Unique Experiences in Devon

Unique Experiences in Devon

One of the dreamiest destinations in the UK, Devon is home to a fairy-tale web of moorland, countryside, woodland and coast. The kind of place that appeals to everyone, its verdant borders encompass a huge array of exciting and unusual things to see and do, from sunset beach yoga to dreamy Champagne boat journeys.

To help you put together the most perfect plan for your retreat, we’ve compiled some of the most unique experiences in Devon just for you.

The Fizz Boat Dartmouth

Plump cushions, food and fizz about the Dartmouth Fizz Boat in Devon

There’s something about a river journey that is both relaxing and inspiring, especially when combined with the swoon-worthy aesthetics of Dartmouth’s waterways. Making the experience even more special is The Dartmouth Fizz Boat, which offers private boat trips on the luxurious Vivere along the River Dart. Setting a magical scene, their excursions are the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion or simply make the most of the moment with the popping of corks and, if you’d like, a selection of delicious sharing platters aboard too. Travel in style and relax as your own private skipper expertly guides you along the picturesque river and creates lasting memories.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

One of Virgin's iconic red balloons taking flight under blue skies in Devon

Taking you up, up, and away for a truly unforgettable experience are Virgin’s hot air balloon rides in Exeter, Tiverton and Okehampton. Showcasing the jaw-dropping scenery of Devon’s countryside and coast, including the South Hams and Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks, these air balloon rides provide an opportunity like no other to admire 360 panoramas. Book your tickets ahead of time and meet at your preferred location, ready to slowly float up into the sky in an iconic red Virgin balloon. Rounding off your airborne adventure is a glass of bubbles waiting for you upon return.

Exeter Cathedral Tours

Inside the decorated body of Exeter Cathedral with its historic ribbed ceilings

From stones and bones in the cemetery to heights and sights on the roof, Exeter Cathedral promises some seriously unique tours that should not be missed. Starting on the ground, the cathedral precinct tour encourages you to delve into the cathedral’s fascinating past, uncovering the hidden secrets of its cemetery and surrounding buildings. Taking you up a level (or several), the cathedral roof tour then leads you into the Nave roof followed by the South Tower, Ringing Chamber and more, before navigating to the North Tower. Weather permitting, far-reaching views across Exeter can be enjoyed from dizzying heights here, extending over the staggered rooftops of the historic city.

Dartmoor Prison Museum

A view of Dartmoor Prison, close to the prison museum

The largest of the South West’s moorland parks, Dartmoor ripples with atmosphere. Making it all the more curious is the presence of Dartmoor Prison in the heart of the National Park. A working prison for over 200 years, Dartmoor Prison was originally created to house French prisoners of war during the Napoleonic Wars before converting to a convict jail in the mid-1850s. Today, Dartmoor Prison Museum is located just outside of the prison walls and invites you to learn about the darker side of the moors. From intriguing artefacts to exhibitions about the prison’s massacre, riots, and notorious inmates, it provides one of the most intriguing and unusual things to do in south Devon.

Lynmouth and Lynton Cliff Railway

The twin carts of Lynmouth and Lynton's cliff railway in Devon surrounded by foliage clad slopes

Lynton and Lynmouth’s multi-award winning cliff railway is one of the most famous visitor attractions in the South West. The UK’s only fully water-powered railway, it runs on completely renewable, fresh river water and takes passengers on an 862ft-journey up the cliffs between Lynton and Lynmouth. A water-powered journey that also happens to be the highest and steepest of its kind in the world. Hop aboard to relish the journey and soak up the sights along the way, before taking some time out to wander the streets of Lynmouth and Lynton – twin coastal villages dubbed the “Little Switzerland of England”.

Salcombe Gin and Rum School

Ingredients ready to be used for delicious gin making at Salcombe Distillery and Gin School

Salcombe Distillery is home to a renowned gin and rum school in the traditional boat building quarter of the town. A fabulous way to spend an afternoon, their unique offerings range from unmissable distillery and tasting tours, to make-your-own gin and rum experiences. Particularly popular, their gin school welcomes you to learn all about the intricate art of distilling gin, before providing the space (and accoutrements) for you to create and develop your own tipple. Guided by the school’s expert distillers, you can pick from a range of botanicals (you can even bring your own) to curate a bottle of Devonshire’s finest gin to take back to your retreat with you.

Beekeeping at Quince Honey Farm

An overview of the honeycomb design of Quince Honey Farm in Devon

One of the best things to do in North Devon, Quince Honey Farm near Barnstaple offers beekeeping experience days where you can really get a feel for what it’s like to be an apiarist. Once suited and booted with protective clothing, you are invited to visit some of the farm’s thriving hives and watch as they’re opened up to reveal life within the colonies inside. As well as informative talks and demonstrations along the way, beekeeping days at Quince Honey Farm offer hands-on, supervised beekeeping in the farm’s stunning estate for the full experience. Lunch to keep you fuelled and refreshments to keep you quenched are included too.

Sunset Beach Yoga

Yoga by the ocean

What dreamier way to end your day on South Devon’s coast than with a spot of sunset yoga? From your shavasana to your shirshasana, Simply Soulful runs guided beach yoga sessions in Kingsbridge and Salcombe from April to September to keep you supple and serene. Suitable for yogis of all ages and abilities, these salt-kissed sessions encourage you to harmonise body, soul and setting for the ultimate way to refocus and relax. With the melody of lapping waves creating a tranquil soundtrack and a sunset painting a gorgeous backdrop, this experience is not to be missed. If you’re up for the challenge, you can also try a SUP yoga session.

Wild Foraging Courses

The beautiful, purple underbelly of a wild mushroom found during foraging

If you’re looking for an unusual thing to do in Devon that allows you to learn new skills and immerse yourself in the Great Outdoors, then pop foraging atop your list. Offering fun and engaging foraging foray and cookery courses are a number of fantastic foodie schools across the county, including River Cottage in Axminster, Eatweeds (across Devon), Ground Up Cookery School in Crockernwell and more. From the hedgerows of the countryside to the shoreline of the coast, these groups connect you to nature, teach you all about its plentiful natural larder, and reveal many of the delectable gems that you can find hidden in plain sight along the way.

Afternoon Tea at Bovey Castle

The beautiful face of Bovey Castle mirrored in a glassy lake

Head to Bovey Castle in North Bovey for a house speciality and national delight: the afternoon tea. Ready for you to treat yourself and indulge your taste buds, Bovey Castle’s traditional and Champagne afternoon tea menus consist of mouth-watering delights, including the sweet and savoury variety. With light finger sandwiches, freshly-baked scones and homemade cakes, buttery pastries and thick dollops of clotted cream and jam, all served alongside China cups of tea or delicate flutes of bubbles, these decadent offerings promise sheer indulgence. Take a seat in the Great Western Restaurant and savour the finest flavours and friendly service, and enjoy.

The Dome at The Market Hall

An image of the earth projected onto the dome at the Market Hall in Plymouth

The first of its kind in Europe, The Market Hall on Duke Street in Plymouth is home to a giant 15m dome where screenings are projected and new worlds are brought to life. Inspired by the famous dome at La Sat (Society for Arts and Technology) in Montreal, this incredible art centre provides a completely unique experience in the UK and beyond. Take a seat below its orb-like roof and immerse yourself in creative and immersive 360-degree screenings as they play all around. From space travel through stars and Jurassic adventures with dinosaurs, to cultural explorations from across the globe - there is something for everyone here to capture heart and imagination.

Looking forward to plotting your own adventure? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Devon.


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