Located in the Southwest of England, Devon is a county comprising some of the most beautiful landscapes in the whole of England.

It stretches from the English Channel to the North Sea, and includes tons of quaint small towns and villages, expansive moorlands, dense forests, picturesque beaches and rich historical landmarks.

This part of the UK is simply stunning, and is one of England’s best locations for holidays that include beautiful countryside, beach destinations and family-friendly attractions.

However, Devon is a huge county. To get from North to South takes 2 hours by car, and East to West is more than that. So you need to make sure you’re staying in the right Devon accommodation to be near to all the attractions you want to see.

Fortunately, that’s where I come in. If you’re not sure where in Devon is the best place to base yourself, this simple Devon neighborhood guide will be your saviour. I’ve also listed some recommendations for awesome places to stay too!

So, when you’re ready, let’s jump right in.

Where to Stay in Devon

Looking for a specific place to stay but don’t have much time? These are my highest recommendations for places to stay in Devon.

The Weekender | Best Airbnb in Devon

The Weekender, Devon

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This tiny house is ideal whether you’re visiting Devon for just one night or for a longer visit. Located in Bude, this location is also popular for travelers visiting Cornwall. The surroundings are simply stunning and practically demand that you sit back, relax, and take them in. The cabin sleeps two guests making it ideals for couples or pairs, but has everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay.

Future Inn Plymouth | Best Hotel in Devon

Future Inn Plymouth, Devon

This bed and breakfast hotel in Plymouth is located in one of the biggest towns in the area, close to shops, restaurants, and attractions, and popular with South Coast road-trippers. It offers an on-site restaurant and bar, as well as free parking and an exercise room, so you can work off all that fish and chips while you’re on holiday!

Spectacular Marine House | Best Luxury Airbnb in Devon

Spectacular Marine House

Want ocean views during your stay? That’s only a small part of what this house has to offer. Situated in Brixham and close to Devon’s best neighborhoods, it’s ultra-modern and has space to sleep up to 5 guests. It has an open floor plan, modern décor, and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in the views across the bay.

Devon Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Devon

FIRST TIME IN DEVON
Torquay, Devon
FIRST TIME IN DEVON

Torquay

If you’re visiting for the first time, then Torquay is one of the coolest places to stay in Devon. It’s a popular resort town set up to meet tourists’ needs.

ON A BUDGET
Dartmouth Castle, Devon
ON A BUDGET

Dartmouth

Dartmouth is simply beautiful. Surrounded by green countryside, it’s on the River Dart and has winding Elizabethan Streets that have to be seen to be believed. It’s a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Devon on a budget because of the natural landscape around it.

FOR FAMILIES
Ilfracombe, Devon
FOR FAMILIES

Ilfracombe

Ilfracombe is surrounded by some of the most spectacular natural areas you’ll ever see. Located in the corner of the North Devon Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty and Exmoor National Park, it’s backed by rugged cliffs and the harbor.

There’s something for everyone in Devon. Whether you want to relax on the beach, hike across the moors of Dartmoor or sit in small-town cafes eating cream teas and watching the world go by. Or maybe you’re looking for outdoor adventures such as climbing, horse riding, or kayaking – whatever it is, Devon has it all.

What’s more, it has plenty of holiday cottages and apartments to suit your travel style and budget. But as Devon is so huge, it can be difficult to choose a town to base yourself.

If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Devon for the first time, I recommend you check out Torquay. This popular resort town has access to beautiful beaches and is just a short drive from Dartmoor National Park and Paignton Zoo.

If you’re travelling with family, it has tons of attractions to keep every member of your travel group occupied during your stay.

If you’re looking for an area of outstanding natural beauty but without breaking the bank, Dartmouth is the best choice for those traveling on a budget. You’ll have the chance to enjoy a broad range of outdoor activities such as boat trips and horse riding or enjoy the warm welcome of the locals in the local pubs.

There are also some gorgeous beaches nearby that basically don’t cost a thing, so you won’t have to cut any corners during your trip. In fact, the area around Dartmouth has the most stunning coastline in South Devon.

However, if you want to experience the best of the West Country, Ilfracombe will melt your heart. The North Devon coastline is an area of natural outstanding beauty and consists of huge beaches with fantastic surf, rocky cliffs, and tons of pretty villages along the coast.

Ilfracombe is very rural and is not ideal for anyone visiting Devon without a car. You might also have to look hard for properties with a good WiFi connection, but because of this, accommodations tend to be cheaper here.

Because of its access to Exmoor National Park and stunning beaches, it is my best choice families visiting Devon. Plus, Illfracombe has many independent shops and is the Southwest’s hippie paradise.

Some other honorable mentions for cool places to stay in Devon are the city of Exeter, which has tons of Roman history and charming Tudor buildings to explore. The seaside towns of Sidmouth in East Devon have some epic beaches, though this is a ‘retirement town’ so doesn’t have much in the way of entertainment. And of course, the popular seaside town of Exmouth, which is an hour away from Dartmoor and right on the beach – perfect for families.

Top 3 Neighborhood to Stay in Devon

Devon is full of amazing neighborhoods. Here are our top picks for travelers heading to the area.

#1 Torquay – Where to Stay in Devon for your First Visit

Torquay, Devon
Torquay is one of Devon’s most popular destinations

Torquay, in the district of Torbay (known by the locals as Torbados), is one of the coolest places to stay in Devon, making it ideal for first-time visitors to the area. It’s a popular resort town set up to meet travelers’ needs and has everything in this area from high-class hotels to budget accommodation. There’s an abundance of things to do, so you can really get to know the area.

But Torquay isn’t just a contrived attraction. It’s also surrounded by some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the UK. If you’re into outdoor activities, all you have to do is drive a short distance to get your fill, from epic beaches to long walks along the River Dart in Dartmoor.

I also think the food in this area is pretty damn good – make sure to hit up a couple of seafood restaurants while you’re there.

Waterview Boutique Apartments | Best Airbnb in Torquay

Waterfront Boutique Apartments, Devon

It doesn’t get more central than this cool Airbnb in Torquay, because of its easy access to local restaurants and shops. With 1 bedroom and bathroom, it has room for up to 4 guests and is designed for comfort. You’ll also be able to take advantage of the lovely views!

TLH Derwent Hotel | Best Hotel in Torquay

TLH Derwent Hotel, Devon

Located just a few minutes’ walk from the sea, this hotel has everything you’d want from stay in Devon. It has its own luxury spa, swimming pools, leisure complex, and gym as well as spacious rooms in a variety of sizes.

Spacious 2BR Apartment | Best Luxury Airbnb in Torquay

Spacious 2BR Apartment Devon

If you want to be within walking distance of the beach, town centre and have an entire rental apartment to yourself, this apartment is one of the best in Torquay. Suitable for 4 guests, it’s in a historical building and has a full kitchen, two double rooms and two bathrooms. In addition, it has street parking outside and a gorgeous communal garden.

Things to See and Do in Torquay

Torquay Babbacombe, Devon
Take in the stunning natural beauty of the area
  1. Explore the Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves and top it off with a visit to the restaurant afterwards
  2. Wander through the quaint shops in the recreated Victorian Street of Bygones
  3. Take the kids to see the hands-on exhibits at Torquay’s Dinosaur World
  4. Explore the manicured grounds and craft studios at the Cockington Country Park
  5. Get out into nature at the Berry Head Nature Reserve
  6. Learn about the life of Agatha Christie on a small group tour
  7. Explore the aquarium at Living Coasts
  8. Grab a bit to eat at the Drum Inn, The Noble Tree, or Rose Cottage
  9. Explore the Berry Pomeroy Castle or Compton Castle for a glimpse into the past.
  10. Enjoy a drink at the Soho Cocktail Bar, Alberts Bar, or Bull & Bush
  11. Walk along the South West Coast Path towards Paington
  12. Check out Berry Head Nature Reserve
  13. Take the children to Paignton Zoo
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#2 Dartmouth – Where to Stay in Devon on a Budget

Dartmouth Castle, Devon
Budget backpackers don’t have to miss out!

Dartmouth is simply beautiful. Surrounded by green countryside, it sits on the River Dart and has winding Elizabethan Streets that can only be seen to be believed. It’s a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Devon on a budget, as the natural landscape is full of things to do.

Whatever outdoor activity you enjoy, you can find ample opportunities to get busy near Dartmouth. Best of all, a lot of them won’t cost you a thing.

Dartmouth also has amazing shopping, some great places to eat, and is close to other hotspots in Devon so you can easily get out to explore. There’s also an awesome regatta that takes place each August, so catch that if you can!

Admiral’s Quarters | Best Airbnb in Dartmouth

Admirals Quarters, Devon

Wake up to beautiful views of the river in this slightly quirky apartment. Suitable for 3 guests, it has a private outdoor terrace where you can enjoy exquisite views right in the heart of the city. You’ll also benefit from the fully-equipped kitchen and laundry facilities.

Luxurious Penthouse | Best Luxury Airbnb in Dartmouth

Luxurious Penthouse, Devon

The quick stroll into Dartmouth just proves that this luxurious penthouse is located in the best neighborhood to stay in Devon. Bright and colorful, you can sit in the apartment and take in views across the river and to the sea. With 3 bedrooms, the apartment has enough room for up to 6 guests and all the amenities you’ll need for a short or long stay.

The Floating Bridge | Best Hotel in Dartmouth

The Floating Bridge, Devon

This is one of the best places to stay in Devon if you want to be close to the center of Dartmouth. The rooms are large and comfortable, with some of them offering lovely views of the water. There’s a bar on-site for a drink at the end of the day, and the inn is close to local attractions like Dartmouth Castle.

Things to See and Do in Dartmouth

Dartmouth, Devon
Dartmouth is part of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  1. See the exhibits from WWI and earlier at the Dartmouth Museum
  2. Take in the views and the canons at Bayard’s Cove Fort
  3. Explore the impressive Coleton Fishacre House & Gardens
  4. Take in hundreds of years of history at Dartmouth Castle
  5. Go kayaking or paddleboarding in the river
  6. Have a delicious meal at Bushell’s Riverside, The Angel, or Café Alf Resco for hearty local fare
  7. Wander through the Elizabethan streets and enjoy some of the best shopping in the area!

#3 Ilfracombe – Where to Stay in Devon for Families

Ilfracombe, Devon

Ilfracombe is surrounded by some of the most spectacular natural areas you’ll ever see. Located in the corner of the North Devon Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty and Exmoor National Park, it’s backed by rugged cliffs and the harbor.

The town itself is just as lovely, with stately Victorian architecture and lots of little winding streets to explore. It also has some great bars, making it a good choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Devon for nightlife. So make sure you take your friends out for a night on the town while you’re in the area!

Ilfracombe is the best choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Devon with kids because of the sheer number of attractions in this area. There’s so much to do, from outdoor activities to popular foodie spots, amazing shopping, and great culture. No matter what your kids enjoy, they’ll love this deceptively small town.

One of my favourite activities to do in Ilfracombe is to grab my best-hiking boots and head along the South West Coast Path to see more of the epic beaches in the area.

Rockcliffe Sea View | Best Airbnb in Ilfracombe

Rockcliffe Sea View, Devon

Located in the heart of Ilfracombe, this apartment has some of the best views you can imagine. It has everything you need for a comfortable stay, including laundry facilities and a full kitchen. The Airbnb sleeps up to 5 guests, making it ideal for families visiting the area.

5BR Cottage W/ Sea View | Best Luxury Airbnb in Ilfracombe

5BR Cottage W Sea View Devon

You can’t beat this gorgeous five bedroom cottage for its picturesque views of the rugged cliffs and ocean of the North Devon coast. The cottage has everything you need, from a fully-equipped kitchen to a spacious living area. It’s located in a quiet cul de sac in one of Ilfracombe’s winding elizabethan streets, and it’s within walking distance of the market towns centre. There is free parking on the street and it’s just a stone’s throw from the beach and many delightful walks along Ilfracombe’s dramatic coastline.

Ilfracombe Holiday Park | Best Hotel in Ilfracombe

Ilfracombe Holiday Park, Devon

This hotel is a great choice if budget accommodation in Devon is what you’re after. It offers plain but comfortable rooms with all the usual amenities, as well as a swimming pool and bar. There are loads of great stops nearby if you want to hike, or simply get out into nature during your holiday.

Things to See and Do in Ilfracombe

Ilfracombre, Devon
  1. Check out what’s on at the Landmark Theater
  2. Head out with some friends to check out the Open Up Wine Bar, the Terrace Tapas and Wine Bar, or the Admiral Collingwood
  3. Have a meal at Giovanni & Luca’s for authentic Italian, The Manor House Café, or Relish Bar and Bistro
  4. Get up close to the local wildlife at the Ilfracombe Aquarium
  5. Take the kids to the Hillsborough Recreation Grounds for skating, football, or other outdoor activities
  6. Get some stunning pictures over the water at the Ilfracombe viewpoint
  7. Head over to Woolacombe Bay for some surfing
  8. Go fossil hunting at the Valley of Rocks
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FAQs About Where to Stay in Devon

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Devon and where to stay.

What To Pack For Devon

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

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Make Some New Buddies…

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Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

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Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Devon

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

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Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Stay in Devon

Devon is full of great places to stay, whether you’re simply passing through the area or planning a longer trip. Plus with so many activities on offer, you’re bound to have a great time no matter what.

If you’re still unsure about where to stay in Devon, here’s a little recap; if you’re visiting for the first time, head to Torquay as it’s centrally located to some top attractions in the area (plus it’s on the train line which makes it easier to get around without a car), if you’re looking for a budget location, head to Dartmouth, and if you’re travelling with your family and looking for something more rural and quintessentially Devonshire, head to Ilfracombe.

So the next time you’re visiting the UK and looking for a beach location with stunning, rolling hills nearby, check out Devon and its tiny, charming towns!

Looking for more info on travelling to Devon and UK?

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