Devon with Original Cottages

A self-catering holiday in Devon gave Jennie Carr the ideal opportunity to explore this popular county.

Right out on Dartmoor, our cottage, with three comfortable bedrooms and a welcoming open-plan kitchen cum sitting room, replete with cosy sofas and a vast array of books, was the perfect base for taking a closer look at Devon’s many delights.

And it was the ideal opportunity for our family to re-connect again, having been pretty isolated from each other for the last year. Me, Mum and he with whom I travel plus three adult children all had a chance to bond again whilst exploring both coast and country.

RHS Rosemoor

Rosemoor Set in the grounds of a fishing lodge on the river Torridge, these gardens were bequeathed to the RHS in 1988 and opened to the public in 1990. There are two distinct halves: Lady Anne’s Garden, the original, less formal area planted with many rare specimens collected from around the world by Lady Anne Berry from 1959 onwards, contrasted by the outdoor ‘rooms’ and the Bog Garden, with its lake, created by the RHS since it took charge. The Rose Garden is a tumbling glory of colourful blooms, the air bursting with scent. The Hot and Cool Gardens have plants that reflect their names, the latter with effective water features. We spent a day here, enchanted by the horticulture and easy atmosphere.


Dartmouth A real riverside town, with more boats than cars I suspect and yes, there are tourists by the dozen, however the place retains its historical charm. We sat bang on the river front, waitresses crossing the road from the restaurant to serve drinks and food. An enormous bowl of mussels, followed by the biggest, freshest seafood platter known to man was entirely appropriate to the setting. And pronounced magnificent. The Dartmouth Lower Ferry, taking all of 6 minutes to get you to Kingswear, reminded me of a large tin tray, snugly loaded with cards. Just turn up and go. It runs until 10.45pm in the summer.

Blackpool Sands

On the tor Less than 15 minutes from Dartmouth is the most tranquil hidden bay at Blackpool Sands. It’s privately owned, so you do pay for parking. However, the beach is cleaned daily, has a lifeguard in the summer, is not over busy and provides free showers and loos. Situated at the end of a valley, meaning a narrow steep-sided lane to reach it, with a backdrop of vibrant green fields (lots of rain in Devon), dotted with cows, the beach harks back to Enid Blyton days. The Venus café is worthy of a visit in its own right: great seafood and splendid cake. Takeaway cups and boxes are all compostable – there’s a ‘green’ feel to the place. Hire kayaks and SUPs too, with wetsuits.


Dartmoor For a remote getaway and walking, this is the place. Scudding skies above scrubland, where sheep and ponies roam at will – it’s a serious antidote to city life. Once across the clanking cattle grid, our adult kids could not believe the peace. Walks and wild swimming are best planned as it’s easy to get lost if you’re a visitor. And consult the government’s Dartmoor firing programme website to stay away from any military training. Try the atmospheric Peter Tavy Inn with great food and for tales of the moor and escaped inmates from the prison; you really couldn’t make it up.

Dartmouth dining For activity holidays and breaks in the UK, call 0800 412 5678.

Original Cottages have a super range of self-catering properties, from small and cosy to large and roomy, in England and Wales.

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Jennie Carr

Silver Travel Advisor Creative and Communication Director, member of BGTW

2 Responses

  1. Very interesting Jennie. We’ve just booked a week on the Atlantic side of Devon near Bideford. One of my earliest holiday memories is time spent at Westward Ho! nearby, where the Americans were still training with DUKWs after the war. It will be fascinating to see how things have changed, bearing in mind my 7-year-old experience and aged memory may confuse matters.
    Glad you had such a lovely time. We had a splendid week in Cornwall with the Forest Holidays prize a few years ago.

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