This guide to cottages in Devon will take you past the wave-slammed beaches of the north shore, over the sweeping granite massifs of Dartmoor and down the self-styled English Riviera that's anchored at Torquay. Along the way, you’ll find inspiration for the top spots to go for a holiday rental, whether you're after a surfside pad or a pet-friendly walking base.
Pinpoint the right type of cottage in Devon
Before getting stuck into Devon's hotspot destinations, it might be worth taking a little time to outline a few of the major sorts of holiday rentals you can pick from in these parts.
Dog-friendly cottages in Devon
You needn’t worry about leaving your pets behind when you head off to Devon. With the prospect of bounding over Dartmoor's boulder-speckled heaths and ball-catching sessions by the waves of Putsborough Sands, they are sure to want to tag along. That means you'll need to home in on a pet-friendly place to stay.
Family cottages in Devon
This corner of the West Country is primed for families. That's not only because of the abundance of multi-room cottages with self-catering kitchens and big gardens. It's also because of the surf schools that await budding swell riders on the north coast, the petting zoos and swaying pirate rides of Crealy Adventure Park and the clotted-cream tea houses where every member of the crew can devour a scone.
Luxury cottages in Devon with hot tubs
You could opt for a home with a spa bath, to ensure you've got something warming upon your return, after windy walks along the North Devon Heritage Coast. Other Devon cottage rentals crank up the luxury offering by packing in swimming pools and saunas, occasionally shared with neighbouring buildings in the same holiday complex.
Cottages in south Devon
South Devon is a whirlwind of piers and whirligig gaming arcades, with plenty of family fun to keep folk flocking back to the region's cottages, year upon year. Here are just a few highlights to expect.
Family trips to Devon cottages in Paignton
Buckets and spades at the ready for Paignton, a town where Neapolitan ice cream-coloured homes fringe a boat bobbing harbour. Life is mainly focused on the vibrant beach of Paignton Sands, though, where you can lay out the deck chair and soak up the rays on one of England's sunniest stretches of shore.
Tour the sights of Torquay
Don't be put off by Torquay's reputation as the home of one Basil Fawlty. The resort is now firmly established as the gateway to the English Riviera, and it's got the attractions to match. Highlights include the Babbacombe Model Village, with its diminutive castle and rattling railway lines, and the Living Coasts exhibit, which has penguins and South American fur seals to meet.
Hoist the sail in Salcombe
Salcombe reigns as one of the hippest resort towns on the Devonshire south coast. It's laden with yacht schools that come to life with tackers and captains during the summer season. It's also entirely encompassed by the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which puts picturesque inlets, such as Soar Mill Cove, and hidden beaches, like boat-only Starehole Bay, on the horizon.
Cottages in north Devon
Head for the reaches of north Devon if you've a penchant for untamed beaches and surfing swells. Some of the most celebrated spots are listed below
Ride the railways of Lynton
Quaint, whitewashed cottages and half-timbered homes pack into the old heart of Lynton. It’s a charming glimpse at the region's long history, made even better by the presence of the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway – a water-powered funicular that can help you traverse the steep ridges back to your holiday home door.
Saunton Sands has cottages for family beachgoers
Choose a Devon cottage in the hills behind Saunton Sands and you could be in for some of the best surf in the whole of the UK. If you choose not to bring the board, that's fine, too. This 3.5-mile stretch is great for long beachcombing sessions and scrambles up to see the waves crashing into Baggy Point.
Urban enjoyment in Ilfracombe
Picking a cottage in Devon close to the vintage resort of Ilfracombe is about feeling the newfound vibrancy of this onetime Victorian escape. The pint-sized Ilfracombe Aquarium has some intriguing exhibits of local swimmers, while it’s the enticing West Country pubs and surf shacks that are continually reviving the gastronomic scene.