For any discerning traveller and their friends, it’s obvious how much Devon has to offer as a holiday destination. With Dartmoor and Exmoor offering a superb (and rugged) environment for walking and other activities – not to mention some of the UK’s finest beaches on the south Devon coast – there’s plenty to do whether you feel like tackling the landscape head-on or are looking for slightly more sedate ways to spend your time. Don’t believe us? We’ve put together a list of some of best group activities for grown-ups in Devon to inspire you, and our equally inspiring luxury cottages in Devon make the ideal place for you and your friends to stay!
1. Traverse the coast with Reach Outdoors
Coasteering is one of the best ways to get to some of Devon’s more isolated shores. The Reach Outdoors team lead groups on active and exhilarating expeditions that will see you and your pals clambering around the rocks, wading into waves and jumping off outcrops into the sea. The best part about this guided trip is discovering Torbay’s hidden caves. If that all sounds a touch too terrifying for your tastes, opt for something a little more low-key instead. Reach Outdoors can also bring your posse on a kayak excursion, during which you’ll weave in and out of the coast’s various nooks and crannies. Or you can have a go at stand-up paddleboarding or spend a day on land, learning bushcraft and shelter building skills.
Location: The Seashore Centre, Tanners Road, Goodrington Sands, Paignton, tq4 6lp
Book: Call 01626 873625 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Ride a horse-drawn barge with Tiverton Canal Co.
Long before the days of barges with engines, long boats would be pulled along canals by working horses. Understandably, it’s a form of transport that has dwindled and all but died out in most parts of the world, which makes doing it all the more special. The picturesque route takes you up to an aqueduct where you can get out and meet the horse, who’ll be on a well-deserved break, before setting off on the return leg. It’s a relaxed, atmospheric way of journeying through rural Devon, and a world away from the clamour of modern life.
Location: The Wharf, Canal Hill, Tiverton, Devon ex16 4hx, United Kingdom
Book: Call 01884 253345
3. Blow glass at the Dartington Crystal
Craft enthusiasts will relish the chance to have a go at shaping and moulding glass in the Dartington Crystal factory. Start your day there by touring the building, where you can watch artisans skilfully create bowls and tumblers out of molten crystal; the visitor centre features audio-visual presentations that shed some light on these age-old traditions. You and your group can arrange to take part in one of the workshops, during which you can blow glass yourself and find out who among your groups shows promise and who would be better off putting down the glassblowing pipe for good.
Location: Dartington Crystal, Linden Close, Torrington, Devon, ex38 7an
Book: No Need to Book just Show up!
4. Escape to the countryside with Hot Pursuit Cycles
Cycling may just be the best way to explore the natural beauty of Devon; you can cover a lot more ground on two wheels than you can when hiking. Hot Pursuit Cycles are well-equipped with bikes that can handle the rolling hills and muddy tracks of the Devonshire landscapes. Better yet, the helpful employees can point you in the right direction, suggesting courses suited to your stamina – or lack thereof. Pedal through the hills to a country estate or to a nearby cheesemaking house. You can choose trails that lead you along coastal roads or more demanding journeys with steeper gradients. Grab a map, plan your route, and then leave for a day of unhindered exploration.
Location: Unit 6-7 Sandygate Business Park, Strap Lane, Kingsteignton, Newton Abbot, Devon, tq12 3xf
Book: Call 01803 865174
5. Enter the world of Agatha Christie with Greenway Ferry
The mastermind behind the tales of Poirot and Miss Marple, Agatha Christie was very much inspired by her home county of Devon, and you can still visit her old holiday house here. The best way to Greenway is on one of the vintage buses run by the eponymous ferry company. These old-fashioned rides could have come straight from the pages of a Christie story, and they’ll take you directly to Greenway House. This National Trust-owned country mansion was the holiday home of the crime writer and feels like the perfect setting for a murder mystery. Each room is filled with Christie-related ephemera and is designed to look much like it would have during the Queen of Crime’s stays here. The National Trust occasionally puts on Christie-themed events in this atmospheric location.
Location: 13 The Quay, Brixham tq5 0es
Book: Online Greenway Ferry
6. Angle for a catch with Fish’N’Trips
Head out on to the waters around Plymouth Sound for a satisfying day of fishing in the calm waters of Devon’s south coast. Fish’n’Trips welcome groups of any size on to their boats, so you and all your fellow travel companions can pile in for a fishing expedition together. At the end of the day, you get to keep what you catch and, for a fresh sea-to-plate dinner, have it cooked for you in a coastal café. You might want to take a pair of binoculars with you; as well as catching fish you can also see a wide variety of marine life – think dolphins, turtles and even minke whales – on your journey.
Location: Plymouth Boat Trips Ltd. 2-5 Commercial Wharf, Mayflower Steps Barbican, Plymouth. pl1 2nx
Book: Call 01752 253153
7. Canter through the hills with Adventure Clydesdale
Leave behind engines and screens for a ride out into the countryside like an explorer of old on the back of a trusty steed. The sturdy Clydesdale is one of the most dependable breeds of horse and is a top choice for both novices and experts into the saddle. A trek on one of these friendly creatures will take you into acres of uninterrupted scenery on the brooding yet beautiful granite plateau of Dartmoor. Adventure Clydesdale are happy to tailor the route to what your group desires.
Location: Adventure Clydesdale, Brimpts Farm, Dartmeet, Devon pl20 6sg
Book: Call 07809 729739 or 07901 943038
Already decided which activities are perfect for you and your friends? Choosing which of our beautiful Devon holiday homes might not be quite as easy (they’re all pretty tempting in their own way) but just talk to our concierge team if you’ve got any questions. They can help you narrow down your search, book your chosen property or even sort out some extras and activities. There’s loads more things to explore on our blog, see through the best party houses in the UK or read about the best places for a UK horse holiday.