Pearly beaches, undulating coastline, two dramatic wilderness areas and chic seaside towns brimming with foodie havens and family fun; it’s little wonder that Devon’s been dubbed one of the hottest UK destinations. What with the sky-high Euro, soaring carbon footprints and the depression of the recession, holidays at home have sprung back into fashion, and the revamped, rejuvenated face of the Devonshire accommodation scene is ready to rock its visitors. At Unique Home Stays we’ve hunted down some of the coolest places to stay – flash family beach pads, retro coastal retreats and rural havens with bags of style. Check them out for yourself
A classic Victorian villa with a modern makeover, this coastal gem has been turned out in cool, retro style whilst retaining much of its original character.
What’s hot? Decked out by a husband and wife design team, using architectural salvage pieces – parquet flooring from a nightclub, teak from a physics lab – along with contemporary art and eclectic furnishings. Yet for all its bags of style, this place is practically equipped to weather the sand and saltwater trails of beach-going families. Spot on for all seasons, there’s a sea-view barbecue terrace, a conservatory with grape vines and a nectarine tree, and a long sitting-cum-dining room with an open log fire and French doors to the terrace.
What’s on the doorstep? The back garden nudges the South West Coast Path, making it the perfect spot from which to explore the North Devon coastline, clamber down to quiet coves within minutes of the house and surf the swell-lashed beaches of Woolacombe and Saunton Sands. When it comes down to eating and drinking, you’re spoilt for choice with cool beach bars, classy coffee shops and Damien Hirst’s restaurant nearby.
Basics: Sleeps up to 13 (self-catering with home-cooked meals and in-house catering available)
Cost: From £1,900 to £3,300 per week; 3-night breaks from £1,330
RIVER HOUSE, nr Dartmouth
A redesigned, riverside house with panoramic views to lush countryside and the banks of the River Dart
What’s hot? Not a single detail scrimps on design and comfort in this über-cool grand oak structure with a large indoor pool in a glass and wood barn. Light and views flood inside, where Italian furniture, contemporary art and designer fabrics dress the semi-minimalist décor. If you need an even bigger dose of Zen to chill out, there is also a private beauty treatment room, five acres of Mediterranean gardens to roam and a studio for yoga and tai chi.
What’s on the doorstep? Views to the sparkling River Dart will lure you into one of the UK’s most dramatic wilderness areas, the nearby coastline will tempt you sail and swim, whilst for foodie types it’s only a short distance to the famous New Angel Inn at Dartmouth.
Basics: Sleeps 8 adults + 3 children (self-catering with home-cooked meals and private catering to order)
Cost: From £6,750 per week; 2/3-night stays from £2,000/£3,000 (out of season only)
STONE FARMHOUSE, nr Modbury
A contemporary haven where eco features are fused with farmhouse charm
What’s hot? A farmhouse turned chic, here you can fold back the glass doors and let the countryside into a modern, open-plan interior adorned with cool stone and wood (yet kept cosy by underfloor heating and woodburners). Away from the central hub that opens onto a tiered, floodlit decking, there are also plenty of chill out rooms to hideaway and get some peace and quiet from the rest of the family.
What’s on the doorstep? Tucked into a private valley with 30 acres of land, a small orchard and a stream, it feels as if there is nothing except countryside for miles around. But as well as being on the edge of Dartmoor, this place is only 15 minutes to the south Devon coastline where an abundance of golden beaches await.
Basics: Sleeps 12-13, self-catering (home-cooked meals and private caterers available)
Cost: From £1,750 to £3,100 per week; 3-night stays from £1,200 (out of season only)
HELE LINHAY, nr Ashburton
A modern rural idyll: this restored and refurbished Coachman’s House stands on the edge of Dartmoor National Park
What’s hot? Immerse yourself in country living with bags of style. Floor-to-ceiling windows stare out to gob-smacking views of the River Dart valley, from a contemporary interior decked out in minimalist style with Indian influences. Clawfoot baths and huge rain showers await after a day in the outdoors, and organic goodies can be delivered to the doorstep ready to be roasted in the Aga.
What’s on the doorstep? Beyond the cobbled courtyard the treasures of Dartmoor abound: it’s a five-minute stroll to the banks of the Dart – a haven for hikers, kayakers, mountain bikers and climbers. Less active types can head to Ashburton and hone their culinary skills at one of the world’s top cookery schools or browse the boutiques for books, antiques and gifts.
Basics: Sleeps 8, self-catering
Cost: From £1750 - £2,750 per week; 3-night stays from £1225 up to £1540
THE BAY, Churston
A 1930’s family home dressed for modern times in cool, Hampton’s style, this is the perfect pad for small groups or families.
What’s hot? There’s no need to rise from the goose-down pillows and Egyptian cotton sheets to witness the sparkling hues of Torquay Bay, but the view is even better from the swing seat, teak recliners and the terrace hot-tub. Inside picture windows there’s oodles of space to eat, drink and play in the open-plan living area (it comes ready equipped with a huge range of kids’ toys and beach equipment), or hideaway for me-time in the library and DVD-time in the snug. Dine alfresco in style – in addition to lush gardens there’s an inner courtyard sheltered from the sea breeze.
What’s on the doorstep? Hit the seaside proper: there are no less than three beaches within ten-minutes walk (including Broadsands and Goodrington), fishing trips cast off from Paignton and Brixham, and you can come face-to-face with the seabirds, seals and penguins in Torquay’s Living Coasts park.
Basics: Sleeps up to 8 (self-catering with the services of a private chef available)
Cost: From £1,850 to £3,000 per week
THE VICARAGE, North Devon
A traditional country estate where large groups can revel in stylish luxury and bask in lush Mediterranean gardens.
What’s hot? Forget minimalism, this place is cool and quirky because it rebuts typical modern style and flaunts an interior characterised by an eclectic mix of artwork, sculptures and antiques. And without being too chintzy, it works a treat with designer furnishings, four-poster beds, a hot tub and sauna, saltwater swimming pool (outdoors), snooker room and a home cinema.
What’s on the doorstep? With tennis, swimming, croquet, massage, art lessons and yoga available on site, there’s not much reason to leave this luxurious abode. But how can you resist the draw of hiking, biking and kayaking on Dartmoor?
Basics: Sleeps up to 24 (16 adults + 4 children in the main house and 4 in an adjacent cottage). Self-catering with private caterers available.
Cost: From £5,950 to £7,500 per week; 2-night weekends from £2,995 (Oct to Apr only); 3-night weekends from £3,950 to £5,500.
LAVENDER HOUSE, Woolacombe
A stylish coastal farmhouse with the pearly beaches of North Devon on one side and the natural playground of Exmoor on the other
What’s hot? Next door to an organic farm, here you can live the good life in modern luxury. Built in the 1830s, the interior of this farmhouse has been stripped of its old-fashioned character and revamped in contemporary style with modern day country-life comfort in mind. A long, raised decking overlooks the lush country and coastal views, and inside funky fabrics and neutral backdrops contrast with wood and slate flooring and a sprinkling of traditional farmhouse touches.
What’s on the doorstep? Undulating countryside and golden expanses of coastline: the location offers a divine fusion of coastal and country life. Surf at Woolacombe, sail from Ilfracombe, hike and horse ride on Exmoor and fuel up in the fine foodie haunts found in Ilfracombe and Instow,
Basics: Sleeps 10
Cost: From £1,400 - £2,700 per week; 3-night stays (out of peak season only) from £980.
If you like these, check out the rest of our Devon properties
A charming old fisherman’s cottage where you can fall asleep to the sound of the sea
What’s hot? With its boho-chic character nudging the seashore, this quirky beachside cottage combines rustic style with modern accessories. Pad across the sea-grass carpets and wood floors, recline on the seafront decking, get cosy by the log fire, and fling open the windows to let stunning sea views flood the neutral tones of your whitewashed abode.
What’s on the doorstep? Tucked away in a secluded cove, steps descend from the garden to the sandy beach below. A short stroll along the cliff-top path is rewarded by award-winning fish and chips at Torcross, and as well as craggy coves and the golden stretch of Slapton Sands on the doorstep, the property also affords easy access to Dartmouth, Salcombe and Totnes.
Basics: Sleeps 6 – ideally 4 adults + 2 children
Cost: From £995 to £1,850 per week; weekends from £695 to £840
For more information contact Sarah Stanley, Jen Morgan or Sarah Milligan
Tel: +44(0)1637 881183