Houses, Gardens, Museums And Places To Visit In North Devon

North Devon has amongst its rolling countryside some memorable holiday tourist attractions for those interested in culture, gardening, history or the natural world.

Gardens And Houses Open To The Public

Arlington Court. This National Trust owned house and estate boasts Devon’s largest colony of Lesser Horseshoe Bats. It also has one of the best collections of 19th Century horse drawn vehicles in the country and some wonderful gardens and walks.

Marwood Hill Gardens. These splendid tranquil gardens are only a short drive from Lower Hearson Farm and well worth a visit. With colour all year round there is so much to see in any season. Award winning tea room and a small garden nursery to buy some favourite plants to take home, it is a great day out.

RHS Rosemoor. A well known RHS garden, often featured on Gardener’s World. It is nestled in a beautiful valley just south of Torrington. 

Castle Hill Gardens. This privately owned estate is the home of the Fortescue family. The gardens are open to the public and are only a 10 minute drive away from Lower Hearson Farm.

Chambercombe Manor is an 11th Century manor where Lady Jane Grey, the nine day Queen, stayed. It has a secret passage leading to a room that is said to be haunted by a shipwrecked noble woman.

Hartland Abbey. Hartland Point stands on the North-west tip of Devon. Hartland Abbey was founded in 1157 and is unique in that it survived the Dissolution Of The Monasteries for the longest, lasting until 1539 when HenryVIII gave it to the Sergeant of his wine cellar, William Abbot. William Abbot’s descendants still live there. Hartland was the home of the celebrated West Country Saint, St Nectan. Legend says that when two bandits beheaded him he carried his head under his arm and wherever any blood dropped a foxglove grew. On St Nectan’s Day foxgloves are still carried to church by the children of the parish.

A number of other outstanding formal gardens and houses are nearby including Tapeley Park, Docton Mill, Killerton (near Exeter) and Knightshayes Court (near Tiverton).

Every National Trust property in North Devon runs a timetable of activities, lunches and talks throughout the year. Details can be found on our National Trust Activities page.

Museums and Other Places Of Interest

Cobbaton Combat Collection – the largest private collection of military vehicles & wartime memorabilia in the South West only two miles away.
Bideford is on the River Torridge and was Britains’ third largest port in the 16th Century. Bideford is a major shopping centre with the Atlantic Village complex on it’s outskirts. The Burton Art Gallery & Museum has some of the best exhibitions & displays of craft work in North Devon.

Further up towards the mouth of the River Torridge, Instow is more sheltered with a fine stretch of smooth yellow sand. You can take the ferry to the 14th Century fishing village of Appledore on the western side of the estuary.

Lundy Island. Take a day trip from Bideford, Ilfracombe or Clovelly to Lundy Island a remote and atmospheric island off the North Devon coast. The Vikings named the island Lund-ey, meaning Puffin Island. Although Puffins are now an endangered species it is still possible to see them along with seals and other wildlife.

Quince Honey Farm near South Molton is Britains’ largest honey farm. Here you can see the complete story of honey production and beeswax.

Dulverton is the southern gateway to Exmoor and is an interesting stone village with specialist tea and food shops. The Exmoor National Park Visitors Centre houses a permanent exhibition of Devon life as it once was.

Dunster is a beautiful market town overlooked by its’ castle which is open to the public and well worth a visit. Dunster has featured in an episode of Poirot. The High Street contains a wealth of fascinating shops and restaurants. Dunster still has its own water mill and you can buy freshly stone ground flour and bread from the  shop in the High Street. Each Christmas time there is a candle lit procession through the high street which is quite magical.

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