The ultimate guide to South Devon holiday cottages

The ultimate guide to South Devon

Shannon 20 September 2019

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


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

Browse our full collection of cottages in Beer.

A view of Dartmouth in South Devon


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

Milber Cottage, sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Browse our full collection of cottages in Dartmouth.

A view of Dawlish in South Devon


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:

Warren Roost, 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


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

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:

Sunny Daze, 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


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 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 5

Sunseekers Marina View, sleeps 4 + 1 dog

The Coastguard Cottage, sleeps 8 + 2 dogs

Browse our full collection of cottages in Plymouth.

A view of Salcombe in South Devon


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:

Ferndale Garden View, sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Court Barton Farm, sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Browse our full collection of cottages in Salcombe.

A view of Sidmouth beach in Devon


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


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

Montpelier Penthouse, sleeps 4

Browse our full collection of cottages in Teignmouth.

A view of Torquay in South Devon


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

Hesketh Mews - Starboard, sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Falcon View, sleeps 10 + 2 dogs

Browse our full collection of cottages in Torquay.

A view of Totnes in South Devon


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

Bullfinch Cottage, sleeps 4 + 1 dog

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?

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.

Like it? Share it...

Read more like this

The UK’s best 24-hour city trips

It turns out you don’t need to head to the big cities for fun adventures - come and discover the UK's best cities that can be seen in a day!

Things to do and see in Appledore

Discover Appledore in North Devon and find out what makes it a magical holiday destination.

15 secret North Devon beaches

North Devon’s coast is home to many amazing beaches, but discover the most secret and hidden ones today.
The Travel Chapter Limited trading as Stay In Devon is an appointed representative of ITC Compliance Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (their registration number is 313486) and which is permitted to advise on and arrange general insurance contracts as an intermediary.
The Travel Chapter Limited trading as Stay In Devon | The Travel Chapter Limited is registered in England and Wales. | Registered office Travel Chapter House Gammaton Road Bideford EX39 4DF Company No. 02431506 | VAT reg: 143053210.