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8 Ways to discover Devon in May

With so many free family-friendly festivals to attend, May is the perfect month to plan a weekend break in Devon. Our round-up of top events focuses on Devon's heritage, music, beautiful gardens, fresh food and drink in a variety of entertaining festivals.
With warmer days and two bank holiday weekends, May is a popular time to take a short break in a holiday cottage in Devon. The storm-washed beaches and array of wild flowers make it a beautiful season to appreciate the best of the Westcountry. Add in a well-rounded selection of festivals and traditional activities and it makes the perfect time to enjoy Devon at its best!

Take a peek over your neighbour’s wall on National Garden Schemes Days

National Garden Schemes Open Day take place on various dates throughout the month of May, allowing visitors to tour private gardens and raise money for charity. From cottages to castles, the gardens cover all sizes and terrains. The one thing they all have in common is their owner’s pride and dedication in creating a beautiful garden oasis.

Read our special article about the NGS for more details or invest in the NGS Yellow Book and enjoy a whole year of visiting private gardens through the National Garden Scheme Open Days.

Sea shanties and clog dancing at the Brixham Pirate Festival

The first of two Brixham festivals this month is Brixham Pirate Festival on the early May Day Bank Holiday from 3-5 May 2014. Dress up as a pirate, watch pirate-themed re-enactments, play games and enjoy lively sea shanties as part of this family-friendly weekend.

The Ten Tors Challenge on Dartmoor is no walk in the park!

The tor-turous Ten Tors Challenge will trial a new route in 2014 which will hopefully improve safety while still challenging youngsters. The challenge is to hike up to 55 miles and climb 10 tors on Dartmoor in just 36 hours. Youngsters are already in training for the event which is scheduled for 10-11 May 2014.

Organised by the British Army, this challenge on one of the last wilderness areas in Britain attracts thousands of teenagers and young adults each year. Read the history and details of the bronze, silver and gold routes and cheer on this year’s brave participants.

The best of the Southwest at the Devon County Show

Visitors and locals alike flock in their thousands to the Devon County Show, commonly referred to as “Devon’s Big Day Out”. With HRH the Prince of Wales as Patron, the show represents Devon’s agriculture, business and tourism in a most entertaining way. This year it takes place from Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 May 2014.

Enjoy prize-winning farmyard animals, equestrian events, tractors, flower arrangements, trade stands, cars, dog show, steam engines and wonderful food and drink along with BMX stunts, aerobatics, competitions and demonstrations in the main arena.

Vintage planes and street parties turn back the clock at BrixFest

BrixFest celebrates Devon’s history and maritime heritage for 5 days over the late May Bank Holiday so there’s a full schedule of music and events between 24-28 May 2014.

This is your chance to watch a Heritage Sailing Trawler Race, or eat a crab roll just yards from where it was caught. There are plenty more activities to learn about in our colourful article, from fresh fish to fireworks, so read on and note the dates!

Say Cheers! at the Clovelly Celebration of Local Ales and Cider

Make the most of the late May bank holiday with a day in the charming village of Clovelly. The annual Clovelly Celebration of Local Ales and Cider takes place from 24-26 May 2014. It is a great opportunity to sample some of Devon’s finest liquid amber while exploring this historic private village.

Read on to discover what to expect on this fun day out, and don’t forget to pet the working donkeys that still pull sledges up the steep cobbled street.

A slice of musical madness at Newton Abbot’s Lemonfest Music Festival

Now is the time for bass music lovers to book their tickets for Lemonfest on Saturday 31st May 2014. This top UK music festival lasts for just one day and bands and musicians for 2014 include Gentleman’s Dub Club and former X-Factor contestant, Luke Friend.

With five different stages around the Newton Abbot Racecourse there’s plenty to choose from including live performances in the Dubstep Arena, Big Top Dance Tent and the Locally Grown Stage.

Get a taste of Devon at the Dartington Food Fair

Where better than a former Cider Press in the Dart Valley for the Dartington Food Fair? Over 50 stalls are designed to tempt you with their delicious local produce from 31st May to 1st June 2014. Celebrity chefs are on hand in the demo kitchens to show you how to cook it, and for kids there are plenty of attractions and entertainment on hand.

Along with the temporary show stands there are all the usual goodies from toys and clothing to plants and crystal at the Shops at Dartington. Walk off that delicious lunch along the footpath beside the river to enjoy a day out in Devon at its best!

Are you planning to visit Devon this May? We’d love to know what you plan to do during your stay, and don’t forget to let us know which is your favourite festival in Devon!

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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