To really enjoy the county’s moorland and maritime pleasures, you need a bolthole to lay down your head. Here’s six of the best

There’s been a long-standing argument that’s infuriated die-hard afternoon tea enthusiasts: jam or clotted cream first? Cornwall favours jam and Devon votes cream. We don’t actually have the answer but we do have our pick of Devon’s most delightful digs, which are so delicious you’ll forget all about which comes first and scoff the lot anyway.

Residence One, Rooms by Bistrot Pierre Plymouth

Cocooned within Royal William Yard, once a derelict historical site that’s been redeveloped into an energetic hub of wine bars, art galleries and a monthly food market, Residence One is Plymouth’s boutique darling. Conveniently perched on the coastal path that’ll take you to Drake’s Island and over to Mount Edgcumbe, each of the 14 rooms mixes its retained Georgian features – think wooden shutters, high ceilings and bay windows – with a white-washed palette and a splash of grey that subtly hints at a nautical vibe. Nip across the square for a croque monsieur in the morning at Bistrot Pierre before exploring the network of paths along the harbour. The brave will want to strip down for a dip in the shallow tide swimming pool at nearby Firestone Bay, but brace yourself, even the seagulls find it a bit nippy.

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  • 7 Royal William Yard
    Plymouth
    PL1 3RP

Weeke Barton Dartmoor

Encircled by the Teign Valley’s bluebell-strewn meadows, this 500-year-old, cob and stone longhouse has quickly become one of Devon’s coolest hangouts, largely thanks to ex-east Londoners Sam Perry and Jo Gossett’s bang-on-trend taste. Cow-hide rugs, achingly cool artwork and a playlist that flits between Bob Marley and Fleetwood Mac are a nod to their Hackney roots and nail the ‘urbanite in the country’ aesthetic. Lazing, grazing and gazing should be your most pressing pastimes: there’s scattered hammocks strung in the meadows, sheep-skinned love seats in the snug and an honesty bar stocked with Devonshire cider, wine from next-door’s vineyards and Dorset milk vodka to nudge you in the right direction. Should you be in pursuit of something a little more active, there’s a petanque court in the back garden.

The Pig at Combe Honiton

The most westerly of the litter, which is due to grow to seven in June 2020, The Pig at Combe occupies a treacle-coloured Elizabethan abode set in 3,500 acres of rolling countryside. ‘Derelict chic’ interiors are as hip as they are homely; mink velvet chaise lounges sit next to four-poster beds clad in jewel-coloured linens, boujee antique mirrors reveal televisions and restored cabinets conceal bundles of scoffable Devonshire fudge. Sustainability is strongly celebrated, with a strict 25-mile food sourcing policy at its roots. Thankfully, the kitchen is well-serviced by three walled gardens, fish fresh off the boat from Brixham and Beer, and locally reared meat from Honiton, the neighbouring market town. The herb garden plays a pivotal part and offers up healing properties too – you’ll find the just-grown botanicals muddled into massage oils in the Potting Shed treatment rooms, as well infused into vodka cocktails in the Great Hall.

Rockmount Tavistock

Teetering on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, with one foot in Cornwall and the other firmly in Devon, the market town of Tavistock has a long history of attracting active travellers looking to hike, bike and foray across the wood-studded moors. Plunder the butchers, bakers and cream-tea-makers in the town for provisions – Pastificio is a top pick for picnic-perfect charcuterie – nip by the 700-year-old Buckland Abbey for your culture fix, then retreat to the warm enclaves of Rockmount B&B. It’s certainly no relic: pops of pinks, blues and yellows the colour of Smarties decorate the walls; nifty Nespresso machines dispense caffeine when the birds start singing; and should the weather suck, Netflix is on hand to binge that docuseries you’ve been meaning to watch all week.

River Cottage Farmhouse Axminster

Best suited to urbanites seeking a proper country escape (read: not Soho Farmhouse), River Cottage Farmhouse is the living, working nucleus of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s farm – made famous by the TV series that redefined the Devon/Dorset food scene. Hop onto the tractor (we recommend packing light) to reach the 17th-century longhouse, which sleeps six across three bedrooms. The rustic lodgings are every bit the quintessential rural retreat – all wonky wooden beams, wood burners and sheepskin throws. Outside your window you’ll find livestock grazing over wooden fences, eggs fresh from the hens and heckles from the resident cockerel each morning. Slip on your Hunters and head out into the Axe Valley to join the gardeners who grow, gather and harvest the produce.

Lympstone Manor Exmouth

Sidestepping the stuffy wood panelling and Laura Ashley lick of paint that most country house hotels fall victim too, Lympstone Manor is a lesson in contemporary grand-dame design. Each of the 21 rooms sport hand-painted wallpaper (by local artist Rachel Toll) inspired by the birds of the Exe Estuary (which the buttercream-coloured mansion overlooks), chandeliers topped with brushed twigs and speckled-marble bathrooms. Gold roll-top baths come as standard and add a little bling to the bucolic surrounds. With celebrated chef Michael Caines at the helm and Michelin awarding the restaurant its first star six months after opening, the food is the main draw and is a bite above the standard cream teas. Expect a tasting menu that leans heavily on produce plucked from the Exe, matched with a superb selection of (often English) wines – the basement cellar is home to over 600 of Caines’s favourite bins.

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