Welcome to a huge pile of alpaca-powered fun on the edge of Exmoor’s wild North Devon Heritage Coast. Add in goats, pigs, guinea pigs and a whole bunch of treats and toys, and your dog-friendly family holiday is signed, sealed and delivered. Sleeping 15 on a 16-acre country estate, Coombe House is big, beautiful and bursting with extras.
A short journey away, past surf shops and kayak-hire places down to the South West Coast Path and the beaches of Combe Martin, Woolacombe and Croyde. With the sand and the rocks framed by the high hills, it’s a picture-perfect spot. But tearing yourself away from the house might be complicated.
All of which leaves you grown-ups to steep yourselves in the two sizzling hot tubs, to wander the woodlands past meadows, streams and ponds, to load up the logburner and watch classic movies on Netflix and Prime. Book the on-site yoga or masseuse, tell silly stories around the late-night firepit, whilst a private chef cooks you dinner, pass the Prosecco. Sold yet?
Welcome to your own North Devon valley. Coombe House nestles among the hills, just a short stroll from the crashing surf of the wild north coast.
Explore the 16-acre estate along sunken lanes and grassy paths, past wild woodlands and splashtastic streams and pretty ponds.
Along the way, you’ll greet and feed new friends among the alpacas, goats, pigs, chickens and guinea pigs that call this lovely valley their home. Then there’s the mini-football, the galleon kids’ play area, the badminton, the croquet, the trampoline and the cricket.
If you can tear yourself away, hours of family fun await in the indoor pool, open until 9pm and heated to 30 degrees. At the end of the day, sizzle awhile under the stars in one of two six-seat hot tubs.
Coombe House’s chock-full of stuff to do that’s fun, fun, fun, and yet it’s all dressed up to the nines with its gorgeous period features and sense of homely luxury. There’s a chandelier here, a picture rail there, a feature fireplace or two, intricate cornicing and deep skirts.
The outside’s awash with friendly alpacas and goats, and you’ve a heated pool and hot tubs for splashing and sizzling, but the inside gives it all a run for its money. Start with a few hours’ fun and frolics in the games room, with table tennis, table football, darts and board games.
But this is a house that brings everyone together. So spend your evenings in the log-lit living room around the 50” TV. Binge a box set on Netflix or Amazon Prime or pick through movies and live sports on Now TV. Or just raid the bookcase and laze around on the landing sofas for a little soulful solitude.
Need alternative viewing? Slip away to the snug or the second lounge, cleverly accessed through a secret bookcase. There you go: just when you thought Coombe House couldn’t get more interesting, it goes all Agatha Christie on you.
The two kitchens are big, bright and breezy and you’ve a range cooker, standard oven and two induction and range hobs on which to prepare your goodies from the Harbour Deli. Graze casually around the high stools at the kitchen island or all gather in the elegant dining room. Dump all the dirties in the two dishwashers when you’re done.
Keeping everything fresh are a fridge in each kitchen plus an additional freezer in the farmhouse kitchen and an American-style fridge-freezer in the games room. Just add Prosecco and wrap up your meals by popping your favourite ground coffee in the John Lewis coffee machine. Satisfy those midnight munchies with a trip to the toaster.
Eat al-fresco out on the terrace in the salty air with steaks and sausages from Combe Martin meats. Or call up our professional chefs for anything from a buffet to a hog roast and stretch back in the sunshine. Eat out at pubs such as the Pack O’ Cards for moules marinieres or a charcuterie platter, or The Pyne Arms for a traditional carvery.
Spoil yourself at highly rated Broomhill Dining, with seasonal local food inspired by nature, clotted-cream scones from The Galleon Café, fresh fish and chips from The Black and White, or Sunday roast from The Dolphin Inn. Push the boat out for a Michelin-starred meal at Thomas Carr’s The Olive Room.
Coombe House sleeps 15 in eight delightful bedrooms. Wake to the heavy silence of the North Devon hills and the promise of fresh free-range eggs on the terrace beneath the big skies.
Bedroom one and two are both kingsize rooms with their own en-suites, while bedrooms three and four are fixed twins with a shared bathroom. Bedroom five offers a single with a shared bathroom.
Bedroom six provides a superking bed and luxury en-suite, with bedroom seven offering a fixed twin with a private bathroom, and en-suite bedroom eight a fixed twin. The first three bedrooms will take a cot and zedbed, while bedrooms six and seven will accommodate a cot.
It’s hard to imagine a country house that makes children more welcome than Coombe House. This is an exercise in physical and mental stimulation that’ll live on in their imaginations long after it recedes in the rear-view mirror on the A399. Who wouldn’t want to swim in a heated pool, pet alpacas and play table tennis all in one day?
Those roaming alpacas are joined here by other equally cuddly and cute playmates, including pigs, goats, chickens and guinea pigs. Equally free-range kids can pet and feed them daily. But there’s no need to come indoors just yet: they can play pirates on the big galleon, then bounce on the trampoline and swing on the swings.
Stay in the sunshine to smash a few balls into the footie nets, beat dad at badminton, or stage a cricket or croquet competition. Stretch your legs on a walk around the 16-acre estate along sunken lanes and grassy paths. Don’t forget the dog. Splash in the streams and spot wildlife in the pretty ponds. Older kids can hang out in the hot tubs.
Everyone will enjoy the indoor swimming pool, open till 9pm and heated to 30 degrees. Bring your inflatables, waste a few hours, get very wrinkly. When you’ve towelled off, get fireside with the 50” TV and pick sports or a show from Amazon Prime, Netflix or Now TV. Finally, there’s just time for a starlit chatter around the firepit before bedtime.