Guidance on Devon areas please

Home Forums South West Devon Random Questions and Chatter Guidance on Devon areas please

This topic contains 12 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Psychotherapist 6 years, 1 month ago.

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • Author
  • #17030

    Hi everyone, I will be turning 50 next year, though am young at heart and like to walk! I am a single, hard-working, professional gal living in London and I’m looking to buy a second home (preferably a bungalow, detached house or flat provided the block has a lift); my mum would be visiting me and she has limited mobility where stairs are concerned.

    Originally I had thought to buy a second home in London (and rent out my current one) but actually, I would love to have a second home to live in myself (splitting my time between London and second home). I love Cornwall but it’s a tad far for a weekly commute so I thought of Devon.

    I am self-employed, and am fortunate that I can get my work done Mon-Wed and then drive down to Devon on a Thursday, till Sunday. I might not do this *every* week but just knowing that I have a quiet, peaceful base outside London will go a long way to improving my quality of life. I live in East London in an overpopulated area and don’t get *any* peace and quiet. I really need to get out of London, I love the SW of England and am looking to invest in a second property.

    And so my main requirement is to be near a beach (at least within walking distance) or a short drive to a beach. I would like to be within walking distance to a local shop, pub but it’s not a necessity as I do drive. If at all possible, I’d like to be nearish to a train station so that my friends who *don’t* drive can visit me easily from London. A safe area is also a requirement but then I’m almost positive that Devon would be much safer than London!

    I will be visiting Torquay in July with my mother and thought it would be a good opportunity to explore some areas but I honestly don’t even know where to begin.

    Any guidance on areas would be most appreciated and once I narrow it down, I can start to contact estate agents (I *have* considered renting to start off with, but similarly I don’t know the areas so I’m in the same predicament really:).

    Many thanks for any tips!



    Trying to match a decent train station with a beach is tricky but I would start by looking at the Exe estuary villages and towns. Lymstone, Topsham and Exmouth. The latter has great beaches and some good flats with lifts and parking at the marina. Going further west than Exeter and the return car journey starts to become a chore on Sunday evening ( having done it inumerable times ) also the train stops become erratic west of Exeter. You could consider the city itself which has a great vibe whatever your age and a gorgeous waterfont scene.



    Ilfracombe in North Devon offers pretty much all you are looking for.

    It is a harbour town with rocky coves to explore as well as being just six miles from the golden sands of Woolacombe, voted the best beach in the UK on TripAdvisor.

    We’re on the doorstep of Exmoor National Park and on the South West Coast Path and is a Walkers are Welcome town.

    There are some 300 mainly independent shops, restaurants, pubs and cafés here, so you can get most of what you need locally, plus a Lidl and Tesco. We also have Damien Hirst’s statue of Verity. It also has a theatre, cinema, minor injuries unit, banks and post offices.

    Ilfracombe is also the food capital of North Devon with lots of restaurants serving local fish and a whole line of teashops, plus Devon Life’s Best Tearoom in Devon at Hele Corn Mill.

    There is a mix of housing including bungalows, which are not over priced as North of Devon is still an undiscovered secret and people are starting to appreciate its remoteness.

    There is a railway station in Barnstaple, some 13 miles away, which connects with Exeter or you can get a direct train to Paddington at Tiverton which is an hour down the A361. I tend to take this if I am travelling to London.

    Crime rates are very low here. Yes, we get an influx of holiday makers in the summer, but I feel comfortable walking through the town at any time of night, which I didn’t feel when I lived in the South East.

    The town also has superfast broadband, which is not common in rural areas, so if you work from home, you can get a decent internet connection.

    I work from home and walk for three or more hours a day with our dog, instead of commuting. There are so many great walks on our doorstep.

    My advice is definitely to make the move, even if partial, before retirement. It helps to enjoy it for 10-20 years before you retire or no longer have mobility. I’m so glad we did, because I’ve met quite a few people who can no longer climb hills after a long and active life, so I’ve decided I need to enjoy them as much as I can before that day comes.

    Good luck with your search!



    I come from East London and now live in Devon full time. Because my family still live in Essex, I didn’t want too long a drive to get back so we chose East Devon (on a good run, we can do it in under four hours). We’re near Axminster, which has a train station with links direct to Waterloo. We’re also near Seaton which has a beach, although it’s stony. It’s also not the prettiest town on the coast, due to a couple of the seafront buildings, but the cliffs are pretty and the River Axe, which runs into the sea there, has a pretty marina (Axmouth). There are many scenic places nearby including Beer and Branscombe. There isn’t much in the way of shopping here though (although we have a nice new Tesco store in Seaton) but it’s only half an hour or so to Exeter. There’s also Honiton, Axminster and Lyme Regis within 5 – 10 miles. Lyme Regis, although in Dorset, is very pretty, has shops, a beach and is fairly close to Axminster for the train station. Hope that helps.



    As the other members have said, realistically to be within a reasonable weekly driving distance from London, have access to main line train station and a beach you have to limit your search to East Devon and there are some fantastic picturesque and safe places to settle around the Exe and Dart estuaries. Dawlish could be worth considering due to the fact that it is on the main Paddington to Cornwall line for instance.

    If you want all of these things right on your doorstep (single level living, next to a beach and train station) then you will need a very healthy budget but if there are a couple of things you can compromise on such as a short drive to both beach and train station then your options and budget become a lot easier.

    I run a Property Search company so if there is anything I can help with please let me know, either way good luck with your search.



    Thank you to all those who have replied to my post; I’ve read through your replies and need some time to digest and do a bit of Google’ing on the East versus North Devon difference. What I *can* say now, is that although Waterloo St. in London would be my preferred link (in case I ever want to take the train to work; I work in Canary Wharf), as far as my friends go, they are all more likely to need the Paddington line (though it sounds like I may need to drive an hour to pick them up in Tiverton? :).
    Having said that, somebody I know recommended Ilfracombe to me so it sounds like it is worth a visit.

    I will no doubt have some follow up questions and David, yes I may well give you a ring over the next few weeks to arrange a visit either before or after my mother leaves.

    Best wishes…



    Hi there
    In terms of your requirements I also have to recommend East Devon.

    Exmouth or Budleigh are lovely seaside towns and Exmouth in particular has an abundance of bungalows. Lots of people I know commute weekly or sometimes several times a week as they fly from Exeter airport to London City. You have also got the trains – 2 lines from Paddington and Waterloo and Exmouth is on a local line from Exeter St Davids. Both have plenty of shops and eating out places. Exeter itself is very accessible if you want some larger shops and theatres etc.

    Lympstone may also be worth considering its on the estuary not the sea per se but it has a nice village community and you can see the sea from there.

    Although Torquay has some very nice areas and is quite good value for money I think you would be adding at least 45 minutes on the journey each way especially in holiday season.

    From east Devon you can also be in Cornwall in under an hour so for those longer weekends a day trip is possible.

    I would suggest at least a couple of weekends checking out the options and maybe a holiday rental to get an even better idea of an area.

    If you have any specific questions please feel free to ask I moved 2 years ago and was very detailed in my research!

    Best wishes


    Thanks a million Jo! I’m going to do a little more research into East Devon (I actually thought it would take longer than an hour to get to Cornwall)-I *love* Cornwall:). I am sure I *will* have some questions down the road so thank you for offering to answer them! I definitely have to make a few trips down there on my own, once my mother leaves, but I am looking forward to doing some exploration with her mid-July.

    Best wishes…



    Hi Psychotherapist,
    Just reading your post and the replies. We are looking to move from a village in Surrey to the West Country and are looking at East Devon. I’m watching this thread with interest. We are staying near Axminster this weekend to have our first scout around – most of our research starts with secondary schools as my daughter will be starting year 7 in 2017 so we’re trying to plan it all around that deadline.
    Good luck with your search,


    Hi Claire….oooh…so exciting! I hope your search this week-end goes well. I’m glad someone else is benefitting from this thread too. Once I start my visits to Devon I’ll be able to share my experiences with you too.

    Best of luck and please keep this thread updated!


    Hi David,

    I hope you are well. I’m wondering if I can email you privately to arrange a day/time for some viewings, for when I’m down in Devon (14th-18th).

    I don’t know if its possible to private message on this forum but is there any way you could provide me with your work email address to take this forward?

    Many thanks and best wishes…



    Hi again, would be very happy to help. My My email address is

    Will look forward to hearing from you.



    Super-thanks David! I’ll email you over the next couple of days!

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.