The Directory of Unusual Places to Stay

Crabadon Manor

Totnes, Devon, England

Manor House + cottage for 'Famous Five' style break for 2-14, in the heart of the South Hams countryside, with old worlde charm.

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Crabadon is a Manor House with origins in the Medieval period when it was used as a Retreat for the Monks of Buckfast Abbey. It is available for holiday lets for up to 10 people. The house is in an exceptionally private setting, surrounded by some 100 acres of rolling farmland and stunning countryside beyond that. In the gardens, there is an attractive cottage for 4 (in addition to 10 in the main house). The house is full of olde-worlde charm, including period furnishings and artefacts.

Do not expect 'modern' - it is rather more the world of the Famous Five: hence 'Five go to Mystery Manor' is the kind of thing. There is croquet to be played on the lawn, and the friendly 'neighbour' (a mile away!) makes available his luxurious indoor swimming pool by prior arrangement. Crabadon is ideal for family 'outdoorsy' holidays, so wet-weather clothing and wellies are essential, especially in the winter months. There is plenty of room for bikes.

As the property is nestled in a steep valley, there is very intermittent mobile phone reception (so a landline is available) and no wifi - so again, it is by way of an escape from the fast modern world. Electricity is by generator - but don't worry: it is very easy to use.

There is a lane near the house running to Harbertonford, which is suitable for cycling - a novel way of collecting groceries from the village store. If the weather is cold, your family or group of friends can snuggle up in the cosy sitting room in front of a roaring wood-burner.

At risk of mixing 'The Famous Five' with 'Swallows and Amazons' - not far away is one of the best and most beautiful inland sailing areas in the South West: the village of Dittisham, on a wide, navigable part of the River Dart, where there is a very active dinghy sailing fraternity as well as moorings for much larger craft, and where you can enjoy the informality of 'The Ferry Boat Inn' (near a still-working ferry) and watch the classic paddle steamer 'Kingswear Castle' plying its way up to Totnes - and, indeed, if you drive to Dartmouth you can take a trip on her. You can bring your boat or canoe with you - there are visitors' moorings on the Dart at Dittisham and Dartmouth, and you can launch a dinghy or other small craft in various places.

Yet another classic attraction nearby is the Dartmouth Steam Railway, a must for all the family, and a little way up the river is Greenway House, former home of Dame Agatha Christie. Totnes and Dartmouth are both very attractive riverside towns, full of interesting shops, cafes, and other points of interest. Both have been settings for movies and TV dramas - much of 'The Onedin Line' was filmed in and near Dartmouth.

Crabadon offers an 'escape' where the children, and indeed, the whole family, can enjoy something different - real old-fashioned activities to enhance traditional values, fun and freedom. And if help is needed with anything, the young and enthusiastic caretaker will pop down to assist.

Lilly Pond Cottage can be booked with Crabadon Manor to sleep up to 14 guests together - this is available during the peak season and school holidays.

Prices are £1350 - £3230 per week depending on availability dates and season. Friday changeover day. There is a Winter fuel payment of £70 per week. Short breaks and weekends are available on request and subject to availability. Well behaved dogs welcome.

Room Types

Whole property for 5 or more

Nearest Airport/s