9th June, 2024

5 castles & historic gems to visit car-free this summer

Where will the train take you this summer? Check out five of our favourite Devon castles and historic gems to explore:


Take a relaxing walk from Okehampton station (directions at the link below) down through the woods to explore the remains of the largest castle in Devon, on a wooded spur above the rushing River Okement. Audio guides available at the entrance.


Powderham Castle enjoys a picturesque setting within an ancient deer park beside the Exe estuary. Join one of their free tours (first come, first served) to discover over 600 years of history.

For youngsters, hire a nature rucksack with bug catching net, binoculars and more, or visit the Secret Garden play area and pets corner.

Take the train to Starcross, then opposite the station take the number 2 bus to the castle gates (it’s then a 9-minute walk to the castle itself).


Totnes is a classic motte and bailey castle, built during the Norman Conquest. Visitors can climb to the top of the keep and enjoy views of the town and River Dart. Then enjoy a picnic in the peaceful grounds under the shelter of age old trees.


Torre Abbey is Torbay’s most historic building, dating back to 1196, set within 18 acres of garden and parkland. Explore one of the family-friendly trails around the gardens, or even dress up as a monk or a medieval princess. Starting Tuesday 30th July, there’s also a Viking exhibition.


Killerton is a fine 18th Century mansion set in wonderful parkland and grounds. There are plenty of walks with lots to discover, including a bear hut and old icehouse.

Take the train to Pinhoe. It’s then a short walk from the station to catch the number 1 bus. Get off at Killerton Turn and it’s then a half mile walk up to the house.


As part of Great Big Green Week, there’s a free shuttle bus between Okehampton station and Castle Drogo (Wed 12th, Fri 14th and Sat 15th June).

Or for a different type of historic gem, step back in time on the South Devon Railway, a short signposted walk from Totnes station, or the Dartmouth Steam Railway from Paignton station.

Top tip – Get a Devon & Cornwall Railcard!

Live locally? Don’t miss out on great savings with a Devon & Cornwall Railcard (just £12 a year and now available online). Save a third on many fares for you and a friend. You can also bring up to four children for just £1 each.

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