There is no doubt that Devon is one of the most beautiful places in the UK with the never-ending rolling hills of Dartmoor combined with its sandy shores. Devon is also known for being popular for a break away among authors and writers such as J.K Rowling and Agatha Christie – both drawn to Devon for inspiration.
In this article we delve into the wonderful book world of Devon, exploring the best bookshops, writer retreats, and festivals; giving you, the book lovers of the world, an insight in what Devon can offer you.
Archway Bookshop, Axminster
In the heart of Axminster you find Archway Bookshop – known for its stone arch and spiral staircase. Although a bookshop, Archway doesn’t just sell books, they also have a range of greetings cards on offer and hold many book signings. Open from 9am-5:30pm Monday to Saturday, it’s knowledgeable staff are always there to help.
This grade II listed three-floor Tudor building has two floors dedicated to books, with the third floor is dedicated to music with a vinyl record section. Book signings and live music events are held here regularly. Bookstop has been awarded one of The Independent’s top 50 British Book Shops. So a visit is a must! You will find the Bookstop open 9am-5:30pm Monday to Saturday.
Book-Cycle is one bookshop that is packed full of character and inspiration with its low ceilings and vintage furniture. This tudor looking building is a UK based volunteer run charity – meaning each customer that visits can borrow or keep up to 3 books per day. They choose on how much they pay for them. Then with the donations, Book-Cycle furnishes school libraries abroad and plant trees. The Book-Cycle bookshop is open 11:30am-6pm Monday to Saturday and 12:30pm-5:30pm on Sundays.
Enjoy a coffee while you gaze around Winstones; from science books to cards and gifts, Winstone’s has it all. This bookshop is open 9am-5:30pm Monday to Saturday.
Cornerstone Books, Plymouth
Cornerstone Books is part of the old store houses near the Barbican in Plymouth. Dating back to the 1700s, you can access the bookshop on the ground floor through the café, but as there are many other quaint shops based on New Street – Cornerstone’s location – it’s worth taking a look around and soaking in the history. The bookshop is open 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday.
Retreats For You, Sheepwash
Based in the heart of Devon, Retreats For You is a 1600s thatched house in the small village of Sheepwash. Once a public house throughout the 1800s it became a writers retreat in 2009. Prices for you to stay at Retreat For You are from £90 per night Monday to Friday.
Urban Writers Retreat, Newton Abbot
Most use Urban Writers Retreat to have a both fun and relaxing experience. Based in the countryside about 20 minutes outside the town of Newton Abbot, you’ll find off the grid owner, Charlie. You can stay at Urban Writers Retreat for either 3 or 6 nights in one of Charlie’s ensuite rooms with food included.e.
Arvon Foundation, Beaworthy
Arvon Foundation have 3 different writer retreat locations based around the UK. Luckily for us, one’s in Devon. Totleigh Barton is a 16th Century manor house that has 12 single rooms and 2 shared rooms. This retreat also has a renovated barn which is perfect for reading. Situated just 2 miles from the village of Sheepwash, you can stay at Totleigh Barton for £560 (starting price).
Best Book Festivals
Appledore Book Festival
Since 2006, people have flocked to the fishing village of Appledore annually to attend one of the UK’s most highly regarded literary festival: Appledore Book Festival Running over several days at the end of September/ beginning of October, you will find well-known authors, newcomers, and local authors. This year (2017) the festival saw guests such as; Peter Snow, Sian Williams and Jeremy Vine as part of the lineup.
Sidmouth Literary Festival
Sun, Sea, and Books; that’ll be Sidmouth Literary Festival. This weekend event that is held in the beautiful seaside town of Sidmouth started in 2015 and since has hosted well-known authors such as Terry Waite and Helen Lederer.
Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival
Budleigh Salterton, a small coastal town on East Devon’s Jurassic coast is where this five day event is held. This book festival started in 2008, and has since had many big named authors grace the lineup. This year’s lineup including Jeremy Vine, Alan Johnson, and Dame Hilary Mantel.
So Why Visit Devon?
You don’t have to be a book lover to enjoy Devon, there are plenty more reasons to come visit Devon; great food, beautiful beaches, countryside, charming villages, towns, and of course, great cider. Oh and us too! So if ever you’re down this neck of the woods, pop in and see us.