Devon isn’t just about beaches and cream teas. There are plenty of amazing Devon facts that you can share with your kids to inspire them ahead of your family holidays and days out here.
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Here are our favourite facts about famous Devon people, places, food, history and geography:
Facts about Devon people
- J.K. Rowling is an alumni of Exeter University.
- Chris Martin, the front man of Coldplay, was born in Exeter.
- Famous naval figures Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh were born in Devon you can see a replica of Drake’s ship The Golden Hind in Brixham
- Swimmer Sharron Davies and diver Tom Daley were born in Plymouth.
- Crime writer Agatha Christie was born in Torquay. She wrote 82 detective novels.
Find out more about the homes of famous Devon people you van visit.
- Devon has three areas of outstanding natural beauty: South Devon, East Devon and the Blackdown Hills.
- It is also the only English county to have two separated coastlines, one on the English Channel in the South and the Atlantic and Bristol Channel in the North.
- Devon has more road than any other county in England – 8,000 miles in fact.
- There are two national parks in Devon: Dartmoor and Exmoor, which it shares with Somerset.
Devon food and drink facts
- The earliest known record for the pasty recipe was not found in Cornwall. It was in fact uncovered in a book written in Plymouth in 1510.
- Plymouth is home to the oldest bakery in the world – Jacka Bakery. It made biscuits that went with the Pilgrims to America in 1620.
- Plymouth is home to the oldest working gin distillery in the world, Plymouth Gin.
If you’d like a go at cooking up some West Country dishes, here’s some Devon recipes to try. I hope you have a sweet tooth!
Fun facts about Devon places
- Devon is home to the country’s only 16-sided house A La Ronde, a National Trust property near Exmouth in East Devon.
- Torbay Picture House is believed to be the oldest surviving purpose-built cinema in Europe. It opened in 1914.
- Canonteign Falls in the Teign Valley in Dartmoor is England’s highest manmade waterfall
- Parliament Street in Exeter is the narrowest street in the world. At its slimmest point it is about 64cm and at its widest it is 1m 22cm.
- Lydford Gorge in Mid-Devon is the deepest gorge in South West England
- Westward Ho! is the only place in the UK to have an exclamation mark in its name. It was also named after a novel by Charles Kingsley to bring in tourism.
- The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth is the UK’s largest aquarium
- The Box in Plymouth has a Zoology collection including around 100,000 insects, 4,000 jars of preserved marine creatures, and hundreds of birds, mammals, skeletons, eggs, shells, corals. That’s not to mention a life-sized wooly mammoth made by the same prop designers who crafted the Star Wars Chewbacca costume.
Devon history facts
- The last English executions for witchcraft happened in Exeter in 1682 and 1685.
- Stone quarried from Beer in Devon was used to build St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London.
- The Mayflower’s last stop in England before crossing the Atlantic to America was Plymouth. Just before this it stopped in Dartmouth for repairs.
- Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth is said to be where Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip fell in love. They were aged 13 and 18 respectively. They had met once before at a royal wedding.
- Dartmouth was the home town of the inventor of the first steam engine. Thomas Newcomen built the engine in 1720 to pump water out of mines. You can see one at Dartmouth Visitor Centre.
- The Jack Russell was first bred in Dartmouth as a hunting dog.
Fancy testing your knowledge? Take our Devon quiz for kids!
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