showcasing the best of the south west

Top 10 Holiday Houses in the SW

The House in the Sea, Cornwall

Let's start with your very own house on a tiny island in the middle of the sea, could there be a more romantic location?  Reached by a private suspension bridge, raise the flag to signal your arrival. You're close to Newquay here, home of spectacular surfing but quite honestly we don't think you'll want to leave.

It sleeps 6 in four-poster, king-sized luxury with all mod-cons (Wi-Fi, power showers) even a snug for storm watching (love that). The master bedroom takes over the whole of the first floor. Sun downers on the top deck, the lower deck (known rather quaintly as the 'ladies sunbathing area') is somewhere to zone out with a book while seagulls swoop over head. Fully equipped cocktail bar with bar billiards to while away the nights, cool and contemporary kitchen for pan-frying your freshly caught fish. Be warned, going back to reality will be tough. Details Unique Home Stays 

Treehouse at Harptree Court, Somerset

Nowhere better to honeymoon or rekindle your relationship than this incredible bolthole in the trees. Talk about getting away from it all. The lovingly hand-crafted treehouse with deluxe double bed, wood-burner and copper bath for 2 is ridiculously comfortable, a real cocoon. Leather armchairs, persian rug and a fully equipped kitchen to cook in - romantic breaks don't get better than this. There is also a 3 pod Mongolian yurt for hire which is decked out with Georgian antiques and a dishwasher. During the day roam around this stunning Somerset estate, at night cosy up and listen to the wind in the trees. The childhood fantasy of a treehouse adapted for adults - genius. Canopy & Stars
Meadowgate, Devon
 Looking for the perfect beach-house? We'd have to say Kirstie Allsop's stunning holiday house in Welcome Mouth Bay, North Devon pretty much nails it.  Less than half a mile from a beautiful, little known beach reached through picturesque National Trust woods, Meadowgate offers a return to the simple, old fashioned holidays of your dreams. Inside the house is cool and comfortable as you'd expect, furnished with junk shop and salvage yard finds in Kirstie's distinctive  taste. Much to love here including 2 sitting rooms, one for grown up soirees, the other for warring offspring and a games room including ping pong table for those inevitable rainy days. Bedrooms and bathrooms are gorgeous with Vi-Sprung beds and rolltop baths, sleeps 10 Details Classic Cottages
It would be hard to find a more thrilling hideout for a back to basics family holiday than this stunning woodland log cabin on the edge of Dartmoor. All your kids need to know is that JJK Tolkien used to live in the main house behind the cabin - yep you're officially in hobbit territory. Inside the cabin the magic continues - a four poster swathed in fake fur, goat bells, reindeer skins and a 150 year old carved wooden doa roll top bath.  Grown ups will love the fact that Riverford Organics deliver veg and meat boxes to your door or splash out on a Sunday roast at nearby Gidleigh Park. In spring time the woodland bursts with snowdrops, violets, bluebells, azaleas, foxgloves and tulips, on warm summer nights there's a firepit for toasting marshmallows and watching shooting stars. Maybe even bring a guitar? Crisp linen, leather sofas, open fire and Wi-Fi bring luxury to this atmospheric retreat. Details Unique Home Stays  
And now for a blow the budget, lottery winner's holiday pad, Little Polgarron on Booby's Bay is owned by moneysupermarket.com founder Simon Nixon who spent a cool £7 mill getting it just so (it is his fantasy beach house, apparently). The location is a knock-out facing the Atlantic with your very own stretch of white sand (no nearby car park, so virtually no passers-by). Want to know how the other half live? Then step inside, this place is a dream. Interior designed by Rick Stein's ex Jill to be coastal hip, think seashells, driftwood and lots of blinging white. The rooms are literally vast and downstairs there are floor to ceiling concertina windows so you can always bring the outside in. Breathtaking views from every room, from your bed, from your bath make for a sublime holiday spot. State of the art everything (the kitchen must be seen to be believed) - an Abramovich kind of holiday, let's say.Details Simon Escapes
Honeypot Cottage, Wiltshire
Cute name, cute cottage, totally idyllically chocolate box, in fact, the epitome of the West Country dream. This pretty brick and flint terraced house in a small hamlet between 2 picturesque Wiltshire villages has views over Pewsey Dale and is right next to the canal. Inside the cottage has been beautifully and modishly restored, think Farrow & Ball with comfortable beds, a contemporary kitchen, WiFi etc. You'll find every kind of cooking gadget and a library of recipe books here - shop at the legendary Devizes farmers market for inspiration. There's a sweet garden with a stone hare sculpture, a love-seat, a swing and a summer-house with woodburner. The nearest pub is a 2 minute amble across the canal. You're in hippysville here of course, Avebury's stones are 8 miles away and Stonehenge is 15. It's a spectacularly pretty part of the SW, but mostly, you want to hibernate in Honeypot Cottage. Details Sawdays
Updown Cottage, Dorset 
Perfectly situated on Gold Hill, the vertically steep cobbled street of Ridley Scott's famous Hovis ad, Grade 11 listed Updown Cottage is the ultimate retreat. Step into the garden for show-stopping views of the Blackmore Vale. What you really want from a holiday house is somewhere as comfortable as home and this is where Updown excels. It has been beautifully furnished with good beds, great linen, state of the art bathrooms and a well stocked kitchen with aga, Cuisinart food processor and Nespresso machine. We love the music room with its baby grand piano. There is a large dining room and the option of hiring in a chef; alternatively shop at the brilliant Thursday market in Shaftesbury a stone's throw from your door. There are lots of good things nearby too - fly a light aircraft at Compton Abbas airfield, eat spectacularly well at The Fontmell pub in Fontmell Magna. Shaftesbury has several good cafes and a brilliant curry house Chutneys. Details Updown Cottage
Wonderful farmhouse which sleeps 10 in one of our favourite counties - if you can tear yourself away feom this atmospheric old house you won't be short of things to do. Set in a bucolic landscape of 130 acres speckled with grazing thoroughbred ponies, Frogstreet Farmhouse offers a total retreat. The house dates back to 1436 but step inside and you'll find it hard to believe. A very contemporary restoration with 4 double bedrooms in French country style, one with its own sitting room. Owner Louise is a brilliant cook and can provide suppers or cater for house parties. There is a fully restored longhouse in the grounds. Check out Chalice Wells, Glastonbury Tor, the Somerset Levels followed by a tour of the cider farm at Mudgely (the best pint you'll ever drink) Details Sawdays  
Seapink Cottage, Scilly Isles

Aah Tresco. Is it possible to have a better bucket and spade holiday? No I think not. Caribbean white sand, caribbean blue water, a time-travel back to a different world. Seaspink Cottage (much of privately-owed Tresco is on a timeshare, this is available to rent by the week) is one of the newly revamped Island Garden cottages which face out to sea and are literally a stone's throw from the Island Hotel. The cottage sleeps 8, has underfloor heating, a log burner, WiFi, digital TV, brand new kitchen, all the usual mod cons. But really you are here for the views - ridiculously heartwarming - and the sunsets and, let's be  honest. the sundowners at the Island Hotel. You're here for the two minute hobble to the beach, the island hopping to St Mary's and Bryher (older kids can go on their own, younger ones will be enthralled by the boat trips), for the scuba diving (yes the water is that clear), kyaking and swimming with seals and for the extraordinarily beautiful Abbey Gardens. We could go on, instead we'll say this is one of the few bookable cottages on Tresco and it goes pretty darned fast. Details Tresco accommodation 

This beautiful 17th centruy farmhouse, just 10 mins from the Jurassic coast is the ultimate for large family holidays. It sleeps up to 17 with 7 bedrooms in the main farmhouse and 2 doubles in converted stone barns. Comfort is key with top knotch beds and bed linen, 2 sitting rooms with log fires (and vast flat screen TVs with Sky) an indoor swimming pool, a traditional Dorset skittle alley and a games barn with ping pong and snooker. If you can bear to leave all this luxury, Bridport with its brilliant mix of vintage and artisan shops and the beautiful seaside town of Lyme Regis are minutes away. Perfect for a big family celebration, we'd say.
Sea Breezes, Cornwall
Love the holidayish name of this white clifftop villa in Portleven which faces the sea. Sea Breezes goes high on comfort, top-knotch beds, designer bathrooms, a cheffy open plan kitchen and a house kindle with 500 books (stroke of genius that). There are comfortable leather armchairs right in front of that sea view, curl up with the kindle and stick the kids in front of the Tvs (with 3 sky feeds they won't be complaining). Portleven is a picturesque harbour town, close by are some of our favourite Cornish beaches - Sennen Cove and Porthcurno. Check out open air Minack Theatre if the weather is fine and you can drag yourself away from this seaside paradise. Details Sawdays      


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