Our North Devon Holiday Cottages
Staying in a holiday cottage in north Devon means you get the best of both worlds, with fantastic access to the stunning coastline and also to the moors. In fact, when it comes to moorland, you're spoilt for choice being sandwiched between Exmoor and Dartmoor. Both of these fantastic national parks provide wonderful spaces for all of the family to enjoy, each with its own distinctive landscapes.
With over 600 miles of footpaths and bridleways, visitors to Exmoor can explore throughs woodland, along cliff-tops and over heather moorland, making it easy to keep active during your stay in a cottage near Exmoor. It’s a fantastic area if you’re looking for a dog-friendly holiday, and visitors can keep an eye out for the Exmoor ponies and our largest wild land mammals, the red deer.
Exmoor National Park also boasts 37 miles of coastline including the highest sea cliff in England and Wales; rising 800ft above the water, Great Hangman near Combe Martin is a record breaker and worth a visit if you’re staying in one of our north coast holiday cottages at Berrynarbor or Ilfracombe. You may also enjoy a visit to nearby Lynton and Lynmouth, two picturesque towns seemingly stacked on top of each other and connected by a steep cliff railway that dates back to the late 1800s.
Ilfracombe is not only within easy reach of Exmoor but it is, of course, perfect for enjoying the spectacular north Devon coastline. The town has long been established as a seaside resort, and a must see for any visitor are the Tunnels Beaches. Dating from Victorian times, tunnels were excavated down to a number of coves where sea pools were created. You can still walk the tunnels and have a dip in the remaining sea pool on the ladies’ beach. The gentlemen’s beach sea pool, however, has long since fallen foul of persistent crashing waves. Visitors will be pleased to know that the strict Victorian rules on segregated bathing were finally lifted in 1905, so the whole family can enjoy the experience together. The Tunnels Beaches still provide a fantastic and sheltered place to swim within this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and voluntary Marine Nature Reserve.
Ilfracombe has made its mark on the map with its interesting mix of old and new. The prestigious Landmark Theatre on the seafront still divides opinion as to whether it is a piece of fantastic modern architecture or simply a blot on the landscape – so why not take a look and make your own mind up? And whist you’re debating that, you’re sure to notice Verity, the 20m high Damien Hurst bronze statue of a pregnant woman out in Ilfracombe’s historic harbour. Now that’s sure to spark a good debate!
If spending time at sea and on a remote island takes your fancy, then how about a quick trip to Lundy Island? Staying in a holiday cottage in north Devon means you’re perfectly placed for visiting Lundy, 12 miles off the coast. It’s a real must for wildlife enthusiasts and divers as Lundy’s waters are England’s only designated Marine Nature Reserve. But even if you just fancy a sea faring day trip and a brisk walk, you’re more than likely to spot seals, seabirds and a range of other wildlife. There is a regular ferry service from Ilfracombe harbour between April and October, and in winter you can catch a helicopter from Hartland point.
If you decide to stay in one of our holiday cottages in Bideford you’ll be just a stone’s throw from some incredible stretches of sand. Sitting in the estuary where the River Torridge meets the sea, Bideford has shops, restaurants and a pannier market. It is close to Saunton Sands and Croyde, with the vast 3 mile sandy beach at Woolacombe beyond. There is plenty of fun to be had in this area, whether you’re swimming, playing cricket, surfing or just walking the dog. The South West Coast Path runs the entire stretch so there’s certainly no shortage of scenic places to visit.
If you’re staying in one of our Devon holiday cottages near to Hartland Point, this rocky outcrop is worth a look. It actually marks the point where the Bristol Channel ends and the Atlantic Ocean begins. Take a walk to it on the South West Coast Path which hugs the edge of the cliffs so you’re guaranteed spectacular views.
On a clear day, you can see Lundy Island from here, and during the winter months a helicopter service to the island operates. You can reach Lundy for day trips via the ferry at Ilfracombe from April to October.
Close to Hartland Point is the picturesque old fishing village of Clovelly. With its steep cobbled streets and listed buildings, vehicle access is very restricted, but there is a car park and taxi service. However, it’s worth noting that those with limited mobility will struggle here. To get an idea of how steep the gradient of the village is, deliveries to the main street are made on sledges!
The tiny village of Welcombe is fantastically placed for your North Devon holiday, midway between Bideford and Bude. It has a pottery, pub and village store, but it’s also worth the walk down to Welcombe Mouth to see the modest but striking waterfall.
Hatherleigh is a traditional farming town just north of Dartmoor. It has a weekly livestock market, 3 pubs and a selection of small shops. If you’re taking an autumn break in Devon, pop along to Hatherleigh Carnival which is held every November and is famous for its blazing tar barrels.
Heading onto Dartmoor from the north you can take the main route towards Tavistock, where you might enjoy a stop off for a walk at Lydford Gorge to see the 30m high waterfall. Whilst most of Dartmoor is open access, meaning you are free to roam, there are areas in the north which the MOD use for live firing practise, so look out for warnings and please check firing times before straying too far!
If you take the road from North Devon towards Moretonhampstead down through the Teign Valley, it’s worth making a detour to browse the antiques shops of Chagford. But to get a true taste of Dartmoor’s history visit Postbridge and walk across the intact clapper bridge which dates back to the 12thcentury. There’s also a Dartmoor National Park information centre here to help you plan your visit.
You can delve even further back in time to prehistory with a visit to Merrivale. There is a pleasant pub here, and further up the hill you can take the short walk to see a number of Bronze Age monuments including long parallel stone rows, a stone circle and an impressive standing stone.
Dartmoor is perfect for dog friendly holidays, keen walkers, cyclists and climbers, however, it really is accessible even for those who want to take things a little easier. There are plenty of parking spots within the moors, allowing you to simply enjoy the view, or you can spend time in some of the quaint little moorland villages where we advise sampling a Devon cream tea!