10 reasons to live in Devon

We're exploring the best things about coastal family living in our Site of the Week. MN Local editors for Devon, Gina and Clio, explain why it's a rural idyll.




Mumsnet Devon

1. Thing about the area

Devon is beautiful, safe and there's so much space. You're surrounded by wonderful places to go and explore, so you don't need to spend lots of cash to have a good time.

We enjoy many a happy afternoon pottering on the beach, or plodding around fields, moors and commons.


2. Child-friendly café

Gina: Mr Biscuits Café is the only café in the centre of Newton Abbot with a free soft play area for toddlers. Mr Biscuits produces a range of handmade biscuits and cakes using traditional recipes.

Clio: The Book Rest above Best Books in Exmouth - it has a designated kids' area with lots of toys, comfy sofas for parents and a low picket fence to keep your little one contained, so you can actually finish your cup of coffee for once.


Exmouth Beach

3. Child-free night out

Clio: My ideal night out nowadays would probably be a Hero Burger at The Cosy Club in Exeter, followed by a film at The Picturehouse.

We moved back to Devon when I was pregnant so I'm afraid my knowledge of Devon's nightlife is limited to the late '90s when I was a teeny bopper (Cleo's in Bideford, anyone?!).


4. Outside space

Gina: The Den on Teignmouth seafront is a green flag-awarded park. It offers a variety of attractions including the large, award-winning children's play area, a multi-use games area, the new adventure golf course, a food kiosk, football pitches and an array of beautiful floral displays.

Clio: Our beaches (particularly Exmouth and Woolacombe). After a decade living in cities, I will never take living by the sea for granted again. Even on chilly autumn days, we grab our wellies, waterproofs and woollies and explore rock pools.


5. Hidden gem

At a glance

Average semi-detached house price
Devon: £206,095
UK: £201,427

Average class size for primary schools
Devon: 25.7
UK: 25.9 pupils

Average salary
Devon: £22,559
UK: £26,461

Unemployment rate
Devon: 1.3%
UK: 7.3%

Clio: The Orange Elephant Ice Cream Parlour in Kennford ticks all the boxes: space to run around in the 'Summer Meadow', with sandpits, slides, see-saws and swings; lots of farm animals to make noises at; a tractor to sit on.

Best of all is the delicious ice-cream made from the farm's Devonshire Milking Cows (which produce extra-creamy milk). My personal favourite is the Luscombe Ginger Beer Float. 

Gina: Ness Beach at Shaldon is accessed via an original Smugglers tunnel. The secret cove is one of Devon's most secluded and picturesque beaches, completely enclosed by the shelter of the cliffs above.

If you want a quiet spot to sit and take in the stunning panoramic views out to sea then this is the place for you. 

6. Community venues

The Playdough Club at the Ridge Café's studio in Haldon Forest - Hannah makes homemade play dough for the kids and parents eat cake. Perfect when you need to get out of the house on a drizzly Monday morning.

7. Free visitor attractions

Gina: The House of Marbles in Bovey Tracey is a working glass and games factory. You will be fascinated by the wonderful collection of marble runs and the giant floating marble, among other amusements. Browse in the gift and glass shop or stop for some lunch in their licensed restaurant. 

 Fish Shed Darts Farm

8. Day out

Clio: Bicton Park in East Budleigh is great rain or shine - it has an indoor soft play and an undercover barn, with tractors and trailers to ride on.

But it also has lovely grounds for walking, beautiful botanical gardens (to keep grandparents happy), a big outside play area, a steam train and ducks to feed.


9. Places to live

Clio: Devon is BIG and there are so many picturesque villages and pretty towns to live in, all with their own personalities and quirks, so I don't think I can answer this.

I grew up in the middle of nowhere, on the wild and rugged North Devon coast. I now live in East Devon, closer to civilisation but still by the sea.


10. Places to shop

Clio: Exeter is the obvious place but Em can tell you about that. Darts Farm is a great one-stop shop: it has toys, clothes, pretty prezzies and a farm shop selling everything you can imagine and more.

Plus, there's outside space to exercise the little one, a tractor (of course), playground and some very unattractive but characterful pigs (among other animals).

And, if you're flagging from shopping or running around, there's a sit-down restaurant, takeaway fish and chips, or a café for coffee and cake. It's dangerous...


About the editors

Clio: I worked as a website editor in London before I moved back home to Devon with a growing bump.

There was never any doubt in our minds that we wanted to bring up our children here - it's so beautiful, friendly and relaxed.

I'm now freelancing from home - working in naps and evenings (phew) - and the rest of my time is spent running after my tractor-obsessed, curly-haired toddler.

I co-edit the Devon website with Gina and look after East, North, Mid Devon and Torridge.

Gina: I'm a work-at-home mummy to a five-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl. I'm one of the two editors for Mumsnet Devon and I also run my own parenting blog. We have lived in Devon for just over two years now and are constantly discovering new places to visit.

I cover Teignbridge, Torbay, South Hams and West Devon. I look forward to seeing you on our site.


Last updated: about 3 years ago