Finding your perfect Devon Holiday Cottage should be easy but with so much choice it may not be as simple as you first think. Devon offers a North and South coast, spectacular sandy beaches, stunning scenery including Dartmoor National Park and Exmoor National Park and no fewer than 5 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With so much on offer, your first choice will be in deciding where to base yourself.
Where to base your Devon holiday
Quite a lot to think about here. Are you after a traditional seaside holiday? The South Devon Coast offers lots of choices here across almost all of the seaside town and villages, from Seaton and Beer in the East to Bovisand and Heybrook Bay in the West. In between are some very popular areas with equally popular beaches nearby such as Bigbury-on-sea, Thurlestone, Hope Cove, Salcombe, East Prawle, Beesands, Torcross, Stoke Fleming, Dartmouth, Kingswear, Teignmouth, Dawlish and Sidmouth. Visit the English Riviera at Torquay and Paignton or one of the estuary villages and towns such as Stoke Gabriel, Kingsbridge, Newton Ferrers, Noss Mayo and Averton Gifford. The North Devon coast offers many great bases for you Devon beach holiday from Lynton and Lynmouth in the East, through Combe Martin, Ilfracombe, Woolacombe, Saunton and Braunton, Westward Ho!, Clovelly and the Hartland Peninsula. If you are looking to explore more than just the coast of Devon then a central location may be ideal allowing you to reach the North and South Coasts as well as Dartmoor, the Tamar Valley, the East Devon AONB, the Blackdown Hills and Exmoor. It will become clear that a weeks break to Devon will not be enough to visit all the areas you want. For a more rural holiday, we have Devon holiday cottages in both Exmoor and Dartmoor, while the Tamar Valley will give you easy access to explore Cornwall as well and the Blackdown Hills will give you easy access to explore both Dorset and Somerset in addition to Devon.
Devon Holiday Cottages – but which one?
The first point to make is that although we are called Devon Holiday Cottages we don’t just have cottages to choose from. We have beautiful Shepherd Huts sleeping two, converted chapels and barns, traditional farmhouses both on their own and still set within a working farm, traditional Devon longhouses, thatched and unthatched cottages, Manor houses, apartments, lodges and townhouses. Ensure the first thing you work out is how many will be travelling in your party including any pets which may well discount certain options such as a family of six will probably not be wanting either a shepherds hut or a manor house. Then have a good think about what you want from your holiday. If a garden is essential then in many cases an apartment will not be a good choice, although some do have stunning communal gardens. If the thought of looking for a parking space fills you with dread after a hard day on the beach ensure the accommodation has off-street parking.
Pet-Friendly Devon Holiday Cottages
Devon is very family-friendly and that extends to all the family, even the four-footed kind. Over half our cottages are pet-friendly with more being added all the time. If you want to bring multiple dogs that is okay too as we have Devon holiday cottages that will accept up to 5 pets. And you aren’t restricted to dogs, some properties will accept cats and even horses. The walking and riding in Devon is exceptional with Dartmoor having over 250,000 acres to explore, many miles of the South West Coast Path, as well as many hundreds of miles of inland paths and bridleways including the Tarka Trail for those wanting a 64 mile there and back walk. If you have further questions then please head over to our Frequently Asked Questions section which will tell you everything you need about bringing you pet to Devon on holiday Devon Pet-Friendly FAQ
Picking a Devon Holiday Cottage by facility
Going away on holiday should always bring levels of excitement in the run-up to actually setting off and this can be achieved in many ways but perhaps one of the easiest is picking some features of a home that you don’t normally have access to. This could be something as simple as a sea or countryside view, finding a unique property close to a river or finding a property with a swimming pool or hot tub. If you are looking for a swimming pool then ensure you read each listing carefully. Most outdoor swimming pools will have a season, normally from May to September when they are open, so ensure you are booking dates with this in mind to avoid disappointment. There are many properties that have indoor swimming pools that are normally open throughout the year without restriction and most hot tubs will be open all year round. With Devon being quite rural there is very little light pollution so gazing at the stars with a glass of wine in your hand while being gently massaged by bubbles is quite the experience. Why not book a cottage on a working farm and see a completely different way of life and have the opportunity to be shown around by the farmer and even help out?
If you are looking for a sporting break then you have many options. We have properties with tennis courts, snooker tables, table tennis, fishing, gymnasiums, bowling alley and even golf all within their own grounds. Our listings also show what is available locally so horse riding, cycling, fly and sea fishing, clay pigeon shooting, walking and riding. Unsurprisingly, with 2 coastlines and fabulous beaches, water sports are brilliant in Devon. From family-friendly beaches for a swim to white knuckle rides on a speed boat, Devon offers it all. Try sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, stand up paddleboarding, scuba diving and of course surfing across many of the beaches with expert tuition and/or equipment hire.
Basing yourself close to an attraction you want to visit is a great idea allowing less time in the car and more time doing what you want to do. But what attractions are there? We outline a few below:
Plymouth – A city steeped in history with the stunning Plymouth Hoe with views across the sound to Drakes Island, the Barbican district with its cobbled streets and art galleries, Smeatons Tower or a relaxing visit to the Plymouth Gin Distillery.
Babbacombe Model Village – set in 4 acres of grounds in Torquay, Babbacombe Model Village is a 1/12th scale model village with a huge variety of scenes including a fantasy castle with a dragon, canals, nudist beach, Stonehenge and English scenes from the 60s to the present day. All of this is mixed up with some great British humour and if visiting in the evening there are lots of scenes that are illuminated.
Exeter – the must-see attraction is the stunning cathedral set in the heart of the city. For almost a 1,000 years it has been wowing visitors both on the outside and inside with perhaps the most impressive vaulted ceiling you have ever seen along with beautiful stained glass, sculptures and organ.
Paignton Zoo – Set in 80 acres the zoo has about 2,500 animals with more species to see than anywhere else in the South West.
The Big Sheep – a great family day out whatever the weather, this award-winning attraction has rides, shows, animals, sheep racing and is home to the largest roller coaster in Devon and is on the outskirts of Bideford.
Crealy Family Theme Park – voted ‘Family attraction of the year’, Crealy Theme Park has rides, indoor play areas, live shows and lots of animals. They have 60 attractions set in 100 acres with a massive 75,000 sq, feet of indoor play area if the weather isn’t as kind as it could be on the outskirts of Exeter.
RHS Rosemoor – located in the Torridge Valley, Rosemoor offers a huge variety of gardens from the rose gardens and winter garden to the hot garden, cottage garden, exotic garden and Lady Annes’s Arboretum. A must for garden lovers.
Pennywell Farm – another multi-award-winning attraction and the largest farm attraction in the South West, with shows, displays farm rides and the adorable miniature pigs.
Other mentions include the Underground Passages in Exeter, the Tunnels Beaches at Ilfracombe, Coleton Fishacre house and gardens at Dartmouth, Kents Cavern in Torquay, Beer Quarry Caves, The Donkey Sanctuary, Yarak Bird of Prey Centre at Cullompton, Peak Hill Llamas at Sidmouth, WeFerry boat trips at Brixham, the Seaton Tramway, Lydford Gorge and Seaton Wetlands Nature Reserve. This is obviously not an exhaustive list so please do check back to the blog where we will be covering more attractions in more detail soon.
Coinciding your trip to Devon with an event or festival is a great idea and Devon has much to offer throughout the year. Be it food, sport, music, planes or fireworks there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Pretty spoilt for music events in Devon but some of the biggest are the Goldcoast Oceanfest which is three days of music and beach sports in June. In July, MTV Crashes Plymouth is 2 days of chart-topping entertainment on Plymouth Hoe. Also in July is the Chagstock Music Festival held over 2 days on the north edge of Dartmoor with views, caterers, kids entertainers, bars and great music. Beautiful Days takes place in August near Ottery St Mary for a 3-day event. Glas-Denbury is held over a weekend in early July and retains a family-friendly feel while having no less than 6 stages, bars, food stalls and entertainment and winner of Devon’s Festival of the Year in 2019. The Sidmouth Folk Festival is a week-long celebration of all things folk in early August. Love Summer Festival is in Plympton and is a 3-day event with 4 stages, one specifically for kids. The Teign Maritime and Shanty Festival celebrates food, drink local bands and the maritime tradition of the area over 2 days in September.
Devon is foodies heaven with a plethora of talented food and drink producers. Aside from weekly markets around the county, there are some food festivals you should look out for. Around Easter time the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink is a 3-day event with each day having a different theme. Flavourfest is held each June in Plymouth and is also 3-day event celebrating both food and drink with many demonstrations from top chefs and lots to try around the many stalls. The Dartmouth Food Festival is in October, another 3-day bonanza of foodie heaven as is North Devon Foodfest held in Barnstaple also in October. Abbfest runs for 3 days in September and features 200 ales and 30 ciders all brewed in Devon. For those not into that, there are 50 local food producers and a wine, Pimms and prosecco bar.
Agatha Christie is Torquay’s most well-known resident and the International Agatha Christie Festival is a week-long celebration of her work and creativity in general across all ages. In September is the 5 day Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival, a blend of debate, new fiction, award-winning writing and many authors to discuss their work. The Appledore Book Festival also runs in September over 9 days with 80 events to include authors, performers and artists. Devon Open Studios is an event covering the whole of Devon where 200 resident artists open up their studios for 16 days in September covering painters, weavers, sculptors, photographers and ceramists. Bovey Tracey is the location of the Craft Festival, a 3-day event full of workshops, demonstrations, food and drink and a host of exhibitors.
The Dartmouth Royal Regatta is a very well attended event every August for 3 days of air displays, sailing, sports, food, drink and fireworks. The Sidmouth and East Devon Walking Festival is a week of free guided walks to discover the wonderful scenic walks around the area including some hidden gems. The Brixham Trawler Race is held annually in June and consists of two laps around the bay with the winner not always obvious due to the handicapping system. The after-party on the quayside afterwards is family-friendly and raises money for local charities. The Dragon Boat Event is held in Plymouth every July and consists of teams paddling long boats decorated with dragon figureheads in a series of races. If you don’t fancy dragons on your boat, try the Bideford Gig Regatta held at the end of August. There are so many regular events on in Devon throughout the year too so some of the following may be of interest to add to you itinerary while you are in Devon: Horseracing at Newton Abbot, Shepherding experience walks or various sports at the Young@Heart Adventure Club in Bideford.
Finally, we present a series of events that don’t fit any category or indeed fill lots. Pigstock is in mid-May and has music, a food village, theme park and animals all on one site and is family-friendly. The Tar Barrels at Ottery St Mary is a hundreds of years old tradition where strong individuals carry full-sized lit tar barrels through the streets on November the 5th. The Mid Devon show is at the end of July in Tiverton showcasing all that is good in the area including food, drink, entertainment, horticulture and farm life. The Devon County Show is held on the third week of May from the Thursday to the Saturday and has been running since 1872 and has livestock competitions, the biggest food fair in Devon, a crafts and gardening Pavillion, entertainment in the main arena, children’s farm and over 1,000 horses of all shapes and sizes.
Your Special Events
If you are celebrating a milestone birthday or anniversary, then why not make it even more special in one of our Devon Holiday Cottage’s celebration houses. With holiday properties taking more than 40 guests we can accommodate large parties in style. Our large properties are usually well equipped with swimming pools, hot tubs, wonderful grounds and sporting facilities so your party can relax and unwind before the festivities begin. Private dining can be arranged so you can take full advantage of some of the magnificent dining areas these properties have. It makes a special occasion just that bit more special and something you will remember for years.
We are here to help
We hope this post has given you food for thought or at least given you a few more ideas on picking your perfect Devon Holiday Cottage at the perfect time for you. We are constantly adding new cottages to our site and with 2600 Devon self-catering cottages we have one of the largest choices available anywhere. You can interact with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for advice specific to you.