Unusual things to do in Devon

Devon is a great place to take a well-earned holiday, but families can sometimes become a bit bored with going to the usual tourist places. Fortunately, Devon offers plenty of days out for families who fancy something a little bit different.

Slapton Sands

Slapton Sands offers an opportunity to educate the children about a tragic episode of the Second World War. Visitors to a particular section of the beach at Slapton Sands will come across a decaying Sherman tank, placed on the sand as a memorial to the American soldiers who died in the ill-fated Operation Tiger. These soldiers were on a simple training exercise when they were suddenly ambushed and torpedoed by a German U-boat. This is a truly poignant reminder of the brutality of war, and would appeal to those families who have an interest in history, while the remainder of the beach offers a great place to relax and enjoy the view of the sea and cliffs. If you enjoy this slice of history, you can also find fun ways to learn about WW1 here.


This village will also appeal to history buffs. A hidden gem in famous Torquay, Cockington is a village frozen in time. There is the village’s manor house to walk around, horse-drawn carriages to take rides in, and a 1930s pub and restaurant to eat in. The area offers picturesque walks and a world-famous forge. Great for a quiet day out.

Burgh Island

Those wanting a smugglers’ experience would do well to visit the famous Burgh Island. Home to a medieval pub, The Pilchard Inn, and with a pretty, ruined chapel on its summit, it offers plenty of great walks, as well as the chance to sample some of the monk community’s mead. Access to the island is provided in the form of a tractor, the platform of which is raised above sea level, and which crosses the short stretch of water. Also on this island is a perfect example of Art Deco architecture in the form of the Burgh Island Hotel. It has played host to many celebrities in its time, including Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie, and actually featured in an episode of Poirot.

Dartington Factory

Those wanting to enjoy something truly different should head for the factory experience at the Dartington Crystal centre. Dartington Crystal, famous for their work in glasses and decorative items, have a factory where visitors can watch the searing hot, molten crystal being transformed into shaped items, all from a specially elevated viewing platform. Visitors can buy a piece of crystal and have it engraved by a master engraver as they watch, and get involved with hands-on activities, including having a glass cast made of either their hand or foot, as well as glass painting. This experience both educates children as to how crystal is made and keeps them entertained.

Galmpton Creek

This is another of those pretty villages that Devon seems to have no shortage of. Amenities are few, but the area does offer a chance for families to go horse riding and take a motorboat along the river. Galmpton offers another Agatha Christie connection for enthusiasts, being the place where she lived for much of her life, and the gardens of her home, Greenway, are open to the public on certain days.