Are you looking for wonderful places to stay in Devon?
With two sprawling coastlines, enigmatic moorland, winding rivers and charming towns, Devon is one of the best places to holiday in the United Kingdom.
It benefits from a sunny climate and is one of the most popular places for a seaside holiday in the country.
That being said, there are still plenty of quiet, less touristy places to spend your Devon holidays.
In this guide, we’ll look at the best places to stay in Devon, from its biggest city to its smallest villages.
Places to Stay in Devon: a run down
First, let’s look at the best places to stay for different groups and interests:
- Best places to stay in Devon with kids: all of these locations are feasible, but the beachy places like Exmouth and Salcombe have lots of fun things for kids to do.
- Where to stay in Devon for nightlife: Plymouth and Exeter are best for nightlife, as they are cities.
- The best place to stay in Devon for culture: Exeter has a wonderful cathedral and is a beautiful city with interesting history.
- The best place to stay in Devon for hiking: Pretty much everywhere! Even Exeter has easy hiking close by, and all coastal towns are connected to the South West Coastal Path
- Most romantic places to stay in Devon: There are lots of beautiful hotels in North Devon, and it is generally a bit quieter than the Southern beach towns here.
Best Places to Stay in Devon
If you are looking for a compromise between nature and amenities, Exmouth in East Devon may be your answer.
It’s right on the beach, between the start of the UNESCO Jurassic Coast and the tranquil Exe Estuary, with a good selection of restaurants (including award-winning fish and chips restaurant Krispies) and pubs, and the town backs out onto the moorland.
It’s also very close to the Dorset border, not too far from Somerset, and is on the train line from Exeter, making it fairly accessible.
Things to do in Exmouth
- walk down the Exe Estuary, enjoying the rolling hills of the countryside on the other side
- hike on the picturesque Jurassic Coast
- enjoy the beautiful golden sands of Exmouth Beach and the other beaches of the area
- visit the 16 sided house, A La Ronde, which is managed by the National Trust
Pros of staying in Exmouth
- plenty of amenities
- very close (as in walking distance) to some spectacular nature on the Jurassic Coast
- Exmouth Beach is accessible
- lovely holiday atmosphere
- great transport links compared to other beach towns in Devon
Cons of staying in Exmouth
- not quite as much going on as Plymouth or Exeter
- not as quiet as some other spots on this list and can be a bit urban in places
- no budget hotels
Where to stay in Exmouth
Mid-Range Hotel: The Devoncourt Resort has a range of rooms and apartments for different budgets, a gym, indoor pool, sauna and steam room on-site, as well as its own bar. It’s just a 15-minute walk from the centre. All rooms have an en-suite bathroom, and some have sea views. Breakfast is available. Click here for rates and to reserve.
Luxury Hotel: If you’re wanting a really lavish break, the Lympstone Manor Hotel is a great option. It has gorgeous rooms with deluxe bathrooms including roll top baths, super king-size four-poster beds, and elegant decor. On-site is a restaurant and a bar. Check it out for yourself and see how amazing this place is! Click here for rates and to reserve your spot.
Known as ‘The English Riviera’, Torbay is a beautiful region on the South Devon coast.
It’s one of the only places in the UK where you’ll see palm trees and has the charm of an old-fashioned resort.
Victorian tourists favoured Torbay and its surroundings due to its ‘warm’ climate (note: this is still England, but I guess it’s warmer than other places in the country…) and holiday vibe.
You could spend an entire holiday just exploring the charm of Torbay; the settlements in the 22 mile coastline stretch are Brixham, Paignton and Torquay.
Each has its own charm, but Torquay and Paignton are the largest and thus have the widest selection of hotels and amenities.
Enjoy some of the country’s best beaches, watersports, the South West Coast Path, and some of the unusual parts of Torbay’s culture.
If you are around in September, the Agatha Christie festival celebrates the works of the famous novelist, who based many of her books around the area.
Pros of staying in Torbay
- beautiful towns to explore with lots of amenities
- wonderful surrounding nature
- there’s variety, with Torquay and Paignton being good sized towns and Brixham being a chilled out village
- it’s in good location to explore South Hams, East Devon, Plymouth and Exeter
Cons of staying in Torbay
- the beaches can be over-touristy
- it’s not as quaint as lots of other places in Devon
Where to stay in Torbay
Budget Hotel: Acorn Lodge is a friendly, family-run B&B close to central Torquay. Each room is well-appointed with all the amenities necessary for a comfortable night’s stay, and breakfast is offered each morning. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range Hotel: The Imperial Torquay has a variety of rooms for all budgets, with beautiful decor in period style. The communal areas – including a bar, restaurant, and fitness centre – are all decorated exquisitely, and there is an outdoor pool for guests to enjoy. Check it out and see how beautiful this hotel is! Click here for more information.
Luxury Hotel: The Headland Hotel & Spa features a spa and wellness centre, with beautiful gardens and sea views. Enjoy gorgeous decor in the reception and bedrooms decorated in period style. Click here for more information and to reserve your stay.
Devon’s biggest city, Plymouth is the place to stay if you’re looking for nightlife, want a good hub to explore Devon and Cornwall (it’s right on the border) or just like some urban life.
There are some cool attractions in Plymouth too.
Hang out at the Barbican with a drink in hand, visit the Mayflower Museum, do a tour of the Plymouth Gin Distillery or catch a show at Plymouth Arts Cinema.
You can tick off the main attractions of the city in a day, but there are plenty of beaches, moors, stately homes and quaint villages to explore just outside of the city centre.
You won’t have nature on your doorstep if you have a city break in Plymouth, but you will have more hotel options, restaurants, and have to drive down fewer country roads to reach where you’re staying!
Things to do in Plymouth
- explore Plymouth Hoe and its many attractions like Smeetons Lighthouse
- dine and drink at the Barbican
- explore The Box, Plymouth’s museum
- go on a walking tour around Plymouth city centre
- go on a tour of the Plymouth Gin Distillery
- take a boat over to the Rame Peninsula
Pros of staying in Plymouth
- there lots of options for culture, arts, restaurants and bars
- it’s near Cornwall
- it’s not too far from beautiful nature
- excellent public transport connections
Cons of staying in Plymouth
- it’s not right in nature (and there are plenty of amazing spots to stay at in Devon that are right in the heart of it!)
- it’s in West Devon, so it’s quite a long journey to get here (unless you’re visiting Devon from Cornwall)
Where to stay in Plymouth
Budget Hotel: The George Guest House is a pet-friendly hotel offering fantastically priced budget accommodation. Choose from a room with a shared bathroom or a private bathroom; all rooms have a flat-screen TV and a kettle. It’s also really close to the city centre. Click here for more information and to book.
Mid-Range Hotel: The Ferry House Inn has a spectacular view of the river, located right on the Devon/ Cornwall border. It’s a 15 minute drive from the city centre but does benefit from a rustic setting and every room has a flat-screen TV, desk, and tea and coffee facilities. There’s an excellent beer garden on site. Click here to reserve your room.
Luxury Hotel: Rooms by Bistrot Pierre is a boutique hotel located in a Grade II listed building, and has beautiful stylish rooms with rustic exposed woodwork and beautiful white decor. Each bedroom is individually styled, but include a flat-screen TV and tea and coffee making facilities. The hotel is 1.2 miles from the centre of Plymouth. Click here for more information and to book your spot.
Luxury Hotel: Boringdon Hall is the perfect romantic retreat. It’s a spa hotel and manor house with lots of history. Enjoy the luxury five-star rooms, soak in the hydrotherapy pool at the spa and dine at one of the Michelin star restaurants. The hotel has private parking on-premises. Click to see up to date prices.
Devon’s second city, Exeter sits at the top of the Exe Estuary which spans down to Exmouth at the end.
There are a few historical sites to check out in Exeter; like Plymouth, it’s a good hub to enjoy the surrounding nature without being in it.
Exeter is an easy drive to many spots in Devon and parts of Dorset and Somerset.
Like any city, there are shops, bars, and restaurants to enjoy in Exeter – but like all of Devon, you don’t need to drive far to find some spectacular nature.
Pros of staying in Exmouth
- there are many hotel options
- lots of culture, restaurants, etc
- it’s not far from Devon’s beautiful nature
- it’s close to other counties
Cons of staying in Exeter
- it’s not right in nature
- it’s not by the beach
Where to stay in Exeter
Budget Hotel: Holiday Inn Express is one of the cheapest places to stay in Exeter, and is reported for having high cleanliness standards in their communal areas and trendy rooms. The hotel is right in the middle of the city centre. Click here for rates and to reserve your room.
Mid-Range Hotel: Townhouse Exeter has charming rooms in a boutique style, all with a flat-screen TV, tea and coffee maker, and an en-suite bathroom. A delicious breakfast is included in all room rates, and it is located just a five minute walk from the city centre. Click here for rates and to reserve your stay.
Luxury Hotel: Set in a beautiful historic building, Exeter’s Hotel du Vin has beautiful rooms with modern touches, including monsoon showers and flat-screen TVs. The building has a fitness centre, pool, spa, bar, restaurant and library – all you need! Click here for rates and to reserve your stay.
Woolacombe Bay is one of the most popular destinations in North Devon and in all of South West England!
With beautiful sandy beaches, it’s a place of immense natural beauty.
So you can hike from the beach and take in the best coastal views from the South West Coast Path.
It’s also a prime surf destination, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants in the holiday town.
Things to do in Woolacombe
- see the beautiful beaches
- hike on the South West Coast Path to Croyde Bay or Ilfracombe
- walk around Morte Point
- visit the shipwreck museum in Mortehoe
- enjoy the dynamic food scene of the town
Pros of Woolacombe holidays
- it’s one of the most beautiful seaside towns in Devon with amazing sunsets
- it’s a fantastic place for surfing
- it has a fun holiday atmosphere
- it has great hiking opportunities with fabulous views
Cons of staying in Woolacombe
- it can be very busy, especially during the summer months
- it can also be more expensive
- there are quieter beaches
Where to stay in Woolacombe
Luxury Hotel: Watersmeet Hotel this one of the most deluxe Woolacombe hotels. The bedrooms and bathrooms are very well-appointed, with excellent features like huge windows with ocean views and roll-top baths. Click here for more information.
North Devon’s largest town, Barnstaple is an ancient market town with a Norman castle. It’s a pleasant place to spend a day or so but is also a great base for the North Devon region.
Located close to Exmoor National Park and some beautiful north Devon beauty spots such as Saunton and Woolacombe, Barnstaple is in a great position to enjoy this area of the county, while also being close to restaurants and amenities.
Things to do in Barnstaple
- walk or cycle down the Tarka Trail
- see the long bridge of Barnstaple
- visit the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon
- visit the Barnstaple Pannier Market
Pros of Barnstaple holidays
- it’s a charming market town
- it’s close to national parks and coastline
Cons of staying in Barnstaple
- it’s not close to a city (don’t come here for the nightlife)
- it’s not right in nature like other places on this list
Where to stay in Barnstaple
Mid-Range Hotel: The Barnstaple Hotel is great value for money, with modern, luxury rooms with en-suite showers and comfortable beds at great value prices. There are large gardens on-site, as well as an outdoor pool and a gym. Click here for rates and to reserve.
Luxury Hotels: There are so many beautiful hotels in the North Devon area that are amazing for special stays. Check out The Park Hotel in Barnstaple, The Seagate in Appledore, and the Saunton Sands Hotel in Braunton for some examples!
Ilfracombe is a small but lovely beach town in North Devon.
It’s a charming place to visit to enjoy a few different beaches, the South West Coast Path and a fun holiday atmosphere.
Like other North Devon beach towns, it can be very busy in the summer months – but it is quieter than other destinations.
It’s also the jumping spot for the popular Lundy Island, an incredible island sitting in the Bristol Channel.
Things to do in Ilfracombe
- see the Verity statue by Damien Hirst
- take a day trip to Lundy Island
- enjoy Ilfracombe’s many beaches, like the famous Tunnels Beaches
- hike on the South West Coast Path
- try your hand at crazy golf
- check out the food scene of the town
- walk around Ilfracombe harbour
Pros of staying in Ilfracombe
- It can be cheaper than other destinations, especially offseason
- There are lots of beautiful spots around, especially on the South West Coast Path
- It’s in a good location to access Exmoor, Barnstaple, Woolacombe and other North Devon locations
Where to stay in Ilfracombe
Budget Hotel: The Avoncourt Lodge is a family-run B&B in Ilfracombe. Rooms include an en-suite with toiletries, the lodge is set in beautiful gardens and a delicious breakfast is rustled up every day. It is walking distance to nearby beaches and the South West coast path. Click here for more information and to reserve your spot.
Mid-Range Hotel: Royal Britannia Hotel is right on the beachfront and it has comfortable en-suite rooms and a delicious breakfast served daily. Some of the rooms have epic views over Ilfracombe harbour – the best in town! Click here to see up to date prices.
Dartmoor is a magical area in South West England.
One of the largest National Parks in the country, it’s full of beautiful hikes spanning over enigmatic moorland.
There are loads of things to do in Dartmoor, like exploring ancient woodland, passing through beautiful and historic towns, visiting historic National Trust properties, photographing stunning scenery and seeing beautiful gorges.
It’s the only area in England where you can legally go wild camping, but there are some other accommodation options available in the area.
Pros of staying on Dartmoor
- it’s ideal for hikers who want to explore stunning views on beautiful moorland
- there are lots of other adventure opportunities too
- plenty of beautiful villages offer lots of gorgeous accommodations
Cons of staying on Dartmoor
- it can be quite isolated from other parts of Devon
- it’s not by the coast, so you’ll need to drive a way to get to the sea
Places to stay on Dartmoor
Budget Option: Higher Larkworthy Farm is a short drive from Dartmoor, but it’s a fantastic place to stay in the area. ou get your own shepherd’s hut with a comfortable bed, kitchenette and bathroom, and you can use the fire pit. It’s in a beautiful rural setting. We stayed here and loved it – you can check out my review here!
Mid-range hotel: Castle Inn in Lydford is a charming pub with rooms and lavish features, especially in the deluxe bathrooms. There’s also a pub and restaurant downstairs. Click here to read more about it.
Luxury Hotel: Bovey Castle is set in gorgeous grounds, with lavish rooms with comfortable beds and luxury bathrooms. There’s a fine dining restaurant on site. Click here to read more about this beautiful hotel.
Exmoor is Devon’s other national park.
it encompasses moorland and coast, with stunning views from the vast clifftops and rolling hills.
The national park has beautiful scenery and is the perfect spot for a rural break.
Exmoor is quieter than Dartmoor, so it’s great for people who want more of a rural break. However, there is less accommodation on offer.
Things to do in Exmoor
- Hike on the South West Coast Path
- Explore the beautiful beaches of places like Combe Martin
- See the charming towns of Lynmouth and Lynton
- Hike in the Valley of Rocks
- See the attractions of Minehead
- Explore the delightful village of Porlock
- Hike through desolate moorland
Pros of staying on Exmoor
- it’s a beautiful moorland with plenty of hikes
- there are fabulous views from plenty of vantage points throughout the park
- charming villages dot around the park
- There are beautiful beach towns like Lynmouth and Combe Martin
Cons of staying on Exmoor
- it’s quiet and towns are very small
- the roads aren’t great for driving around
- there isn’t much public transport
Hotels in Exmoor
Budget Hotel: Myrtle Cottage is a beautiful Porlock B&B based in set in a historic thatched-roof cottage. It has cosy rooms and serves a delicious breakfast every morning. Click here to read up to date prices.
Mid-Range Hotel: The Bath Hotel is based in Lynmouth and has airy, bright, sophisticated rooms. It serves a delicious breakfast each morning and there’s a bar on site. Click here to see up to date prices.
Luxury Hotel: The Seawood Hotel in Lynton has bright and luxurious rooms, some with jacuzzis outdoors. The hotels is set in majestic grounds and there’s a bar on site. Click here to read more about it.
Salcombe is in the South Hams area of Devon. It’s one of the most beautiful seaside resorts with blue waters and intriguing smuggling history.
Activities like the Salcombe Maritime Museum and the Dartmouth Steam Railway nod to the heritage of this area and other fun activities like the South Devon Chilli Farm and the Salcombe Distilling Co are frequented by tourists.
Those who prefer outdoor activities can enjoy surfing, hiking, kayaking or paddleboarding. Or of course, you can relax on the beach!
Salcombe is close to Plymouth and Dartmoor National Park, so it’s a great place to stay for those who want to be out of the city but still be able to access it – and only be a short drive away from nature.
Pros of staying in Salcombe Devon
- it’s a lovely tourist town
- close to Plymouth and Dartmoor for day trips
Cons of staying in Salcombe Devon
- it is one of the smallest coastal resorts in Devon, so hotels can be a bit on the pricey side
- it doesn’t have any public transport links
- the roads to get here are a little hair-raising!
Where to stay in Salcombe
Budget Hotel: Burton Farmhouse B&B is a cosy guesthouse just outside of Salcombe town. Home to an adjoining restaurant and bar, the B&B is set in a gorgeous rural location. Rooms are cosy and charming, with patterned duvets and plush furniture. Click here for rates.
Luxury Hotel: The beautiful Salcombe Harbour Hotel has bedrooms awash with natural light and an on-site spa with five different treatment rooms. Some rooms have estuary views and balconies. Click here for rates and to reserve your stay.
Totnes is a beautiful historic town with tonnes of fascinating stories.
From the beautiful ancient castle to the beautiful nature on the River Dart, you’ll love walking around this gorgeous market town.
There are lots of beautiful shops and restaurants in the centre of town too.
There’s also a growing quirky art scene in the town.
Things to do in Totnes
- Visit the English Heritage owned Totnes Castle
- Walk through the charming old town
- Go shopping at the many independent stores
- Try some of the best local food at its restuarants
- Explore beautiful spots along the River Dart
Pros of staying in Totnes
- It’s brimming with history
- there are lots of things to do in the town
- It’s in close location to Dartmouth, for people who want a seaside break
- It’s also close to both Exeter and Plymouth
- it has good public transport links
Cons of staying in Totnes
- it’s not right by the beach, although it’s just a short journey away
- it doesn’t have a huge range of accomodation options
- it’s not in the heart of nature like other destinations
Where to stay in Totnes
Budget hotel: The Old Forge is located in a 600-year-old building and has cosy rooms. It serves up a great breakfast each morning and there’s a walled garden and conservatory. Click here to read more about it.
Luxury Hotel: Dartington Hall is a lavish place to stay that’s just a short drive from Totnes. Rooms are decorated stylishly, with comfortable beds and luxury linen. Dartington Hall is a historic property with a Medieval courtyard and charming gardens. Click here to read more about the hotel.
The Best Hotels in Devon
I hope this list of places to stay in Devon has helped you when planning your trip here!