Holidays don’t have to be expensive, and by opting for a staycation in Devon you’re on the right road. Skip the pricey flights and airport delays, hop in your car and head to ‘Costa del Devon’, where you’ll find luscious green countryside, stunning turquoise waters and plenty of fun days out for all the family – you can even bring your four-legged friends too! To help keep the cost down, we’ve compiled a list of all our favourite free things to do in Devon, just keep some pennies aside for transport, parking and an ice cream. Whether you decide to tick them all off or are saving money to enjoy other top attractions and delicious meals out, you can enjoy the perfect holiday to suit your budget.
The Donkey Sanctuary – Based on the outskirts of Sidmouth, you will find fields upon fields of beautiful, rescued donkeys. You can spend the day walking around the many trails, getting lost in the maze and learning all about the fascinating work this charity has done for donkeys and people all over the world.
Beach days – With two coasts, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches to visit in Devon. In the north, you’ll find waters perfect for surfing and playing in the waves. In the south, enjoy kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and sea swimming. Bring a picnic and spend the day building sandcastles, rock pooling and relaxing in the sun, on a warm day this is one of the best and easiest free things to do in Devon with kids.
Walking – Whether you’re after a short walk for all the family or an adventurous day hike, you’ll have plenty to choose from. Amble along the many delightful river walks in Otterton and Sidmouth, or perhaps take on sections of the south west coastal path and East Devon Way, exploring the beautiful hidden beaches and valleys en route. With East Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you’ll be overwhelmed with stunning sights.
Fossil hunting – Take a trip to the gorgeous seaside town of Lyme Regis, to visit the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. The local blue lias clay found to the east and west contains the remarkable fossil remains of sea creatures from the Jurassic seas of 180 million years ago. Just be sure to check the tide times before embarking on your adventure.
Geocaching & Letter Boxing – With hundreds of geocaches over Devon, it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy a modern-day treasure hunt. Just download the app and set out to find the hidden capsule to write your name in a log your success. Dartmoor has its very own equivalent, ‘Letter Boxing’, where you follow clues to find a hidden box with the stamp and treasure, but be sure to take a treasure replacement if you plan on taking what’s there.
Cycling – If you are able to bring your bikes on holiday, you’ll be delighted with Devon’s cycle tracks. One of our favourites is the Exe Esturary Trail, a 26-mile route that links Exmouth to Dawlish Warren via Topsham and Exeter. You’ll get to see stunning wildlife and beautiful riverside towns en route. Or if mountain biking is more your thing, check out the awesome trails at Halon Forest. Whether you’re just getting into the sport or a more advanced rider, there are trails for everyone to enjoy this adrenaline packed adventure.
Museums – As well as Devon’s stunning beauty, you will also find an area rich in history dating back to the stone age. With the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, a stunning art gallery in Exeter, and the interesting Sidmouth Museum, you can enjoy an educational day out whatever the weather.
Wildlife Spotting – Nearly everywhere you go in Devon you can find amazing wildlife, from rare birds to otters, seals, and dolphins. Some of our favourite spots include Dawlish Warren Wildlife Reserve, Seaton wetlands, The Exe estuary, and the River Otter.
Stargazing – Step away from any town and you will find the most magical view on a clear night. With many apps to download, you can learn about astronomy whilst watching shooting stars and spotting constellations under the glistening Milky Way Galaxy.
Wild swimming – For some, there is no better way to enjoy the environment than literally immersing yourself in it. From rockslides and river pools on Dartmoor to sea swimming off Sidmouth, there are heaps of soul cleansing dips to be had.
Exeter Cathedral – Free to children and a modest admission fee for adults, you can enjoy one of the great cathedrals of England. The outside is spectacular in itself, but once inside your eyes will widen in awe with all the fascinating tiny details.
There are heaps of things to do in Devon for free, making it the perfect destination for your next family break. Sweetcombe has a wonderful selection of family holiday cottages for you to choose from for your next adventure. Whether you’re after a dog friendly country retreat for the whole family, or a short break in a town centre apartment, we have something to suit everyone’s holiday needs.