Wax down your surfboards and make for a Woolacombe cottage

For that quintessential seaside experience, you don't need to look any further than a Woolacombe cottage rental. This picture-postcard little village on the dramatic North Devon coast is renowned for its wide, sandy beach, along with reliable Atlantic swells that see the surfers flocking to Woolacombe Bay for a piece of the action.The area's a big hit with couples and family groups alike, and with so many pet-friendly rentals available, even the dog can join you on holiday.

Not every holiday cottage has views like these

Woolacombe holiday rentals come with all kinds of facilities, though the selling point for many of them is those gorgeous sea views. And if you're looking for luxury cottages, you're in luck, too. Some Woolacombe cottage rentals have their own hot tubs, and if you look a bit further afield in the surrounding countryside, you might even snag yourself a place with a private pool. As you can imagine, holiday lettings in a place as glorious as Woolacombe do tend to get booked up a long time in advance, but if you keep your eye out, you can often find some late availability rentals.

Life's a beach in Woolacombe

Hands-down the most popular attraction in Woolacombe is that magnificent sandy beach. At 3 miles long, Woolacombe beach is regularly touted as being one of the best in England, and a Woolacombe cottage rental is the perfect opportunity to build a sandcastle or two. There's even more fun to be had in the sea itself, and those in the know reckon Woolacombe's among the top surf spots in the area. When you're done on the beach itself, Woolacombe does a great line in laid-back bars and pubs, or you could take the kids to spend a few coppers at the amusements and mini-golf.

Feel like exploring the surrounding area?

A Woolacombe cottage rental puts you among the dramatic cliffs and rolling sand dunes of the North Devon coast, and it's no accident that one of the country's most famous hiking routes – the South West Coast Path – passes right through the village. If you do fancy heading a bit further afield, then there's plenty to tempt you in the surrounding area, from castles and zoos to vast national parks. You could have a classic seaside day out at nearby Ilfracombe, or take a drive over to the busy cathedral city of Exeter.

Drip ice cream down your chin at Ilfracombe

The main hub on this stretch of coast is the resort town of Ilfracombe, a quarter of an hour's drive away, and it's definitely worth a visit if you can tear yourself away from your Woolacombe holiday rental. With its grand Victorian architecture and buzzing seaside vibe, Ilfracombe's also famous for a number of unconventional landmarks. The 14th-century church and lighthouse of St Nicholas's Chapel contrasts strikingly with the ultra modern twin cones of the Landmark Theatre, and in more recent years the seafront has come to be dominated by Damien Hirst's towering sculpture, Verity.

Embrace your wild side with a trip to nearby national parks

This part of England's as famous for its sprawling moorland as it is for its coastline, and the two most spectacular national parks are Exmoor and Dartmoor. Both are easy to get to from your Woolacombe holiday cottage, and there are a wealth of attractions to explore in the area, including imposing castles like Dunster and Castle Drogo. Apart from the excellent hiking and mountain biking in the national parks, they're also great places to take a walk on the wild side. Check out Dartmoor Zoological Park and Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park.

Head underground in Exeter

If you fancy venturing a little further afield for a slice of city life, Devon's county town of Exeter is about an hour and a half's drive from your Woolacombe holiday home. This handsome cathedral city is thousands of years old, and though it's full of ancient buildings like Exeter Castle and the cathedral itself, it's also home to a big university that gives the place a young, lively vibe. An unusual attraction is the unique network of underground passages that once brought drinking water into the city. These days they've got, you know, pipes for that, but tours of the medieval tunnels are popular.