Autumn is sneaky.
In late august we’re chasing down ice cream vans (a side effect of double glazing) – and then, suddenly – the trees change. Or that’s how it seems.
The change is gradual, little by little. And, because we’re busy raving about summer, often we don’t notice autumn until leaves drop on our head.
Autumn spells the end of the British holiday season, and in Devon it’s no different. But, if you like things fresh, wild and atmospheric – you’ll find vising Devon in autumn a life affirming experience (yes, it’s in that league).
Summer in Devon is unarguably lovely. However, there are many things it can’t offer, which autumn can, and unless you’re a dedicated sunseeker you may find they make for a better visit.
Quiet beaches open to dog walkers
Devon has some of the best beaches in the UK, and each summer this becomes obvious.
Do you like crowded beaches? Seals like crowded beaches, maybe, but we humans only tolerate them. Why? Because the sun, sea and sand come first.
Yes, sunbathing is nice. What about the war for parking? The incessant noise? It’s also a common misconception that the sea is warmer in summer. It’s at its warmest in autumn, having been heated over summer.
In autumn the crowds vanish, leaving peaceful stretches of pristine beach. After a comfortable dip in the sea, you could pop a jumper on, sip a hot beverage and relax with a good book. Trying to read the latest bestseller with bands of screaming children flinging sand everywhere isn’t ideal…
Not only this, but many of Devon’s beaches welcome dogs in autumn. If you have a dog, you’ll know how saddening it is to leave them behind whilst heading off on a summer jaunt.
It’s surf season and Devon is one of the best places to surf in the UK
It’s thought that (North) Devon has been a surfer’s haven for close to a century. Although, it wasn’t until the 1950s and 60s that modern surfing really took off – in places like Braunton, Croyde and Woolacombe.
If you’re a keen surfer or interested in learning, you may already know that autumn is surf season. Why? Low pressure systems which form over the Atlantic create the biggest swells, which in turn produce the most surfable waves.
Empty beaches, barrelling waves and barbeques at dusk in the invigorating sea air. What’s not to love?
Where better to go storm watching than Devon’s dramatic coast?
Speaking of low pressure…autumn is storm time.
Devon’s coast has rugged rock formations and tight inlets that whip storm waters into a tempestuous fury – like the maritime oil paintings of old.
Watching inky storm clouds roll in over the sea, from the towering Devon cliffs, is an atmospheric experience like no other. Be careful though; please pay attention to weather warnings and local advice.
Most colourful (and easiest) season to go walking
There’s a reason we feel like lazing at the height of summer. Doing anything physically warming in an already hot environment isn’t much fun. This includes walking.
Walking is easier when the weather is cooler – it becomes a refreshing activity, as opposed to stifling. Devon has a wealth of walks, including the South West Coast Path and two moors – Dartmoor and Exmoor.
Devon’s wooded valleys are a pleasure to walk in year-round but add the fiery colours of autumn, and you have something special.
Devon is a spookalicious (deliciously spooky) place to be on All Hallows Eve
It’s understandable if you don’t like being scared; it’s hardly a popular emotion. However, true fear and the carnival-like festivities of Halloween are different.
Halloween with its ghosts, witches and grinning pumpkins, is for some, their favourite time of the year. If you’re a fan of Halloween, and enjoy spooky stories then Devon is the perfect place to be come October the 31st.
Bonfire night in Devon is spectacularly eccentric and lots of fun!
Have you ever heard of the tar barrels in Ottery St Mary?
In a world some people would say has gone “health and safety mad” – there’s Ottery St Mary in Devon. Each bonfire night thousands flock to Ottery to see people run (or stagger) through the streets with flaming tar barrels on their backs.
It sounds silly and dangerous, and for the most part – it is. Despite this, once you’ve witnessed it in person you’ll understand how thrilling it is.
Of course, Devon has safer bonfire night celebrations too – the sort with sparklers and fireworks.
Cosy pubs, with real ales and open fires
As the evenings draw in, Devon forms into a kingdom of deep blue skylines and stark silhouettes; of twisty tree limbs and arcing black hills.
Everything takes on a moody edge, and with the first chills of winter in the wings, comfort is relaxing by an open fire.
If this fire happens to be in a cosy country pub, so be it.
Visiting Devon, you’ll find almost every village has a time still, wonderfully quaint looking pub – some of which will have a classic Devonian “poured custard” thatch roof. Take your pick.
You may also find when inside, a jack russell – usually as old as the pub itself, lying impressively close to the fire.
Book your luxury autumn holiday in Devon
One of the numerous reasons Devon is a top UK holiday destination is its twin coasts, north and south. No other county can boast separate coastlines; each with a distinct feel and both beautiful.
So, if you’re coming to Devon – you should stay near the sea.
And if you’re staying near the sea you should book with The Woolacombe Bay Hotel. This is where one of the best hotels in North Devon, with four-star luxury and exquisite dining, meets Britain’s ultimate beach. See below.
Woolacombe beach was voted no.1 in the UK Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice Awards (2015, and 2016). It’s barely a stone’s throw from The Woolacombe Bay Hotel.