Most of us think of breaks on the south-coast of England as summer affairs, but I think there’s a lot to be said for heading down to Devon in the winter. You see, there’s a great selection of activities to try and places to visit that’ll mean you can have a brilliant time no matter what the weather’s like.
Before I tell you about some of the top things to add to your itinerary, I’d just like to point out that choosing the right accommodation is crucial to the success of a winter holiday. You need to find somewhere nice and homely, where you can feel cosy and warm when the wind is howling and the rain is hammering on the windows.
Personally, I don’t find hotels that cosy; holiday cottages, on the other hand, are absolutely perfect – especially considering you’ll have everything you need to keep you in constant supply of hot drinks while curling up on the sofa. Sykes Cottages is a good website to take a look at if you want to get an idea of what’s available.
Visit Kents Cavern
The perfect choice for a rainy day, Kents Cavern is open all year round and will certainly keep you out of the wet! Head over to Torquay to explore this network of Stone Age caves, which is one of the most impressive and well reputed in Europe.
Stepping inside, you’ll be able to learn all about what life was like here some 10,000 years ago. As you’re led through the labyrinthine caves you can find out some interesting facts about more recent heritage, too; for example, these caves provided the inspiration behind Hampsley Cavern, which was used by Agatha Christie in her novel The Main in the Brown Suit.
Standard tours last around an hour, while it’s also worth checking out if any special events will be running during your stay, because the caves are often used as a stage for theatrical performances and more.
Get active at Plymouth Life Centre
Sometimes all you want to do is be a little active, but the wind and rain have other ideas. Fortunately, you don’t need to be outdoors to work off some energy if you head to
the brilliant Plymouth Life Centre, a colossal sports complex that gives you the chance to do everything from swimming and playing squash to climbing and dancing.
In my opinion, one of the biggest attractions for us holidaymakers is the beach area and bubble pool, where you can enjoy all the advantages of a sunny day on the coast despite it being cold and wintry outside. Another good place to relax is the calming oasis complete with steam rooms and sauna, while there’s also an onsite cafe where you can indulge in a few tasty treats.
Admire the scenery on Lynton and Barnstaple Steam Railway
If you want to experience the golden age of rail travel – or just see some spectacular scenery – make sure you take a trip on the Lynton and Barnstaple Steam Railway. Head to Woody Bay Station and you’ll find that 1 mile of this historic route has been preserved – and it just so happens that this will take you through some absolutely stunning landscapes.
The charm of doing this in winter is that the scenery will be all the more dramatic. Plus, the railway often runs special events in December – things that’ll help you get into the festive spirit, such as mince pie trips.