rum School also offers unmissable tastings, tours and classes.

Things to Do


Flowing waters at Watersmeet in Devon

There is something irresistible about autumn that makes it a perfect time of year for walking. With peaceful footpaths, warm sunshine, and crisp air, it creates the perfect conditions for short strolls and long hikes surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Among the best walking trails in Devon, the Dart Valley Trail never fails to inspire with sixteen miles of countryside trail stretching between Totnes and Dartmouth in South Devon. In North Devon, a walk around Watersmeet is also a firm favourite.


The paved Tarka Trail cycle route through trees in North Devon

If you love nothing more than taking to the saddle and exploring countryside and coast at the push of two pedals, then cycling around Devon is sure to delight. For a gentle cruise, The Tarka Trail in North Devon is hard to beat, featuring one of the country’s longest, continuous stretches of level and traffic-free multi-use path. Meanwhile, The Tamar Trails promise some of the best mountain biking in Devon with fifteen miles of dedicated off-road tracks through the Tamar Valley close to the Cornish border.


A plate of warming autumn food by the Devon Cookery School

A season of rich harvests, autumn offers the best of all worlds for foodies and foragers. For those looking for a hands-on approach to cooking this autumn, you can join the Devon Cookery School near Cullompton for a day of foraging, cooking and honing new techniques. Explore the wide variety of foods, from country to river to sea, and fall in love with the county’s authentic taste sensations this autumn. A range of dedicated courses are available, each led by seasoned professional chefs.


The reservoir and boat lined shore of Roadford Lake in Devon

Autumn is a wonderful time of year to get outside and enjoy the soothing balm of Mother Nature. To try something a little different this autumn, wend your way to Roadford Lake in the Wolf Valley. One of the biggest lakes in the South West, it is a popular spot for all sorts of activities such as walking, sailing, kayaking and paddleboarding. Take your own or hire a paddleboard and glide across the water, soaking up the sights and exploring a different side to Devon this autumn.


The picturesque gardens of Castle Drogo

Devon is home to an incredible array of historic sites that lend themselves perfectly to autumnal exploration. From time-old castles to grand cathedrals to Iron Age relics, its heritage gems span the chapters of time and provide fascinating insights into the past for all generations to appreciate. To start your journey through time, some of the county’s historical highlights include Powderham Castle in Exeter, Bovey Castle, Dartmouth Castle, Lydford Castle, and Castle Drogo in Drewsteignton.


England’s Seafood Feast

A plate of scallops served at England's Seafood Feast

27th September - 13th October 2024

England's Seafood Feast is one of the most widely anticipated autumn events in Devon. Taking place in a range of locations throughout the English Riviera, it promotes England’s ‘Seafood Coast’ and celebrates all things fruits de mer. Look forward to fine dining, oyster shucking, seafood suppers, cooking demonstrations and behind the scenes tours of Devon’s famous Brixham Fish Market for an unforgettable autumn celebration.

Autumnfest Walks at Arlington Court

Arlington Court under blue skies

Dates TBC

Held throughout October this year in Devon is Autumnfest, a family-friendly event at Arlington Court near Barnstaple. Welcoming everyone, it invites visitors from near and far to discover different displays and activities around Arlington’s gardens and grounds. A particular highlight, it also features a dog-friendly outdoor trail that weaves throughout the estate, waymarked by characterful autumn scarecrows.

Powderham Food Festival

Brownies being parcelled up at Powderham Food Festival

5th - 6th October 2024

The annual Powderham Food Festival has been running for more than a decade to support and showcase the best food and drink producers in the county. Held in the grounds of the fourteenth century castle, the event proposes everything from competitions to demonstrations to entertainment and activities. Best of all, ensuring all the family can get involved in this autumnal celebration, dogs on leads are welcome too.

13 Tors Challenge

A view of Haytor in Dartmoor

October 2024

If you are looking for an active way to immerse yourself in autumn this year, why not participate in an unforgettable adventure? Taking place in October, the famous 13 Tors Challenge sees keen walkers and avid hikers cover more than fourteen miles on foot across the wild, rugged and oh-so beautiful landscapes of Dartmoor. Set yourself a challenge, explore gorgeous scenery, and raise money for charity all at the same time.

Dartmouth Food Festival

Food tents lining the waterfront during Dartmouth's Food Festival

25th - 27th October 2024

Dartmouth Food Festival delivers a first-class programme of events and an unparalleled feast for the senses. Presenting over a hundred handpicked exhibitors from across Devon and the South West and a full line up of workshops, seminars, tastings, competitions, demos and more, it has something for every foodie and culinary connoisseur. Peruse the food markets, sample delicious fare, and learn some new cooking techniques for the ultimate day out.

Boo at the Zoo

A leopard relaxing at Dartmoor Zoo

Dates TBC

There are lots of Halloween activities to look forward to this autumn in Devon with all kinds of ghostly displays thrilling brave onlookers of all ages. That said, one of the best family-friendly Halloween events in Devon this autumn has to be Boo at the Zoo. Stroll through the ghoulish gates of Dartmoor Zoo and step into a frightful realm of weird and wonderful attractions that await to test the nerves of all those who visit.

Earth Photography Exhibition

A walkway through the trees of Haldon Forest

Dates TBC

Established by Forestry England and the Royal Geographical Society, the Earth Photography Exhibition is an annual competition that highlights the beauty and fragility of the natural world. Taking place at a variety of locations, one of the event’s exhibitions is set to be showcased at Haldon Forest Park and reveal shortlisted competition entries – each one addressing powerful and poignant issues affecting our planet and encouraging conversation about how to protect the environment.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Devon.

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