As Devon basks in early spring sunshine, bringing out blooming daffs, primroses and camellias, the county gets ready to welcome visitors. The long visitor season in Devon starts before Easter and many events are organized for the bank holidays.
Spring means daffodils, rhodos and NGS open days
Spring is traditionally the time to think about spring lambs, Easter bonnets and daffodils, and you can find them all in Devon in spring. The season starts with Daffodil Day at historic Hartland Abbey, when the grounds of this historic abbey at Hartland Point are awash with daffodils, including many heritage species.
In April, RHS Rosemoor hosts the RHS National Rhododendron Show, another splendid occasion to thrill flower lovers and gardeners. The National Garden Schemes Open Day events also commence all over Devon, so look out for posters advertising a one-off chance to visit some of the loveliest private gardens in the region.
Easter races, Dartmoor hikes and river cruises
Those looking for something special to enjoy over the Easter weekend will enjoy a day at the Newton Abbot Races. This family-friendly event takes place each year on Easter Saturday.
Another way to enjoy the season is by joining in some of the advertised guided walks as part of the North Devon and Exmoor Spring Walking Festival. If you’re looking for a tougher challenge, how about the Ten Tors Challenge, an annual weekend of hiking for youngsters as they face the challenges and charms of Dartmoor National Park.
If you prefer easier ways of seeing Devon’s natural beauty, the Jurassic Coast Cruises begins its spring season, taking passengers on narrated wildlife spotting tours up the River Exe and along the Jurassic Coast.
Things to do in Devon on St George’s Day and May Bank Holidays
Next on the calendar after Easter is St George’s Day, April 23rd. Although not a bank holiday, the patron saint of England is nonetheless remembered and celebrated. Castle Drogo puts on a splendid St George’s Day Lunch and it is traditional to wear a red rose in your buttonhole!
The month of May enjoys two bank holidays – so double the chance to book a long weekend in a Devon holiday cottage. Enjoy long country walks, or maybe take a dip in the sea — surfboards are optional! Special events to look out for include May Day fairs and the crowning of May Queens at villages throughout the county. The late bank holiday weekend includes half term for schoolchildren, when Arlington Court pulls out all the stops with their Mayhem Half Term Madness events.
The Clovelly Celebration of Local Ales and Cider also takes place over the late May Day Bank Holiday. Try to squeeze in a visit to the Brixham Heritage Festival, when sea shanties and clog dancers take over the town for the last week in May.
Spring Festivals in Devon
Of course, there are always plenty of food and drink festivals to sample Devon’s finest offerings. In April alone there’s the Exeter Food and Drink Festival, the Moretonhampstead Festival of Food, Drink and the Arts, and the Tuckers Maltings Beer Festival in Newton Abbott for real ale lovers.
Culture seekers will enjoy a spring visit to Exeter, a city of culture in its own right, as well as hosting the Devon Performing Arts Festival which is now in its 87th year. Another centre for music and the arts is beautiful Dartington Hall, and the Basketry and Beyond Festival 2013 in May is a great excuse to see the restored mediaeval hall and stunning gardens.
Finally, you’ll find all of Devon at one particular event – the Devon County Show in mid-May. See showjumping, prize livestock, tractors and agricultural equipment, falconry displays, WI stalls, dog and duck trials, BMX stunts, dog shows and plenty of Devon food and drink. In fact it has just about everything that makes Devon a great place to live or visit in springtime!
What is the epitome of Spring in Devon for you? Is it the primroses tucked in the hedgerows, banks of yellow daffodils or the first swim of the season? We’d love you to share your feedback with us.