“Six cosy, family-friendly cottages, sharing a pool and games field, tucked away in an idyllic valley near Kingsbridge”
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.
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.
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.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
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
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Most cottages have woodburning stoves which, of course, get very hot to touch. Some of the cottages' private terraces have unprotected steps.