Being British in Malta, one of the key questions I get asked upon any introduction is where exactly I am from. Many Maltese people have friends and family scattered all over the U.K, and of course, our connections date a long way back in history. When I reply “Devon’’, very few people actually know what I am talking about—aside from comments of its popular namesake confectionary brand in Malta—let alone its precise location. After seeing the blank stares, I begin to explain it’s almost at the very end of the U.K, as far South West as one can get. There are no major famous cities, nor key football teams one can support, so what exactly is there in Devon?
Although I may be a little bit biased, Devon is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful parts of the U.K. Flanked with sea both to the North and South Coast, there’s absolutely no shortage of fantastic beaches, unspoilt scenery, and endless rolling hills in between. Devon is one of the most popular holiday destinations for the Brits who holiday in the U.K, and as I have grown older I have started to understand why, and I will proceed to share the reasons why I truly believe it should be the next holiday destination you plan to visit.
The region itself is much bigger than Malta, with a large National Park in the centre called Dartmoor, and another National Park a little further North of the country called Exmoor. The moorlands offer up rugged and spectacular scenery, truly the epitome of wilderness with something to delight all kinds of nature lovers. Rivers flow and ebb, forests are full of ancient woodlands, and wild ponies will walk right up to your car. Be sure to visit the quaint village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, which has remained untouched for centuries. It also has the U.K’s highest waterfall, Canonteign Falls. Another feature very typical of traditional Devon cottages is straw roofs, which are also known as ‘thatched houses’.
To the south of the moors there are an array of stunning harbour towns along the English Channel such as Dartmouth, previously the home of world renowned murder mystery author, Agatha Christie. Her estate still remains, as well as the award winning Sharpham Vineyard. Devon does not fall short of gastronomical delights; from the classic English breakfast to Fish and Chips (for fish and chips head to celebrity chef, Mitch Tonks’s, restaurant, Rockfish, in Torbay or Dartmouth), or idyllic afternoon tea rooms and gardens for the traditional cream tea. While strolling through the countryside you may stumble across traditional carvery pubs offering up the best roast dinners and the fluffiest roast potatoes imaginable (try the famous Hare and Hounds Carvery near Sidmouth for an incredible all-you-can-eat experience).
Towards the North of the region are some of the U.K’s most impressive beaches, such as Croyde and Woolacombe Bay. Annually, surfers from across the globe unite for competitions on the azure-coloured Atlantic Coast. White beaches span for miles and miles along the jagged coastlines, making for the perfect background for a family holiday.
The capital cathedral city of the region is Exeter, on the South East side of the region. Exeter was originally a Roman city, and is now a famous cosmopolitan University city, not to mention a shopping lover’s paradise. Notably, Exeter’s narrow cobbled Gandy Street, is said to have inspired Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series, as J.K. Rowling spent her beloved student years in the city.
Music lovers will also find something to suit them. In Fore Street there is Mansons Guitar Shop, a seminal shop that creates bespoke guitars (for fellow locals you may have heard of the likes of Matt Bellamy from Muse, and Chris Martin of Coldplay!). On the other hand, if bars and nightlife are more your thing, both Exeter and Plymouth provide a whole host of traditional pubs, winebars and nightclubs.
Devon offers something for every member of the family, and provides a unique and tranquil break from more obvious British holiday destinations, surely leaving you with fond memories to last a lifetime.
© 2018 – VIDA Magazine – Dayna Clarke