Keep it quirky: a handpicked selection of unusual places to stay in Devon

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Carmen McCormack

Guest Expert

5 min read

Devon isn’t short of places to stay, from homely B&Bs to smart hotels and self-catering cottages of all shapes and sizes. But sometimes you want to lay your head somewhere that’s bursting with charm and character. In this hand-picked selection of our most unusual places in Devon, you can stay in Devon’s version of an agriturismo and get stuck into bread and charcuterie making. Or enjoy a super swish, contemporary barn conversion, a sweet orangery brimful with original ceramics (you can take a class with the potter), a perfectly renovated fisherman’s abode and a cottage on the site of an award-winning brewery. Devon’s delights are at your feet: cliff-lined beaches, rugged coastal paths, wild Dartmoor and Exmoor.

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Glebe House

Come to this bright, eclectic house set on a 15 acre smallholding for super food, gracious hosts and delightful dog-friendly bedrooms. Inspired by time spent in Italy, chef Hugo and artist Olive set up their own agriturismo right here in Devon – join a bread making or charcuterie course. They nurture a polytunnel, keep chickens and pigs, bake daily bread, make charcuterie and pickles from scratch and waste nothing. Settle down in front of the fire in one of the sitting rooms after a jaunt around the countryside or Jurassic Coast – the ‘Walk Book’ in your room has ideas – or stroll through the valley to The Kingfisher in Colyton for lunch. Return for a simple supper or a four-course seasonal set menu.

Guest Nicole: Glebe House is as beautiful as the photos portray! We spent our time swooning over the interiors and soaking up the rural setting before enjoying freshly baked treats and homegrown seasonal produce.

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Redbrick Studio

Tucked down a high-hedged lane on a 60-acre farm with stunning views of the unspoilt Exe valley, this ground floor studio is well away from crowds and roads. In spring, the wildflowers enfold you and birdsong will lift your soul. The living room, kitchen and bedroom are all in one large space – everything is well thought-out, good to look at and also practical. Enjoy a wide selection of books and a smart TV for film nights. You have your own south-facing garden for summer lunches and suppers – stock up with local food and wine at the brilliant Exe Valley Farm Shop. It’s an ideal spot for walkers with no busy road and loads of footpaths – you’ll find maps.

Guest Richard: Great hosts, beautiful loft apartment with everything you would need. Dog friendly. Beautiful surroundings. Great walks around the area.

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Horseshoe Barn

Walking into this converted barn instantly lifts your spirits. You’re in one huge room with a shower off it, and everything is in here – bed, sofa, little kitchen — all calm, contemporary and rather swish. The beautifully made bed has feather pillows and duvet and you’ll find bath robes, home-produced organic soap and fresh flowers from the garden. You’re on the owners’ 17th-century farm (ask about buying home grown meat) and there’s another holiday barn but it’s still nicely private. Lovely to sit out here birdwatching or chatting with a glass of wine while you barbecue supper and admire the views. The walking all around is sublime, either at the coast or inland for hilly strolls.

Guest Sarah: We had a very relaxing stay at Horseshoe Barn. We met Alice who was very welcoming, and tried the sausages, bacon and charcuterie made on their farm which were all delicious.

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The Orangery

A light and sunny annexe with your own entrance in the centre of vibrant Buckfastleigh. Step into a pretty conservatory – an easy place to read or spot birds. Through here to the open-plan living/kitchen/diner: snuggle up in the window seat or in front of the wood-burner. There are books to borrow and toys and games to occupy children. Original pottery is dotted around the house (the artist’s studio is next door – with notice you can have a pottery lesson during your stay). Wander into town for shops and cafés, treat yourself to a veggie feast at Riverford Field Kitchen. Borrow badminton racquets, tell stories around the fire bowl before sleeping well in sweet bedrooms.

Guest Stephanie: Tucked away from the busy street, the accommodation was spacious and charmingly decorated with all you would need for a holiday stay. Laura is very welcoming.

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It’s peaceful here, down a pedestrianised street facing allotments, but you’re only a short walk along narrow lanes to the bustling quay, ice cream, proper fish and chips, crabbing, boat trips and independent shops. This 18th-century fisherman’s cottage is more spacious than it looks, with plenty of seating, a cosy wood-burner in the sitting room and a TV for rainy days. French doors open onto a neat garden — a fine spot for an evening meal or glass of wine. Two very comfortable bedrooms are up steep stairs and the lovely attic room has gorgeous views over rooftops to the estuary. Enjoy sociable meals in the light-filled open-plan kitchen/dining area or walk 10 minutes to The Royal George pub.

Guest Mary: Appledore is a sweet little town on the great estuary of the rivers Taw and Torridge. Cornwallis is charming, comfortable and well equipped and the host is most attentive and prompt in all communications.

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The Old Cellar

This cosy cottage (once a hop store) sits next to the owners’ house but with its front door facing the other way. Your view is over a wonderful bird-filled garden with chickens, wildlife ponds and meadows, then the pretty valley below. You’re on the site of the Otter Brewery, still a family-run business, and Mary-Ann will leave you some beer to sample. You can take a tour of the brewery as well as their gin distillery. You’ll find basics in the little kitchen plus croissants, jam and biscuits. Walk straight from the door onto the Blackdown Hills. On summer evenings you can eat outside in the garden while the mallards quack on the pond, or drive 15-minutes to Honiton for the family-run pub, The Holt.

Guest Drusilla: What a piece of paradise! We walked the Blackdown Hills from the cottage, hiked Dartmoor and the coastal path. We chose Mary-Ann’s delicious fish pie for our arrival evening.

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Browse all our special places to stay in Devon >

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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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