Stay in a Barnstaple holiday cottage in North Devon for a town and country holiday -with a few days on local beaches thrown in for good measure! From the moors of Dartmoor and Exmoor to the sea on the Atlantic Coast, the ancient market town of Barnstaple lies directly in between the two and makes no hesitation in boasting its beautiful surroundings. This has not gone unnoticed by visitors who adore the nearby beautiful (and award winning) beaches and countryside unchanged for centuries. Staying in a holiday cottage in Barnstaple or one of its sleepy surrounding villages is a very appropriate way to fit in to this picturesque corner of the West Country. To the east there are miles and miles of breath-taking scenery of the very best of nature. The Tarka Trail, a 40-mile long foot and cycle path from Braunton to Meeth (half way to Dartmoor) runs through Barnstaple. Bikes of almost every description for all ages (including wheelchair towing bikes) can be hired at Barnstaple Station. The town itself has a vibrant, bustling hub, with plenty of shops, supermarkets restaurants and tea rooms. Enjoy lovely local produce on Barnstaple Quay at Tea-By-the-Taw, or pick up a bargain in the beautiful Pannier Market on Butcher's Row. Barnstaple a bit of a cultural centre too, with The Queen's Theatre presenting a year-round programme of drama, music and dance in an 800-seat auditorium. The Barnstaple Fringe Theatre Festival presents an inventive and inspiring programme in all sorts of nooks and crannies around Barnstaple in late June (well worth a weekend break in one of the town's self-catering cottages). The White Moose Art Gallery and a 3-screen cinema all keep cultural visitors content.

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There are plenty of beautiful holiday cottages scattered around Barnstaple which provide a perfect base for exploring the whole of North Devon from Lynton and Lynmouth across to Bideford, Hartland and Clovelly.

It's an easy drive eastwards from Barnstaple to the beautiful Exmoor National Park. Here, the wildlife proves to be as intriguing as the rugged landscape where Exmoor ponies, red deer and wild birds of prey can be regularly sighted as you cross Exmoor's hills and valleys. To the north of Barnstaple, explore rugged cliffs and numerous award winning beaches at Woolacombe, Croyde and Saunton Sands. The South West Coast Path offers walks along the top of the highest cliffs in Europe between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin. With golden sands stretching for miles and good surfing waves, North Devon's beaches attract visitors from all over the world.

Barnstaple itself is a quaint little town with locations ranging from lovely independent cafes and coffee houses to vibrant cocktail bars with the character of that you would find in a bustling city. The town still retains its Norman Castle mound. Take a stroll along the beautiful Strand on the Taw riverfront (with lunch at Tea-By-The Taw highly recommended). Wander through Rock Park, a genteel riverside Victorian park with children's play areas. Go Go-Karting or 10-Pin bowling at Pottington, or take the day to indulge in some light shopping down the High Street. Book a walking tour of Barnstaple to discover Civil War bullet holes and a Victorian 'Den of Iniquity' in the High Street.

On rainy days, treat yourself to a swim and sauna at the Barnstaple Hotel or tennis at the town's large indoor tennis centre on Seven Bretheren Bank. Also on Seven Bretheren is the large Barnstaple Leisure Centre with heated indoor pools, gym and all sorts of other activities. Visitors are welcome at all leisure facilities all year round.