“Six cosy, family-friendly cottages (for 2-6), sharing a pool and games field, tucked away in an idyllic valley near Kingsbridge”
There's plenty here to entertain kids of all ages for a week or longer: a heated indoor pool and indoor playroom 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 summer 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.
- 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
- 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
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
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).”
- Holiday cottages
- 6 cottages for 2-6
- Self-catering (shops 2km away)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Indoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Tennis Court
- Weekly clean (interim cleans on request)
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.
- Books and games
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- Food blender
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Ipod dock
- Satellite TV
- Tumble dryer
- Washing machine
- Wood burning stove
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 Fridays and Saturdays you can get food brought to your door by Pretty Local - perhaps scones baked in Salcombe, lobsters from Dartmouth or fine wine and sushi boxes from Kingsbridge. For something close to home, the Ashburton Arms is a 10-minute walk from the cottages.
We spent our days 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.
- Coffee / tea making
- Food blender
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Meal delivery service
- Restaurants nearby
- Shopping service
- Communal barbeque
- 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:
- Boat trips
- Horse riding
- Shopping / markets
- Stand Up Paddleboarding
- Steam train excursions
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, an indoor playroom, a playground (with swings, slide and climbing frame), a Wendy house, a trampoline, table tennis, tennis and occasional cinema evenings in the Folly.
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 can be arranged with a CRB checked and OFSTED registered child minder
- Cots (free of charge)
- Plastic cutlery, crockery, sippy cups
- High chair
- Changing mat
- Baby bath
- Infant bathing seat
- Toilet training seat
- 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
- Indoor playroom
- John Deere pedal tractors
- Football / cricket field
- Buckets & boogie boards to borrow
- Cinema and pizza making evenings (summer holidays only)
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
- Airport: 1 hour
- Hospital (minor injuries): 5 mins
- Shops: 3 mins
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.
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.
The most convenient station is Totnes (30 mins away), and Alchemy Cars (right outside the station) can take you to West Charleton.
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
- Exeter 73.0 km EXT
- Newquay 170.0 km NQY
- Beach 11.0 km
- Shops 2.0 km
- Restaurant 0.5 km