Holidaying in a self-catering cottage is brilliant for groups of families or friends. Getting together with those who also have children means the kids have friends on tap and you can share babysitting, whilst staying with friends means you can do group activities (like coasteering) and enjoy great nights out. Plus, a large holiday group often means you stay in a property that’s bigger, better and with more facilities than usual, or have a whole complex to yourselves. Fancy it? We’ve put together a list of holiday cottages that are perfect for groups, plus some ideas on how to make your holiday a success.
The 20 well-equipped and entirely self-contained bungalows at Harcombe House near Dawlish sit in 300 acres of countryside, with easy access to fantastic walks, spectacular views – and use of a heated indoor swimming pool, children’s play area, tennis court, and licenced on-site bar. They’re absolutely perfect for groups who want to holiday together as well as have their own space – and appeal to philanthropic holidaymakers too, as every penny of income from holiday rentals goes to help The Fire Fighters Charity. More about Harcombe House
These three luxury cottages at the heart of the East Devon AONB can accommodate from 6 to 32, and are dedicated to catering for groups. Up to 34 people can dine together at one table, and there are up to sixteen ensuite bedrooms. There’s plenty of fun to bring you all together too: on-site activities include laser clays, pistol shooting, archery, blind 4 x 4 driving, funghi walks and birds of prey displays, and the Jurassic coast is very nearby too. More about Higher Wiscombe
This beautiful thatched ‘chocolate box’ cottage in the heart of Croyde village is just a short walk to the shops, pubs, restaurants and beach, and sleeps up to 12 in 5 bedrooms. With its lovely log burner, open plan hall and sitting room, dining area with large table, additional living area ‘snug’ and rear courtyard garden for al fresco dining, outside shower and barbecue provided, this is a great place for a group holiday. More Croyde holiday cottages and North Devon holiday cottages
Redyeates Farm, Cheriton Fitzpaine
Tucked away in the peace and quiet of the countryside, yet just ten miles from Exeter, Redyeates Farm consists of two newly-refurbished five star cottages. Rented together they sleep 14 (plus cots), and there’s also a fantastic split-level annex with high ceilings providing a great space for larger parties. You also get three acres of gardens plus an all-weather sports court, climbing frame and swings, trampoline and table tennis. More about Redyeates Farm
Mazzard Farm, Ottery St Mary
Six award-winning cottages gathered on one site means fantastic flexibility for groups from 2 to twenty-plus. There are seventeen acres of grounds including an orchard, gardens and your own woods, two children’s play areas and bikes to rent. After a bit of luxury? The farm can arrange beauty and therapy treatments, and there’s an on-site chef for hire. They can even arrange baby-sitting for you – so no need for that rota! More about Mazzard Farm
Long Barn, near Torquay
Rent this cluster of luxury holiday cottages for your holiday and you’ll have a heated indoor pool to yourselves for the whole time you’re there. There’s also an indoor play barn that’ll keep both adults and children amused with table football, table tennis and toddler climbing frames and toys. Of course, there’s plenty to do in the extensive grounds too, and the cottages themselves are lovely: nicely decorated and four star, the main cottage sleeps 13, with the neighbouring properties sleeping 8, 6 and 2. More about Long Barn
Stickwick Manor, Hennock, Dartmoor
This lovely Georgian family home sleeps up to 12 people in seven bedrooms – and its six bathrooms will prevent a lot of holiday arguments! It’s perfect for groups that want to play at being country gentry for the weekend, or anyone with a special occasion to celebrate, with its grand reception rooms and dining room that seats up to 24. There are other properties on-site too – the manor links with a farmhouse to sleep 19, and there’s a cottage too that sleeps 5 too.
More about Stickwick Manor
Compton Pool Farm, near Paignton
Compton Pool Farm won gold in the Devon Self-Catering Establishment of the Year category at last year’s Devon Tourism awards – and it’s easy to see why. Set in 14 acres of South Devon countryside with lake fishing and woodland, this is a 12th century farm converted into ten luxury cottages, ranging from a cosy sleeps-two cottage, to a three bedroom cabin, to a five bedroom farmhouse. There are also excellent on-site facilities: heated indoor swimming pool, all weather tennis court, games barn and children’s play area. More about Compton Farm
Southclay and The Annexe, near Bideford
A great example of the extra facilities you can get in a larger properties, these neighbouring five star holiday cottages (sleeping a maximum of 18) have so much to entertain, quite apart from the beach just a mile away. As well as an outdoor pool, hot tub, pool table and tennis court there are also surf boards, a small inflatable boat, kites, buckets and spades, crabbing lines and even a portable barbeque to take down to the cliffs (but bring your own cuddly toy). More about Southclay and The Annexe
5 top tips for making group holidays work
When you’re looking for the right holiday cottage, think about how good you are at sharing space with other people, and how long you’ll be staying for. If the answers to these are ‘Not very’ and ‘More than a weekend’, you may be better off staying in a few self-catering properties that are close to each other, rather than one large one.
- If you’ll all be eating together, agree on how you’re going to split the cooking. One way is for each person or family to be responsible for bringing the food for one evening meal, plus whatever they’d like to drink during the week. Raise a kitty once you’re at the holiday cottage then do one quick shop for house essentials, breakfasts and lunches.
- Think about how you’ll allocate bedrooms or properties when you get there. Most holiday cottages have a master bedroom – who will get that? First one in? The organiser? Or will you draw straws?
- If you’re in one big house, decide on one bedtime for all the children if you can, to avoid cries of ‘it’s not fair’, or those who are in bed being woken by those who aren’t.
- If you’ll be having lots of night out, take it in turns to drive home, so everyone gets their share of the fun and responsibility.