Top National Trust places to visit in Devon holiday cottages

Top National Trust places to visit in Devon

Caroline Abbott 27 March 2024

The National Trust looks after some of the country’s greatest places, from historic stately homes and castles to beautiful gardens and beaches.

There are several popular National Trust attractions in Devon which are well worth a visit, and we have divided them into the North Devon, South Devon, and Mid and East Devon regions for your convenience.

Whether you’re a history buff who enjoys imagining what it must have been like to live in properties of the past, or you fancy a change of scenery and some fresh air, there’s something at each site for the whole family to enjoy, making them perfect for group days out whilst on your holiday in Devon.

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National Trust North Devon

Watersmeet, Lynmouth

Autumn at Watersmeet

Enjoy a walk within 2,000 acres of stunning countryside including a river gorge and ancient woodland. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and take in the breathtaking views. Savour local refreshments in the tearoom, which was built in 1832 as a fishing and hunting lodge.

Good to know:

  • Address: Watersmeet House, Watersmeet Rd, Lynmouth, EX35 6NT 
  • Opening times and further details: See the National Trust website.
  • Dogs: Dogs on leads are welcome throughout the valley and in the tea room’s indoor seating area, but are not allowed in the servery. Dogs can enjoy a dip in the river, but take care as the currents can be strong.
  • Stay nearby: River Cottage | sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Arlington Court, Barnstaple

Exterior of Arlington Court on a sunny dayInstagram - @arlingtoncourtnt

Explore the neoclassical-style country house, which was built in 1823 and extended in 1860, and check out the impressive collection of horse-drawn carriages in the museum. Take a wander in the picturesque garden with its walled kitchen garden, fountain and conservatory containing exotic plants. Have a delicious treat in the tearoom and browse the second-hand bookshop. 

Good to know:

  • Address: Arlington, near Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 4LP 
  • Opening times and prices: Visit the National Trust website.
  • Dogs: Dogs on leads are welcome in the carriage museum, garden and wider estate. Only assistance dogs are allowed in the house and the Old Kitchen tearoom, but there are adjacent indoor and outdoor seating areas where dogs are welcome. The Vine Cafe is dog friendly.
  • Stay nearby: The Olde Chapel | sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Baggy Point, Croyde

Aerial shot across Baggy point and the surrounding headland

Walk the easy-access path on the rugged headland and take in the amazing views towards Lundy Island. There are dramatic cliffs, and with Croyde being one of Devon’s best surfing spots, you’ll be able to do some people-watching too. There’s also a delightful tearoom with indoor and outdoor seating.

Good to know:

  • Address: Moor Lane, Croyde, Devon, EX33 1PA 
  • Opening times and other information: See the National Trust website.
  • Dogs: Dogs are welcome in the tearoom garden but should be kept on leads on the coast path as it is narrow and borders steep cliffs. 
  • Stay nearby: Malmsmead | sleeps 4

Heddon Valley, between Combe Martin and Lynton

Photo of a river in Heddon Valley, surrounded by trees.

The wooded river valley to the sea at Heddon’s Mouth Beach is a great walk for all the family. To the east is Woody Bay, with spectacular views over the Bristol Channel, and to the west, the Hangman Hills feature towering cliffs and moorland scenery with views over Combe Martin. Kids can explore the wild play area created from trees, and there’s no need to carry a picnic as The Hunter’s Inn serves sit-down meals and The Pantry sells ice creams, hot drinks and cakes.

Good to know:

  • Address: Heddon Valley, Near Parracombe, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 4PY
  • Opening times and further details: Visit the National Trust website.
  • Dogs: Dogs should be kept on leads to help protect the wildlife. They are allowed in The Pantry and the beer garden of The Hunter’s Inn.
  • Stay nearby: Clifton House 4 Lynton | sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

National Trust South Devon

Greenway, Brixham

Exterior photo of Greenway House

Take a wander around this beautiful Georgian house with 1950s interiors, which was the holiday home of best-selling novelist Agatha Christie. Check out the boathouse, the riverside gun battery, which was built in the 1790s, or the gardens and shop. There’s a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating, or you can get a takeaway from the Tack Room – inspired by a 1950s ice cream parlour. 

Good to know:

  • Address: Greenway Road, Galmpton, near Brixham, Devon, TQ5 0ES 
  • Opening times and more details: Visit the National Trust website – if you intend to arrive by car, you’ll need to book a parking space in advance.
  • Dogs: Only assistance dogs are allowed in the house. Dogs on leads are welcome in the garden, boathouse, shop and cafe.
  • Stay nearby: Ayur | sleeps 6 + 1 dog 

Saltram, Plymouth

Photo of exterior door to Saltram House

Forget you’re close to the Ocean City by exploring Saltram, which overlooks the River Plym. There are plenty of treasures in the magnificent house waiting to be discovered, and peaceful gardens and woodland to explore. There’s also tearoom, cafe and shop on-site. 

Good to know:

  • Address: Saltram, Plympton, Plymouth, PL7 1UH 
  • Opening times and further information: Check the National Trust website.
  • Dogs: Only assistance dogs are allowed in the house and garden, but there are acres of parkland and woods where dogs can be exercised. 
  • Stay nearby: Sussex Rest | sleeps 10 + 2 dogs 

Buckland Abbey, Yelverton

Exterior photo of Buckland Abbey

Explore this medieval abbey which was converted into a Tudor house (not to be confused with Buckfast Abbey which is also located on Dartmoor). You can also investigate the Great Barn which was once a symbol of the monks’ wealth and influence, and the formal, walled and wild gardens. Complete a circular walk in the ancient woodlands, and if the children still have energy to burn, there’s a natural play area created with wood from the estate. There’s also a shop and a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating. 

Good to know:

  • Address: Yelverton, Devon, PL20 6EY
  • Opening times and more information: See the National Trust website.
  • Dogs: Dogs are permitted on a short lead in the gardens (except for in the Kitchen Garden) and on estate walks.
  • Stay nearby: Tanglewood Cottage | sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Coleton Fishacre, Kingswear

Gardens of Coleton Fishacre near Kingswear

Admire this 1920s country retreat with Art Deco interiors, servants' quarters, and sea views, and get an insight into life in the Jazz Age. Explore the RHS-accredited coastal valley garden, bordered by woodland and wildflowers, and look down from the coast path to the rugged Pudcombe Cove with its 1920s tidal pool and changing rooms. As with most National Trust venues, there’s also a cafe and shop. 

Good to know:

  • Address: Brownstone Rd, Kingswear, Dartmouth, TQ6 0EQ 
  • Opening times and more information: See the National Trust website.
  • Dogs: Only assistance dogs are allowed in the house. All dogs on leads are welcome in the garden, shop and cafe.
  • Stay nearby: Dart About | sleeps 5 + 1 dog

National Trust Mid and East Devon

Knightshayes Court, Tiverton

Photo of the outside of Knightshayes Court

Take a wander around this sprawling, Gothic country mansion set in acres of glorious formal gardens and surrounded by woodland walks. The house is full of quirks and curiosities, while the formal, woodland garden has one of the finest and most varied plant collections in the country, with over 1,200 plant species unique to Knightshayes. There are seasonal trails and events offering adventures for children of all ages, as well as a cafe, a plant centre and a shop.

Good to know:

  • Address: Bolham, Tiverton, EX16 7RQ 
  • Opening times and more information: For suggested walks and the history of the property, visit the National Trust website.
  • Dogs: Dogs on leads are welcome in the parkland, cafe and shop. Assistance dogs are welcome throughout.
  • Stay nearby: Hasswells Cottage | sleeps 4

Killerton, Broadclyst near Exeter

Exterior photo of Killerton HouseInstagram - @ntkillerton

Explore this elegant,18th-century house with a landscaped garden surrounded by parkland. The house contains the National Trust’s biggest fashion collection, with more than 20,000 items of historic clothing and accessories, some dating back to the 17th century. Other features to check out include a chapel which was built in 1841, an Iron Age fort, and a thatched structure nestled between the trees which was once home to the family’s pet bear! There are two play areas including one for younger children, a coffee shop, a cafe and a shop. 

Good to know:

  • Address: Broadclyst, Exeter, EX5 3LE 
  • Opening times and more information: See the National Trust website
  • Dogs: Dogs on leads are allowed in the park but not the formal gardens or chapel grounds. Assistance dogs are allowed everywhere including the house, garden, chapel grounds and cafes.
  • Stay nearby: Luccombe Barn | sleeps 5 + 1 dog

A La Ronde, Exmouth

Exterior of A La Ronde on sunny dayInstagram - @ntalaronde

You won’t have visited anywhere quite like this quirky, 16-sided house which was built in the 1790s. It was built for Jane and Mary Parminter, and it is crammed full of fascinating mementoes from the spinster cousins’ travels around Europe. Outside, there’s an orchard and hay meadow, plus views over the countryside to the Exe Estuary and the sea. Hot drinks, sandwiches and cakes are available from the kiosk. 

Good to know:

  • Address: Summer Lane, Exmouth, EX8 5BD
  • Opening times and further details: Check the National Trust website
  • Dogs: Dogs on leads are welcome on the grounds but only assistance dogs are allowed in the house. 
  • Stay nearby: Exe View | sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

National Trust Devon map

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Stay with us in Devon

There are so many fascinating National Trust attractions to explore, not just across Devon but across England, so you may want to consider becoming a National Trust member so you can visit them all free of charge. 

We have a wide range of self-catering holiday cottages across Devon where you can relax after a busy day of exploring – browse the full collection by clicking the button below.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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