Gitcombe Estate

Near Totnes, Devon, United Kingdom Book from Book from £106 per night

A private estate of nine family-friendly cottages (sleeping 4-13) in a secluded South Devon valley, with pools, tennis and play areas for kids
It's not often you find yourself soaking up a vista of uninterrupted pastoral bliss in the UK, without even a distant electric daisy chain of pylons in sight. Yet there we were, set back nearly a mile from a winding country lane connecting Totnes to Dartmouth, the only sound being water tumbling down the valley side. This collection of restored, Georgian farm buildings is owned by father and son team Rodney and Peter, and it feels rather like stepping back in time (save for the slick modern elements subtly integrated into each cottage).

The magic of Gitcombe lies not only in its setting. There's a cottage for everyone here: the original farmhouse with its grand dining room, traditional aga and flagstone floors; the original Coach House nextdoor; a row of stone barns converted into cosy cottages with mezzanines and quirky cabin beds for the little ones; and the new jewel in Gitcombe's crown - a stylish contemporary outpost perched near the brow of the valley, sleeping eight. Add to this two heated swimming pools, a sauna, a tennis court, an adventure playground and a hot tub for all to enjoy. If that's not enough, families and couples can hop in the car to find golden sand beaches or explore the wilds of Dartmoor silhouetted in the distance.

Information provided by Gitcombe Estate on 20/07/2020.

Cleaning and hygiene
Additional cleaning and hygiene measures in place. Deep cleaning of each house between use. 3 sanitisation units around the site: Outdoor pool/Opposite row of cottages/Indoor pool. Guest services manual in laminated, cleaned folder. 1m social distancing in place at all times. Guests asked to use sanitation sprays on hard surfaces after use of sun loungers, seats etc. Each property has additional cleaning kit with comprehensive range of extra cleaning products for guests. 24 hrs prior to departure a refuse sack and laundry bag will be left outside the cottage. Guests to bag up laundry/towels and sheets with dirty tea towels and oven gloves on the top. Collect all rubbish and seal in bags provided.

Common areas
Social distancing in place throughout. Sanitation units, bins, hand wipes in dispensers etc will be available at all of the shared facilities.

Food and drink
Any online shopping to arrive after 1900 on the day of arrival. Discount on restaurant food delivered to your holiday home by Dartmouth Fine Foods available.

Facilities
Bring your own rackets, balls, inflatables, BBQ coal and cot linen. Guests asked to self-regulate and share and facilities. 2 families/households per outdoor pool for 1 hour slots; 3-4 families may use the fenced-off area around outdoor pool. Indoor pool and facilities on a rota basis. 1 family per hot tub for 1 hour slots. Outdoor play area 2 families/households per hour. Pool available to early bird ADULT swimmers from 6.00 am onwards but shuts for cleaning at 8.00 pm; cleaned regularly by the team. Soft play area may be shut.

Other
Arrival: 1600 (cottage may not be available until after this time, guests texted when cottage available, guests welcome to picnic on lawns if cottage not accessible on arrival). Avoid inviting additional guests onto the Estate. Departure: 0900.

Highs

  • The view and the silence: rolling pastureland framed by woodland, with no passing road
  • Well-equipped cottages with top-notch kitchen appliances and thoughtful features for babies and toddlers
  • Kids will absolutely love it here, come rain or shine, with indoor and outdoor pools and play areas set in 14 acres
  • Dartmoor, the waterside towns of Salcombe and Dartmouth, and some of Devon's best beaches are all within a 30-min drive
  • Cottages to suit all: families, multi-generation breaks and couples; Gitcombe House and the Retreat are ideal for 2-3 families or a special occasion

Lows

  • Bedrooms and bathrooms in the smaller cottages are rather compact and some look a little tired. These are being updated as part of ongoing renovations
  • The wonderful deep stone window settings in the barn cottages can make some bedrooms feel a tad dark on a grey day
  • On our visit we didn't spot a mirror in every bedroom near a plug socket for styling hair
  • The topsy turvy setup (living areas upstairs, bedrooms beneath) in all cottages except Gitcombe House may not suit everyone
  • No dogs permitted, although the owners have a friendly retriever

Best time to go

Gitcombe Estate is a weatherproof utopia, best enjoyed year-round. Log burners, an indoor pool, steam room, sauna, soft play area and cosy reading dens are tempered with barbecues, an outdoor pool and tennis court for warmer, dry days. Dartmouth has an annual music festival in May and a food festival in October, for those looking to tie in an event with their stay.

Our top tips

Find a quiet moment to unwind in the hot tub, with a glass of something equally delightful and effervescent in hand. There are two on the estate (one shared), but both enjoy that same unspoilt view. In fact, the only interruption to our auburn October sunset in Gitcombe Retreat's hot tub was the emergence of three curious sheep peering down to our terrace from their neighbouring pasture.

Great for...

Family
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Cottages
  • 9 cottages
  • Self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pools
  • Sauna
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry Service
Room:

Rooms

The nine cottages vary in size with 2-6 bedrooms, all decorated in neutral tones with white crisp linen, soft duvets and quirky L-shaped cabin beds for little ones in many of the smaller cottages. All the houses have double and twin rooms, as well as cot options.

The row of five stone barn cottages (sleeping 4-6) and the detached Garden Cottage (sleeps 8) emerge out of the valley sides, rather like organic rocks. This means you enter the cottages at living room level and then descend down wooden staircases to compact bedrooms and bathrooms beneath. You'll find Jane Churchill fabrics in stripes and checks, muted Farrow & Ball colour palettes and Villeroy & Boch bathware. Each has a private deck for sunny days and a cosy log burner for winter evenings.

The original Georgian farmhouse, Gitcombe House (sleeps 13) has a more traditional feel and layout. Rooms are much larger, with higher ceilings, wide sash windows and carefully sourced antique furnishings. With 6 bedrooms, an elegant dining room, large kitchen, comfortable drawing room, snug, and private garden, it's ideal for extended family groups with grandparents, or for a group of friends with children. Next door is the Coach House (sleeps 4) with a traditional Aga and two good-sized rooms for a small family.

Our favourite is the new Gitcombe Retreat (sleeps 8), an ultramodern vision of farmhouse-chic, with four luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms. We loved the huge oak-framed open plan living area with floor to ceiling windows, wrap-around terrace and private hot tub, all with spectacular views of the rolling Devon countryside.

The Retreat has a double disabled access room on the first floor, with an ensuite that cleverly re-imagines helpful rails and handles in sleek chrome design and soothing automatic lighting. There's also a twin room and shower room on the ground floor of Gitcombe House for those not able to tackle stairs.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dishwasher
  • DVD player
  • Fireplace
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Slippers
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Tumble dryer
  • TV
  • Underfloor heating
  • Washing machine

Eating

Each cottage has a fully-fitted designer kitchen, with Fisher Paykel ovens and hobs, Miele appliances, Dualit toasters and everything you need to prepare meals for the whole family (there's even kids' plastic cutlery and crockery).

Outside, you'll find barbecues and wooden outdoor dining furniture. Gitcombe Retreat and Gitcombe House also have fantastic larders. Stock up on all food and drink for your stay before you arrive. Helpfully, you can also order food to be delivered to your cottage. Local businesses include Annie's of Totnes, which can deliver fruit and veg boxes; Riverford Organic Farmers, Waitrose and Sainsbury's.

There's a Morrison's in Totnes, which is a handy place to stop en route down to Gitcombe. Those staying in Garden House, Gitcombe Retreat and Gitcombe House can also hire a chef from a local restaurant to cook for you one evening.

Follow the road back towards Totnes and there are a couple of pubs alongside the River Dart: you can walk to the family-friendly Maltsters Arms in Tuckenhay or drive a bit further to the The Waterman's Arms where you can sit next to the cascading water while tucking into traditional pub grub. For fresh seafood, head to the Anchorstone Cafe in nearby Dittisham, where local fisherman drop off sizeable crabs and lobsters to the adjacent pontoon each morning.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Chef on request
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
  • Self-catering
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Gitcombe Estate is weatherproof: if skies are grey, head inside to the heated pool, sauna, steam room and kids' soft play area, or stick to the hot tub
  • In sunshine, enjoy the outdoor pool and tennis court - a personal trainer and a tennis coach can be arranged at an additional cost
  • The team can organise a cheese and wine tasting session for you in the comfort of your own cottage
  • A local beautician in Totnes provides exclusive treatment packages for Gitcombe guests in the salon (including facials and manicures)
  • Explore the wild, ethereal moorlands of Dartmoor on foot
  • Go crabbing in pretty Dittisham - the pontoon is opposite the Ferry Boat Inn pub (though make sure you follow the crabbing code)
  • Hop on the ferry from Dittisham to Greenway, Agatha Christie's family holiday home, now owned by the National Trust
  • Blackpool Sands is the closest beach - a sheltered bay with shingle. Other beaches nearby include Salcombe and Hope Cove for golden sands, Bantham Beach for watersports and surfing, and Bigbury on Sea
  • For shopping, head to the waterside towns of Dartmouth (there's also a castle) and Salcombe
  • There are a number of golf clubs in the area
  • Go canoeing along the River Dart estuary, starting from Tuckenhay or Stoke Gabriel. Stops along the way include shipwrecks, pubs, wildlife, storytelling, campfires, barbecues and wine tasting

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Hiking
    • Horse riding
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Well being
    • Wine tasting

Kids

Gitcombe Estate is a secluded wonderland for young children: from cutlery to sleeping arrangements and play areas, you needn't leave the estate to keep them entertained (though being in this part of Devon, there's so much nearby to tempt you away). Teenagers may not appreciate the magical isolation of the valley, though the mezzanine chill out areas in some of the terraced cottages (and separate small lounge in Gitcombe House) might give them the space and independence they need.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All the cottages have fantastic bedroom options for kids: Garden House, Haytor and Burrator have compact bunk/cabin bed type rooms for younger children. All the cottages have twin rooms and can take baby cots; Maristow and Meavy also have a sofa bed. The two larger properties, Gitcombe Retreat and Gitcombe House are suitable for extended families or if you want to join up with friends with children.

Baby equipment:

  • Cots
  • Bed guards
  • High chairs
  • Stair gates
  • Potty
  • Night light
  • Baby bath

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Playground
  • Games room
  • Soft play area
  • Kids' books/toys
  • Kids' pool
  • Tennis court
  • Basketball net
  • Boules court

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Paignton Zoo
  • Crabbing at Dittisham
  • Horse riding
  • Nature Reserve Torquay
  • Plymouth Aquarium
  • Pennywell Park
  • Woodlands Family Theme Park
  • Canoeing

Families Should Know:

Though there is a perimeter fence around the outside pool area, and a key code to gain entry to the inside pool, young children should not be left unattended. The original Georgian staircase in Gitcombe House is too wide for a stair gate.

Distances:

  • Airport: 1 hour's drive
  • Hospital: 10 mins' drive
  • Shops: 5 mins' drive
Kid Friendly:

Location

Gitcombe Estate is located in a secluded valley between Totnes and Dartmouth, with views as far afield as Dartmoor.

By Air
The nearest airports are Exeter (60km), Newquay (114km), and Bristol (157km). If you're flying to or across the UK, you can hire a car.

By Car
A car is essential to get the most out of your stay. It is a four-hour drive from London, two hours from Bristol and 45 minutes from Exeter. There's free parking around the estate by the various cottages.

By Train
Totnes station (30km away) is on the main line from Paddington to Penzance via Exeter.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

More on getting to the UK and getting around

Airports:

  • Exeter 60.0 km
  • Newquay 114.0 km

Other:

  • Beach 0.0 km
  • Shops 2.0 km
  • Restaurant 5.0 km

Rates for Gitcombe Estate

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