On the doorstep of North Devon holiday cottages, you will discover towering cliffs, sandy beaches, rolling farmland and wooded combes. Thanks to the region’s wild, natural beauty, it is a paradise for outdoor activities including hiking, wildlife-watching, surfing and swimming. The Southwest Coast Path covers the entire length of the rocky coastline, passing ancient fishing villages and laidback resorts, and providing hikers with the chance to spot dolphins and seals in the Atlantic Ocean. Many of our North Devon holiday lets are moments from the ocean, with easy access to the coast path. From remote, rocky coves to sweeping sandy bays, there are plenty of beautiful spots for days by the sea near North Devon cottage rentals. Inland, the pretty market towns of South Molton, Bideford, Holsworthy and Barnstaple are home to independent shops and farmers’ markets where you can pick up a bag of the freshest local produce. Whether you want to watch the sun set on the Atlantic from a clifftop pub, catch a few waves or discover historic harbours, ruins and gardens, you won’t be disappointed by the variety of self-catering North Devon has to offer.
You can read all about Devon Holidays In our Devon Guide.
The sandy beaches of Woolacombe, Croyde and Saunton are among the most popular destinations for renting luxury self-catering North Devon. It is easy to see why, considering their spectacular, sandy shores, backed by wild, grassy dunes. All three beaches also provide world-class surfing conditions, with plenty of schools and shops for beginners who want to rent equipment or take a lesson or two.
Westward Ho! is a relaxed resort with a vast beach, just north of the market town of Bideford and is the ideal location for renting a North Devon holiday cottage. Facing west into Bideford Bay, it provides unrivalled views across the Atlantic Ocean, toward Lundy Island. The village itself is a welcoming community of surf shops, cafes and restaurants, while the beach is a great expanse of sand, backed by a distinctive pebble ridge and the dunes and grasslands of Northam Burrows Country Park. The Royal North Devon Golf Club is home to England’s oldest links course, which is open to visitors who are after a challenging round.
Rugged and remote, the Hartland Peninsula is home to soaring cliffs, shipwrecks, and a particularly challenging stretch of the South West Coast Path. In and around the village of Hartland, you will find some of the most beautifully located holiday lets in North Devon has to offer. At Hartland Quay, there is a clifftop pub with breathtaking views along the rocky coast. During the summer months, the quay is a popular swimming spot, and the peregrine falcons which nest in the cliffs are often spotted.
A number of luxury cottages in North Devon are available in and around Clovelly, an ancient fishing community which is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in the Southwest. A tangle of narrow lanes descends steeply to a rocky bay. Here, there is a sheltered harbour overlooked by a cosy pub. The Southwest Coast Path can be followed east towards Westward Ho! or west, towards the secluded rocky bay at Bucks Mills.
Barnstaple lies on the banks of the River Taw, a few miles inland from the coast. A North Devon cottage rental in Barnstaple is an excellent choice if you are looking for a base for exploring the region with great places to eat, drink and shop on your doorstep. The historic town centre is home to a variety of independent shops, while the pannier market and Butcher’s Row are the best places to pick up fresh, local meat, fish and cheese. Barnstaple is a popular stop on the Tarka Trail, a cycle route which follows a disused railway track through more than 30 miles of unspoiled countryside.
The pretty town of Bideford overlooks the River Torridge, south of Barnstaple, with a maze of narrow streets to explore. Wander along the river bank and into the town centre from your holiday cottage in Bideford and you will discover tea rooms, antique shops and other family-run businesses. Two of North Devon’s best family-friendly attractions – the Milky Way and the Big Sheep – are a short drive from Bideford.
Exmoor is an enchanting expanse of deep, wooded valleys, pebbly bays and high, forested cliffs, making self-catering holidays here particularly popular among walkers. The area’s North Devon holiday cottages’ dog friendly nature also make them perfectly suited to pet owners. Covering 268 square miles, the park encompasses the Brendon Hills, the East Lyn Valley, the Vale of Porlock and the Bristol Channel Coast. Horse-riding and fishing are popular activities, and deer and wild ponies are often spotted. The village of Lynton perches above a dramatic valley with stunning views to the harbour of Lynmouth below. Spend a day exploring graceful Victorian architecture, galleries, tearooms and pubs, and take a ride on the near-vertical cliff railway that links the two communities.
The village of Instow lies on a river estuary, at the confluence of the Taw and Torridge rivers. Backed by hills, fields and woods, it is a peaceful base from which to explore the North Devon coast. There is a beautiful beach, Instow Sands, with views across the water to the fishing village of Appledore, which lies on the opposite side of the estuary. Instow’s sandy shore and calm waters are a haven for swimming, sailing and windsurfing. North Devon holiday lets in Appledore and Instow are popular among visitors who want to explore The Tarka Trail, which runs through both villages before meandering into the surrounding countryside.
Combe Martin is a laid-back resort with a sandy beach where sunbathing, swimming and building sandcastles are popular. As the tide falls, an unusual walkway is uncovered which ambles through a maze of rockpools. Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park is a great family attraction with wolves, lions and a collection of animatronic dinosaurs. Nearby, Ilfracombe is home to a bustling harbour, beaches, sea-pools, art galleries and elegant Victorian architecture, where a range of luxury North Devon holiday cottages rentals are located.
Lee Bay is a sleepy village between Woolacombe and Ilfracombe, on the North Devon coast. It lies in a deep, wooded combe known as Fuchsia Valley thanks to the scarlet flowers which create a dazzling display every spring. There is a rocky cove where low tide reveals rockpools and stretches of sand. The village itself is little more than a scattering of old, stone cottages, a parish church, the Old School Room craft gallery and a lovely pub – the Grampus.
South Molton is a friendly market town in North Devon, on the banks of the River Mole. A cottage rental here is an excellent choice if you want to experience life in a traditional Devon community and discover Exmoor, which is directly to the town’s north. South Molton has a rich tradition as a centre for trading sheep and cattle, and still hosts a weekly livestock market. An excellent pannier market is held every week, with a variety of stalls selling the best-quality produce from local farms, antiques, collectibles and more.