Summer cottage holidays: Devon’s prettiest country villages

I always think there’s nothing quite like the English summer – when the sun finally does come out, that is! There’s something magical about seeing the beautiful countryside bathed in sunshine, with the flowers in the bloom, and the coastline sparkling and dotted with eager holidaymakers. That’s why I think staying in a cottage right here in the UK is one of the very best options for a summer break – especially if you stay in Devon.

Why Devon? Well, nestled in the south-west of England, this county has everything you could need for a summer holiday. Beautiful beaches, glorious countryside, amazing food and a huge selection of attractions for all ages are just some of the things you can look forward to while you’re here.

Plus, there are lots of lovely little villages where you can find charming holiday cottages. In my opinion, these are the perfect option for staycations – they’re wallet-friendly (particularly as they’re self-catering) and they offer plenty of space for large groups of friends or big families. You can check out some cottages for rent here, while I’ve put a together a list of the prettiest villages to stay in below.

Combe Martin (north Devon)

First up, we have Combe Martin in north Devon, which is probably the liveliest village on my list. In fact, this is really a small seaside resort, thanks to the fact that it’s home to a beautiful sheltered cove on the edge of Exmoor National Park.

What’s great about Combe Martin is that it is has all the charm of a classic Devon village while also offering a huge amount to do. For instance, you can visit the stunning Rosemoor Gardens – a 65-acre garden run by the RHS. Come here to enjoy leisurely strolls around both formal and informal gardens while admiring the stunning backdrop of steep wooded valleys.

Musbury (east Devon)

For our next destination, we’ll turn our attention to east Devon. Lying between Axminster and Seaton, Musbury is a tranquil little village that’s located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The centre of Musbury, meanwhile, is a dedicated conservation area. So, as you can imagine, it’s a very scenic place!

I think Musbury is a great spot for a holiday if you want a balance between staying somewhere quiet and having lots of attractions nearby. Musbury itself is home to just one pub, The Golden Hind, and is a great place for walking, while nearby Axminster has a wide range of attractions. If you’re a wine lover, for example, you should definitely check out Lyme Bay Winery. Axminister Museum, meanwhile, is a good choice if you fancy finding out more about local history, since it houses artefacts relating to the town’s carpet industry, as well as old photographs, archaeological treasures, historic agricultural tools and much more.

East Anstey (north Devon)

We’re returning to north Devon for my final suggestion – the little village of East Anstey. In terms of the kind of holiday it offers, I think it is quite similar to Musbury in that it provides a quiet, tranquil place to stay as well as proximity to plenty of attractions.

Located in a beautiful English countryside setting, East Anstey sits on the Devon-Somerset border. From here, you can easily visit some of north Devon’s most charming attractions, including the stunning Regency house of Arlington Court, which is in Arlington, Barnstaple. Exploring this home, you’ll be able to view an impressive collection of artefacts which include things like model ships. The highlight for me, though, is the tearoom – as well as serving incredibly delicious cakes, it also offers a changing menu of hot dishes prepared using ingredients from the onsite kitchen garden.

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