East Devon is a fabulous piece of Devon, and stretches from the West Dorset border at Lyme Regis to just East of Exeter. The stunning Jurassic World Heritage Coast forms its most southerly boundary, and from there it stretches some 15 miles inland.
The area combines the best of coast and country, with fantastic landscapes and ‘seascapes’ aplenty. Towns and villages in East Devon include Sidmouth, Exmouth, Topsham, Beer, Branscombe, Ottery St. Mary, Honiton, Axminster and Colyton.
East Devon Towns and Villages – on the coast:
An elegant Regency town, Sidmouth is possibly the most genteel of East Devon’s seaside towns, yet fully comes to live when the sun comes out and beachgoers rush to one of Sidmouth’s two main beaches. Just away from the pretty Esplanade, Sidmouth’s town centre offers some great shopping opportunities, with a mixture of great locally owned businesses side by side with better known brands such as Fat Face and Moutain Warehouse. Every first week in August, Sidmouth hosts the weird and wonderful Sidmouth Folk Week.
Possibly East Devon’s most traditional seaside town, Exmouth boasts two miles of sandy beach, and, at Orcombe Point, is the gateway to the World Heritage Jurassic Coast. Exmouth is home to some great, award winning attractions, such as Stuart Line Cruises and the World of Country Life
A major advantage of Exmouth is that is accessible by train.
Seaton is undergoing somewhat of a revival, with some significant new developments helping it attract a growing number of visitors. Famous for its heritage tram railway, Seaton can be found at the centre of the East Devon Jurassic Coast, and benefits from a pretty, sheltered beach stretching miles
A picturesque fishing village where it almost seems as if time has stood still. A trip to East Devon isn’t complete until you’ve spent some time in Beer. From Beer you can enjoy stunning coastal walks, or simply watch the fishermen go about their daily routines from the pebbly beach. Beer beach is hugely photogenic, with its fishing boats, nets and buoys.
One of the most relaxing and picturesque villages on the East Devon’s Jurassic Coastline. Believed to be the longest village in the country, it sweeps down along a spectacular valley, past colourful cottages down to the sea. Branscombe makes a perfect base for coastal walks, not least thanks to its two great pubs, National Trust Tea Room, and beachside ‘Sea Shanty’ café.
A lovely and gentle seaside town, regarded by some as a smaller and quieter version of Sidmouth. Budleigh Salterton is home to an acclaimed Literary Festival each September. The pebbles.on Budleigh’s beach have a unique colouring and are protected by a special by-law (making the taking of pebbles off the beach a criminal offence!).
Once a major seaport, Topsham is East Devon’s Foodie paradise, with a large number of great places to eat and drink lining the main street, as well as the quayside. Some of Topsham’s architecture is clearly influenced by the Dutch seafarers who used the port for major import and export, building their houses with the distinct gables as they would have done back home.
Topsham’s smaller sister, Lympstone also benefits from being situated on the pretty Exe Estuary. With its narrow cobbled streets and pretty Inns and Restaurants, Lympstone is a popular destination for people seeking a cosy yet bustling maritime village. It is also a popular stop on the Exe Estuary cycle path which runs from Exmouth to Exeter.
East Devon Towns and Villages – in the country:
Traditionally best known for Axminster carpets, the town’s main attraction today is provided by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who owns the famous River Cottage just outside the town, as well as the River Cottage Canteen just off the Market Square.
Axminster can be reached by train, direct from London, Woking, Salisbury and Exeter.
Known as ‘Devon’s Most Rebellious Town’, Colyton occupies a very pretty position in the Axe Valley. Although seemingly little more than a village, it’s pretty and narrow streets and market square do give it a distinct town atmosphere. Colyton is linked to the coast at Seaton via a heritage tramway.
A lively market town, famous for Honiton lace and Honiton pottery. It is regarded by some as the antiques capital of the South West. It is also home to some great places to eat and drink!
Honiton can be reached by train, direct from London, Woking, Salisbury and Exeter.
With its glorious church and cluster of picturesque buildings, Ottery St. Mary has given literary inspiration to Coleridge, Thackeray – and JK Rowling! It is famous for its annual Tar Barrels event, held on 5 November each year.