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National Trust Devon: 10 Incredible Places To Visit

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From secret islands and dramatic coastlines to relaxing riverside strolls and even a castle, there are lots of incredible National Trust Devonshire places to visit.

Here’s our pick of the top ten places to visit with a handy map at the end to help you find your way!

Incredible National Trust Places in Devon

1. Lundy Island

Puffins on Lundy Island in Devon
Lundy Island is a haven for puffins

Found off the coast of Devon, and often nicknamed ‘North Devon’s Secret Island’, Lundy Island is an extra special place to visit as a National Trust member

There’s just one small village on the island, as well as ancient buildings and ruins, including a medieval castle, Georgian lighthouse and the remains of Bronze Age settlements. 

There’s also heaps of wildlife to see including puffins and seals (at the right time of year of course!)

Lundy is maintained by the Landmark Trust (on behalf of the National Trust) to ensure the island continues to be an unspoiled haven for nature lovers.

From March to October, you can catch a 2-hour ferry from North Devonshire towns like Ilfracombe and Bideford. While in the winter, you can book helicopter rides. 

Lundy Island is great to visit as a day trip from Devon or even as a weekend getaway.

Get more tips for visiting Lundy Island here.

2. Bideford Bay and Hartland

Bideford is a North Devonshire town, and all the beautiful unspoiled coastlines, beaches and countryside surrounding it are maintained by the National Trust.

While you won’t find sandy beaches here (they’re usually pebble beaches!), it’s a lovely area of Devon to explore for a weekend getaway or longer trip. I actually holidayed here with my mum many years ago and we spent an entire week exploring the area.

Alongside coastal walks, be sure to visit the pretty fishing village of Clovelly nearby (not a National Trust place) and perhaps even take a trip to Lundy Island (mentioned above).

Discover more things to do in this area here.

3. Lydford Gorge

Lydford Gorge White Lady Waterfall
The 100-foot high Whitelady Waterfall at Lydford Gorge

Lydford Gorge is on the edge of Dartmoor National Park and is one of our favourite National Trust places.

Here, you’ll find the 100-foot high Whitelady Waterfall and a charming 3-mile walk along the winding River Lyd.

Lydford Gorge is also thought to be where the ‘Robin Hood of Dartmoor’ and his violent outlaws called the Gubbins used to live during the 17th century. You can read all about this band of not-so-merry men here.

Click here for walking directions for the Lydford Gorge Waterfall Trail.

4. Heddon Valley

Coastal views from Heddon Valley, Devon
Beautiful coastal views can be seen from the hills above Heddon Valley

Heddon Valley is in North Devon within Exmoor National Park and is a superb place to come for walks and hikes and coastal views.

There’s also a hidden cove here called Heddon’s Mouth Beach, which can be reached via a gentle 1-mile walk.

If you want to take advantage of the dramatic ocean views along the coastal trails, then you’ll need to climb a steep, narrow path. 

Trust me, though, the views from up here are well worth this extra effort!

Here are the directions for the coastal walk mentioned above.

5. Watersmeet

Foxgloves near Watersmeet
Strolling through foxglove fields at Watersmeet

Watersmeet in North Devon is another beautiful National Trust place to visit – especially in the spring and summer months!

There are relaxing riverside strolls to enjoy here as well as woodland walks and fields of foxgloves.

Once you’ve had your escape into nature, head to the Watersmeet tearoom for some tea and cake. 

The tearoom sits near the meeting point of the East Lyn River and Hoar Oak Water, offering you a charming place to relax. The name ‘Watersmeet’ makes a lot more sense now, doesn’t it?

Click here to plan your visit to Watersmeet.

6. Knightshayes

A close up of the Gothic Revival architecture at Knightshayes

In the heart of Devon lies Knightshayes – a National Trust estate that’s just as charming as its name.

Here, you’ll find a Gothic Revival house set within pretty formal gardens and a sprawling estate, which are thought to be some of the finest gardens in the South West of England.

Even the Stable Block at Knightshayes is picturesque!

When strolling through the estate, you’ll come across over 1200 different species of plants and beautiful views across the Exe Valley.

Plan your visit to Knightshayes now.

7. Woolacombe

Woolacombe is a great place to sit and watch the waves roll in

Woolacombe is just one of many North Devonshire beaches that are beautiful, fun and bustling. 

Its large, clean sandy beach and spectacular coastlines are all thanks to the National Trust looking after this area for us!

Woolacombe is perfect for families and beach days, but it’s also popular with surfers and bodyboarders as the waves here are pretty decent. 

The beach is also dog friendly, although you’ll need to keep them on a lead.

Croyde Bay (not maintained by the National Trust) is also nearby, so there are plenty of fun-filled beach days to be had in this area.

Read more about Woolacombe here.

8. Baggy Point

Baggy Point in the distance looming over Croyde Bay

Baggy Point overlooks Croyde Bay (a pretty sandy beach) and offers some stunning views across the sea and surrounding countryside.

You can park close to Baggy Point and will only need to walk for a short way uphill before seeing incredible views – making it a great day out for young and old alike.

Afterwards, you can keep your car parked here and stroll down to Croyde Bay for some fun in the sun and ice creams on the beach. 

This will save you well over £5 in car parking fees – and is just one of many perks of being a National Trust member.

Read more about Baggy Point here.

9. Salcombe Hill

Salcombe Hill, Dorset
Views for days from the top of Salcombe Hill

Salcombe Hill is on the Jurassic Coast and overlooks the charming Regency seaside town of Sidmouth.

The National Trust looks after all of the beautiful countryside and coastal walks surrounding Sidmouth – and Salcombe Hill was a pleasant surprise when we visited.

From up here, you can look out across Sidmouth’s famous rust-coloured Triassic cliffs, walk along part of the South West Coast Path and even frolic through a wildflower meadow in the warm summer months.

Did we mention the views are incredible from up here?!

Click here to discover more things to do in this area.

10. Castle Drogo

A sneak peek of the stunning views waiting for you at Castle Drogo

Found in the northern part of Dartmoor National Park, Castle Drogo is a popular National Trust Devon property – and also one with an interesting story.

Built between 1910 and 1930, Castle Drogo is the last castle to be built in England but not for someone of royalty – just for the rather wealthy owner of Home and Colonial Stores, Julius Drewe and his family.

You can easily spend several hours exploring the 600-acre estate and landscaped gardens here. Look out for the hidden Bunty House that Drewe made for his youngest daughter!

Castle Drogo Secret Garden - Bunty House
The hidden Bunty House in Castle Drogo’s gardens

The castle itself has been undergoing vast renovation works for some years now to help make it watertight, so it’ll be the gardens you’ll come to see rather than the inside of the castle.

But when I visited a few years ago, you could go up a viewing platform to see out across the countryside, which was beautiful and well worth seeing if you can!

Find out more about Castle Drogo and the restoration works here.

National Trust Devon Map

Here’s a map to show where each of these National Trust places are in Devon:

National Trust Devon Map
(Click on the map to see a larger and more detailed version)

Discover More National Trust Places

If you liked this blog, check out our other National Trust blogs via the links below:

We hope you’ve found lots of National Trust Devonshire places to add to your wishlist! Which one(s) do you think you might like to visit first? And have we left any awesome places out? Let us know in the comments below…

Did you like this? Pin it now, visit these pretty National Trust places later!

National Trust Devon: 10 Incredible Places To Visit
National Trust Devon: 10 Incredible Places To Visit
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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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