For a place steeped in history in the heart of Devon, try the market town of Newton Abbot. Dating back to 1220 AD, the town came into existence when the Abbots of Torre Abbey built a 'new town', where the River Teign turns into an estuary.
The town's wealth grew from the wool and leather trades in the Middle Ages. Later, in 1583, when local adventurer Humphrey Gilbert landed in Newfoundland and claimed it for the British, a trade route was set up between the two places. In the 19th Century, ball clay was found nearby and this material was shipped through Newton Quay to lands beyond. Today, the site of the old quarry is a wonderful country park with ponds, streams, a watersports lake and play areas and trail for children.
In the 21st Century, Newton Abbot remains a thriving market town with several interesting historic buildings to visit, including Old Forde House, which had both Charles I and Oliver Cromwell to stay, but not at the same time, the 13th Century Bradley Manor and Tucker's Maltings, a working malt-house that runs fascinating brewing tours.
It's well placed to explore the rest of Devon. Mysterious Dartmoor with its famous tors and rugged scenery lies to the west and the English Riviera to the south, where plenty of seaside fun can be had on the beautiful beaches of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. The spectacular scenery of South Devon with its red cliffs is also within easy reach.
Newton Abbot is also home to its famous racecourse, which is a major venue for thoroughbred horses. It also hosts regular antiques sales.
For a holiday that encompasses both town and country, Newton Abbot is a wonderful venue. Search holiday cottages in Newton Abbot for a coattge break full of interest and variety.