With so much to enjoy in Devon and Cornwall, where do you start trying to photograph it all? When you holiday in the region, you will find a selection of wonderful places to visit and stunning sights to see, filled with historical buildings, wide bays, miles of golden beaches and rugged countryside expanding out to the horizon. It’s all worthy of being captured by a camera.
For those looking for top locations to snap some amazing images, here’s our guide to 10 places to photograph in Devon and Cornwall. But we know you’ll discover hundreds more...
1. Exmoor and Dartmoor
Dartmoor National Park, Devon
Although two separate and different areas, we’re putting the two Devon moors together because both are equally beautiful, making it an impossible decision to choose just one.
They are both National Parks, filled with woodlands, torrs, quaint villages, deep valleys and rolling hills. The dramatic landscapes, exciting wildlife and stunning views make for great selfie moments and 360-degree panoramas.
Exmoor is on the North Devon coast, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Whilst Dartmoor is in the centre of Devon near Exeter. They both need to be seen to be believed.
But with the two moors taking up many miles of the Devon countryside, where to begin? Our guides to 5 places to visit on Dartmoor and 5 places to visit on Exmoor will point you towards key locations that are photo-worthy any time of the year.
2. Saunton Sands (and other North Devon beaches)
Saunton Sands Beach
Keeping in mind that the North Devon coast is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, think of how beautiful the beaches must be.
In fact, they are award winning! Popular with locals and tourists alike, they are some of the best in the UK and deserve to be photographed from every angle. There’s Woolacombe, Croyde and Westward Ho! to name a few - in fact, any beach on the north coast is simply a must visit for all photographers.
But we’re highlighting Saunton Sands for a number of reasons.
The three miles of golden sands stretch along the coast from sea to estuary. The sand dunes - named Braunton Burrows - are a unique sight and can be climbed for stunning views. They are a World Heritage site and UNESCO Biosphere region, meaning they are unique in flora and fauna. It all adds up to create unique photo opportunities. When the sun sets behind the horizon, there’s nowhere better to be.
Pop up to Saunton Sands Hotel to take it all in and you’ll see what we mean.
Quite simply, don’t forget your camera!
3. Exeter Cathedral
Exeter Cathedral interior by Javi from Flickr
The city centre landscape is dominated by Exeter Cathedral, a hub of activity and one of the greatest cathedrals the UK has to offer. It is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture to be seen anywhere, and you’ll be missing out if you don’t capture both the outside and interior of the Anglican cathedral.
There’s a wide collection of events and special occasions taking place throughout the year, not all of which are religious, so there’s plenty to do and learn whilst taking photographs.
4. Sidmouth and the Jurassic Coast
A cove on the Jurassic Coast in Devon by sagesolar from Flickr
On the east coast of Devon lies the town of Sidmouth. The picturesque and regency town is nestled between dramatic red cliffs and the Sid Valley, with a classic seafront. It marks the start of the Jurassic Coast, where the iconic cliffs disappear into the distance - famous for dinosaur fossils.
Follow the coast from Devon into Dorset to eventually reach the iconic Durdle Door - but there’s really no need to when the coastal views around Sidmouth are just as stunning!
The views, the beaches and a rich history make Sidmouth a wonderful place to visit and photograph. We have two hotels in the town, The Belmont and The Victoria, in a prime beachside location if you need a place to stay.
The clean waters are a popular location for swimming. Jacob’s Ladder beach is particularly popular, the ladder itself is a wooden staircase leading from the beach up to Connaught Gardens on the cliffs above. From the top, you can easily capture wonderful views of the surrounding coastline.
5. Valley of Rocks
The Valley of Rocks in North Devon from Amy Storm on Flickr
Jagged rocky outcrops, towering cliffs, cliffside paths, sea views and native goats, welcome to the Valley of Rocks in North Devon! Get your walking boots on and reach the rugged but beautiful summits to fully take in where the rolling hills of Exmoor meet the sea.
This is a harsh but breathtaking environment, that you could often be mistaken for being in another country - think New Zealand and the Lord of the Rings films.
With your camera, you should aim to capture the panoramic scenery on days filled with both sunshine and rain for different moods and styles of photography.
Clovelly Village and Donkeys
Coastal villages don’t come any more picturesque than Clovelly. Nestled in the hillside, it oozes charm with cobbled streets and a ‘trapped in the past’ feel. No cars are allowed here. The houses and narrow paths tumble down 400 feet to the harbour. Higgledy-piggledy cottages open up to reveal the stunning views and turquoise ocean.
Donkeys still live and thrive in the stables, making an appearance in the village during good weather. It’s a snapshot of a bygone era when they used to transport items through the village.
Timeless, picturesque and quintessentially Devon, you’ll want to take endless pictures of the fishing village to remember this completely unique place. Clovelly has a thriving community spirit and hosts several popular annual events through the year too.
7. The Lizard Peninsula
A view from Lizard Point
The Lizard Peninsula isn’t a place you quickly visit or drive through to reach anywhere else - it’s a journey's finishing point, the end of the path. Lizard Point is actually the UK’s most southerly mainland point and is, therefore, a must visit location for budding photographers.
Unlike Land’s End, it’s much more famous nearby cousin, the Lizard isn’t a tourist centred focal point, but a peninsula with stunning views, rolling countryside and a remote feel about it.
The peninsula is a place to take the camera whatever the weather, from clear blue skies over the white beaches and clear waters, to dramatic clouds over a broody landscape. Explore the area and see what shots you can discover.
8. The Eden Project
The Eden Project, thanks to Hufton+Crow
The Eden Project has become one of the most popular attractions in the South West, and in the UK.
Those who have visited before will understand why the scenery, plant life and gigantic domes make for a lovely day out, with plenty of photographs and memories to be captured. For those who are yet to visit, what’s holding you back?
Aside from the biomes, filled with tropical atmospheres and plants, the outside paths are full of hidden surprises such as handcrafted art sculptures and natural delights. The Eden Project is the perfect place for people who love to photograph nature and flowers.
Keep an eye out for their yearly photography competition, in which you can submit photos taken at the Eden Project to win prizes and to have your photography displayed.
9. Views from Carlyon Bay
Golf course at Carlyon Bay
Also in Cornwall is Carlyon Bay, on the coast at St Austell. It’s here you’ll find our own Carlyon Bay Hotel on the cliff tops overlooking the bay.
With stunning coastal views and a secret beach, this surprisingly dramatic location is just a short distance from St Austell. The golf course is next door too with panoramic views.
We know you’ll find the area very photogenic - a true must see location. With the 4-star Carlyon Bay Hotel as your base, you’ve got the perfect luxury conditions to relax and edit images.
10. Falmouth Harbour and the Roseland Peninsula
Falmouth town by night
A combination of clear blue seas, golden sands, a thriving town centre and plenty of wildlife mean that Falmouth is a wonderful place to focus on with a camera.
Falmouth Harbour is filled with colourful boats, and as water flows into the sea it becomes the third deepest natural harbour in the world and the deepest in Western Europe.
There’s a glorious beach in Falmouth. Plus Pendennis Point, with a castle and views of the surrounding harbour, are worth visiting. Our own Royal Duchy Hotel is based on the coast, with views of lovely Pendennis Point.
Dolphins, sharks and seals are regular visitors to Falmouth all year round, but especially in the warmer summer months. Will you be lucky enough to see or even photograph some?
That’s our list of 10 places to photograph in Devon and Cornwall, but we know there are many more and we reckon the whole of the South West is truly photograph worthy.
Do you have pictures of Devon and Cornwall that you love? Feel free to share them with us through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.