Things to do in Devon

Activities, attractions and things to do in Devon organised and arranged for maximum enjoyment by tour guide and Devon expert Alex Graeme.

The Devon Photography Workshop Tour

Photography tutorial tour Liquid GoldPhotography tour bluebell patchPhotography tuition tour highland cattlePhoto tour Loam Castle beach

For those with a keen interest in photography this tour provides an excellent opportunity to indulge in your passion, and explore the very best locations and landscapes Devon has to offer. Mark, your expert Unique Devon Tours guide, is also a skilled and professional photographer. He will adapt the day to suit your level and experience  See more

The Mayflower Tour of Devon

Boat River DartPlymouth Barbican 1829Plymouth Mayflower Steps 1620River Dart Dartmouth

Devon, the final departure point for those courageous Pilgrims nearly 400 years ago! On this tour we will follow the path of the Pilgrim Fathers as they prepared to set sail on their historic voyage to America in 1620.

We start the day in Plymouth, from where the Mayflower set sail on its famous voyage  See more

The People of Devon Tour

Great Fulford DevonFrancis Fulford GuestsKen-Sheepdog-DartmoorMatt Sheepdog Dartmoor

On this tour you will get a remarkable and unique opportunity to experience the true diversity of Devon life by meeting two of our great local characters.  From the extreme contrast of  See more

The Jurassic Coast Tour

Boat on Branscombe BeachBranscombe CottagesFossils Charmouth JurassicSidmouth-Jurassic-Coast

This tour takes us on a journey back through various geological time zones, as we explore the UNESCO World Heritage site that is the Jurassic Coast.

This 95 mile stretch of coastline is hugely important in that within the sedimentary rock that’s exposed in the cliffs, the history of Earth is revealed across 185 million years, forming a near complete record of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods  See more

The Hound of the Baskervilles Tour

Hound of the Baskervilles tour photo

Unique Devon Tours has created the definitive The Hound Of The Baskervilles Tour, one that will leave guests spellbound.  From avid Baskerville fans, Doylians and Sherlockians to those that just enjoyed reading the book at school, this tour gives everyone a unique opportunity to experience the best possible Hound Of The Baskervilles day out.  See more

The Agatha Christie Full Day Tour

agatha christie tour - original photoPavillion Theatre, agatha christieagatha-christie tour - agatha christie Greenwayagatha christie tour - original photo

This tour offers you a fabulous day out, allowing you to follow in the footsteps of Agatha Christie. It includes many locations from Agatha’s childhood, such as the beaches of Torquay, where she spent a great deal of her spare time, and locations from her early adulthood, including the pier, the Pavilion and several other places. Later in the day a visit to Greenway is in order, Agatha’s beautiful holiday home, and naturally the day ends with a traditional Devonshire cream tea!  See more

The Best of Devon Tour

View from near Ansteys Cove TorquayPostbridge DartmoorDevon CoastlineCombestone tor

Featuring two of Devon’s most beautiful areas, this tour is perfect for anyone with limited time in the area, since it gives guests a great overview of two of Devon’s most beautiful areas, Dartmoor and the South Devon coast, in just one day. It also gives people a taste of just how varied the county is, from the rugged hilltops of Dartmoor National Park, with its atmosphere of foreboding, legend and history, to the dramatic beauty, lovely beaches and charming towns of the South Devon coastline.  See more

The Food and Drink of Devon Tour

Plymouth Gin TourGood food at Riverford Organic FarmSharpham Wine and Cheese TastingFood and drink tour of Devon - Cheers!

International visitors to Devon are often very surprised at the excellence of food and drink that is on offer here, far surpassing their expectations of English food. A few years ago, local people realised that the produce coming off our hills and out of the sea was second to none in terms of quality, and now we have a very diverse collection of local producers and growers, as well as the top quality chefs that can then turn this produce into wonderful tasting food.

So a tour that celebrates this wonderful produce seems to be very appropriate, and Unique Devon Tours has put together a fabulous day out, which can be tailored to suit you. The day includes visits to a variety of local producers and food and drink related experiences. Guests can choose from the following:  See more

The Ghosts, Myths and Legends of Devon Tour

Ghost tours Holy Trinity ChurchGhost tours Jay's GraveGhost tours Berry Pommeroy CastleGhost tours Combestone tor

Devon is truly a place of history, myth and legend. From one end to another, there are countless tales of hauntings, often based on folklore, often based on fact. This tour gives guests the opportunity to learn about some of these stories, and to see the evocative places in which they are based. We visit the ruin of a 15th Century castle, an 800 year old inn, a church with a difference, before heading up to Dartmoor to hear about some of this National Park’s most iconic and spooky tales!  See more

The Historic Buildings of Devon Tour

Historic Buckland AbbeyHistoric Berry Pommeroy CastleHistoric Great FulfordHistoric buildings - Agatha Christie's Greenway House

This enticing tour gives guests a wonderful insight into some of Devon’s most impressive and historical buildings. But rather than being a dull day full of nothing but facts, this day is actually intriguing and memorable, and gives guests the chance to have some fairly unique experiences.

Guests get to pick from a selection of places to visit, and the guarantee is that each one of these places has its own story to tell! It is definitely feasible to visit two such properties in one day, or possibly three, depending upon which ones are chosen, and guests will certainly be advised about a good running order for the day. Properties to choose from include Exeter Cathedral, Powderham Castle, Buckfast Abbey, Great Fulford, Buckland Abbey, Berry Pomeroy, Coombe Trenchard, Fursdon House, Tiverton Castle and more.  See more

The Walking in Devon Tour

Walking on the South Devon CoastWalkers on DartmoorWalking in DevonWalking tours in Devon

It is said that a person can walk every day for a year in Devon, and they will never have to walk the same path twice. There is such a huge array of footpaths, across so many different types of landscape, that it is no surprise that visitors have been coming to Devon for many decades with the sole intention of walking.  See more

Genealogy Tours of Devon and the United Kingdom

Over the years my interest in family history has increased as I’ve become more aware of my own heritage.  I’ve done my own studies into my family history, and made many trips to the places of my forebears, particularly in Scotland from where my father’s family originated.  I have even published a book about one of the properties that our family lived in for 155 years (which I am happy to show to guests on their tour, as well as sharing some of the fascinating stories and characters that occur from my family’s past).

Graeme Genealogy

My family’s coat of arms, the Witch’s Ring, and our old family home

So I consider myself very well placed to assist other people with their family history research, and when this is linked together with my excellent local knowledge, I can provide superb genealogy tours of Devon and beyond.  People spend many years collating their family history, using the wonders of the internet as their main tool of research.  They put together vast family trees, and sometimes get copies of the birth, marriage or death certificates of their ancestors.  So much time spent doing invaluable work towards constructing the enormous genealogical jigsaw puzzle of their forebears!  But there’s one thing missing, and that’s where I come in.

I will help you put ‘the colour’ (as described by one of my previous guests) into your family history.  I will take you to the towns and villages of your forebears.  I will show you the churches they worshipped in, the pubs they drank in, and sometimes we even manage to see the houses they once lived in.  Perhaps we can find their graves in the churchyard or cemetery, and just occasionally I am able to come up with something really special, as you can see in the ‘Reunion Monday’ chapter of my blog article (see here: An Unusually Good Week in the Life of a Devon Tour Guide)!

Churches and a Cemetery

Church at Ashton, Exeter Cathedral’s ceiling, and Barnstaple Cemetery

Your job is to give me the information you have so far, namely your family tree with the detail that you’ve gathered.  My job is to put together one day, or a series of days, where we bring your family tree to life, suddenly bringing it off the computer screen and into reality!  I offer different levels of service, which you can read about here: Family History Tours.

So please get in touch and we can discuss your family history and just how I can add the colour to your visit to give you memories for life.

 

Some comments and images from previous guests that I have done genealogy tours for:

Kay’s review after her family history tour with Unique Devon Tours:

Guide Alex is organized, patient, knowledgeable, prepared, and unfailingly kind. He was helpful in all requests, and went over and beyond what a visitor would expect. His knowledge of Devon and beyond is deep and affectionate. Our family group enjoyed his company and learned so much about local lore, Great Britain, ancient history, good pubs, and motorways that we will ever be in his debt.

& Desmond’s (Kay’s son) words:

On a recent vacation to Devon with family, Alex from the first moment he met us at the airport till the parting goodbye was a great guide and person – helpful in all things, positive attitude and very knowledgeable about all of Devon, from Dartmoor to local pubs . He is hands down the best guide I have ever had.

Kay's family history tour

Kay’s family at an ancestor’s grave, at the Mayflower Steps, at a church near Manchester and at Chatsworth House

David’s review after his family history tour with Unique Devon Tours:

After six decades as a Canadian (with roots in Devon) on my first visit to Europe, I found myself anxiously searching for a way to “experience” some of what I had only heard and read about Dartmoor.  Quite by chance, I found myself in contact with a guide named Alex. He arranged and discussed a tour plan (that proved flexible and responsive). He was prompt, courteous, refreshingly service oriented, and thoroughly charming.

His local knowledge, research, insights, and very special skills as a guide led us ultimately to the places and lives of my ancestors. His talent for listening and interest in my background was wonderful. Later, a summary of our day was emailed to me by Alex along with some special photographs.

The stories exchanged and places touched were fascinating and rendered the day profoundly memorable, as well as being the absolute highlight of my visit to Europe.

My experience on Dartmoor with Alex as my guide was, in a word, OVERWHELMING!

David on Dartmoor

David at Postbridge, and outside Chagford post office, where his Great Grandmother once worked

Ann’s review after her family history tour with Unique Devon Tours:

Excellent driver, informative guide, caring person…Alex made our day in Devon more than we ever dreamed it could be. He exceeded our expectations with his knowledge and good nature, as well as his provision for our interests and our comfort. His love of the area is evident; we found it to be an area that’s easy to love. We hope to have Alex guide us again in the future; next time it will be for more than one day!

& Vicki’s (Ann’s cousin) words:

My sister, cousin and I had the most delightful day in Devon with Alex! He was more like a pampering host than a tour guide! He was extremely knowledgeable, prepared specifically for our particular questions and interests (related to our ancestral roots), with a quick wit and easy going disposition. We saw and learned so much more than we expected. We also enjoyed a wonderful pub lunch and lovely afternoon tea and cake!! As good as it gets!! Thank you, Alex!!!

Ann with her cousins

 Vicki, Ann and Bena laughing in South Devon, and at Combestone Tor on Dartmoor

Gail’s review after her family history tour with Unique Devon Tours:

As a solo traveller wanting to combine family history, Devon scenes and a spot of twitching, engaging Alex Graeme of Unique Devon Tours to pull it all together was an efficient way to go about it and definitely well worth it. Alex did some preparatory research to locate family history places of interest, a local historian and a church warden, and altogether this enabled me to put customs and scenery to the names and dates of my family history story. We journeyed through many Devon lanes to scenic places and seashores where birdwatching was the theme but enjoying the scenery was the greatest success. There is nothing routine about Alex’s approach to a day; it is about listening to the interests of his client and moulding it accordingly. I would recommend this type of travel to anyone wanting a pleasant few days in Devon.

Gail's Story

Gail with a local historian, a church with family ties, and Gail outside an ancestral home

Please refer to Tripadvisor to read these reviews and more here – Tripadvisor reviews.  For more information about the different genealogy tours that I offer, please look here – genealogy tours of Devon – then get in contact to discuss your requirements.

Caves

We have two intriguing and highly contrasting cave systems to visit in Devon  See more

Walking

It is said that a person can walk every day for a year in Devon, and they will never have to walk the same path twice. There is such a huge array of footpaths, across so many different types of landscape, that it is no surprise that visitors have been coming to Devon for many decades with the sole intention of walking  See more

Ghosts, Myths and Legends

Devon is well known for its abundance of folk tales and ghost stories. All over the county there are stories to be told, some based on truth, some based on legend  See more

Cathedrals and Churches

One of the best ways to tread in the footsteps of history is to visit a church. Devon, with its profusion of villages and towns, has churches in abundance of all shapes, sizes and ages  See more

Fossil Hunting

The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is one of the most famous Jurassic locations in the world, yielding plenty of fossils for those that come collecting each year.  To enhance your visit, I can arrange a private guided tour with a fossil expert, which will not only educate you, but guarantee at least a few finds  See more

Wine and Winemaking

In England, vines have been grown and wine made since Roman times, and we now have over 400 working vineyards here. In spite of this, and the high-quality wine that is produced, England  See more

Historical Devon

Devon has a great sense of its own separate history. Throughout the centuries it was relatively isolated, with two long coastlines and comparatively short land boundaries, both ancient: Celtic Cornwall to the west and the rest of England to the east  See more

Boating and the Sea

Devon, with all its land based wonders, also offers fantastic opportunities for those happy to be afloat.  I can arrange for you to  See more

English Eccentricity

If you are looking for something that sums up England, and the quirkiness that either delights or infuriates other nations, then I can take you to some places visit where this eccentricity can be seen in action  See more

Fayres, Festivals, Fetes and Regattas

Devon is as well off as any county in England for traditional celebrations, with a huge selection of events taking place all the year round. In fact, it is often difficult to decide which particular one to go to, with so many taking place, often clashing with one another on the same day. But the variety of events is broad, so it is not difficult to find an event to suit any taste.  See more

The Age of Steam

You can revisit the grand old days of steam with a journey on one of Devon’s two steam railway lines.  Both offer the opportunity to ride through fabulous scenery whilst sitting in traditional Pullman coaches, or it might be possible for me to arrange for you to actually have a go at driving the train, given enough notice!  See more

Down to Earth Devon

This has to be one of the most popular categories for visitors to Devon to get a taste of, the unassuming side of life that has been going on for what sometimes seems like centuries  See more

Cycling

From gentle canal paths, to tough Moorland tracks, Devon is ideal for any level of cyclist.  I have a contact who can organise a bicycle ride (as well as providing bikes) to suit  See more

Live Music

Devon has an endless stream of opportunities to experience all types of live music, from the humble jam session down at the local pub, to the big concert in the grounds of the nearby castle  See more

Scottish History and Intriguing Anecdotes

I would almost rather say nothing about this category so as to retain the surprise in store for you, but fortunately I can say a few things, just to give you a taste of what I have to offer if you are interested in finding out more  See more

Nature

The wildlife in Devon is rich and varied, both on land and in the sea.  With a great collection of different habitats and nature reserves, there is a diverse array of animals, plants and birds to try and spot  See more

Traditional Crafts

If you want to have a go at any number of different crafts – Devon is a good place for you to be based.  Woodcarving, pottery, sculpture, guitar making  See more

Notorious Crimes and Criminals

Devon is well known as a tourist destination, but its many historic towns and windswept cliffs have darker and more sinister stories to tell.  I can tell you more about the county’s connections with famous murder cases  See more

Antiques and Auctions

If you are interested in viewing antiques, and possibly purchasing something to take home from your travels, then I can take you to either a wide variety of antique shops, or arrange for you to attend an auction or two  See more

Shopping

As you would hope, there are many opportunities for shopping in Devon, in pleasant and interesting locations with some great shops, often offering you something a bit different  See more

Kayaking

With some of England’s most beautiful rivers and dramatic coastline, Devon offers a great opportunity for kayaking.  It is something I have  See more

Dartmoor

This world famous area was designated a National Park in 1951 for its outstanding natural beauty and the boundless opportunities it offers for informal recreation.  Partly  See more

Arts and Crafts

Devon has a long established art and craft tradition, producing some of the best designing in the country. Unique Devon Tours regularly visit a number of fairs. studios and galleries  See more

Music Instruction

If you have ever wanted to pick up a guitar and learn a few chords, or how to play a tune, then this is a great opportunity for you to do so in a comfortable and unpressurised manner  See more

Naval History

I’ve already referred to the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, where I can
organise a private guided tour for you of this old and fascinating building,
still active today.  I can also  See more

Country Pubs and Inns

I have always enjoyed the fact that I live amongst some of the best pubs in the world, serving up fabulous, home cooked and locally sourced food and a tasty array of drinks. Hence I have made it my business to seek out some of the very best to take my guests to, ensuring consistently good food and the best hospitality. Here are just a handful of my favourites  See more

Horse Riding

Horse riding is one of the best, most natural ways to discover the
joys of Dartmoor.  Whether an experienced
rider or complete beginner, I can organise for you to get into the heart of
this evocative National Park  See more

Spa Treatments

Don’t forget, you are on holiday, and you deserve to relax and have some time where you do very little other than be pampered.  I can arrange an array of holistic and luxurious  See more

Golf

We have a wide variety of golf courses in Devon
(I have played on a few), and I will gladly arrange for you to have a taste of
one or more of them.  From seafront
courses with  See more

Coastal Walking

People have been walking the South West coastal path for many years – I even used to work with a lady who made it her business over a great number of weekends to walk the entire path, all 630 miles of it!  See more

The Eden Project

Home to the world’s largest rainforest in captivity, with steamy jungles and waterfalls, a rainforest lookout that takes you above the treetops, and plants collected from across the continents, the Eden Project is truly spectacular.  See more

Flying

What better way to see the most beautiful countryside and spectacular coastal parts of Devon than by air.  See more

Fishing

the sea and coastline around Devon offers an abundance of different species and some of the best coastal fishing in the Great Britain.   See more

Performing Arts

We have our own fair share of excellent performing arts in Devon, with both local and travelling artists bringing many different varieties of performance to a diverse range of venues.  See more

Ultimate Dartmoor Tour Experience

Dartmoor tour - Cairn at HambledownDartmoor tour - Dartmoor PrisonDartmoor tour - Haytor RockRiver Dart, Dartmoor

This is a wonderfully varied tour that encompasses so much of what Dartmoor is about, including myths and legends, bronze age settlements, beautiful views, country inns, desolate moorland and cream teas! Carefully selected photo stops and short walks to hidden views not seen from the road leave memorable impressions of some of the most stunning scenery in the United Kingdom!  See more

Devon Family Genealogy Tour

This is a fantastic and unique opportunity for you to truly bring your family history to life. You may have spent months or years researching your family tree, but you’ve done it all from a chair, using your computer. Well, here is your chance to actually get to see the places where your ancestors were born, lived, worked, went to Church, and died.

Using my local knowledge of the area, my knowledge of how to access relevant information locally and off the net, and my experience in extensively researching my own genealogy, I can put together a great day out where we visit the area in Devon that your family came from. We can visit the beautiful countryside, towns and villages of your forebears, and go inside the churches that they once attended services in. Possibly we can find their headstones, and go to lunch in the pub they once ate in. I can help to put the colour into your family history, and we can certainly include plenty of time for photo stops.

 See more

The Royal Naval and Devon Coastal History Tour

Royal Naval College tourTorcross and Slapton SandsDevon Coastal Tour - Memorial Tank TorcrossDevon Coastal Tour - River Dart

This special and unique one day tour will give you a fantastic insight into the history rich area of South Devon. It can be tailored somewhat to suit your interests, but one thing is for sure, you will gain a great deal of fascinating knowledge during this day. Dartmouth is a town of great seafaring history, with the 12th century Crusades setting out from here. You will have time to get a feel for this beautifully located place, and your tour at the Naval College will only enhance your knowledge of naval and royal history.  See more

The Fossil Hunting and Llama Walking Day

Fossils at Lyme Regis - a Devon attractionFossil hunting at Charmouth beach - a Devon attraction.Llama walking toursgroup of llamas from Devon

This day out gives my guests the opportunity to combine two intriguing and quite different activities into just a few hours, and is one that will live long in the memory.  I will collect you at 9am, after you’ve had breakfast.  We will then head to Dorset, the county next to Devon, to the town of Charmouth (part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Jurassic Coast) where I will introduce you to fossil hunting and the geology of this coastline.  We will wander along the beautifully scenic beach, searching along the seashore to discover the delights that can be found right under your feet, and I guarantee you won’t come away empty handed!  Afterwards there will be time to pop into the visitor centre, where there are some incredible finds to be seen, as well as opportunities to buy some truly amazing fossils.

 See more

The Excellent Exeter Day Tour

Exeter Cathedral Devon attractionRoyal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter Devon attraction.Gandy Street in ExeterInside Exeter Museum Devon attraction

I will collect you at 9am, after you’ve had breakfast.  After driving to Exeter, we will head to the magnificent medieval Cathedral where you will take part in a private guided tour of the building, giving you a special insight into the history of this fabulous building.  This will be followed by lunch in a cafe, restaurant or pub of your choice, with a little local guidance from me.  The best locally sourced food is available in abundance in Exeter, from traditional Ploughmans to fresh fish and chips, you decide!  See more

The Anything You Want From Devon Day

Brixham Devon attractionBluebell Wood Devon attractionDevon sunriseBrixham Lighthouse Devon activity

Devon is probably the most versatile county in the United Kingdom, and although popular with tourists as a destination, it is amazing how few people, including locals, understand just how much there is to see and do here.  I’ve come up with over forty categories of interest, in which there are many choices of place to go, things to do, people to meet, and experiences to try.  We can link two, three or more things together to make a great combination for your day out.  We can include wonderful places to eat and drink, giving you the chance to sample some of Devon’s increasingly fabulous food, that is now getting spoken about on an international level.  You can meet fascinating people that are part of the spirit of Devon, and hear tales aplenty, some which are true, some which are myth.  See more

Visit Cornwall, Dorset or Somerset for the Day

Wells Cathedral SomersetRoman BathsLooe Harbour CornwallLost Gardens of Heligan Cornwall

Whilst  Devon is my home county, and I think the county that offers the most opportunities to the traveller in the whole of the United Kingdom, I can’t deny the uniqueness of the counties that surround it, and as a result have visited Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset many times myself for day trips and longer holidays.  In Cornwall we have wonderful coastline, enchanting fishing villages (including Doc Martin’s Port Isaac!) and beautiful gardens of Worldwide renown, as well as, of course, the Eden Project.  In Dorset we have the Jurassic Coast with its extraordinary geology and wealth of fossils, as well as incredible natural beauty and unspoilt towns.  In Somerset we have the ancient spa town of Bath, the magnificent Wells Cathedral, and one of my favourite places, Glastonbury, which has a truly unique feel.  See more