Top places to stay in Devon holiday cottages

Top places to stay in Devon

Cath 16 January 2024

Devon is the ultimate holiday destination; with two coastlines, two national parks, and the bustling historic cities of Plymouth and Exeter, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Discover fantastic coastal towns including Salcombe and Ilfracombe, and wander along award-winning beaches such as Woolacombe and Croyde. Whatever you love doing, and however you like to relax, you can find your happy place in Devon. 

If you’re planning a visit, then enjoy this list of the best places to stay in Devon – they’re also great for a day trip whilst on holiday. Whether you’re travelling solo or bringing along the whole family, you’ll be sure to enjoy these wonderful Devon destinations.

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1. Woolacombe

Best for beach lovers

 Photo across Woolacombe's sandy beach

The main attraction in Woolacombe is, undoubtedly, the beach, voted Britain's Best Beach on Tripadvisor and the Mail on Sunday in recent years. The 3-mile stretch of golden sand in North Devon is popular with families, couples, and surfers. Read our best beaches in North Devon guide for even more 'beach day' inspiration. 

Away from the amazing beach, where you can learn to surf or paddleboard, why not try your hand at one of the two mini-golf courses or the pitch and putt course? There's also a gorgeous, retro-styled cinema, Neo cinema, with a state-of-the-art screen and sound system. 

The foodie scene in Woolacombe is top-notch too! If you enjoy fine dining whilst on holiday, head to NC (Noel Corston) which consists of just eight seats around an open kitchen island. 

Where to stay

For couples: Hartnolls Lodge - sleeps 2 + 2 dogs
For families: Pines - sleeps 6 + 1 dog
For large groups: Mount Rose - sleeps 12 + 2 dogs

2. Dartmouth 

Best for shopping

 Photo across River Dart with Dartmouth town in background

Situated on the banks of the pretty River Dart, Dartmouth is a wonderful destination for a holiday on the South Devon coast. Its olde-worlde streets are lined with independent shops, restaurants and pubs, and even has a farmers' market held every Saturday. 

With its long maritime heritage, Dartmouth has many landmark buildings to admire from the river, including the Britannia Royal Naval College, Bayard’s Cove Fort, and Dartmouth Castle. Read more about our favourite things to do in Dartmouth in our guide! The South Hams, Blackpool Sands and Slapton Sands also lie on your doorstep. 

Where to stay

For couples: The Shell House - sleeps 4 + 1 dog 
For families: 84 Above Town - sleeps 4 
For large groups: Topaz - sleeps 8 + 2 dogs

3. Brixham

Best for seafood

 Photo across Brixham Harbour with town in the background

Brixham is a bustling town with hidden coves, cobbled streets, stacks of pastel houses and boats bobbing in the harbour. It neighbours the seaside resorts of Paignton and Torquay which together, make up the English Riveria in South Devon. 

The English Riveria is one of only seven UNESCO Global Geoparks in the UK, and the geologically significant area also boasts a rich heritage. The area offers spectacular sights from every angle whether you head to Berry Head National Nature Reserve, the Golden Hind replica or visit one of the many local beaches such as Broadsands or Goodrington Beach.

Where to stay

For couples: High Tides - sleeps 2
For families: 64 Moorings Reach - sleeps 5 
For large groups: Parkham Villa - sleeps 8 + 2 dogs

4. Beer

Best for being a hidden gem

 Photo across Beer Beach including boats

Beer is a charming fishing village in East Devon with a shingle beach lined with fishing boats and surrounded by beautiful white chalk cliffs. Part of England’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast, the village is nestled in a narrow valley, in one of the most sheltered locations along the Devon coast. 

Beer has an interesting past in the smuggling trade and was once the headquarters of a gang of smugglers in the 18th century, led by Jack Rattenbury. The village is now known for its popular annual regatta, usually held in August, and its lovely pubs and restaurants. 

Where to stay

For couples: The Meeting Room - sleeps 2 + 1 dog
For families: The Belvedere - sleeps 4 + 1 dog
For large groups: Admirals View - sleeps 6 + 2 dogs 

5. Croyde

Best for water sports enthusiasts

 Aerial photo across Croyde Beach, village and sea

If sun, sand, and surf are what you are after on holiday, Croyde has to be top of your list! Its long, sandy beach, endless waves and towering sand dunes are perfect for family days out, water sports, and relaxing. In the evening, its small but lively selection of pubs, shops and restaurants come to life.

From the village, you can hire surfboards, wetsuits, and everything you need for a day at the beach. 

Where to stay

For couples: The Barn - sleeps 2 + 1 dog
For families: Rockham - sleeps 4 
For large groups: Brambles - sleeps 10 

6. Salcombe

Best for couples

 Aerial photo across Salcombe Harbour

Located in South Devon on the banks of the Kingsbridge Estuary, Salcombe is a traditional fishing town. Its estuary location makes it a great spot for water sports and walkers, as the South West Coast Path runs right along this stretch of beautiful coastline.

The town is home to some great boutique shops, and wonderful restaurants and cafes serving local produce and fresh seafood. Whether you are seeking a peaceful retreat, a walking holiday, or a foodie extravaganza, you can be assured that you’ll find it here in the beautiful town of Salcombe. Read more about our favourite things to do in Salcombe in our guide!

Where to stay

For couples: The Cabin - sleeps 2
For families: Magdala Garden - sleeps 4
For large groups: Withymore Cottage - sleeps 6 + 1 dog

7. Exmoor 

Best for countryside lovers

 Exmoor National Park with brown pony in photo

Exmoor is a stunning stretch of moorland which spans over 265 square miles and is one of the most beautiful places in North Devon. Inland, you will find uninhabited moorland stretching out in every direction. The coastline of Exmoor is equally as pretty, with places like the Valley of Rocks, Lynton, and Lynmouth demonstrating the dramatic beauty of this area.

Home to the rare Exmoor pony, the park is a firm favourite with visitors looking for the best of both the Devonshire coastline and countryside. Tarr Steps near Dulverton is a National Nature Reserve on Exmoor and not to be missed if in the area. 

Where to stay

For couples: 11 Brushford - sleeps 2 + 2 dogs 
For families: Ocean View - sleeps 4
For large groups: The Lazy Sheep Barn - sleeps 10 + 2 dogs

8. Dartmoor

Best for walkers

 Photo of rocks on Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor is a vast, rugged moorland of rolling hills, rivers, wooded valleys, and tors. The walking routes here are some of the best in Devon - be sure to look out for the famous Dartmoor ponies that roam freely here while you explore.

Dartmoor is dotted with charming towns and villages characterised by cobbled streets, thatched cottages, and historic inns and cafes. Visit the bustling towns of Tavistock or Bovey Tracey at opposite edges of Dartmoor, or hop aboard the historic South Devon Railway at Buckfastleigh for a nostalgic steam train journey through some of Devon’s finest countryside. 

Where to stay

For couples: Elder Lake - sleeps 2 + 2 dogs
For families: Kira - sleeps 6 + 2 dogs
For large groups: Rock Barn - sleeps 10 + 2 dogs 

9. Ilfracombe

Best for families 

 Aerial photo across Ilfracombe Harbour and town

Ilfracombe is a beautiful seaside town in North Devon full of character and charm. The town centre with its picturesque historic harbour is a buzzing hub of independent shops, cute cafes, pubs and restaurants, and offers a lovely place to potter around. Check out our Ilfracombe places to eat guide for recommendations!  

Nestled by the coast, there are ample beaches, coves, and sea cliffs to explore including the famous Tunnels Beaches. On a clear day, one of our favourite things to do in Ilfracombe is to walk to the top of Capstone Hill where you may even be able to see as far as Lundy Island.

Where to stay

For couples: Capstone Oceanside 8 - sleeps 4
For families: Lantern View - sleeps 6 + 1 dog 
For large groups: St James Villa - sleeps 11 + 2 dogs 

10. Appledore

Best for its estuary location 

 Photo across Appledore Estuary

Situated at the confluence of the River Torridge and the River Taw, Appledore is a delightful waterside village in North Devon. The village is perfect for keen walkers, nature lovers and anglers, and there are plenty of great traditional pubs and restaurants to enjoy. For more inspiration on eating out in Devon, why not check out our guide on the best restaurants in Devon 

From Appledore Quay, you can take a boat tour or fishing trip, and some of the finest golden, sandy beaches in Devon are within easy reach, including Westward Ho!, as well as the Northam Burrows Country Park. The village is also home to the North Devon Maritime Museum which explores Appledore’s long maritime heritage, involving smuggling, shipbuilding, and World War 2 landing experiments. 

Where to stay

For couples: Mole End - sleeps 2 + 2 dogs  
For families: Birds Cottage - sleeps 4 + 1 dog 
For large groups: Churchfield Cottage - sleeps 8 + 1 dog 

Map of the best places to stay in Devon

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Stay with us in Devon

Have you been inspired to visit Devon and some of the region’s prettiest places for yourself?

If you are yet to pick out your perfect holiday cottage in Devon, browse through our collection today – we have a great range of large houses, romantic boltholes and dog-friendly cottages so the whole family can come and enjoy the delights of Devon. 

Be sure to check out our guide to our most popular cottages in Devon too! 

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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