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Where to buy holiday property in South Devon?

South Devon is widely recognised as a holiday hotspot in the UK, and its popularity is only increasing. It’s not hard to see why people would want to visit - it’s naturally beautiful, there are lots of activities to enjoy and it’s relatively easy to get to from other parts of the UK. Its popularity has meant that lots of people seek a slice of it for themselves, buying holiday homes to use whenever they want and to let whenever they’re not around. In this article we’ll answer your questions about where to buy holiday property in South Devon. 

South Devon: a reputation for holiday excellence  

The dramatic beauty of Dartmoor, the coastal bliss of Salcombe, Bigbury-on-Sea, Hope Cove, Bantham, and the magnificent beaches along the coast are all part of the reason for loving this beautiful part of the world. From the South West Coast Path to Salcombe Dairy ice cream, South Devon is not only charming, it’s almost a brand in its own right; an accepted hallmark for holiday excellence.  

For holiday home owners, that means two things:

  • It’s a wonderful place to have your own holiday home to stay in

  • It is a tried and tested destination that other people want to visit and rent a holiday home

How many people visit South Devon each year?

According to Visit Britain, the South West attracts the highest proportion of domestic overnight trips of all English regions (that’s 19% of total trips, and 23% of spend). That number has been steadily rising since 2008, and the highest percentage of travellers typically head to Devon over other South West counties. 

Salcombe is one of the best known holiday destinations in the South Hams with a residential population of around 1800 in the winter, escalating to around 19,000 in the summer months. Those numbers are echoed in other areas of the South Hams in particular, as well as pockets across South Devon as a whole.  

That gives you an indication of the volume of visitors. But excitingly for those considering where to buy holiday property in South Devon and letting it out, those numbers are now breaking out of the traditional four month summer season and the area is attracting travellers for many more months of the year as well. That means far greater opportunity for homeowners to profit from their properties when they’re not in use.  

Holiday let investment locations in South Devon

The most popular holiday destinations in South Devon are as follows. While it’s not compulsory to buy your South Devon holiday property in these places, they have a track record for holiday letting success and are also beautiful places to spend time, so they’re a great start for your search. We highly recommend making use of the expert knowledge of local estate agents and visiting before purchasing to get a feel for the location.



The popular sailing town of Salcombe is one of the best-known holiday hotspots in the UK. Sorbet coloured houses lead to the water’s edge, the town is populated with boutique shops and restaurants and there’s myriad beautiful beaches to visit. Property here comes at a premium, but with good reason. If you choose to buy property here, remember that parking is at a premium too so if you can find a house with a parking space or get your hands on a permit, it will really set your property apart. 



Just up the road from Salcombe, Malborough is a small village, a little inland. It’s far more residential than Salcombe, which means the prices are not so high and there’s more of a year-round community atmosphere. However, it’s just a five minute drive or 30-minute walk from Salcombe, it’s been rapidly gaining traction amongst holidaymakers who prefer to be slightly set back from the summer buzz and it’s perfectly located just a short drive from Hope Cove, the South West Coast Path at East Soar, Kingsbridge and South Milton.

Hope Cove

Hope Cove

Hope Cove is the next village along from Malborough in the South Hams, and is small but perfectly formed. Split into two distinct areas (Inner Hope and Outer Hope), defined by two small, sandy beaches, it’s located along the coast path in a sheltered cove behind Bolt Tail. Part of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there’s a pub and a few little shops but its main draw card is that you’re just a few steps from the beach and the water. 


The market town of Kingsbridge, not far from Salcombe, sits on the water and has a year-round community. The town is sprawling so there are property options along the water as well as in the centre of town itself. It has plenty of practical shops as well as cafes and restaurants. There’s a leisure centre and popular weekly markets, and while there’s no beach, it’s within driving distance of many of those already mentioned and you can always hop on a boat or a paddleboard in the estuary!



A pretty village along the coast path, just a short distance from Kingsbridge town, Thurlestone enjoys the benefits of the Thurlestone Hotel with its gym, pool and tennis courts, its adjacent pub, a post office, golf club and easy access to multiple beaches. It enjoys dramatic views of the water, and several large properties that sit along the golf course have made very popular holiday homes over the years. It’s much smaller in terms of the number of people than the likes of Salcombe and there are fewer options when it comes to restaurants, but it’s very beautiful and very popular.



Bantham is best known as a surfer’s paradise. Its vast beach is wild and beautiful, perfect for buckets and spades with the kids on sunny days as well as water sport adventures when the wind’s up. The beach, the village and much of the surrounding area is all part of the Bantham Estate, which covers 728 acres. It’s a wonderful place for walks, enjoying views of Burgh Island (more on that shortly), and drinks and dinner at the popular Sloop Inn. 



Further along the coast, Bigbury-on-Sea is also an area very much defined by its beach. This is an unusual one because it consists of a famous strip of sand where the tide comes in from both sides and leads to Burgh Island, famous for its art deco hotel and as a favourite haunt of Agatha Christie. Again, this is a beach that’s great for water sports as well as family days on the sand. It’s a real mix of residential and holiday homes, which adds to its appeal for many.



A historic harbourside town, Dartmouth sits on a hillside overlooking the water. Historic properties and lots of galleries, cafes, shops and restaurants mean there’s plenty to see, do and enjoy. In the summer months it’s known for its regatta culminating in fireworks and festivities. Much like Salcombe, it’s a longstanding holiday hotspot but it also has a strong community atmosphere as well. Similarly too, parking here is at a real premium, so keep that in mind on your South Devon holiday property search!



Over the water from Dartmouth, Kingswear is a characterful village with views of the River Dart. It’s elegant and includes some very sophisticated properties but has the benefit of being a little out of the business of Dartmouth itself - although you can easily get involved by hopping on a short ferry ride. It’s also home to the steam railway, which leads up the Dart Estuary and along the coast to Paignton, stopping at Greenway (more below) - one of Devon’s most famous holiday homes - along the way. 



A small fishing village on the River Dart, Dittisham is incredibly pretty and peaceful. Close to Dartmouth, it’s across the water from the Greenway Estate - a National Trust property once owned by Agatha Christie. Visitors can get on a small ferry to head over and visit the house and gardens. The community hub is the pub, and days are spent crabbing and paddling in the water. It’s a charming throwback to old world charm.



Slapton is a small village half a mile from the beach. Peaceful and quiet, it’s set back from the likes of Salcombe and is close to Torcross. Separated from the sea by the fresh-water Slapton Ley, it’s all chocolate box houses, a community shop and a pub. It’s excellent for country walks and is not far from Dartmouth.



Close to Slapton, Torcross sits at the southern end of Slapton Sands beach - a three mile shingle stretch with historical and ecological significance. The village itself is very small, set right by the water and exposed to the elements. There are a few shops and cafes, but in many ways it’s rugged and unspoiled. The beach sits over the road from Slapton Ley, a fresh water lagoon that’s vital for particular plant and bird life. It’s also known for the WW2 Sherman tank that sits as a memorial by the beach having been retrieved from the water following the Exercise Tiger D-Day rehearsal.



A small market town on the way to Plymouth, Modbury sits inland and is characterised by townhouses, bijoux shops, cafes and tea rooms. It’s one of the smallest towns in the area but is very popular. Many find its location more convenient than those right by the coast, but that said it’s only 15 minutes or so by car from Mothecombe and Wonwell beaches. 

The benefits of owning a South Devon holiday home

The main benefit of buying a holiday property in South Devon is the opportunity to enjoy your own holidays there. It’s somewhere for you, your family and friends to retreat, relax, be in your own environment and enjoy the sun, sea and sand that the South West has to offer. That’s one of the reasons homeowners love working with HolidayHost - it gives you total flexibility to use your property as much or as little as you want, whereas many other holiday let solutions require you to relinquish a set and significant portion of the year to them.  

However, there are also other benefits to owning and letting a South Devon holiday home:

  • It’s an appreciating asset (in the 12 months up to mid 2021, property values in South Devon rose 14%)

  • With the right letting solution you can make a significant profit from your holiday property - for example, one of our holiday homeowners generated £70k revenue in under two months during 2021.

  • It’s easier to go on holiday - you can make sure the property has everything you (or guests) need for when you arrive.

  • You always have somewhere to stay in South Devon.

Getting it right: letting a holiday home in South Devon 

While South Devon has experienced a boom in visitors in the post-Brexit, post-pandemic era, one of its most appealing factors for holiday homeowners, especially those who are new to the concept, is it’s enduring and stable appeal. The area has been a dependably popular holiday location for the better part of a century. The result is that when considering where to buy holiday property in South Devon it is both secure in its reputation and offers the services to support holidaymakers having an optimum holiday experience, and holiday homeowners in achieving their goals for their properties.  

That said, the success of a holiday let is never guaranteed, and in a competitive market where holidaymakers are increasingly discerning, it’s important to get a few things right in order to get the most profit and the most enjoyment from your holiday home:

1) Buy in the right location 

As we touched on above, where you buy holiday property in South Devon is the primary factor in the success and profitability of your holiday let. Buying in the right location makes a huge difference to your property’s appeal. We have mentioned some of the most popular South Devon holiday destinations, and there are also lots of smaller spots between them that enjoy the halo effect of the best known town, beaches and villages. While it’s not vital to buy holiday lets in those places, the most popular and searched UK holiday destinations in the South West are a good place to start.

2) Set up your property properly 

Holidaymakers expect a high standard of experience when they book a holiday home. The more seamless you can make their stay, the more likely they will want to return. Seeking the advice of a professional is a great way to make sure your property is set up to make the most of a holiday from the start.  That includes everything from the furniture you choose to maximise the space (you might include a trundle bed in a twin bedroom so it could be used for three people instead of two if required), to the safety compliance administration to ensure everything is above board. These are both areas that our professional hosts can help with.

3) Deliver great customer service  

Letting a holiday home is often a lot more work than people think it’s going to be, especially in a popular destination. You’re getting lots of enquiries - which is fantastic - but to turn them into bookings you need to deliver great customer service. That means responding to questions quickly and providing helpful information for guests when they are at your property.  

For example, you might include digital guides to the local area and information on how the property works (Wifi password, Netflix login, etc.). In holiday destinations like South Devon, the expectation is for a high standard of customer service, which can be overwhelming. However, as we said, this is a part of the world that has infrastructure in place to support holiday homeowners in making the most of their properties. That includes providing customer service to your guests so you don’t have to - again, this is something that HolidayHost will do for you.

Buying a holiday let in South Devon?

If you own or are buying a holiday home and are thinking of letting it, or you would like to find out more about the support available to holiday homeowners, you can read more about our holiday let administration services or contact us any time.