From the wilds of Dartmoor to the wooded hillsides of the Lyn Valley, Devon is undoubtedly one of England's most beautiful counties. Its overwhelmingly rural landscape means that catered accommodation is restricted to over-subscribed Bed and Breakfasts and hotels which are mostly concentrated in towns like Exeter and Barnstaple.
Devon is a great location for a family vacation in the great outdoors, with everything from beach resorts at Ilfracombe to rambling in the hills of Exmoor and tors of Dartmoor. It is a large county, but whether you want to follow the Tarka Trail, or walk down the Doone Valley, you can be sure there will be cottages open for vacation rentals nearby.
Most of Devon's vacation rental cottages started as farm buildings of some sort, and planning restrictions mean that many of them retain their rural charm on the outside. However, the cottages are generally renovated to 21st Century standards inside, with double glazing, TV, washing machines and fully-equipped kitchens. Families are well catered for in the higher end properties with games rooms, sometimes including full-size pool tables and large gardens for children to explore.
Despite the unpredictability of Devon's weather even during the summer months, the comfort of these properties gives great peace of mind. Moreover, a week's vacation rental of a cottage in Devon can cost as little as £300 - £400. During the peak season you can spend as much as £900 a month for one of the larger or more luxurious cottages, which still works out to be cheaper than a lot of hotels, especially if you have to book several rooms to accommodate a family of four or five.
To get the best of Devon's startling countryside and its friendly communities, renting a vacation cottage near Lynton and Lynmouth can be a good start. It is a useful base from which to explore North Devon, and is within walking distance of several beauty spots, such as Watersmeet (complete with a small but impressive waterfall) and the Valley of the Rocks. Separated by a steep cliff, you can travel up a funicular railway from coastal Lynmouth to clifftop Lynton, with plenty of stunning walks, shopping opportunities and several beaches and boat trips to nearby coastal attractions.
The twin villages also boast a concentration of well-equipped vacation cottages, from modest fisherman's cottages on the path to Watersmeet to grander hillside houses on the way to the Valley of the Rocks. Whatever your budget, Lynton and Lynmouth can provide some tempting accommodation options for your first Devon vacation.