If you are a member of the English Heritage, then you can certainly get the most out of your membership whilst you are staying with us here at The 25 in Torquay.
Here’s a brief description of our favourites locally and the distance in miles and minutes away from The 25 Boutique B&B, starting with the closest:
Kirkham House 12 mins 2.5 miles This well-preserved late medieval house, built of local stone, lies near the centre of the Devon town of Paignton. It probably belonged to a well-to-do landowning or merchant family, and had a grand hall with space for up to 20 people to dine together. The house now contains modern furniture, illustrating traditional craftsmanship and the original use of the rooms.
Berry Pomeroy Castle 18 mins 6.5 miles Within the 15th-century defences of the Pomeroy family castle, looms the dramatic ruined shell of its successor, the great Elizabethan mansion of the Seymours. Begun in around 1560 and ambitiously enlarged from around 1600, their mansion was intended to become the most spectacular house in Devon, a match for Longleat. Never completed, and abandoned by 1700, it became the focus of blood-curdling ghost stories, recounted in the audio tour.
The location of the castle makes it ideal for walkers who can explore the nearby beautiful woodland or you can enjoy a light lunch, home made cake or restorative cup of tea in the cafe.
Totnes Castle 29 mins 9 miles A classic Norman motte and bailey castle, founded soon after the Conquest to overawe the Saxon town. A later stone shell-keep crowns its steep mound, giving sweeping views across the town rooftops to the River Dart.
Bayard’s Cove Fort 54 mins 11 miles This Tudor fort, built by the borough of Dartmouth between 1522 and 1536, contained heavy guns to protect the prosperous harbour town from attack. It was the last line of defence against enemy ships that had eluded Dartmouth and Kingswear castles and the iron chain stretched across the Dart estuary between them. Occupying a terrace cut from the rocky river bank, Bayard’s Cove Fort is picturesquely sited at the entrance to Dartmouth harbour.
Dartmouth Castle 57 mins 12 miles One of the most beautifully located fortresses in England. For over 600 years Dartmouth Castle has guarded the narrow entrance to the Dart Estuary and the busy, vibrant port of Dartmouth. This fascinating complex of defences was begun in 1388 and a century later the townsmen added the imposing and well-preserved 'gun tower', probably the very first fortification in Britain purpose-built to mount 'ship-sinking' heavy cannon. Climb to the top for breathtaking views across the estuary and see how it could be blocked in wartime by a heavy chain.
Unusually incorporating the fine church of St Petrox, the castle saw action during the Civil War, and continued in service right up until the Second World War. Successive up-dating included the Victorian 'Old Battery' with its remounted heavy guns, guard rooms and maze of passages to explore.
Hound Tor Deserted Medieval Village 42 mins 20 miles The extensive, atmospheric remains of this isolated village lie on the eastern edge of Dartmoor. The settlement consists of a cluster of 13th century stone longhouses – in which the family lived at one end and the animals at the other – on land that was originally farmed in the Bronze Age. Hound Tor was probably deserted in the early 15th century. From the top of Greator Rocks, there is a fine view over the abandoned village and the surrounding moors.
Grimspound 55 mins 21.5 miles The best known of many prehistoric settlements on Dartmoor, Grimspound dates from the late Bronze Age (about 1450–700 BC). The remains of 24 stone roundhouses survive here, within a massive boundary wall about 150 metres in diameter. There are great views of the site from Hookney Tor and the high ground on Hameldown.
Okehampton Castle 54 mins 42 miles The remains of the largest castle in Devon, in a stunning setting on a wooded spur above the rushing River Okement. Begun soon after the Norman Conquest as a motte and bailey castle with a stone keep, it was converted into a sumptuous residence in the 14th century by the Earl of Devon, much of whose work survives. After the last Courtenay owner fell foul of Henry VIII in 1538, it declined to a ruin.
So don't forget to bring your card with you!
If you're not a member, obviously you can still visit and enjoy all of the English Heritage properties and just pay for entry at each one individually.
It may pay you to join the English Heritage specially, with your holiday in Devon in mind to save yourselves money overall on the separate entry fees.
Please check the individual property details on the English Heritage website for opening days and times. These can vary and not every property is open all year or even all of the week.
Whatever you choose to do to fill your time whilst staying in Devon, we are sure you'll have a great time. We look forward to seeing you soon!
PS Are you a member of the National Trust instead? Read Andy's blog on National Trust Properties in Devon here.