Dittiscombe is a little gem for a cottage break in the South Hams. The cottages are cosy and clean with spacious gardens. It was a real delight to be woken every morning by the sound of birds signing and the occasional owl. So many beautiful villages around, with some great eateries, just delightful. We will certainly be back!

Kleibergen FamilyApril 2021

Beautiful location and surrounding countryside and the re-wilding at Dittiscombe is inspiring and very much what we need as a country. Ruth and Jon were excellent hosts. There are so many spectacular walks in the countryside and on the coast. Thoroughly recommend.

Whittle FamilyAugust 2020

We stayed in Willows, which was perfect for our family including two children and two dogs. The views from the walks were beautiful and the peace and quiet at Dittiscombe was very welcome. We are grateful for the significant care taken in light of Covid 19.

Hunter FamilyAugust 2020

Great location for short drives to beautiful beaches, watersports activities, trips to the castle, zoo or aquarium. We booked trips prior to the holiday to save disappointment as everything was otherwise fully booked. Lots to explore around the area and with wonderful accommodation we shall be booking here again next year!

Wyatt FamilyAugust 2020

Family Friendly Dittiscombe

Stone balance art on Slapton Sands, South DevonChildren are welcome at Dittiscombe in South Devon! There are miles of perfect beaches and well-trodden footpaths, hidden coves and tumbling surf, indoor play and historic sites, so there is something for children of all ages.

Children will love the fresh air and freedom at Dittiscombe.  There is a flat area for ball games and plenty of space to run and play.

All cottages have private gardens and access to our wildlife valley with ponds, woodland and meadows to play and explore in.

At Dittiscombe we have a selection of five family friendly cottages sleeping from 2 guests and a cot, up to 6 guests in the 4 bedroom cottage, Willows.  You can bring the family dog too to complete the holiday!

Nearby there is a selection of award winning beaches – from rockpools and wide shingle beaches, to fine sandy bays and coves. Have a look at our Beaches page to find out more about local beaches.

Slapton Ley Field Study Centre in Slapton, just 2 miles from Dittiscombe, organises weekly events, usually free, staged from May to September including a Badgers and Bat evenings, family fun with mini-beast adventures, guided walks within the sanctuary areas of the nature reserve and canoeing on Slapton Ley.

A 20-minute drive away near Beesands you’ll find Forest & Beach, (2019 National Champions of the Rural Business Award). It’s an environmental and outdoor pursuits base for children, all set within lovely woodland and just a mile from the beaches of Start Bay. Pete and Andrea Moore, both experienced teachers, offer a series of child-led adventure days throughout the school holidays. Once booked you can drop the children off knowing that they will have an energetic, action-packed day outdoors, exploring their natural environment and having lots of fun at the same time. Children are supervised by experienced teachers on a high adult/child ratio.

Easy outings with small children

Torcross beach and Slapton LeyPark at Torcross and check out the old Sherman Tank to find out about the D-day landing practices, watch or feed the wildfowl in the Ley, pop down to the beach for a paddle, then back to the Start Bay Inn for the best fish n’chips.

Park at South Milton Sands and walk along the wooden walkway over the small stream, down the steps to the beach, and back to car park in time for an ice-cream at the Beachhouse Cafe.

Park in the Totnes Pavilion Leisure Centre and walk towards the river and weir; visit the South Devon Steam Railway for an enchanting ride along the Avon river on a steam train. On your way back drop into the Dartington Cider Press Centre for tea, followed by a stroll through the beautiful Dartington Estate gardens.

Time spent just playing on the beach building sandcastles and dams are the breath of life to children on holiday. There are some very special places to go to. Yarmer Beach at Thurlestone is great for rock-pooling as it has a good area of rocks to explore at low tide. For fine sandy beaches both Hope Cove, Mill Bay opposite Salcombe (read Julie’s Blog: No Passports Required!), and Bantham are perfect for sand sculpture. Blackpool Sands is ideal for a family day out with excellent facilities on site including award-winning Venus cafe, toilets, and water-sports hire and instruction.

Other great, clean beaches with facilities include Bigbury, Bantham (excellent for surfing and body boarding), Salcombe North Sands and Slapton Sands/Torcross.

For more information about beaches and facilities please visit the Good Beach Guide website.

Check out the Wildlife at Dittiscombe

Take a stroll around our ponds and woodland. Here is a sample of wildlife you might see:

Butterflies and Moths from as early as April through to September. Some live here, but others, like the Clouded Yellow butterfly and Hummingbird Hawkmoth, come from other countries to spend the summer here.

Tiny Frogs and Toads emerge from the ponds into the long grass in May and June, and later Dragonflies dance around the water.

Mushrooms and Toadstools can be found under trees and in the long grass from the Spring onwards, but especially in the Autumn. Ducklings, Moorhen and Little Grebe babies hide in the rushes in the ponds from May to August.

In early May the fox cubs are out playing with each other and learning to hunt. Early morning and evening are good times to look for them.

On a warm evening Bats emerge around dusk and feed near trees and over the ponds. A good area to watch bats is in the hedge ‘corridor’ at the back of the cottages. These are usually Pipistrelles and Noctule bats.

Rainy Days and Other Outings

There’s still plenty to do on a rainy day and here are some ideas:

Kingsbridge Miniature Railway is a delightful ride along the embankment for small children (and accompanying adults!). It starts near the Kingsbridge Tourist Information Centre £1 for a one way ride.

Taylored Games is a is a specialist board, card and tabletop games shop in Kingsbridge. It’s  friendly place to visit with games of all kinds which can be played in the shop or bought and taken home.

Steam train ride on the South Devon Railway starting at Totnes (combined with a visit to the Totnes Rare Breeds Centre), which follows the River Dart and ends at Buckfastleigh.South Devon Railway

Spend a day at Woodlands Leisure Park (just 5 miles from Dittiscombe) in their indoor play zone, or find the action zone, toddler zone and water slides.

Take the family to Dartmouth Golf & Country Club for a swim, sauna, jacuzzi and gym using our Privilege Plus membership at a reduced family price.

Make a visit to the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth which is open all day and has a daily programme of activities and events for children.

A firm favourite with our guests is Paignton Zoo where you can close to over 2,000 animals from grand giraffes and cheetahs to the cheeky meercats and monkeys, plus an indoor play area and a Jungle Express train. A great day out for all the family.

The Soft Play Zone at the Quayside Leisure Centre in Kingsbridge could be combined with a trip on the miniature railway (see above).

  • Lots to do for children of all ages

  • Surfing, paddle boarding, sailing and kayaking

  • Perfect sandy beaches for those all important sandcastles!

  • Dittiscombe has swings, slide and flat area for ball games

  • Dittiscombe Detectives Nature Safari on site

  • Zoos, Aquariums, Castles and Fun Parks to explore

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