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Devon on Earth: a few of our favourite places to stay by the sea

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Carmen McCormack

Guest Expert

5 min read

The mystical pull of the sea and rugged coast tempts year-round, and Devon delivers in buckets (and spades). From endless blustery coastal path walks to sea kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling, there’s plenty to keep you and your crew busy. Here are a few of our highlights that bring you as close to the water as possible. Stay in a seaside inn with excellent food and a spoiling spa or a clutch of cosy cottages with watery walks from the door, where you can whip up your own feasts or head to a nearby pub if you're feeling lazy about cooking.

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Bay Cottage

Bird-filled woods behind you and the sparkling bay in front create instant holiday feels at this roomy, semi-detached Victorian cottage. A five-minute walk takes you down to the inn for breakfast, lunch, a cream tea or dinner. You can borrow kayaks or spend the entire day yomping on the South West Coast Path, swim from the gentle pebbled bay or wander ten minutes to a red sandy beach. Back at base, it’s cosy and comfortable with books and games to enjoy in front of the wood burner. Sloe gin, robes and slippers for bed. 

Inspector Nicola: Heaps of space in this cottage with a deck overlooking the water and just a five-minute walk down to a pub for good food if you’re feeling lazy about cooking.

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Cary Arms Spa

This seaside inn on Babbacombe Bay with views of sea and sky is a delight. You can move from bedroom (all but one with a private terrace or balcony) to spa (treatments, hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam) to the cosy pub downstairs, all without dragging your eyes away from the sea views. Pick up the South West Coast Path from the front door or fish with the locals from the jetty. Walk ten minutes to Oddicombe Beach for sea kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling. Tuck into regional, ever-changing menus, with an emphasis on seafood and a vegan menu too. Staff go above and beyond and your continental breakfast is a treat.

Guest Zoe: This charming inn is just magical – even on a rainy day! The staff pay attention to the minutest of details and the service is impeccable. The sea views from the restaurant, most rooms and spa are stunning and very special.

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Old Post Cottage

Back in the 1830s, this neat white cottage in a sweet North Devon village was the post office. Its thick stone walls have seen centuries of history but inside it’s bang up-to-date – crisp, clean and uncluttered. It’s a delight to walk straight onto the coastal path to spectacular Morte Point, explore the rock pools at Rockham Beach and dine on fresh seafood in Mortehoe’s pubs. Return to a cream tea by the cosy wood burner and watch the stars come out from the pretty garden on balmy nights in summer.

Guest Richard: We always love returning to Mortehoe and The Old Post Office. It’s the perfect location and size for a family of four to explore the coastal paths and hidden coves, and enjoy the surf at Woolacombe beach.

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Emma and Tim’s Cottage

Twist and turn your way to the edge of the world and this stylish and characterful cottage, perched on the cliffs and filled with beautiful treasure. A sunny, flower-filled garden tumbles towards the South West Coast Path and the sea beyond. Walk to hidden coves in either direction, pack a picnic for breakfast on the rocks after a dip in the briny, head up to the quirky village where locals and visitors converge at the famous Pig’s Nose Inn for live music and fun. Return to a wood burner in the dining room and an open fire in the sitting room for delicious dinner and a cosy evening in.

Guest Anna: The best cottage we have ever stayed in and we have rented a few. We simply had the best time, the cottage is beautiful, the views of the sea are amazing and you have access to some of the best walking in the UK right on your doorstep.

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North Barn, Whitestone Farm

Sublime year round with glass-and-timber doors to bathe you with light from big skies and the river Dart lapping below. Slop about on the big wooden deck, with nothing but a sliver of greenery between you and the river. Paint, sketch, read, walk, or lie in bed all day and gaze at the Dart and its bobbing boats and wading birds. Sublime in summer, cosy with wood burner and sofas in winter, this place is loaded with character and charm. Cook in a well-equipped galley kitchen or wait for low tide and pick your way along the foreshore to the restaurant/pub at Tuckenhay.

Guest Carole: A wonderful atmosphere and ambiance offering comfort and a delightful touch of individuality. The deck’s river views are worthy of being ‘beyond praise’.

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Bowcombe Boathouse

This idyllic waterfront retreat perched on the banks of the creek and filled with interesting finds is the most charming cabin hideaway for couples. Originally a boathouse, step into rustic-chic interiors and mesmerising watery views over the Kingsbridge Ria. Position yourself on the squishy window seat near the roaring wood burner, cook in the top-notch kitchen and climb a small staircase to your en suite bedroom. Step out to your terrace to listen to the water and birdsong, take the ladder down to the shore and kayak to Kinsgbridge for lunch, return and spend the evening telling stories by the firepit.

Guest Joanna: An absolutely fantastic experience from start to finish! The location is stunning, the house is absolutely beautiful and Miranda has thought of everything you could possibly need.

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Carmen McCormack

Guest Expert

Carmen is a freelance writer specialising in travel. She once lived in a bus in north Wales, skipped off to study in Barcelona, and now calls Bristol home. When she’s not tapping away on her laptop, she can be found reading (a lot), lake swimming (a little), and pottering on the allotment with husband and two kiddos. She’s currently dreaming about cold cerveza and torta in Mexico.

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