Spend Christmas or New Year in a North Devon Holiday Cottage

Still looking for a holiday cottage with availability for Christmas and/or the New Year? There aren’t many gems left by now, but we’ve managed to uncover a few too good to be left unbooked. Here’s a tidy selection of beautifully furnished houses and cottages sleeping from 4 to 12 guests in North Devon.

Why North Devon?

It’s a land of deep-banked lanes and big beaches which, in winter, are perfect for long bracing walks. Watch the surf thundering onto the shore, or stomp your way from pub to pub on Exmoor before returning to your cottage with its roaring log fire. It’s also a corner of England that knows how to celebrate. Enjoy or join in the various Beach Swims on Woolacombe, Saunton Sands or Westward Ho! where locals and visitors alike take the plunge in the bracing waves on Boxing or New Year’s Day. You can wear your wetsuit if you like, but it would be cheating! Most people go in fancy dress but some hardy folk still venture forth in their budgie snugglers. Expect screams!

Shops lining Butcher's Row in Barnstaple

Old-fashioned shopping: Butcher's Row and the adjoining Pannier Market in Barnstaple.

On New Year’s Eve, thousands travel from far and wide to participate in street celebrations on Barnstaple or Bideford Quays. More (much more) fancy dressing takes place alongside bands and suitably impressive firework displays which soar into the skies at the stroke of midnight. Join locals and visitors alike for a rumbustious knees-up style quayside party in either town.

Morte Point in winter

Winter walks around Morte Hoe can be rewarded with views of magnificent waves.

Many of the summer attractions such as The Big Sheep in Abbotsham open up during the holiday period offering lots for families to enjoy whatever the weather. For traditionalists, this year’s pantomime at the 700-seat Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple is Sleeping Beauty, promising all the usual hisses, boos and ‘he’s behind you’ audience participation, and comes highly recommended.

Rock Cottage

Available: New Year

Website: Rock Cottage

Rock Cottage in winter

A warm and cosy cob cottage with thatched roof in the tranquil village of Goodleigh (great pub) 2 miles up the hill from Barnstaple. Sleeping 4 in 2 bedrooms with lots of Port Merion china it has just about every kitchen gadget you’d need to prepare a fabulous New Year’s Day Dinner. For traditionalists – purchase the main ingredients in Barnstaple’s historic Butcher’s Row and Pannier Market.

Lower Leys Cottage

Available: Christmas and New Year.

Website: Lower Leys Cottage

Foxtwitchen Cottage near Withypool on Exmoor

High up on Exmoor and overlooking the village of Withypool with its popular gastro pub, The Royal Oak, Foxtwitchen offers lovely moorland winter views over the Barle Valley. It sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms (both with en suite bathrooms). Work off Yuletide calories with tramps across the moor, or walk the scenic riverside footpath from the village to Tarr Steps and back. Pets are welcome.

Middle Leys Cottage

Available: Christmas and New Year

Website: Middle Leys Cottage

Leys Cottage, Withypool

A sister cottage to Foxtwitchen, being slightly larger with accommodation for 6 guests in 3 bedrooms. Leys is one of those snug moorland cottages with thick walls and a stone inglenook fireplace large enough to hang the biggest of Christmas stockings. The chimney itself is easily big enough for Santa There’s a proper Aga in the kitchen to dry his boots while he delivers the presents. The village stores in Withypool will pre-deliver groceries for you (the cottage owners will send you their checklist in advance). Pets are welcome.

Farriers End Cottage

Available: Christmas and New Year

Website: Farriers End Cottage

Farriers Cottage at Lee Manor Farm Cottages

Just about the quaintest of cottages for a family of 4, located an appetite-generating walk down to the village of Lee on the North Devon Coast. Sleeping 4 in two bedrooms (double and twin) this spotlessly clean and sumptuously furnished barn conversion has a kitchen-diner perfect for the Christmas dinner. Walk the stunning coastal footpath into the village and replenish lost calories with lashings of seriously good pub grub and local ales at the village inn, The Grampus, once the haunt of smugglers in times gone by.

Aggies Cottage

Available: Christmas and New Year.

Website: Aggies Cottage

Aggies Cottage at Higher Mullacott Farm

A lovely contemporary barn conversion on a farm that dates back to the Domesday book. No longer a working farm, Aggies is located a mile or two above Ilfracombe and not that much further to Woolacombe. Sleeping 6 in 3 bedrooms, this 17th Century colourful barn has been beautifully restored and comfortably furnished with plenty of space for a Christmas tree.

Oyster Cove

Available: New Year

Website: www.croydeholidayhome.co.uk

Oyster Cove, Croyde

If you want to be within walking distance of the beach, Oyster Cove in Croyde will do the trick for a New Year’s Celebration. It sleeps 6-8 in 3 bedrooms. The master bedroom is en suite while the children’s room has a pair of full-size bunk beds. There’s room enough in the lounge for party games – although you may be tempted to join in the fun at Croyde’s legendary pub, The Thatch, where celebrities are regularly spotted. Alternatively, blow away the cobwebs with a walk along Croyde beach and marvel at the hardy surfers who will be out there battling the breakers on New Year’s Day.

Dolly’s Barn

Available Christmas and New Year

Website: Dolly's Barn

Dolly's Barn

The 5 bedroomed (3 en suite) Dolly’s Barn comfortably accommodates 11 guests and is perfect for larger family gatherings. Located on Higher Mullacott Farm, across the courtyard from Aggies cottage described above, it is all sloping ceilings, beams and stone walls. The wooden floorboards came from Ilfracombe’s former theatre. It lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty only a mile or two from Ilfracombe Quay, where you can pay your compliments to Verity, Damian Hirst’s sculpture, taller than the Angel of the North.

Quay West

Available Christmas and New Year

Web: Quay West

Quay West near Lee Bay in North Devon

One of four ‘no expense spared’ barn conversions on the Lee Manor estate with views across gorse covered hills to the sea. This massively spacious 6-bedroom property (there’s enough room to swing an entire cattery) sleeps 12. It’s another great holiday home for extended or dual family celebrations where party games may be on the itinerary. It’s but a short drive down deep Devon lanes to Lee Bay or Mortehoe where a walk around the wave-battered Morte Point followed by lunch in ‘The Ship Aground’ will appeal to all ages.

All properties had vacancies as of the 29th November. Some may be booked, but the availability calendars on their websites are all kept fully up to date and offer online booking facilities. So if you like it and it’s available: you can book it!