This 15th century Devon longhouse is so enchanting with its bumpy old walls, low ceiling beams and exposed wall timbers, yet it’s not lacking for modern convenience at all. Pippinsands is the English country cottage we all dream of, and set amidst staggeringly beautiful Devon countryside it’s an idyllic rural retreat for large group holidays. There's snooze space for 14 guests in 6 bedrooms, a private hot tub in the garden, and if you like, access to a games room and larger grounds with a children's play area. Come and fill your lungs with fresh country air, listen to the birdsong and watch squirrels scampering on the lawn.
If your idea is to stay put and not drive anywhere all week, you’ll be fine here, just doddering around the fields. There are several walks right from the doorstep, down across the fields to the River Luv, up to Dumpdon Hill, over to Hembury Fort, or through Combe Raleigh to Honiton where there are supermarkets, a very good art gallery, and some excellent places to eat, like The Holt and JK’s Bistro.
But the young ‘uns like to go out, don't they? So have a family trip to Wildwood Escot, to the Donkey Sanctuary near Sidmouth, or go down to Haldon Forest for Segways and Go Ape. Exeter isn’t far and there you can visit the amazing Royal Albert Memorial Museum, take a tour of the Underground Passages, or see the magnificent cathedral. Closer to home you can have a lot of fun at Diggerland, Mansell Raceway, or Smeatharpe Stadium where they still have banger racing; if planes are more your thing go up to Dunkeswell Aerodrome and watch the microlights come and go and have a bite to eat at the Aviator Coffee Bar & Restaurant. You might even catch one of the annual events in East Devon, like Honiton Agricultural Show, Sidmouth Folk Festival or the more bizzare Tar Barrels in Ottery St Mary.
A summer holiday wouldn’t be complete without a day at the seaside so head over to the Jurassic coast where you can play on the sand at Sidmouth, or soak up the charm of unspoilt villages like Branscombe, or Beer where you can have crab sandwiches at Ducky’s Beach Café and go out on a fishing boat. If you prefer to get off the beaten track book up for pony trekking at Devenish Pitt Farm or Sheldon Riding Centre, or go and pootle about the Blackdown Hills. Walk up to Culm Beacon for the most incredible views, or along the River Culm, and then have lunch at the Culm Valley Inn. And that’s another thing; there’s no shortage of good places to eat round these parts – the Pig at Combe, The Six Bells at Payhembury, The Drewe Arms at Broadhembury, and it’s a bit further, but in Axminster you can go to the River Cottage Canteen or Farm HQ (booking essential). See? Spoilt for choice.
NB: Although Pippinsands is on the same farm as 4 smaller holiday cottages it has its own private entrance, garden and hot tub and is separate to the other properties.