Camping in Devon

Camping in DevonCamping in Devon seemed a great idea for the kids holiday until we got the weather forecast! The MET office predicted 7 days of rain but as much as we love living in Looe we needed a break and decided to go anyway!

This blog post, ‘Camping in Devon’ will introduce you to a few things to do and places to go when visiting Looe.

If you live in Looe and you haven’t been to Totnes, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Slapton Sands or even Blackpool Sands before, read on as I recommend them all.

Read more about Camping in Devon

Dartmouth DevonWhen we moved to Cornwall, one of the ‘big’ ideas was to holiday locally and take short breaks nearer to home. In America they call it a ‘Staycation’ or ‘Nearcation’. Both are slightly different, See Wikipedia if you’re interested.

Now I have a family the costs involved in going abroad have become prohibitive so camping in Devon and Cornwall keeps costs down allowing us to get away when we want to. We’re not the only people doing this either. I read today that 2012 will be the UKs biggest for staycations. Since the recession started, all of us put together are set to spend a whopping £8.7 billion holidaying at home!

£8.7 billion spent on holidaying at home this year

Below are the places we went and what we did plus some useful hints and tips to make your holiday in Looe a little different this year. Let me know what you think at the end of the blog.

Camping in Devon – Day 1

We arrived at the campsite on a windy and chilly afternoon and went to the local pub for cream teas in the afternoon and dinner in the evening.

Camping in Devon – Day 2

It rained all night and the wind howled through the poplar trees so fiercely it sounded like we were camping next to a mountain river! So much for peace an quiet!

South Devon Chilli Farm

Chilli JamAfter breakfast we set off  for Kingsbridge via the local South Devon Chilli Farm.

Elderflower Chilli JellyThe farm started in 2003 and now grows over 10,000 chilli plants a year. They harvest and sell the fresh chillies or use them in their chilli sauces, chilli jams and chilli chocolates. We bought two different jars of chilli jam, one a hot elderflower jelly and the other a milder and more conventional jam. We also bought some chilli drinking chocolate (which is delicious) and a chilli plant called ‘Marbles’. I can’t wait to try them later in the year.

The farm, shop and café are open from 10am – 4.30pm, seven days a week but are closed at weekends between New Year and 11th February. Here is there number if you want to call them, 01548 550782.

South Devon Chilli Farm

Time from Looe: 1 hour 5 minutes

Distance: 40.6 miles

Directions: Open Google Maps


Kingsbridge is an historic market town located at the head of a tidal estuary. There is no river running through the town like Looe but a series of ‘rias’ or flooded valleys, one of which ends at Kingsbridge. The estuary is a SSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and a Local Nature Reserve.

The surrounding countryside gives Kingsbridge a calm and relaxed atmosphere and is known as the South Hams which is an old English word, ‘hamme’, meaning an enclosed or sheltered place. Kingsbridge is only a few miles from Dartmoor National Park and has a completely different feeling to that of the moor. It’s well worth a visit.

The Art Café – just like Paint a Pot in Looe 🙂

The Art CaféThe weather turned for the worse in the afternoon so we popped into the Art Café in Kingsbridge to do some ‘ceramic decorating’.

If you’ve never done this before then I recommend it. It’s very relaxing and allowed me to switch off completely. Basically, you choose from a selection of ceramic objects and paint them. When you’ve finished, the shop glazes and fires them in a kiln for you. Items are transformed by the heat into bright, glossy objects which you can take home and use. It’s an enjoyable activity to do with children and they love it.

There is a similar shop in Looe called Paint A Pot which is in East Looe in Fore Street. The number is 01503 262763 and do say Chris from recommended you give it a go. Sarah will be tickled pink.


Time from Looe: 1 hour 15 minutes

Distance: 45.3 miles

Directions: Open Google Maps

Camping in Devon – Day 3

When camping in Devon or anywhere for that matter, what do you do when it rains all day? Head indoors? We went to Totnes and Dartington College for the day.


Taste of the WestTotnes is an eccentric and very interesting country town in Devon. It’s one of the ‘funkiest, grooviest and hippest’ places to visit/live in the UK. Their town sign reads ‘Twinned with NARNIA’. I really like Totnes.

The town is full of character and packed with independent shops, not unlike Looe. Having said that, most are more unusual and alternative so it makes for a good time just mooching about. Fridays and Saturdays are market days and there is often a flea market on Fridays.

Dartington Food Fair and cinema

Dartington College has a most unusual cinema. I think it’s an ancient barn, but it’s been so well converted that you feel like you in an art house screening theatre in the West End.  It’s well worth a visit if you get the chance.

The food fair was held at The Shops at Dartington and most if not all of the produce was locally made in Devon and Cornwall. We tried gorgeous meat pies, truly scrumptious homemade fudge (the best I have ever eaten), an incredibly mackerel pancake, homemade lemonade and a variety of other morsels.

I’m such a sucker for a food fair.

If you are too you might like to know that Looe has it’s own food fair now. Details will be on the blog in the next few days.

Totnes and Dartington

Time from Looe: 1 hour 4 minutes

Distance: 42.1 miles

Directions: Open Google Maps

Camping in Devon – Day 4

The camping in Devon saga continues with another wet  but with sunny intervals day.

Slapton and Slapton Sands

Right on South Devon coast, Slapton Sands are midway between Kingsbridge & Dartmouth and Slapton Ley Nature Reserve attracts visitors from all over the world because it’s so unusual. There are some good pictures and more information on Wikipedia for Slapton Ley and Slapton Village.

Blackpool Sands

The sun came out while we were here and it made the whole camping in Devon experience worthwhile.

Blackpool Sands is a privately owned beach a little further along towards Dartmouth. The beach has a good café, beach shop and toilets. We had to pay £3 for the car park but it was right on the beach and for all day so I didn’t mind. There is no where else to park. Below are some pictures I took on the beach. It’s worth a visit if you’re nearby.

Camping Devon near Blackpool Sands looking west Camping Devon near Blackpool Sands looking east
Blackpool Sands

Time from Looe: 1 hour 29 minutes

Distance: 51.3 miles

Directions: Open Google Maps


I was really looking forward to visiting Dartmouth as I hadn’t been since I was a child. It’s full of fascinating buildings, ancient cobbled quays, art galleries, restaurants, interesting shops and a river frontage that manages (only just) to out do Looe!

We had a lovely afternoon here meandering around, eating ice creams and popping in the galleries. It’s not that far from Looe and well worth a visit. Below are a few photos to give you a flavour of the place.

One thing I would recommend in Dartmouth is that if you get there early you might find parking but if not, follow the signs for the ‘Park and Ride’ which is excellent.

Camping Devon near Dartmouth Camping Devon near Dartmouth

Time from Looe: 1 hour 25 minutes

Distance: 49.1 miles

Directions: Open Google Maps

Wrapping up our camping in Devon trip

So, all in all our camping in Devon trip was a success even though the weather was wet and windy.

What it highlights though is whether you’re camping in Devon or near Looe, there’s so much to do in this area. Just drive for an hour in any direction and there are so many things to do, places to visit and activities for all the family that you’re sure to find something.

Camping in Devon or Cornwall is just one way of enjoying all these things but hopefully the ideas above will be interesting whether you’re staying in a B&B, Hotel or Self Catering Cottage.

Let me know if you’ve been or will now go and visit any of the places above. Been to Totnes? What did you think of it? Been to Paint a Pot in Looe? What did you paint? Drop me a line below.

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About iLoveLooe

Cornwall was always one of our dream places to live, so we upped sticks in 2007 and moved to Looe. I now run and various social media locations for Looe on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Say 'Hi' sometime.