18th January 2018
View our top 10 places to visit locally
North Devon is a glorious place to visit all year round, we may be biased but we truly believe there is something for everyone here in our corner of the world. Take a look at our ten reasons to visit for inspiration:
1. Unesco Biosphere Reserve
Right on the doorstep of the hotel is a wide expanse of rolling dunes and golden sands which are protected by UNESCO and a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Need we say more?
2. Flora and fauna
North Devon is home to a huge range of unspoiled habitats so keep your eyes open and you might spot grazing Exmoor ponies and red deer on Exmoor, puffins on Lundy Island, kingfishers, foxes, wild rabbits and even dolphins, not to mention the 500 species of tropical summer blooms and rare wild flowers found in the dunes.
3. Wide open spaces
Whether you want to run barefoot on miles of warm sand or wander across heather covered moorland, you can take your pick of wide open spaces. With a choice of sandy beaches, including our very own Saunton Sands as well as pebble strewn shores there are more than enough places to explore and feel far from the madding crowd even in the height of summer.
If getting in touch with our country’s rich history is what floats your boat you’ll want to visit National Trust’s Arlington Court, historic Hartland Abbey and the quirky museums at Barnstaple and Ilfracombe. Feeling artistic? There are a great selection of galleries in all of our towns and villages including The Burton at Bideford with exhibitions from internationally renowned artists such as Diane Arbus and Beatrix Potter lined up for 2018.
5. Local attractions
You are spoiled for choice when it comes to a family day out to remember, in fact it’s impossible to name all the options here but it’s hard to beat the Victorian Watermouth Castle packed full of unique treasures as well as theme park style rides, pony trekking or surfing on the beach, a truly Devonshire theme park experience at The Big Sheep or a visit to RHS Garden Rosemoor.
6. Towns and villages
We are surrounded by fascinating towns and villages just waiting to be explored. Take a trip back in time in the traditional fishing village of Clovelly with donkeys providing the only means of transport. Experience traditional seaside entertainment at the penny arcades in Westward Ho! the only place name which includes an exclamation mark in the UK.
7. South West Coast Path
This path is 630 miles long and winds around some of the most stunning coastline in the country. It just happens to pass right by the hotel and is the perfect way to get to know the area, passing by secret spots that cannot be seen from a road or the confines of your car.
8. Tarka Trail
Named for the classic novel written by Henry Williamson, the trail offers 32 miles of easy, traffic free pathway cutting through the North Devon countryside and follows the journey taken by the locally renowned Tarka the Otter. It is ideal for buggies and bikes can be hired at many points along the trail including Tarka Cycle Hire at Barnstaple Railway Station or Fremington Quay, both of which offer convenient places to park.
9. Local produce
We are a county famous for lush green grass and rolling hills which makes it the perfect place for grazing cows and producing delicious dairy treats. A wealth of wildflowers mean bees have plenty to feast on, producing distinctive and rich honey. The large stretches of coastline offer all the bounties of the sea, keep a special watch for local crab, lobster and shellfish. In fact North Devon is alive with artisanal producers passionately creating delicious things to eat and drink so be prepared to sample some delicious delicacies.
10. Dark skies reserve
Exmoor is a dark skies reserve which means that at night you will be privy to a jaw dropping display of celestial beauty. It is possible to see up to 3,000 stars with the naked eye on a clear night, compared with the average 200 visible in city environments.
We hope to welcome you to Saunton Sands Hotel soon!