Devon is in the south-west of England and along with its neighboring county Cornwall to the west, a major vacation spot. Most of the wealth in this region comes from the tourist trade and can often be financially hit hard thanks to the hopelessly unreliable British summer.
Devon’s climate is dictated by the westerly winds that blow up from the Atlantic and by the Gulfstream ocean current which brings warm water up from the Gulf of Mexico, giving Devon and Cornwall winter temperatures that are on average a few degrees warmer than those counties in the east of the country. In fact it is for this reason that you will hardly ever see snow in this part of the world, even though it lies on the same latitude as Canada.
The administrative center of Devon is the roman city of Exeter. A point to note that in Europe, a city by definition has a cathedral. Exeter cathedral is not as impressive as those of Wells and Salisbury, but is well worth a visit if you happen to be in this area.
The other major city in Devon is Plymouth which has a long naval history and is most famously known for being the port where Sir Francis Drake sailed from in 1588 to defeat the Spanish Armada, after he had finished his game of bowls, and for being the place where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail in 1620 to the New World.
As a vacation spot Devon has something for most people. For walkers and backpackers, there is Dartmoor. This is a national park of roughly 368 square miles. It is characterized by its outcrops of granite known as tors and its Dartmoor ponies that roam around, together with the local sheep. Be careful if you are driving in the national park as these animals tend to wonder on the roads. However, there are plenty of stopping points and these animals are very tame and partial to children’s sandwiches!
If you are into sailing, there are plenty of opportunities. Dartmouth and Salcombe are the sailing towns of Devon and are bursting with shops that only sailing folks can afford.
On the north coast you will find a number of spectacular golden sandy beaches including Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Saunton Sands. The tide reach on these beaches is enormous. When the tide is fully out, prepare for a long walk to get your feet wet. Surfers should head to Croyde Bay. Its not as well known in the surf world as Fistral beach in Cornwall, but it is as equally as good.