For many tourists, renting holiday cottages in Devon is the most enjoyable way to really experience this charming county. Here are beach apartments overlooking wide sandy bays from Woolacombe in North Devon to Slapton Sands in the South Hams. Discover thatched cottages in quaint coves such as Beer, Lee Bay, Blackpool Sands and Ladram Bay with clear waters backed by lush green Devon countryside. Stay in a thatched Devon holiday cottage in the heart of the countryside to explore deep flower-filled lanes or the wild moorland landscapes of Exmoor and Dartmoor. The many picturesque and historic towns and villages from Clovelly to Budleigh Salterton scattered across Devon offer a fine choice of self-catering accommodation. Find quaint thatched cottages in sleepy villages, stylish barn conversions on working Devon farms or waterside apartments in converted fishing lofts and harbourside warehouses on the South Devon coast. Devon's mild climate makes the County a popular choice for self-catering cottage holidays all year round, as Christmas Day surfers on the North Devon beaches at Croyde and Saunton will testify, while wild daffodils and primroses appear in the hedgerows as early as February, bringing added colour to winter and early spring walks in the countryside.
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- Bratton Fleming
- Bucks Mills
- Budleigh Salterton
- Combe Martin
- East Allington
- Great Torrington
- Newton Ferrers
- South Molton
- Westward Ho!
To the south of the county are the bustling Victorian seaside resorts of Torquay, Paignton, Exmouth and Teignmouth, these days offering much more than a traditional bucket and spade holiday (although buckets and spades are still essential holiday must-haves). It's a haven for superb family theme parks such as Diggerland, an adventure theme park with a real emphasis on DIGGERS! An invigorating construction experience for adults & children. Highly recommended!
To the south east corner of Devon are the charming and more genteel Edwardian resorts and villages of Sidmouth, Beer, Branscombe and Budleigh Salterton, where a perfect day can be had chuntering around Lyme Bay in a self-hire boat catching mackerel to BBQ back at your holiday cottage in the evening. For delightful views of the River Ax estuary - and the chance of a Devonshire Cream Tea in Colyton, enjoy a sedate ride on restored trams at The Seaton Tramway that runs from Seaton along the estuary to Colyton. on Head west along the south coast to discover 'chocolate box’ villages, country pubs and beaches such as Bantham Bay and Burgh Island where you can enjoy lunch or dinner at The Pilchard Inn or the Burgh Island Hotel and, if the tide is in, return to your car by sea tractor.
North Devon is much wilder and quieter than the south but just as welcoming to visitors. Here are the big sandy surfing beaches of Croyde, Woolacombe, Westward Ho! and Saunton Sands (perfect for beach cricket and sandcastle building when the tide is out). Tiny coast-hugging villages such as Lee Bay or Clovelly delight the visitor at any time of the year while the principal coastal towns of Barnstaple and Bideford provide all the services and supplies you will to enjoy a self-catering holiday in a rural or seaside holiday cottage. North Devon also has the occasional geographical claim to fame, such as the biggest village in England (Braunton) and the longest High Street in England (Combe Martin). For visiting walkers and cyclists, the superb Tarka Trail offers more than 40-miles of level cycling on old North Devon railway lines that follow the river valleys and estuaries of the Taw and Torridge. There are plenty of bike hire shops along its route if you don't have space to bring your own bikes.
Inland Devon is equally inviting to visitors. Quiet thatched villages such as Broadhembury, Coleford, Sampford Courtenay or Chitlehampton (all replete with excellent pubs and idyllic holiday cottages) can be found at the end of slow drives down deep Devon lanes. The city of Exeter is well worth at least one day's visit to see the magnificent Cathedral (picnic on Cathedral Green) followed by a trip down to Exeter Quay on the River Exe, full of craft shops bars and bistros. Hire a bike and follow the ship canal tow path through Starcross to the coast. If you make it past the enticing pubs such as the Twin Locks, you'll end up collecting sea shells and nibbling seaside candy floss on the beach at Dawlish Warren before a leisurely ride home to your holiday accommodation.
The centre of Devon is the truly beautiful Dartmoor National Park - offering picturesque wild walks and drives across the moors. Visit Widecombe and Princetown - the latter now earning a reputation as an artistic centre as well as being the location of the famous prison. Above all find and climb a tor - there are hundreds for visitors to choose from! Dartmoor is also home to England's 'newest castle'. Now wonderfully restored by the National Trust, Castle Drogo, designed y Edward Luytens just outside Drewsteignton was built in the early 20th Century and is a fascinating place to visit.
Devon's seafaring heritage and traditions can be discovered in the south coast ports of Dartmouth (take a trip by Edwardian paddle steamer up river to Dittisham past Greenaway, Agatha Christie's house now open to the public), Salcombe or Plymouth where a boat trip visiting all the historic maritime naval yards along Plymouth Sound will provide an entertaining history lesson.
For steam train lovers, as well as occasional main line excursions to and from Exeter, there is steam a-plenty to be found within an easy drive of many holiday cottages. In the popular (and idyllic) South Hams region in the southern corner of Devon, ride the South Devon Railway from Buckfastleigh to Totnes or from Paignton to Kingswear (and then by ferry to Dartmouth). In North Devon discover the Lynton Barnstaple Railway which operates a mile or so of scenic track from Woody Bay Station - combine this with a cliff top walk along the South West Coast Path between Woody Bay and Martinhoe and you have the perfect day out!
With so much on offer in Devon and it's not just the large attractions that appeal to visitors. In North Devon, visit The Gnome Reserve, where over a thousand gnomes are secreted along an enchanting woodland walk. It was once nominated for a Turner Prize. IF not Gnomes, they try sheep: The Big Sheep in Bideford has everything from baby lambs to feed to roller coaster rides - all year round! It is no wonder that many of the Devon's self-catering holiday cottages and seaside apartment welcome back the same visitors year after year!