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The ultimate guide to South Devon holiday cottages

The ultimate guide to South Devon

South Devon is a hub of quaint seaside villages and charming towns making it a wonderful option for those looking to escape the humdrum of everyday life. With so much to see and do, it’s the kind of place that you’ll want to return to year after year, making memories with your family and loved ones.

Learn to live like a local in whichever area you decide to base yourself during your next trip to South Devon with our insiders’ guides!

Waterzorbing, one of the things to do in South Devon

Things to do in South Devon

Wondering what you could get up to when visiting South Devon? From exciting water sports such as paddleboarding, to delicious meals in some of Devon’s finest pubs, zorbing at Woodlands Theme Park and of course, something that Devon is renowned for, the sandy beaches, there’s so much that you could pack into your holiday.

We could spend days telling you of all the exciting activities, attractions and days out that are on offers, but to make things a little easier, we’ve compiled the best tried and tested options in our things to do in South Devon guide.

Need any more inspiration? Head to the South Devon section of our ultimate Devon bucket list to find out where you can find the best gin distillery tours, hot air balloon rides and alpaca trekking experiences!

A coastal view of South Devon

Where to visit in South Devon

Trying to narrow down the best places to visit in South Devon is no easy feat, with each one appealing to different travel personalities with their own uniqueness and charm. Here we have just a small list of the places we recommend basing yourself during your next staycation to make the most of everything this wonderful region has to offer.

A view of Beer, a village in South Devon

Beer

The charming fishing village of Beer has a fascinating history spanning the Anglo-Saxon era, smugglers, quarry caves and an annual regatta, just to name a few highlights. As a part of the South West Coast Path, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the waterside landscape and sea-foodies will be in their element dining at the local restaurants here: be sure to check out the Crab Sandwiches at Duckies!

We’d recommend staying at:

Beach Side, sleeps 4

Woodmans Stoup, sleeps 10 + 2 dogs

Lew at Linhayes Farm, sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Browse our full collection of cottages in Beer.

A view of Brixham, a coastal village in South Devon

Brixham

Brixham is bursting with character, with hidden coves, cobbled streets, stacks of pastel houses and boats bobbing in the harbour. Home to one of only seven UNESCO Global Geoparks, the geologically significant area also boasts a rich heritage. Plus, it’s a photographer’s dream, offering spectacular sights from every angle whether you head to see Berry Head National Nature Reserve, the Golden Hind or one of the many local beaches.

We’d recommend staying at:

The Garden Apartment, sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

White Sails, sleeps 4

The Captains Cabin, sleeps 4

Browse our full collection of cottages in Brixham.

A view of Dartmouth in South Devon

Dartmouth

Located on the banks of the River Dart, Dartmouth is a wonderful location for those who enjoy water sports, sailing and fishing. The Elizabethan-style streets are an iconic feature of the town, as is the 15th-century castle where it’s certainly worth climbing up to the gun tower for a unique view. The town is a brilliant place to find bustling markets, gift emporiums and artisan products as you wander through Market Square and Foss Street.

We’d recommend staying at:

Weight N Sea, sleeps 6

Clarence, sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Milber Cottage, sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Browse our full collection of cottages in Dartmouth.

A view of Dawlish in South Devon

Dawlish

This one is for the nature lovers! Dawlish is a sublime place if you’re in need of a relaxing retreat: walk the 2 miles along the sea to Dawlish Warren, where a plethora of fascinating wildlife can be found alongside more than 600 varieties of flora and fauna. Hire a beach hut and spend the day enjoying the seaside activities like go-karts, mini-golf and surfing or indulge at one of the traditional British pubs in the town.

We’d recommend staying at:

Otter Lodge, sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Oystercatchers, sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Corfu Cottage, sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Browse our full collection of cottages in Dawlish.

A view of Exmouth in South Devon

Exmouth

A popular seaside destination with Victorian-era charm sitting at the mouth of the River Exe, it’s a perfect escape for young families. Exmouth’s beach is characterised by the red sand and cliffs which contrast against rows of pastel beach huts for a stunning composition and a great place to spend a day. As the fifth most populous town in Devon, there are plenty of shops to browse, as well as a number of live music venues, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants to meet your every need.

We’d recommend staying at:

Courtyard Barn, sleeps 4

Folgate At The Old Workshops, sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Hayloft At Linhayes Farm, sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Browse our full collection of cottages in Exmouth.

A view of Noss Mayo in South Devon

Noss Mayo

One of South Devon’s lesser-known villages, Noss Mayo is an ancient secluded village where you’re able to escape from the business of typical cities and towns. A small number of amenities provide all you need for a quiet stay, and a wide range of things to do are sure to keep you returning year after year. Keep yourself busy with birdwatching, coastal trails, perfect painting spots, oyster farms, woodlands and beautiful beaches.

We’d recommend staying at:

Dormouse, sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Little Pear Tree Barn, sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Tylecroft, sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Browse our full collection of cottages in Noss Mayo.

A seaside view of Paignton

Paignton

Part of the English Riviera, Paignton is a delightful spot for a seaside getaway. With a mild climate, a beautiful sandy stretch of beach, an award-winning zoo and plenty of great walking paths – including the South West Coast Path – you’ll not be short of things to do during your stay. Be sure to head to the beachfront and you’ll find an 18-hole pirate-themed golf course where you can unleash your inner child (and your competitive side!).

We’d recommend staying at:

White Cottage Retreat, sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Paignton Sea Breeze, sleeps 10

Sandy Toes Paignton, sleeps 4

Browse our full collection of cottages in Paignton.

A view of the city of Plymouth in South Devon

Plymouth

Plymouth offers the perfect balance between countryside, coastline, and of course city living. With a gin distillery, aquarium, plethora of shopping opportunities and wide range of mouth-watering places to eat, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained. The Hoe is a must-visit in this city, offering a day at the seaside just minutes from the city centre. Bathe in the art deco lido; grab a sun lounger and drink in the rays or try your hand at water sports in Plymouth!

We’d recommend staying at:

Sea Captains Lodge, sleeps 4

Ivytorr Cottage, sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

The Coastguard Cottage, sleeps 8 + 2 dogs

Browse our full collection of cottages in Plymouth.

A view of Salcombe in South Devon

Salcombe

Pristine beaches, turquoise waters, seafood shacks and one of our favourite distilleries in Devon, Salcombe Gin; these are just a few of the features that make this one of the county’s best-loved destinations. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat, a walking holiday or a foodie extravaganza, you can be assured that you’ll find it in the beautiful town of Salcombe.

We’d recommend staying at:

Pypard Retreat, sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Colby Retreat, sleeps 4

Court Barton Farm, sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Browse our full collection of cottages in Salcombe.

A view of Sidmouth beach in Devon

Sidmouth

Sidmouth, the gateway to the Jurassic Coast, is a spectacular destination all year round, with beautiful Regency architecture, dramatic views and things to interest all ages. Take a day trip to the Donkey Sanctuary, the largest of its kind, which is home to more than 500 rescue donkeys; visit the vibrant beauty of Connaught Gardens or explore one of the two local beaches. It’s a great base for exploring the south of this region.

We’d recommend staying at:

Sweetcombe Barn, sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Regency House, sleeps 9 + 2 dogs

Sidbury Retreat, sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Browse our full collection of cottages in Sidmouth.

A view of South Hams in South Devon

South Hams

Encompassing the southern tip of Dartmoor National Park, South Hams is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that is a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors, with seemingly endless moorland, winding country lanes, sweeping beaches and secret coves. Be sure to take a trip to Burgh Island on your visit, which can be reached on foot at low tide or by the sea tractor at high tide!

We’d recommend staying at:

The Little Lookout, sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Kempthorpes, sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Blue Horizons, sleeps 8 + 2 dogs

Browse our full collection of cottages in South Hams.

A view of Teignmouth in South Devon

Teignmouth

This quaint seaside town is great for families, with some of the friendliest locals, independent eateries, artisan bakeries and a beautiful beachfront park. The Pavilions is a hub of entertainment, hosting a number of events, from dance performances and theatre productions to local festivals, throughout the year. If you’re interested in spotting sea life in the water, hop aboard one of the sea safaris and explore the coast – you might be lucky enough to spot a dolphin, whale or even a shark!

We’d recommend staying at:

Hillbre Apartment, sleeps 2

Buckleigh Lodge, sleeps 3

Syrene Apartment, sleeps 4

Browse our full collection of cottages in Teignmouth.

A view of Torquay in South Devon

Torquay

Offering a slightly livelier atmosphere than many of the other sleepy towns and villages, Torquay has a vibrant character and plenty to catch your interest. Some of the most popular attractions include Kent’s Cavern, fantastic for kids, and Living Coasts, where you can get up-close and personal with penguins, otters, creepy crawlies and numerous other creatures. Not to mention the award-winning beaches, stunning sunset spots and the eye-catching promenade.

We’d recommend staying at:

Torquay’s Stable Cottage, sleeps 4 + 3 dogs

Chelston View House, sleeps 7 + 1 dog

Falcon View, sleeps 10 + 2 dogs

Browse our full collection of cottages in Torquay.

A view of Totnes in South Devon

Totnes

The historic market town of Totnes is known for its bohemian lifestyle and centre filled with history and intrigue. Take a trip to the local vineyard for a spot of wine and cheese tasting, enjoy a little tree bathing in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and be sure to make the most of the hidden gems that are the independent shops and cafes. With the River Dart at its side, it’s an enchanting town that’s ideal for a relaxing break.

We’d recommend staying at:

The Pod Overlooking Dartmoor, sleeps 2 + 1 dog

House Martin Cottage, sleeps 4

Dart Cottage, sleeps 6

Browse our full collection of cottages in Totnes.  

Ready to book your break to the beautiful seaside haven of South Devon? Take a look at our full collection of cottages and get ready for your next adventure.

P.s. if you take any amazing photographs while you’re there, why not share them into our Facebook photography group, The South West Through a Lens?

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