“Thatched self-catering cottage (sleeping 6-10 plus children) in Dartmoor National Park: great for friends and families seeking stylish seclusion”
Décor is simple and understated, with calming white walls and cream carpets that let the lovely views take centre stage. But that doesn’t mean it’s short on style: furniture is sleek, striped cushions and throws add splashes of colour, and walls are lined with contemporary art.
Off the flagstoned hall is the lounge, where huge leather sofas and shelves of DVDs, books and board games await lazy evenings or rainy afternoons around the wood-burning stove (a bag of firewood is provided). Beyond are the kitchen and dining room, plus a playroom with bean bags, a laundry room with a loo, and a cupboard of useful supplies (candles, batteries and maps).
Head up the main staircase or the steep stone steps leading from the kitchen and you’ll reach the 4 first-floor double bedrooms (one can be made up as 2 singles). Three have ensuites (one with a tub and overhead shower, the rest with walk-in showers), and there’s another shower room off the landing. There’s also a child’s room with crammed with toys (and a small double bed).
Crowning the house is an attic room snuggled into the eaves - in our opinion the nicest bedroom of all. It has a kingsize bed, a window seat piled with cushions, and an ensuite bathroom with a fabulous free-standing bath (no shower) that’s made for long, indulgent soaks.
All the bedrooms face the front and catch the morning sun. Wardrobes come stocked with hairdryers, towels, and you’ll curl up at night under crisp Egyptian cotton and duck-down duvets.
The dining room has a huge hearth and a table for 10 - ideal for lavish family feasts. And the kitchen, set on the other side of an oak screen that once kept animals out of the living quarters, is kitted out with everything you need to prepare them: double oven, hob, fridge-freezer, microwave, toaster, blender, dishwasher, crockery and cutlery, drawers full of utensils, even a stack of cookbooks.
Cupboards come stocked with all the basics you’d expect (salt, pepper, dishwasher tabs, washing-up liquid) plus a few extras you wouldn’t (tea and coffee, organic milk, fresh eggs). For other supplies, you’ll find a grocer, baker, butcher and small supermarket 10 minutes away in Moretonhampstead, and weekly farmers’ markets in Chudley and Exeter.
But don’t worry if you don’t fancy cooking: Jo can deliver home-cooked meals, made with local, seasonal ingredients. These normally take the form of a hearty pie that you can pop in the oven (favourite fillings include wild mushroom, organic chicken and sweet leek, Brixham fish, or beef and ale with a blue cheese crust), followed by homemade ice cream - perhaps vanilla with seasonal fruit, or deliciously boozy brown bread and rum.
There are plenty of options for eating out within a short drive, too. We liked the The White Horse in Moretonhampstead (10 minutes away), which serves sophisticated Mediterranean-inspired pub grub, and nearby Bovey Castle is a grand venue for cream teas. For a special occasion, splash out at the double Michelin-starred Gidleigh Park (though better for lunch than dinner unless you want to get lost in the dark on endless windy lanes).
Higher Westcott Farm is ideal for self-catering family holidays, particularly if you’re coming with grandparents or another family. There are plenty of treats for children - toys, board games, DVDs, a playroom plus 2 cots and a highchair for babies. The enclosed garden provides space to run around in, and there’s lots to entertain littl'uns nearby, including a miniature pony centre, woodland trails, beaches and playgrounds. They’ll also have fun discovering castles and waterfalls, and spotting ponies on the moor
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
The child's room on the top floor has a small double bed and is packed with toys and books. The 5 double bedrooms (1 can be made up as a twin on request) provide plenty of space for extended families, and 2 airbeds and 2 baby cots are available free of charge. Smaller families can take just 3 bedrooms for a reduced rate
Jo and Sam can recommend tried, tested and thoroughly trusted local babysitters
Baby monitors work throughout the house - you’ll need to bring your own
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The house is fully set up for self-catering, with a large kitchen, snazzy kit and basic supplies - there’s even a pile of cookbooks to provide inspiration. Jo can deliver homemade dinners on request and will happily tailor them to children’s tastes
The stone staircase leading from the kitchen up to the first floor is rather steep; there are stairgates on one set of stairs