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The Brandy Thief | Family Self-Catering Cottage | Lee, Ilfracombe

The Brandy Thief

Lee, Ilfracombe, Devon, UK

Settled within a land famed for smugglers and contraband, where Malibu-scented gorse sweeps across the moors before meeting the toiling sea, The Brandy Thief offers sweet relief on the edge of Lee Beach near Ilfracombe. Awash with history and swathed in character, this luxury coastal cottage is a dreamy retreat for explorers looking to hunker down in North Devon.

Introduction

This cottage was once an aid to prolific bootlegger Hannibal Richards, acting as a warning of law-abiders nearby; now it's a serene family home with jute-lined floors and timber rafters. Personality oozes from each exposed 400-year-old stone and leather-studded armchair, from where a guest can survey torrid waves on stormy days, spiced rum in hand. Rustling up a big breakfast in the kitchen will fuel guests for a day of exploring Exmoor's National Park nearby. At close of play, head out at low tide for a sunset shoreline stroll before cosying up on the armchairs, immersed in an old smuggling movie.

Inside

Three bedrooms with original floorboards and gorgeous sea views reside up the narrow stairs so often synonymous with curious cottages in seafaring villages. The twin bedroom is all soft sheepskin and exposed wood, while the super king-size zip-and-link next door is a serene place to collapse after beach frolics. The master bedroom is the crowning jewel in this Devonshire treasure chest, with a super king-size bed, dual aspect horizon-facing windows and an en suite with rainfall shower. There's also a family bathroom on the first floor, with antique roll top bath and steamy rainfall shower.

Outside

A small but perfectly positioned lawn sits just outside the front of the this picturesque holiday cottage facing Lee Bay, giving guests the most magical spot imaginable for fun afternoon picnics, or long evenings spent stargazing to the soundtrack of crashing waves. The South West Coast Path runs right in front too, so visitors can make good exploration of secret coves and lofty clifftops, mostly accessible for the whole family. Come nightfall, bask in the glow of the festoon lights on the covered patio, enjoying seaside shanties or cosy chats with those you love, well into the small hours.

The Facts

  • SleepsUp to 6 guests
    From £1,495 per week, £1,195 per short break
  • Alternative group optionUp to 2 guests
  • Bedrooms and bathroomsAll three bedrooms are on the first floor. There is a double bedroom with super king-size bed and en suite shower room, a zip-and-link bedroom and a twin. On the first floor is family bathroom with antique roll top bath and separate rainfall shower.
    View bedrooms
  • PetsOne well-behaved dog is welcome and two on prior arrangement
    Pets are charged at £60 per week or part thereof
  • Arrivals and departuresArrival Day: Friday or MondayArrival Time: 4pmDeparture Time: 10am
  • FamilyBabies and children are very welcome. One cot and one highchair are available.
  • PracticalitiesThere is a free public car park available just 50 yards from the property. The kitchen includes a Smeg fridge-freezer, further small fridge, oven, ceramic hob, Nespresso coffee machine, dishwasher and washer-dryer. Due to the nature of the cottage, there are a few low doors and ceilings throughout and open flames are not permitted. The garden is fronted by a quiet road and is not enclosed; guests are asked to supervise dogs and children at all times. There is an open brick fire located in the living room, however this is only decorative and cannot be used due to the fireplace being listed.
  • Homestay includesLuxury welcome hamper with local produce, bottle of the owner´s favourite wine, Smart TV, Bose Bluetooth speaker, beach towels, board games, WiFi internet, magazines, luxury linen and towelsHouse book - your property and destination guideDiscover more little luxuries
  • Other informationProperty terms and conditionsFrequently asked questionsCheck mobile signalRecommend to a friend

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Prices & Availability

Ilfracombe

Framed by soaring cliffs, fronted by a promenade strung with glowing lanterns and inhabited by pretty Victorian town houses overlooking the sea; Ilfracombe on the North Devon coast embodies every nostalgic whim and romanticism of the great British seaside.

View on maps

Getting there

  • On the Map The property sits just off the beach in the pretty village of Lee of the North Devon Coast.
  • By Car From London, take the M4 toward Bath, take M5 South and follow the directions provided to the property.
  • By Train The nearest train station is Barnstaple, 14 miles from the property.
  • By Air International airports can be found at Bristol or Exeter, two hours and 90 minutes away respectively.

From the owner

“We just love spending early mornings and evenings sitting outside, breathing in the sea air and watching the tide, regardless of the weather. The sunsets are amazing but even the rain and storms can be incredibly spectacular!”

From the owner

We are delighted that you have chosen to stay at our lovely seaside home. Being one of only a few frontline properties in Lee Bay, we fell in love with the cottage at very first sight. We knew instantly it would be an amazing place to enjoy a more relaxed pace of life with our two young girls, who seem to never tire of the rock pooling and sandy stretches of the beach when the tide is out.

The cottage has enjoyed a varied history, thought to have associations with a famous local smuggler, Hannibal Richards. Since then it has been a private house, a museum, and in Victorian times and most recently, beautiful tea gardens. Don't be surprised if the odd walker or rambler passing by asks if you are still serving afternoon tea!

Thought to have been built in 1627, we have taken care to try and keep as much of its history intact to preserve it for future generations, while maintaining it as a comfy and relaxing home. 

The cottage is in such a unique and special spot, we have been hard-pressed to find anywhere else that we find quite as relaxing or amazing to entertain friends and family. We hope you find the information in this guide allows you to slip into beach life easily. Moreover, we hope your visit creates many holiday memories that will be savoured for years to come.

The Bunbury Family

Owner recommendations

Live like a local, discovering the best hidden gem restaurants, walks and attractions during your holiday in Ilfracombe with an insider’s perspective.

Relish Barn & Bistro, Ilfracombe
To Eat

Relish Barn & Bistro, Ilfracombe

Specialising in fresh seafood meals, including sharing platters and a great selection of local game dishes from the surrounding South West area, this cosy family-friendly restaurant is idyllically close to the harbour.

Woolacombe Riding Stables, Eastacott Farm
To Do

Woolacombe Riding Stables, Eastacott Farm

These pretty riding stables are nestled deep in the valley of Woolacombe. Visitors can saddle up and trot across more than 200 acres of countryside, take a trail over the dunes or enjoy a quick canter along the three-mile golden sandy beach.

Lee Beach
To Do

Lee Beach

With Lee Beach just over the road from The Brandy Thief, the young (and young at heart) will be entertained for hours on the sands: building dreamy castles, rock-pooling for hours to find otherworldly crustaceans, or simply splashing about in the fresh sea waters.

Quince Honey Farm, South Molton
To Do

Quince Honey Farm, South Molton

One of Britain´s leading honey farms, this family-run business offers its guests demonstrations and hands-on activities like making candles. Take a tour or a half-hour taster as a beekeeper before enjoying a slab of cake in the cafe.

Press

Below are a selection of features in which Unique Homestays has appeared. If you would like to feature the property in an editorial capacity, please contact the marketing team on +44 (0)1637 882014.

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Disclaimer: These particulars, whilst believed to be accurate, are set as a guideline so should not be relied upon as a statement of fact. The photographs show aspects of the property at the time they were taken and it should not be assumed that the property remains precisely as displayed. If there are points of particular importance that need clarifying before you book, please ask our team.

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