The Great Hamilton Garage Road Trip
Devon is a wonderful county. We’ve got the Jurassic coast, national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty… it’s hard not to love it. So we’ve come up with a road trip itinerary around a little bit of it that we think you’ll enjoy. You might get to see a bit of Devon that you’ve never seen before!
It’s up to you how you break up our itinerary. You could do it over a weekend and stay in places across Devon, or you could add it in to your summer holiday list of things to do with the kids – your choice.
Image – Reading Tom on Flickr
We’re starting in Sidmouth. Why? Because that’s where our garage is, of course!
And a trip around Devon is nothing without a trip to the beach. Hopefully it’s a nice day, then you can relax and enjoy a cup of coffee and elevenses looking out over the English Channel. If it’s not so nice, retreat to a tea room. We like the Clock Tower Café (because they serve massive slices of cake!)
Then, we’d recommend a trip to The Donkey Sanctuary. They have lots of donkeys on a working farm, so they’re open every single day of the year. There’s a maze and an outdoor play area, making it perfect for kids. If you missed the Clock Tower Café at the beach, then there’s a café you can eat something scrummy at too.
Depending on your route there, you might even pass us. Wave as you go past – or better yet, pop in and tell us that you’re doing our road trip!
Sidmouth to Exeter: 27 mins, 15 miles
With a fabulous Gothic cathedral, medieval and Georgian architecture and even Roman ruins, Exeter is steeped in history. We’d recommend diving in head first and visiting the cathedral first. Dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, it has the longest unbroken Gothic vaulting in the world, which makes for an incredible gilt ceiling. You can also see England’s largest collection of 14th century sculpture, and head all the way up for a roof tour and look out over Devon.
From high points to low, the underground passages are equally as fascinating. Just down the road from the cathedral, the passages used to transport clean water from springs into the medieval city. Take the guided tour and learn all about it.
Exeter to Dartmoor: 24 mins, 17 miles
3. Bovey Tracey
Image – Jonathan Camp on Flickr
Known as the “Gateway to the Moor”, Bovey Tracey is a quaint market town on the edge of Dartmoor. Built out of cob and Dartmoor granite, it is the perfect base to explore the moor from. We’d recommend a walk on the moor and then back for a pub lunch or dinner (depending on how fast you’re getting through our itinerary!).
Dartmoor to Okehampton: 30 mins, 21 miles
4. Dragon Archery at Okehampton
Then, onto Okehampton. Drive through Dartmoor and enjoy some more of the stunning scenery that it has to offer. At Okehampton, there is a fantastic archery centre, called the Dragon Archery Centre, where you can shoot at orcs, dinosaurs and French knights. Even if you’ve never shot an arrow before, the staff will help you learn how – there’s a training section. If you’re a dab hand at archery, then you’ll be pleased with the range of bows to choose from, and the range of challenges and competitions to complete. It is extremely popular and often fully booked, so if you fancy it, then you’ll have to book quite far in advance.
Okehampton to Rosemoor: 29 mins, 20 miles
5. RHS Garden Rosemoor
Image – Kerry Garratt on Flickr
Enjoy the drive through the Devonshire countryside on the road to our next stop. If gardening is one of your passions, or simply enjoy nature, then Rosemoor Gardens at Great Torrington is not to be missed. Magnificent formal botanical gardens and woodland walks, there are lots of different plants, flowers and trees to discover, making it perfect for kids. They even have orchards, vegetable patches and herb gardens, which all gets put to good use in the restaurant.
Rosemoor to South Molton: 27 mins, 16 miles
6. South Molton
Once you’ve enjoyed the gardens at Rosemoor, it’s time for some more nature. The Quince Honey Farm is a family run attraction that offers a range of activities. With an indoor and outdoor play area for kids, interactive honey production rooms, daily talks and even bee beard shows, as well as other bugs and animals to learn about too, there’s lots to keep you busy. At the end, buy a pot of honey to enjoy too.
South Molton to Tiverton: 25 mins, 20 miles
Image – Sharon Garland on Flickr
On the road to Tiverton, you could head to Knightshayes. A grand, gothic estate with acres of parkland, formal and woodland gardens, it is well worth a visit. Built in the 19th century for a Tiverton MP, its style harkens back to something much older. The great hall has a medieval style and the grand staircase features engravings in Victorian and Edwardian styles.
Once in Tiverton, we’d highly recommend a boat tour. The Tiverton Canal Company is home to one of the last horse-drawn barges in the UK. You can take a trip along the canal aboard said barge, or you can hire your own. They also have a floating café with the Duck’s Ditty Bar, moored at Tiverton Wharf, serving coffee and light bites. Perfect for a little bit of relaxation before you head off on the last leg of the trip.
Tiverton to Honiton: 37 mins, 25 miles
End: Honiton – Market town
Honiton is famous for its lace. So much so, it’s got the royal stamp of approval. It was used in Queen Victoria’s wedding dress, and more recently lace from Honiton was used in Prince George’s christening gown. You can see the collection of Honiton lace at the Allhallows Museum.
If you’re feeling arty, visit the Thelma Hulbert Gallery at Elmfield House. An award winning public gallery, it offers a whole host of contemporary art and craft exhibitions.
Stop for an ice cream at the Honiton Dairy Ice Cream Shop and pat yourself on the back for a road trip well done.