Cottages in Devon

Devon is a spectacularly varied county in the South West, from the windswept beauty of heather-covered Dartmoor to the two distinctive coastlines where you can spend your days catching waves or rays, or walking along the rugged cliffs. One of the simplest, but loveliest things to do in Devon is to wander the towns and villages, which are brimming with beautifully preserved heritage attractions, quaint rural architecture and traditional, open-fire pubs.


Devon is the perfect place for a seaside retreat with the family and our cosy cottages in Devon reflect that. From holiday homes with nearby beaches, walking and hiking paths right on your doorstep and hot tubs to come back to, there’s something to tick every box. Oh, and don’t forget the pooch! More than half of our cottages in Devon are dog-friendly so even the four-legged family members can join in the fun!

Why visit?

  • The unspoiled beauty of Devon makes it the perfect place for a spot of tranquility.
  • It's the only county with two coastlines so the options are endless! Try your hand at fishing, sailing, surfing or fossil hunting, to name a few.
  • The cuisine is inspired by the wilderness, offering fresh game from the moors, locally farmed produce and fish delivered straight from the sea to your plate.

Read the Devon Travel Guide


Why stay with us?

Style and character are everything at Oliver’s Travels, and our collection of handpicked villas in Devon have this in spades.

We have destination experts who know the ins and outs of all our regions, picking villas that aren’t only unique, but also in the best locations. What's more, our villas are 100% family-friendly, and have the ‘wow’ factor.

Our helpful concierge team are on-hand to make your stay extra special. Whether you want a fully-stocked fridge, a local in-house chef to cook your meals, housekeeping or any other extra service – consider them your holiday genie, who will happily grant your wishes.

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Holiday Cottages in Devon: Our Top Picks

Why visit

Devon is the kind of destination that rewards exploration. With coastlines on two separate sides of England you’ll have seaside towns and clifftop walks to enjoy, and with Dartmoor and Exmoor your adventures can expand to kayaking, hiking or just admiring the spectacular scenery. Whether you're searching for a family adventure or craving a lazy day on a gorgeous beach you'll have options aplenty.

 

The Great Outdoors

Although Devon may strike you as a beach holiday destination, that's not all it has to offer. With stunning countryside and moors galore, you can breathe in the fresh country air and let the kids run wild. And with many of our cottages in Devon offering nearby walking and hiking paths, you won't have to go far to experience it in all its glory.

 

Food and Drink

It's no secret that Devonshire cuisine is a big hit with locals and tourists alike. Think organic food and inventive, trendy dishes made from only the freshest ingredients. Whether you're all about the meat or more of a veggie at heart, the locally farmed produce has a very short journey from field to fork, making every dish a flavourful feast.  Inland, the farms provide rich cheeses and even wine or you can head to the coast for menus decided by the daily catch!

Make sure to try the famous Brixham crab in a tasty salad or risk the hangover with a glass of scrumpy, a particulary potent cider that locals love.

 

 

What Oliver loves

The diverse activities and attractions to fit both the laziest and the most adrenaline-filled days out.

Best time to go

  • Summer has the best climate but be prepared to share the beaches and towns with many other eager visitors.
  • Spring and Autumn may be the best time to go. The weather remains mild, the moorland bursts into seasonal colours and you're more likely to have a bit of space to yourself.
  • Most National Trust attractions as well as many other heritage sites are closed between November and March, although winter does promise tourist-free escapes to the countryside if you are willing to brave changeable weather.

Top tips

  • Make sure to try a Devonshire cream tea while you're here - but remember, cream first then the jam!
  • If you're planning to go in peak season, make sure to book attractions ahead - you'll save money and guarantee a ticket!
  • Check the weather in advance before planning your beach days. If it's looking a bit peaky, why not try the array of free galleries and museums spread around the county.

Best beaches in Devon

When we think of Devon, we think pretty sandy beaches, picturesque picnic spots and, of course, a wetsuit for those chilly waters!

 

You'll find plenty of surfing hotspots so you can give those gnarly waves a go! Or take the little ones to explore marvellous rockpools and paddle in the shallow waters. If you're looking for some family activities, why not hire a kayak and head out to sea? Keep your eyes peeled for sealife... you might even spot a seal if you're lucky!

 

For a short journey to these dazzling blue waters, check out our cottages in Devon near the beach or hire a car to adventure further afield.

Oliver’s Hidden Gem

If you’re looking to swim uninterrupted by the elements, Fishcombe Cove in Brixham is the perfect spot. The small, shingled beach is a surrounded by red cliffs and you might even see a seal or two in the water!

Woolacombe Beach

Stretching over 3 miles of golden sands and surrounded by rugged cliffs, this pretty beach is a favourite with the locals. With lifeguards on patrol, it’s a safe place to learn some watersports or just sit back and enjoy the expansive views.

Slapton Sands

For picturesque scenery in all directions, Slapton Sands has it all. With the beach on one side in all its glory and the Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve on the other, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Take a picnic and breathe in the fresh sea air.

Croyde Bay Beach

Surf’s up! This beautiful sandy beach is the perfect place to catch some waves. If you’re with the little ones, you can spend hours exploring the rock pools. You can even bring the pooch along if you’re holidaying in off-season.

East Portlemouth Beach

For scenic views over the estuary and a calming atmosphere, East Portlemouth Beach is a great option for a relaxing afternoon by the water. When you’ve had enough of soaking up the rays, jump on a ferry to Salcombe for a wide choice of restaurants and cafes.

Anstey’s Cove

Famed for being visited by Agatha Christie, this pebbled beach is a quiet and charming escape from the usual crowds. Kids can enjoy the shallow swimming spots while parents can admire the glistening waters. Why not hire a kayak at the nearby cafe and head out into the water?

Tunnel Beaches

Made up of three hand-carved tunnels from the 1820s, there’s multiple secluded beaches to choose from. The breath-taking rock formations tower over you and give the beaches an elegant and spectacular presence.

Things to do

Devon’s diverse assortment of old towns, wild uninhabited moorland and breathtaking coastline provide freedom in abundance, as well as a lengthy catalogue of activities for both grown-ups and little ones alike.


Whether you’re planning a trip for a group getaway, an adventure for the kids or a romantic retreat, here’s some of our favourite things to do in Devon…

Top activities in Devon

  • Hire some bikes and explore the countryside like a local. Hot Pursuit Cycles can even suggest a route that’s right for you (and your fitness level).
  • A fantastically relaxing way to enjoy the canals is with Tiverton Canal Co, who can take you back to a far more relaxing time with a narrowboat trip pulled by a horse.
  • The Heddon’s Mouth circular walk takes in everything that’s great about the Devon countryside, passing through ancient woodland and ending up at a charmingly small shingle beach.
  • Treat yourself to the Michelin-starred The Elephant Restaurant and Brasserie for a mouth-watering meal you won't forget. Or if you don't feel like splashing the cash, the brasserie downstairs serves delicious grub with a more casual atmosphere.
  • Visit the Valley of Rocks, a dry valley that runs parallel to the coast in North Devon. You'll be treated to gorgeous scenery, interesting geology and you may even meet the locals - a herd of feral goats.

Valley of Rocks

Oliver's Hidden Gem

Learn about the legends that surround Okehampton Castle, a country manor best known for the grisly story of Lady Howard who reputedly murdered her husbands to turn them into carriages. The ruin, which dates back to the Dark Ages, is impressive and well worth a visit – whether you buy into the ghastly ghost stories or not.

Towns and villages

From cobbled streets and pretty, independent shops to culture festivals and stunning coastline, the towns and villages in Devon are just waiting to be explored. If you're on the hunt for a traditional, English retreat, car-free villages like Clovelly will give you the option to take it the unspoiled beauty on foot. Or head out to Exmoor for countryside views that are second to none. 

 

Want to be near the action? Many of our cottages in Devon are only a short walk to quaint local towns and villages and nearby beaches. Choose a dog-friendly cottage in Devon and bring your pup along to see the sights!

 

Check out our top six towns and villages in Devon for an insight into what this beautiful county has to offer...

Oliver’s Hidden Gem

For some traditional charm, Ashburton is a stunning little market town near Dartmoor with a focus on environmentally friendly living. Pop into the galleries, have a bite at the many cafes and restaurants or have a nosy in the antiques. There’s even a steam railway in the nearby Buckfastleigh if you fancy a scenic ride around the area.

Clovelly, Torridge

A car-free village hidden on the northern coast of the county; it’s worth visiting simply to wander the attractive pedestrianised streets. Kids will love riding the donkeys, which were historically used as transport here in place of motors, while the village’s two inns make for scenic dinner spots.

Totnes

An alternative town that celebrates diversity and exudes a New Age vibe. What makes the area unmissable for us, however, is not just its progressive outlook but also its collection of listed buildings, which feature unusual overhanging upper storeys.

East Portlemouth

Nestled in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this small Devon village is a peaceful spot for the whole family. The beach is perfect for watersports enthusiasts or head on one of the many national Trust walks in the area and admire stunning views and spectacular sunsets.

Appledore

This seaside village is a delight to explore, full of quaint, charming cafés and colourful, independent shops. Its popular book festival draws in authors and literature-lovers from around the country, while the whole community joins in with the celebrations during its annual regatta.

Dittisham

Sitting on the banks of the River Dart, this unspoiled village is deemed to be one of the prettiest villages in Devon.  Surrounded by lush countryside, you can plan a big walk or hop on the ferry down to Greenway Quay to visit Agatha Christie’s former holiday home, Greenway House.

Exmoor

A lesser-known, equally stunning version of its southern counterpart, Dartmoor – except Exmoor has the added bonus of a coastline. It’s a wild and alluring stretch of countryside that feels far removed from the busyness of modern life. Start your explorations in Exford, which is found right in the heart of the park.

Getting Around

By Car

Popular car rental firms such as Avis, Europcar, Sixt and Hertz offer the most flexible way of getting around Devon, allowing access to places off the beaten track. E-cocars, which operates out of Totnes, is a car share club that lets you borrow a local’s car.


By Train

Trains are hassle-free ways of trundling through the scenery of Devon, and routes run to most of the major towns. Ranger tickets offer unlimited roaming on local lines for the day, and can take you along some of the region’s most scenic routes, such as the spectacular Tarka line. Visit NationalRail for tickets.

The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway is the only steam train in the UK where passengers travel in Victorian carriages! This is a must-see if you're staying in one of our cottages Barnstaple.


By Bike

Cycling is an excellent way to get around Devon. Visit Travel Devon for information on trails to suit cyclists of every ability.


By Bus

Buses provide slightly more flexible public transport around the villages of the region. Travel Devon has an interactive bus map which shows you all the routes you can take.


By Plane

Flights to Devon land in Exeter Airport, with excellent links within the UK.

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