Steps from the water, an old fisherman’s cottage on Lympstone’s pebbly beach. This is a wonderful riverside retreat; at high tide, waves lap against the outside wall and you’ll feel like the captain of a very stylish ship as you gaze at the Exe estuary from the sitting room window. Keen sailors can launch boats or canoes from the slipway next to the cottage, while birdwatchers might spot avocets and grebes through their binoculars. A white door in the courtyard leads you into serene rooms decorated with quirky nautical touches including a porthole window and wooden carvings of wading birds. Stripy fabrics and floorboards painted cream create a calm New England-style look. Sink into a plump sofa in front of the wood-burner; enjoy estuary views as you breakfast at a table in front of the bay window. There’s a smart kitchen with high chairs arranged around a butcher’s block for self-catering, or several good pubs within strolling distance. Airy bedrooms are spread across the top two floors – kids will love sleeping beneath the eaves in the cosy attic room – and there are a couple of sparkling bathrooms to share.