Our best self-catering cottages in Devon

Claire Maguire Profile Image

Claire Maguire

Sawday's Expert

5 min read

Devon will always have a place in our hearts – a holiday that gets your feet sandy, your belly full and your hair windswept from all the country walks is therapy for the soul. To help you plan your trip down south, we’ve rounded up five of our favourite Devon cottages in our collection. As always, every place is inspected and loved by us.

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The Hayloft, Ashburton

One of our favourite Devon cottages for exploring Dartmoor, The Hayloft is tucked away in a pretty market town on the edge of the national park. It’s designed with couples in mind, and has everything you need for a romantic retreat – a cosy mezzanine, lovely log-burner, board games and a well-stocked honesty bar. Spend warmer days relaxing on your private terrace and snuggle up under blankets under the stars at night.

Ashburton is considered by many to be the foodie capital of Devon, so there’s no shortage of places to pick up delicious local treats. We’d recommend trying Coljan, The Old Library and The Hound of Baskervilles for good, delicious food.  If you fancy getting active, strike off towards Dartmoor, go canoeing or pick out one of many great local walks for an adventurous day out.

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Dorset House, Salcombe

When it comes to Devon cottages by the sea, they don’t get much more beautiful than Dorset House. With far-reaching estuary views from all three terraces and sun-loungers surrounded by lavender, it’s easy to feel like you’re abroad. Inside the townhouse, you’ll find a fully-equipped kitchen, a wine fridge and a cocktail corner with all the kit for rustling up tasty concoctions.

A 15-minute stroll takes you to the heart of Salcombe, where you can take in the buzzing atmosphere, admire the watery views and watch people crabbing in the harbour before finding a pub to kick back in. Make sure you try The Winking Prawn and Crab Shed – both will not disappoint with their incredible seafood! As for beaches: there are ample to be found. Our favourites include East Portlemouth (catch the ferry from Salcombe) or South Sands, or join the South West Coast Path for stunning walks.

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Philham Water Cottage, Bideford

If you like your Devon cottages on the rustic and romantic side, this one’s for you. This charming cottage overlooks a babbling stream in a rural corner of Bideford, and it has an interesting history – the cob and stone used to build it were dug up from the surrounding fields centuries ago. Inside, the one-up, one-down structure lends a cosy feel, as do the log-burner and fireplace.

You’ll find a little welcome hamper with local treats to help you settle in, and the kitchen has everything you need to cook all your meals. The postcard-perfect village of Clovelly is close for harbour scenery and pretty tearooms, and plenty of craggy coastline is within easy reach if you need a dose of sea air.

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Ivy Studio, Diptford

Another place that perfectly captures the simplicity of rural Devon life, Ivy Studio is a lovely spot that allows you to linger in the countryside or drop into trendy Totnes as you please. It’s been a barn and a potter’s workshop, with elements of both still echoed in the high ceilings and big windows that flood the space with light. Sleeping two, it’s a romantic bolthole rather than a family weekend destination, but the soft style, which balances modern comfort with rustic charm, puts it high on our list for Devon self-catering places to stay.

Beyond the place itself, Ivy Studio offers experiences that turn it from a lovely place to stay into a truly memorable few days, or longer if you’re lucky. On-site yoga and therapy treatments can soothe the stress right out of you, while the surrounding countryside abounds with beaches and trails to leave you pleasantly exhausted. Throw in the proximity of the eateries and shops of Totnes, as well as a host of great gastropubs, and you have everything you need for an amazing self-catering break.

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Ivy studio

The Old Piggery, Exeter

Devon cottages don’t get much more charming than this rural retreat near Exeter, with side-by-side twin roll top baths and unbroken views of rolling hills. The cottage is kitted out in classic country style, with white walls, wooden beams and rustic furniture. An open-plan living space and king-size bed accessed via mezzanine lend a contemporary touch, and there’s a sofa-bed for any extra guests.

A well-equipped kitchen has everything you need to cook delicious feasts, and organic produce can be purchased up at the main house. Spend your days exploring the South Devon coastline – Teignmouth, Dawlish, Shaldon and Salcombe are all close by, or explore Dartmoor’s enchanting Teign Valley. After a long day, there’s no better way to relax your tired muscles than with a soak in the outdoor baths, gazing at the stars.

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Claire Maguire

Sawday's Expert

Claire combines her twin loves of writing and travel to create interesting and inspiring blog content. Originally from Ireland, she spent a lot of time in coastal Donegal, so visiting anywhere by the sea brings a special kind of happiness and nostalgia. Her favourite sort of place is anything that makes her say “I wish I lived here!” and as a big foodie, she sees time away as a period of no-holds-barred eating and drinking against a picturesque backdrop.
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