Forget a British city break, head down to Devon

Visitors to the UK traditionally flock to London as the epitome of cosmopolitan England, but it would be a great idea to add some country delights to the experience, and a day or even a week in Devon is just the ticket.

Not the least of its appeal are attributes such as a relatively balmy climate, low population density and the invention of the Devonshire cream tea, but not necessarily in that order.

Devon borders on two coasts; the English Channel on the south and the Bristol Channel and Celtic Sea to the north, so beaches are in good supply. The southeast coast is probably the sunniest region in all of the UK, and often records the highest temperatures in the country during the summer. With all its natural beauty and additional man-made attractions, Devon beckons from the scenic shoreline to the vast moors, and has a lot to offer a visitor of any age or interest.

Families out for a day or a weekend holiday could hit the beach at Bigbury on Sea, with the largest sandy beach in South Devon, perfect for kids and everyone else. Whilst you’re there, be sure to take a walk (at low tide) or a tall-wheel tractor ride to Burgh Island, where you can get a fabulous clotted cream tea in the private hotel that was the setting for two of Agatha Christie’s thrillers.

Both of Devon’s coastlines offer a variety of water sports; if surfing in your pleasure, you can find a range from those suitable for beginners to the ones that will challenge the experts. Some of the best are at Saunton, Croyde and Challaborough, to name only a few. Wind-surfing, sailing, diving and other activities including the favourite – sun bathing – are just some of the seaside attractions. You will also find plenty of outstanding pubs and cafes, some with stunning sea views.

The Devon countryside is a whole other world of enjoyment, especially if your interests tend to be the more active pursuits of walking, cycling, rock-climbing, golfing, horse riding, fishing and exploring.

There are caves, castles, the great expanse of Dartmoor, quaint old villages and modern theme parks; it’s all a matter of preference, and there’s something different around every corner.

If you’re heading to the moors with the kids, check out the Dart River Adventure Park that has won numerous awards for its 90 acres of gorgeous parkland, top-notch campsites, river rafting, nature trails galore and adventure playground. For anyone who loves to walk, there are few more scenic walks in Britain than the myriad of trails in Devon; the claim is that you can walk every day for a year and never travel the same path twice.

The great thing is that once you’ve built up an appetite with all that exercise, there is likely to be a marvellous pub nearby, wherever you end up. Devon is also known for its wide array of excellent camping sites as well as accommodations ranging from farm-style bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels – which you’ll find mostly at the beach resorts. Again, it’s a matter of preference and there’s something for every taste and budget.

Plymouth is Devon’s largest city, with all the big-city comforts and entertainment you’d expect, but don’t miss the UK’s largest aquarium, the National Marine Aquarium, where the emphasis is on research, education and conservation. A visit to the Aquarium will take you from the waters of Plymouth Sound to the Great Barrier Reef and back again – a thrilling and enlightening trip for the whole family.