Devon draws families with its magnificent beaches, Dartmoor, Exmoor, craggy coves and splendid cream teas. Cornwall, too, boasts the finest of coastlines – with 300 miles of dunes and cliffs – a proud artistic heritage and pasties that inspire great devotion.
Which is the right destination for your family?
Are you more of a Jurassic Coast aficionado? Or do you prefer a bit of Minack-shaped theatre by your sea? You may want to consider our lists of the best family activities in Devon and Cornwall.
Devon invented Cream Tea
Britain has always had a fond love affair with Tea and while you may have heard many rumours regarding the origin of Cream Tea, the evidence suggests it was invented in Devon. When historians were piecing together fragments of manuscripts in Devon, they uncovered hard evidence that Cream Tea started at Tavistock’s Benedictine Abbey, over 1,000 years ago, when monks fed workers a combination of bread, clotted cream and strawberry jam.
Jack Russell first bred in Dartmouth
This small dog was first bred in Dartmouth by a cleric, John Russell. John was born in 1795 and intended for the breed to be a hunting dog – today, more than 200 years later, this small breed of dog is much loved across the UK.
Oldest working gin distillery in Plymouth
Plymouth Gin is the oldest gin distillery in the world that still operates in its original location. Established in 1793, the distillery is the only gin distillery currently operating in Plymouth and is located in what was once a Dominican Order Monastery built in 1431.
Best things to do in Cornwall
Two giant biomes that look like oversized footballs, but actually contain a paradise of plants and the world’s largest indoor rainforest.
The Eden Project is one of those ultra-famous tourist attractions that’s actually well-worth going to because it’s as good as they say it is (possibly better). The two main areas are the Rainforest and Mediterranean biomes, and they’ve also got huge outdoor gardens to explore too. Just don’t eat any apples or get chatting to a snake.
Award-winning, beachside branch of Tate capitalising on the Cornish town’s history as a hangout for artists. Really, really good artists .
Tate St Ives just won the 2018 Museum of the Year award – and it sure deserves it. This westerly outpost of Tate is something special, because it’s simultaneously local and global. It was the unique quality of light that dragged generations of artists to St Ives, and visitors to the gallery can admire it pouring through the glass-front of this stunning building.
A two-day tour of Cornwall taking in Tintagel Castle, the moors and generally getting you acquainted with the area’s famous ancient monarch.
Long before tourists starting coming to Cornwall for surfing and cream teas, this far reach of England was the focal point of the King Arthur legends. The stories told about those times are literally part of the landscape, whether that’s Merlin’s cave or Tintagel castle.