West Charleton Grange

Kingsbridge, Devon, United Kingdom Book from Book from £61 per night

Six cosy, family-friendly cottages (for 2-6), sharing a pool and games field, tucked away in an idyllic valley near Kingsbridge
When Richard and Sharon first laid eyes on this secluded slice of Devon in 2013, they were so smitten that they bought it on the spot, and moved from Surrey with their 2 children later that year. Who can blame them? From the cluster of ancient stone farm buildings, you look over a lake-filled valley, with buzzards wheeling overhead and the rolling hills of the South Hams on the horizon. Alongside the handsome homestead are 6 cosy cottages, perfect for family holidays at any time of year: open-eaved living areas with woodburning stoves and well-equipped kitchens, snug bedrooms downstairs with sink-into mattresses and total silence at night. Yet you're only a mile from underrated Kingsbridge, and within striking distance of nautical-chic Salcombe and its beautiful, beach-lined estuary.

There's plenty here to entertain kids of all ages for a week or longer: a heated indoor pool to neutralise rainy days, a 3/4-sized tennis court, football goals and ride-on tractors, a mini-playground with climbing frame and Wendy House, plus a trampoline and cinema evenings in their new 'Folly'. But don't lose your car keys completely. There are wonderful sands and surf at South Milton, stunning coastal paths to East Prawle, timeless hamlets with low-ceilinged pubs, and tempting delis to raid.

Highs

  • In summer there's a lovely communal vibe, with shared terraces (plus BBQ) overlooking the playfield, so parents can natter while kids make new friends
  • In winter, woodburners keep the cottages cosy and warm - a great off-grid Christmas escape (especially if you want your extended family nearby, but not in your kitchen)
  • Beds are supremely comfy, and the setting wonderfully tranquil; we slept like logs
  • If our experience is anything to go by, kids will have such a ball here that they won't want to leave - not even for the beach!
  • Sharon, Richard and manageress Sam provide a wealth of local info, from the best horse-riding and canoeing outfits to the tastiest dinner deliveries

Lows

  • The cottages are quite compact and some bedrooms small, but living areas are open and airy
  • Don't expect to swim or paddle in their lake - it's private
  • The lanes round here are very narrow, and can get clogged with traffic in summer
  • This is England, so be prepared for rain at any time of year - though the indoor pool (not to mention speedy WiFi and a new kids' play room in 2018) should offset any disappointment

Best time to go

The cottages are open all year, but of course the school summer holidays are the most popular time: you'll need to book early, and stay a full week. Families should not rule out Easter or the half terms, since the heated pool and cosy woodburners will keep you entertained and warm, whatever the weather. And this is a great spot for an extended family getaway at Christmas.

Outside school hols, you only need stay 3 nights, so book in early for the early May bank holiday; or take a long weekend in June or September - some of the loveliest times in the South Hams.

Our top tips

We loved their new Folly - a multi-purpose recycled barn overlooking the playfield - which provides space for celebratory group dinners (up to 30), cinema evenings, yoga lessons (by arrangement), or lazy daytime coffees under the parasol.

In summer, Salcombe - and its carparks - can get very busy. One option is to jump on the River Maid ferry in Kingsbridge (high tide only; check times in advance). Another is to drive to Mill Bay beyond East Portlemouth (National Trust car park), and take the shuttle boat across to Salcombe. Or not. Portlemouth has its own lovely powder-sand beach, and footpaths up through woodland to a stunning section of the coastal trail (various loops, from 40 mins upwards).

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Wedding
  • Holiday cottages
  • 6 cottages for 2-6
  • Self-catering (shops 2km away)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Indoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • 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
  • Laundry Service
  • Weekly clean (interim cleans on request)
Room:

Rooms

The 6 cottages vary in size, from Granary (sleeps 2) to Twysden and West Wing (sleeps 6), but share a similar decor and layout.

Airy open-plan living areas are upstairs, with exposed eaves, leather or linen sofas, carved pine dining tables. Muted creams dominate, with patches of olive green or dove grey, perhaps an exposed stone chimney breast, and soft beige carpets. French bistro prints and Kensington Station clocks add colour, and all but Granary have a woodburning stove for extra cosiness. Kitchens are well equipped, and the whole space is brightly lit with high spotlamps and Velux windows (though, if we're being picky, we would have liked candles or a table lamp to soften it).

Downstairs are the bedrooms - 1, 2 or 3 of them - with lower ceilings, sink-into 'Rest Assured' mattresses and stacks of pillows. The traditional build means they're not big, but they are comfy and silent. The smallest have bunk beds for kids - or (in Pypard) a single child's bed; see Rates for bed- and bathroom details in each cottage. Each cottage has one 'family' bathroom with tub, plus additional showers in smaller ensuites. Pretty touches include carved toy yachts, fresh flowers and glinting mirrored dishes on the walls.

Features include:

  • Books and games
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Tumble dryer
  • TV
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wood burning stove

Eating

The cottages are self-catering, but excellent kitchens and a plethora of local delis, pubs, cafés and food delivery services (all detailed in Richard and Sharon's bulging info folder) make mealtimes a pleasure. On our first night we tucked into a superb fish pie and creamy passion fruit parfait, brought to our door by Millas Kitchen. Subsequent days saw us at the child-friendly Crabshell Inn down the road in Kingsbridge (stone-baked pizzas on the water's edge), the buzzing Sailor V café in Salcombe (doorstep sandwiches on trendily mismatched tables), and - top tip - the enchanting Millbrook Inn in the sleepy hamlet of South Pool (wood smoke, wines and unbeatable Sunday roast). Brunch at the Beach House on South Milton Sands was another highlight, from grilled shellfish to rich chocolate brownies.

Back at the grange, you'll find granite work surfaces, retro kettles and toasters, AEG ceramic hobs (or a five-ring range in West Wing), deep butlers' sinks, and the rest: fridge and separate freezer, microwave, dishwasher, child crockery, lemon juicer and grater (2 of our test staples). Coffee aficionados might miss an espresso pot, but other than that we can think of nothing. Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury's all deliver to West Charleton.

Features include:

  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Meal delivery service
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
  • Communal barbeque
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Glorious sandy beaches within 20-30 mins include South Milton (wade through its rock arch at low tide), Bantham Beach (great surf school, especially for kids), and Burgh Island (a tidal island with an Art Deco hotel which has hosted Noel Coward)
  • The pretty harbour town of Salcombe has tempting shops (I couldn't tear my wife out of Will Bees Bespoke), a Maritime Museum, and sailing boats at every turn; take to the water in a rented dinghy, or jump on the seasonal ferry to East Portlemouth for flat sands ideal for sandcastling and frisbee
  • From here (or Salcombe), lovely coastal paths lead through woodland to foaming sea cliffs; look out for cirl buntings, curlew and mica schist rock formations
  • The Dartmouth Rail River offers vintage steam train rides, boat excursions, or a "Sea Train" to combine them in a day trip
  • Richard and Sharon's fantastic folder will help advise and book everything from golf to horse riding (2 stables and 4 courses nearby), via surfing, SUP and wakeboarding; and there's a heated pool, football field and tennis on site

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Aquarium
  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Massage
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding
  • Steam train excursions
  • Surfing
  • Tennis
  • Windsurfing

Kids

West Charleton Grange is pretty much perfect for kids of all ages, from toddler to tween. All cottages have stair gates, child cutlery and crockery, age-appropriate games and books, a big TV-DVD player, and a high chair or cot on request. They share a heated indoor pool, a lawned play field with football goals and cricket set, ride-on tractors, a playroom, a playground (with swings, slide and climbing frame), a Wendy house, a trampoline, table tennis, tennis and occasional cinema evenings in the Folly.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

For a couple with a baby: Granary is perfect - there's space for the cot in the bedroom.
For a couple with 1-2 kids: Colby and Pypard both have a double and a twin bedroom, and Colby opens straight onto the play field.
For a couple with 3-4 kids: Tickell, Twysden and West Wing all have 3 bedrooms, including one bunk-bedded room.

Babysitting:

Babysitting can be arranged with a CRB checked and OFSTED registered child minder

Baby equipment:

  • Cots (free of charge)
  • Plastic cutlery, crockery, sippy cups
  • High chair
  • Changing mat
  • Baby bath
  • Infant bathing seat
  • Toilet training seat
  • Potty
  • Miniature chair

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

Kids Activities on site:

  • Heated pool with floats
  • Tennis court (3/4-sized)
  • Table tennis
  • Wendy house
  • Playground with swings, slide, climbing frame
  • Playroom
  • John Deere pedal tractors
  • Football / cricket field
  • Trampoline
  • Cinema and pizza making evenings
  • Buckets & boogie boards to borrow

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Crabbing at Bowcombe bridge (2 mins)
  • Dartmouth Steam Railway
  • Plymouth Aquarium
  • Pennywell Farm and Wildlife Centre
  • Paignton Zoo
  • Buckfast Butterfly and Otter Sanctuary
  • Child-friendly surf lessons

Families Should Know:

Most cottages have woodburning stoves which, of course, get very hot to touch. Some of the cottages' private terraces have unprotected steps.

Distances:

  • Airport: 1 hour
  • Hospital (minor injuries): 5 mins
  • Shops: 3 mins
Kid Friendly:

Location

The cottages are set in a valley just above the village of West Charleton, a mile outside Kingsbridge in south Devon. It's an hour's drive from Exeter or 40 minutes from Plymouth.

By Air:
Exeter and Newquay are the nearest airports. Click on the links below for airlines serving these airports. You will probably want to hire a car from the airport, as public transport to West Charleton is not good. See our car rental recommendations.

By Train:
The most convenient station is Totnes (30 mins away), and Alchemy Cars (right outside the station) can take you to West Charleton.

By Car:
A car is almost essential as shops, pubs and restaurants are all a short drive away. Be prepared for some narrow lanes, and plenty of traffic in summer. Approximate driving times are 3.5 hours from London, and 2+ hours from Bristol.

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

More on getting to the UK and getting around

Airports:

  • Exeter 73.0 km EXT
  • Newquay 170.0 km NQY

Other:

  • Beach 11.0 km
  • Shops 2.0 km
  • Restaurant 3.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 11 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
10/10
Food
9/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

We had a wonderful stay. The location and facilities are superb. At the end of a long day on the beach we loved being able to come back to what felt like our own private pool and tennis court. The cottage itself is looking a little tired and could have been cleaner, but was perfectly comfortable and had wonderful views over the fields of wild horses. Sharon is a great host and was always available to answer queries. Will definitely come back!

8/10,

Outstanding - once again! - and this time with glorious sunshine. We spent 4 blissful days reading, playing on the lawns (they now have a trampoline as well as swings, football, cricket set, ride-on toys etc), then cooling off in the pool, BBQing on their sunny terrace (top tip: Aulne Valley Meat & Farm Shop, outside Kingsbridge on the Loddiswell road), and sleeping like logs. We did venture out to Salcombe for the Crab Fest, and to South Milton Sands for a very short (!) swim, but in truth we were only too happy to come back to this suntrap sanctuary afterwards, I'm seriously considering booking the whole place for my next birthday - their new 'folly' would be a lovely space for a celebratory dinner for 25-30.

10/10,

Beautiful cottage with all the amenities. Wonderful welcome shortbread and local elderflower fizz. Lovely hosts and very approachable. Overall excellent stay!

10/10,

Beautiful accommodation in a really lovely environment. Friendly, clean, quiet and fantastic facilities for families.

10/10,

Fantastic place - lovely cottage in beautiful grounds, and great facilities. Very child friendly - we'd certainly go back!

9/10,

What a fantastic place for families with young children (and probably older ones too). We loved: The log burner, the beautiful warm, clean pool with fresh towels waiting every day and pool toys provided. The view from the roll top bath in the bedroom, the dog-friendly provision and the amazing grounds with outdoor toys. We ate out in the Crabshell down the road in Kingsbridge, for a perfect early evening meal and glass of wine and went for lunch and ice-cream at the Winking Prawn in Salcombe, which was fantastic and right on a lovely shetltered beach. We also visited South Milton Sands on a wild and windy February day, which blew away the cobwebs and made returning to the log burner even better. The team at West Charleton Grange seem to have thought of everything to make a self catering family holiday as easy and luxurious as possible - thank you!

10/10,

A very relaxing stay with added touches to help with the baby which made it very comfortable from the moment we arrived. Having the indoor pool really made it the perfect place for a short winter break. Food recommendations were great, as were the detailed instructions on how to find the property.

9/10,

Really lovely short, out of season break

9/10,

We loved our stay, the cottage was wonderful and we had a very relaxed few days. The pre information was perfect and the restaurant recommendations were really great. We went to the ones on the list and would return to every one of them again (Crabshell Inn, Beach House and Winking Prawn). The only disappointment was that we didn't receive the apple juice as detailed in the i-escape package notes (we received some biscuits). The information provided in the pre stay pack and the folder was perfect.

10/10,

Lovely accommodation with unspoilt views and privacy. The cottages are well equipped, clean and homely. The grounds are well kept and the pool is a great bonus. Lovely people to deal with and we would happily return.

9/10,

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