The best holiday cottages in Devon for a self-catering stay in one of England’s loveliest counties


Please note our writers visited Devon prior to the coronavirus pandemic

Craggy coves and cream teas, surf breaks and strolls, picnics and pints in pub gardens – family holidays in Devon are wholesome, simple and scenic. While most people are drawn to the magnificent beaches on the south and north coasts, inland Devon has its appeal, too: Dartmoor and Exmoor offer solitude and big skies, while the gentle pastures of mid-Devon hide clusters of thatched villages, meandering rivers and thickly wooded cleaves. All of this is perfect for a cottage holiday in Devon but, with so many on the market, it can be difficult to find the right place for your family. After visiting dozens of self-catering cottages around the country, here are our pick of the best holiday cottages in Devon, in locations including Salcombe, Sidmouth, Shaldon and Welcombe Valley.

South Sands Beach Suites, Salcombe

These five self-catering suites are the offshoot of the luxury hotel South Sands, clustered next to it in a secluded, pretty cove near Salcombe, South Devon. Each of the large two-bedroom apartments is large, light and airy,  furnished in a traditional New England palette of nautical blues, reds and whites and with French windows leading to a balcony or terrace. It’s one of the best coastal cottages Devon: South Sands beach is safe for swimming and watersports in season, and the South West Coastal path leads directly from the hotel’s front door.

Two nights from £470; sleeps up to four (

South Sands Beach Suites, Devon

South Sands Beach Suites adjoin South Sands Hotel on the Salcombe estuary

• An insider guide to Devon

Flear Farm Cottages, near Salcombe

Flear Farm Cottages is a collection of 12 family-friendly, oak-framed cottages and converted barns that sleep between two and nine people, plus a large Georgian house that sleeps 10. They’re set in a lushly wooded 30-acre valley in South Devon, where guests can wander through streamside meadows, apple orchards and paddocks. Geared towards families with young children, facilities rival those of any large hotel, and include an indoor pool, tennis court, trampoline, pitch-and-putt golf and an indoor play barn. Most come with wood-burning stoves, modern, well-equipped kitchens, and terraces or gardens.

Three nights from £310; sleeps up to two (

Flear Farm Cottages, Devon

Flear Farm offers old-fashioned, back-to-nature holidays in a prime South Devon location

Image copyright nicholas yarsley/wizzwam ltd

• The best hotels in Devon

Mazzard Farm, Ottery St Mary

Hidden down a country lane, a mile’s drive from the pleasantly time-warped town of Ottery St Mary, this collection of bright, converted farm buildings are some of the loveliest, rural cottages to rent in Devon. Each offers rural relaxation, complete with clucking fowl and giant vegetable garden, and yet they’re just a 15-minute drive from the delights of the Jurassic Coast and the charming seaside towns of Sidmouth and Beer. The homely converted farm buildings contain six cottages – sleeping from two people, and two cottages are cleverly interconnected to sleep 10. A group of up to 24 could book the entire complex.

Two nights from £209; sleeps up to two (

Mazzard Farm, Devon

Mazzard Farm has six cottages – two of which are cleverly interconnected to sleep 10

Copyright:David W Kingdon

• The best restaurants in Devon 

Meadowgate, Welcombe Valley

Meadowgate is surrounded by the rolling green hills of the National Trust-protected Welcombe Valley. The extended 18th-century farmhouse is owned and designed by Britain’s favourite property sage-cum-crafting queen Kirstie Allsopp, and was the setting for Channel 4 crafting series Kirstie’s Homemade Home. It has been fitted out as a six-bedroom property that’s perfect for large family groups. The country flourishes are of broad appeal, and include a five-oven Aga, cosy open fires and a suntrap garden. Access to the South West Coastal Path is five minutes’ walk.

Five nights from £1,694; sleeps up to 14 (

Meadowgate, Devon

Meadowgate is fitted out as a six-bedroom property that’s perfect for large family groups

• The best family-friendly Devon hotels

North Hayne Farm Cottages, North Molton

Designed exclusively for young, animal-loving families, this cluster of eight stone barns on the southern edge of Exmoor National Park has an on-site farm with twice-daily animal feeding, donkey rides, wildlife trails, nature talks and den-building. It’s all scrupulously hygienic, and educational too, with farm activities and worksheets designed especially for Early Years learning. Each cottage has an enclosed garden with a hot tub, and use of baby monitors, cots, stair gates, blackout blinds, bed rails and table booster seats. The whole complex can be booked for up to 47 guests plus cots.

Four nights from £338; sleeps up to three (

North Hayne Farm Cottages, Devon

North Hayne Farm is one of the best holiday cottages in Devon with a hot tub

• The best cream teas in Devon

Burnville Farm, Brentor

Spread over a huge 250-acre farmstead on the western edge of Dartmoor National Park, these three large houses will appeal to countryside-loving families in search of privacy, peace and quiet. Shared facilities include an outdoor pool and tennis court. The two largest properties – the Coach House and the Farmhouse – have plenty of rustic appeal. Low ceilings and a huge inglenook fireplace give the Farmhouse (sleeps 10) the most character, while the Coach House (sleeps 11) has superior facilities. The Red Barn, a smaller converted barn that sleeps six, is the brightest of the three, with huge windows and moorland views.

Two nights from £766; sleeps up to six (



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Burnville Farm, Devon

The cottages at Burnville Farm have plenty of rustic appeal

• The best dog-friendly hotels in Devon

Pickwell Manor, near Georgeham

Pickwell Manor is collection of 10 luxury self-catering apartments, sleeping two to 10 people, in a history-filled manor house close to Devon’s north coast. A short walk from the region’s most beautiful and expansive surf beaches, the location is one of the best in the county. All of the one, two and three-bedroom flats are tastefully furnished and geared towards style-conscious families and couples. There’s a tennis court, giant chess board and woodland activities for children in the walled grounds, along with a well-equipped games room and free hire of surfboards and bikes.

Three nights from £300; sleeps up to two (

Pickwell Manor, Devon

All the apartments at Pickwell Manor are geared towards style-conscious families and couples

Dominic Blackmore

• The best pubs in Devon

Shaldon Beach Huts, Shaldon

For Devon cottages by the sea, these two classic British beach huts on Ness Beach in Shaldon make for a fun and nostalgic seaside escape. Inside a space no wider than two metres, the designer owner has ingeniously managed to shoehorn in everything a small family might need for a short break: a comfortable king-sized bed, sofa bed, kitchenette, shower room and dining table. Beach-facing bi-fold doors make the huts bright and airy, and lead to a small sun terrace with views across the water to Teignmouth. The English Riviera is a short drive away, while Dartmoor National Park, Totnes and Exeter are also close by.

One night from £125; sleeps up to two (

Shaldon Beach Huts, Devon

The two Shaldon Beach Huts make for a fun and nostalgic seaside escape

• The best beaches in Devon

Hornshayne Farmhouse, near Honiton

This thatched, 16th-century farmhouse in East Devon is on a 410-acre diary farm where visitors can feed calves, milk cows and roam through lush pastures. Period features such as an inglenook fireplace, stone-flagged floor and original oak doors give the five-bedroomed house oodles of character, and there are plenty of family-friendly facilities including a children’s playground with giant draughts, wendy house, mini castle, and a play barn with ping pong, table football and karaoke machine.

Two nights from £934; sleeps up to 11 (



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Hornshayne Farmhouse, Devon

Hornshayne Farmhouse is on a 410-acre diary farm where visitors can feed calves and milk cows

• The best hotels in north Devon

Harbour Watch, East Portlemouth

One of the most impressive – and expensive – holiday properties for families and big groups in Britain, Harbour Watch, in East Portlemouth, South Devon, comes with a private beach, huge sun terrace, landscaped gardens and four generously-sized bedrooms; three with en suite bathrooms. But it’s the beautiful waterside views that make this holiday home such a stand-out destination. With the best of South Devon on the doorstep, it’s easy to make this a car-free break.

Seven nights from £1,650; sleeps up to 12 (

Harbour Watch, East Portlemouth, Devon

The beautiful waterside views make Harbour Watch such a stand-out property

Contributions by Sally Peck

Rates above are guide prices for minimum stays in low season, please note that packages can differ across cottages. Owing to the current coronavirus pandemic, these rates may change. Please check the properties’ websites for further information on what’s included. 

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