Blagdon Water, Devon

Boutique houseboat in a North Devon wildlife reserve; totally secluded (sleeps 2)

1 Bedroom

1 Bathroom

Eco conscious


Space & setting.

If you’re looking for true romance, this is the way to go. It’s hard to imagine a more stylish laketop escape than Blackbird, a converted narrowboat, which floats on a secluded freshwater stretch in North Devon. The vibe is laidback luxe, from the chic charcoal, white and wood decor and fancy kitchen to the littlest details — the music player is Ruark, the toiletries are REN. There’s a seriously spacious shower room onboard but the real treat is a bankside bathhouse, where you can sink into a William Holland rolltop and watch ripples on the lake.

Fishing for rainbow trout is encouraged (there’s a BBQ to grill your catch), and there are 20 acres of woodland, wildflowers and wildlife on your doorstep. Further afield, you can zip over to Bodmin and Dartmoor for walking, and North Cornwall’s gorgeous beaches for gelato. The best time to come is off season, when you’ll have it all to yourselves. And when you’re done exploring, it’s back to the kingsize bed to let the lake rock you to sleep.

Getting here: you’ll need to drive

Owners Ken and Illona found their boat project hidden on a lake at Blagdon Water, surrounded by unspoilt wetland and 35 acres of young woodland. They instantly loved the peace here.

My Kip favourites

They love
“Sitting out on deck, reading a book and watching dragonflies hover and butterflies dance.”

We love
The concept — utter boutique hotel luxe blended with the independence and privacy of self catering. Ideal for a minimoon or special anniversary.

You may not love
A 2-, 3-, 4- or 7-night min stay; see Specifics. No WiFi or TV; that’s the point. Pubs, shops and restaurants are a drive away. Sorry, no dogs or children other than babes in arms.

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The boat and bath house have both been restored from previous lives. Solar panels on the roof of the bath house.


  • Bude
  • Bude's sea pool
  • Go walking through Dartmoor’s glorious river valleys or up on rugged Bodmin Moor.
  • Bring bikes and cycle the Granite Way for incredible views of the Dartmoor countryside and Okehampton Castle ruins. There’s an old railway carriage-turned cafe en route for a cup of tea.
  • We love Bude for golden Crooklets beach, the sea pool, ice-cream coloured beach huts on Summerleaze, and brilliant small independents. Spend a day in the sun then eat gelato at La Bocca (ours is a mint choc chip).
  • The cliff-lined shingle cove at Crackington Haven is a beauty too.
  • Mark Roadford Lake on your map — a stunning stretch of inland water where you can go walking, hire kayaks, or cycle.
  • Staying in bluebell season? Meldon Reservoir and its surrounding woodland is the best place to see a beautiful blanket of those violet flowers.
  • And finally, Clovelly, a unique historic village known for its steep cobbled streets, which donkeys used to carry fishing baskets up and down. Buy local catch straight off the boats from Dan the Man on the quay.


  • Moored narrowboat on a lake in a wildlife reserve
  • Open-plan interior warmed by a woodburner
  • Kingsize bed
  • One babe-in-arms welcome; please BYO travel cot
  • Ensuite shower bathroom
  • Boudoir bathhouse on-shore with William Holland rolltop tub and dressing table
  • Bathrobes, hairdryer and REN toiletries
  • Fully equipped kitchen; pantry essentials
  • Sofa area with Ruark music dock, binoculars and birding books
  • Firepit BBQ
  • Sorry, no dogs
  • Drive to pubs, farm shops and restaurants
  • Caretaker available by phone
  • Booking conditions: two night stays mid week Mon-Thu and two night weekend stays between Fri-Sun
  • Remember to pack: bubble bath, walking boots, fishing rod (you can apply for a temporary permit), wellies in winter and suncream in summer

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30% deposit on booking, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to stay.
Cancellations permitted 12+ weeks prior to stay, with deposit refunded minus a £30 processing fee.
No refunds if booking cancelled within 12 weeks of stay.
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A security deposit of £500 is payable directly to the hideaway after booking.

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