Did you know: Devon is the fourth largest county in England? Well, it is. Stretching from the Bristol Channel to the English Channel and from Plymouth to Lyme Regis, this south-west county takes up a sizeable chunk of our fair isle. For those planning a trip, it can be tough to decide where to stay: Do you opt for the north with its big Atlantic swells? How about the south whose fishing villages are ever-so-pretty? Or, perhaps the dramatic heaths of Dartmoor will draw you near?
To help make choosing a holiday home in Devon easier, we’ve shortlisted five of our favourite Devonshire villages that we think would make the ideal holiday destination.
From its steep, cobbled streets to its ancient harbour, it’s clear Clovelly is no run of the mill English village. This is a place where cars are prohibited; a place where goods are carried on makeshift sledges from shop to shop; a place hemmed by woodland and ocean; a place to be cherished, loved and respected. Unusually, Clovelly is still privately owned, just as it has been for over 800 years, and perhaps more unusually, the majority of its buildings are architecturally listed. Put plainly, Clovelly is an extraordinary destination – don’t miss it.
Amid the wild grandeur of Dartmoor, the peaceful, unobtrusive village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor seems strangely tame. A string of quaint cottages, hearth-warmed pubs and a pretty church provide visitors with a charming respite from the untamed heathlands which encircle the village. Despite being back-o-beyond, Widecombe attracts many visitors; it’s home to the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre, and many of the moorland’s walks begin and end in the village. Those staying in and around the village should expect a quiet, tranquil and stimulating getaway.
Head south to Devon’s Dorset-esque Jurassic Coast and you’d be wise to stay in Beer, one of Devon’s best loved coastal villages. Despite its name, Beer has no associations with drink; instead, the village’s title is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for “grove” which refers to the nearby woodland. Beer was once one of the south west’s most notorious smugglers’ coves, and this is something celebrated by villagers to this day. Come summer, Beer’s beach is a haven for sun worshippers thanks to its luxuriously soft sand and sheltered aspect – book a break in Beer this summer and you’ll be in seventh heaven.
Looking to discover Devon’s history? There’s no better place than Lydford. This small, sleepy village was once an economic powerhouse, until Viking raiders put an end to the region’s prosperity in the 6th century. Now, Lydford has a drowsy, bucolic feel, and is easily the most peaceful place on our shortlist. Despite its sleepy vibe, Lydford proves a superb holiday base; the village is in a prime location for exploring Dartmoor and is within daytrip distance of the Devonshire coast as well as the Cornish border.
Sand dunes and sea cliffs await in the coastal village of Mortehoe on Devon’s enriching north coast. The village and its encompassing landscape are typical of North Devon; think rugged tors, heathland and of course, breaker beaten beaches. Mortehoe itself is very popular with tourists, and has enough amenities – including pubs, cafes and restaurants – to keep travellers fed and watered. Strike out from Mortehoe and you’ll stumble upon some of Devon’s other, larger towns, including Barnstaple and Woolacombe, making the village a superb base for touring the county.
Book a break in Devon this summer with Sykes Cottages
Sun, sea and sand – add dramatic countryside, ancient history and friendly locals to this list, and you’re one step closer to describing Devon. If you’re looking for a sunny, fun and interesting destination for this year’s summer break, book a cottage holiday in Devon this summer with Sykes Cottages. We have hundreds of holiday rentals from coast to country throughout the county, so you’re sure to find a Devonshire holiday home that’s perfect for you.