Devon isn’t all cream teas and beaches. It’s also a massive draw for culture vultures too.

When dreaming up a trip to Devon, the first things that typically spring to mind are nature and cream teas – and not necessarily in that order. A county of equally stunning coastline and countryside, there are miles of sandy beaches, pebbly coves, open moorland and ancient forests to explore – not to mention the foodie destinations and water sport hotspots.

But what if you’re craving a bit of culture too? With theatres, museums, galleries and many historic homes finally open once more, we round-up seven cultural destinations to tick off your Devon bucket-list this summer. In between cream and jam-topped scones, that is.

RAMM Exeter




The Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in the centre of Exeter is a great place to while away a few hours. Like a mini version of London’s Natural History Museum, you can happily lose yourself in the wide range of exhibits covering a whole spectrum of interests, including local archaeology, world cultures, natural sciences, fine art and costumes and textiles. There’s plenty to captivate small visitors too, including interactive exhibits to learn about the city’s rich Roman past, as well as a roster of ever-changing art exhibitions, talks and special events at this cultural city hub. Check the website here.


Phoenix Exeter





The city centre’s multi-arts venue, The Phoenix is just around the corner from RAMM on quirky Gandy Street and offers everything to whet your creative whistle – from galleries to gigs, cinema to workshops, comedy nights and performances. Home to a strong arts community, the café, bar and events spaces are great for meeting like-minded creatives within the city. Check the website here.


Theatre Royal




One of the UK’s largest regional producing theatres, The Theatre Royal in Plymouth attracts world-class companies and showcases new talent. For 2021, it has a packed performance calendar coming up – from West End musicals to comedy; ballet classics to interactive family shows. Check the website here.


The Box Plymouth




Plymouth’s newest cultural spacem, The Box, is a hybrid gallery, museum and archive for the city and the south-west. The permanent galleries house displays ranging from prehistoric creatures who roamed the region to those that celebrate the city’s rich naval history. A great new addition to the county’s capital. Check the website here.


Castle Drogo




If you’re imagining knights and medieval fortresses – think again. Castle Drogo could be mistaken for a Bond villain’s lair, perched high above the Teign Gorge on a granite outcrop. The castle, commissioned by millionaire entrepreneur, Julius Drewe and designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, is only a hundred years old and is just emerging from an eight-year restoration. Now the family collections are out of storage and back on display for the first time. Expect a mix of Norman Keep pastiche – complete with working portcullis and arrow slits – alongside cutting-edge Edwardian interiors, including plumbed bathrooms, working telephones and electricity generated by hydro-turbines from the Teign river below. A location like no other, explore the house and then the gardens, with views reaching across Dartmoor and beyond. Check the website here.


Dartington Trust




Set in 1,200 acres of Devon countryside outside Totnes, Dartington Trust first began as ‘The Dartington Experiment’ in 1925, when Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst bought a crumbling estate and began to explore how a place could change the world. It attracted some of the greatest artists, educators and political philosophers of the 20th-century in the process. Fast-forward to 2021 and the Trust is now a social-enterprise hub, home to 150+ businesses, artists and organisations. It also offers a year-round programme of arts and crafts short courses, theatre, music and dance events as well as a wide selection of films at the independent Barn Cinema. The estate is also used to run a range of conservation, agroforestry and sustainable food-growing projects – as well as offering woodland walks, riverside trails, cafés, and restaurants and family-friendly activities. Check the website here.


Greenway




Agatha Christie called her holiday getaway, Greenway ‘the loveliest place on earth’ – and, perched high above the River Dart, we can see why. The house has been preserved just as Agatha and her family left it and feels like a home, rather than a stuffy historic stately. Filled with treasures from her travels and personal childhood effects, you really feel as if you see a glimpse of the woman behind the mysteries in this intimate family home. Check the website here.

By Lydia Mansi
July 2021

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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.

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