Countryside retreat in Chulmleigh

I have only visited Devon once, but it has firmly secured a place in my heart.

I have never been so dumbfounded by a place’s beauty before – the sky seems bluer, the air smells fresher and the grass is certainly greener.

Wherever you cast your eye it’s like a scene from a picture perfect postcard and our accommodation was just as divine.

We stayed in a Sykes Holiday Cottage near Chulmleigh, called 2 James Week, which was sandwiched between two other quaint cottages and from the outside seemed quite small.

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But appearances are quite often deceiving and once we stepped inside, we realised that the first impression couldn’t have been further from the truth.

The front door opens into the most beautiful kitchen. It has everything you will need for the duration of your stay – a fridge/freezer, dishwasher, microwave, oven, plenty of pans, utensils, glasses and condiments. There were so many different cupboards that we were still discovering them on our last day!

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The living room was so spacious and had a dining table and chairs, two ridiculously comfortable chairs in front of the television and a huge inviting sofa near to the log fire.

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Logs, firefighters and newspaper are also provided so you can get that burning if you feel a chill.

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More seating was available in the conservatory, which overlooked a stunning, well-maintained garden. It was adorned with fairy lights and was a great setting to enjoy a late night tipple whilst gazing out at the night sky.

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The cottage has two bedrooms – one double and one twin – and all three beds were extremely comfortable, guaranteeing a great night’s sleep.

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There are also two bathrooms, one with a luxurious bath and another with a powerful shower.

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The cottage is just two miles from Eggesford train station, where you can visit either Barnstable or Exeter. We decided to visit the latter and explored the city on our first day.

We stumbled upon the LGBT Pride event and the atmosphere was electric as people came together to celebrate and watch live entertainment throughout the day.

It proved to be great fun and while exploring, we also visited The Imperial, which is hands down the most beautiful Wetherspoon’s pub I have ever seen. The orangery was spectacular and the views from the beer garden were rather special.

On our second day, we decided to stay closer to home and donned our walking boots to explore the great outdoors.

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There are woods just a few minutes walk from the cottage and it didn’t take us long to stumble upon a beautiful green field to enjoy our picnic.

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We were really lucky with the weather throughout the weekend and we were delighted to return to the cottage and find two sun loungers in the greenhouse.

We set up camp for the afternoon and enjoyed feeling the sun on our skin and the wonderful buzz of nature around us while gazing out to the spectacular views the garden offers.

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That evening, after cooking up a storm in the kitchen, we had an early night after perusing the cottage’s cast DVD collection and watching a film.

The following day, we visited Instow Beach and then headed to Westward Ho! – the two are totally different but both worth a visit.

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Instow Beach has an air of calm about it and it is great for a peaceful and picturesque walk along the sand dunes, looking out to the sea.

In contrast, Westward Ho! is a more bustling seaside village with pubs, beach shops, arcades and children’s fair rides.

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While we were there we grabbed an ice cream from Julie’s Ice Dream Parlour before indulging in a lunch at The Waterfront Inn – both of which I’d recommend.

Now I’ve visited north Devon, I can’t wait to return and explore what else it has to offer and as Sykes Holiday Cottages has nearly nearly 1,000 properties in Devon – from cosy cottages for two to larger properties that sleep 20 or more – I’ll be spoilt for choice.

If you’d like to stay at 2 James Week, click here to check availability and book.

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