West Charleton Grange

Kingsbridge, Devon, United Kingdom Book from

Six cosy, family-friendly cottages, 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, and a snooker room in the pipeline. 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 a shared BBQ-drinks area 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; 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 the 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 big Smart-TV/DVDs and speedy WiFi) 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

For a perfect day of beaches, coast walks and quaint village pubs, follow tiny lanes to Mill Bay (beyond East Portlemouth), park at the National Trust car park by the stunning powder-sand beach, then follow the signed footpath out of the estuary mouth, past more sandy coves and along the South Devon coast, returning along a higher route. Various loops are possible, from 40 mins upwards. On the drive home, stop at South Pool for a superb lunch at The Millbrook Inn (see Eating).

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • 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)


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 stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Tumble dryer
  • Tv
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • 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 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
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Meal delivery service
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
  • 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:

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


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. Outside are a heated indoor pool, a lawned play field with football goals and cricket set, ride-on tractors, a playground with swings, slide, Wendy house and climbing frame, not to mention table tennis and (soon) a snooker room.

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 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
  • John Deere pedal tractors
  • Football / cricket field
  • 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.


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

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