We all look forward to Spring and here in the South Hams,  we like to think we’re a little ahead of the game. Our early camellias and magnolias are magnificent and the palms sway in the gentle breeze. It’s all down to our unique microclimate which produces favourable conditions for plants from around the world to flourish along the sheltered coves and in our lush tropical gardens. 

But this Spring the season of new beginnings is not restricted to the beautiful gardens of South Devon… In a time of uncertainty in the world it’s refreshing to see businesses thrive and have the courage to move forward and expand. And with her hand on the tiller, that’s just what Kate Allen, owner of the luxury lettings brand Salcombe Finest has done. 

Kate started Salcombe Finest in 2013 when she took on her first holiday let. From the outset it became clear that there was a gap in the market and their portfolio of select luxury holiday homes filled that void for high end guests looking to stay in Salcombe.

Moving on ten years from that first holiday let in Salcombe and encouraged by the growth in tourism to the South West, it became apparent to Kate that the brand should broaden its horizons and now was the time to do it.

So this thriving luxury holiday letting business has now expanded its reach across the wider South Hams. And what about the name? “When considering the rebrand, I knew we had to keep Finest in the name” Kate says, “and Finest Stays reflects our luxury brand, we’re offering guests the opportunity to stay in a luxury holiday home in South Devon, what could be better than that?”

Finest Stays incorporates the beautiful market towns of Dartmouth, Salcombe and Kingsbridge and the charming seaside villages of Hope Cove, Thurlestone, Strete and everywhere in between. The company maintains the strong ethos of the original brand with an already growing portfolio and a local professional team. It’s that personal touch which makes all the difference, it’s reassuring to know that both holiday home owners and guests alike are looked after and receive excellent service. More about Finest Stays at www.fineststays.co.uk

So if you’re planning a day out as the weather improves and the daylight lengthens, here are our top 5 best gardens to visit in South Devon:

Overbecks, Salcombe - These beautiful exotic gardens cling to the cliff top towards Bolt Head and have the most amazing views both along the coastline, out to sea and inland towards Salcombe. Under ownership of the National Trust, this has to be one of the most beautiful spots on the South Devon coast.  The property itself was the former home of inventor and scientist Otto Overbeck and the gardens which date back to 1913 are a sub tropical treat - a stroll along the narrow cobbled paths is akin to simultaneously travelling around the world and stepping back in time with many rare plants from all over the globe. There’s also a lovely lawned picnic area where you can relax over a lazy lunch. Check out the opening times for Overbecks Gardens in Salcombe here  Book your  luxury holiday home in Salcombe 

sea and treesImage: Sue Bowern

Royal Avenue Gardens, Dartmouth - Situated on the Quay right in the heart of the town, you can’t miss this beautiful park. These historic gardens flourish around the iconic band stand which takes centre stage for many of the town's main events including the Music Festival and the Food Festival. The Royal Avenue Gardens showcases a sustainable mix of seasonal and permanent plants. Which sit alongside the Japanese-style garden area (introduced in 2015). The park is a lovely meeting place with plenty of seating. Look out for the flower ‘ship’ and the fountain. Book your luxury Dartmouth holiday home here

The Gardens at Greenway House, near Galmpton - these beautiful National Trust gardens surround Greenway House, the former home of Crime writer Agatha Christie. Stroll around the beautiful walled gardens, woodland and riverside paths which lead down to the boathouse. The camellias in the spring are absolutely stunning!  These informal gardens blend beautifully with the landscape and the display of spring bulbs is one of the best! Check out the opening times for Greenway House and gardens here.

Kingsbridge in Bloom - not so much one garden but a whole town. Stroll around this charming market town and there’s a flow display at every corner. This historic town has taken part in the annual ‘South West in Bloom’ competition with great success, winning several Gold Awards over the years and has been invited to take part in Britain in Bloom. The town is beautifully looked after by a team of local volunteers who, with trowels at the ready, plant hundreds of bulbs for a magnificent show in the springtime and take a real pride in blooming Kingsbridge and it shows! Find your Finest Stays luxury holiday home in Kingsbridge here.

Mothecombe Gardens, Holbeton - situated above Mothecombe beach, at the mouth of the Erme estuary on the Flete Estate, these beautiful gardens are tucked side of a on the side of a valley running down to the beach, sheltered from the prevailing south westerly salt laden winds, allowing tender plants to flourish. With terraces planted with wisteria, irises and agapanthus, and a lawn with herbaceous borders; an orchard underplanted with daffodils and a camellia walk to the woodland garden. The camellias, magnolias and cherries are underplanted with masses of snowdrops and hellebores followed by primroses, Solomon’s seal and sheets of bluebells, foxgloves and campion in the spring. This little known gem is well worth a visit.


Image: Val Corbett

To find out more about Finest Stays luxury holiday homes visit www.fineststays.co.uk  email hello@fineststays.com or call Phone: 01548 706 706 to speak to one of the team.



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