Axminster is a small delightful market town built on a hill overlooking the River Axe. The town famously gave its name to a type of carpet that is still manufactured there to this day.

Axminster has always enjoyed good connections. It originally lay on two major Roman roads going from Exeter to Lincoln and Dorchester respectively. In the eighteenth century, the town was on the coaching route from London to Exeter with up to 16 coaches per day stopping at the George Inn. Then in 1860 Axminster railway station was opened, offering services to Exeter and Yeovil.

Axminster with its traditional charm and character, is the perfect place to unwind and relax after a hard day’s work. There’s a thriving artistic community within the town, reflected in the Axminster Art Trail. Yet you’re never far from the sea or the countryside, ancient woodlands, footpaths and cycle tracks.

Not surprisingly, it’s an extremely popular place to live for young professionals, families and those retired, with a wide range of rental properties. The town represents a good investment for landlords.

Fact: In the early days of carpet manufacture, every time a carpet was finished, the bells of the Minster in the centre of the town, were rung in celebration.


The picture postcard village of Beer is a little piece of heaven in Devon. Nestling in Lyme Bay and neatly tucked in a cleft in the cliffs on the Jurassic Coast, it is the quintessential British seaside village, where pretty cottages vie with colourful fishing boats for photo opportunities.

Its surrounding white chalk cliffs provide a natural suntrap for the shingle beach and sheltered waters for working boats and leisure craft.

We weren’t at all surprised to discover that this beautiful village came in at number 12 in a recent Sunday Times list of the best places to live by the sea. In fact we were only surprised it wasn’t higher up the list.

Living here is truly delightful. Many properties enjoy fabulous sea or hillside views. The Beer community spirit thrives with an ever growing number of organisations, clubs and societies, catering for all ages and interests. Regatta week in August is not to be missed.

The village boasts some excellent pubs and some of the best fish and chips around. There are also some excellent schools in this area adding to the many attractions of living in this popular village.

Nearest train station is Axminster.

Fact: Much prized stone from Beer Quarry Caves was used in the construction of many notable buildings including Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and Windsor Castle.

Bridport & West Bay

If you’re looking to live in a town bursting with history and heritage, a thriving arts community, excellent shopping and a huge range of great pubs, restaurants and cafes, then Bridport is the place to be. The town’s historical pedigree dates back to King Alfred the Great’s reign so it’s not surprising that the town and its surrounding parishes boast more than 500 buildings, listed for their historical or architectural importance.

With a population of nearly 15,000, there’s always a good range of properties available and tenants keen to live here. Bridport’s many attractions include a theatre, an art deco cinema and an arts centre as well as good schools. The town’s acclaimed Literary Festival is just one of an eclectic mix of events and festivals held in the town. The main streets offer familiar high street names alongside independent shops. There’s a popular monthly Farmers’ market too.

Bridport is also a Beacon town for promoting the high quality and huge variety of local food in its shops, markets and eateries.

West Bay, just one and a half miles away on the coast, and originally created as a harbour for Bridport in the 13th century, adds the seaside element to the mix.

Nearest train stations are Axminster, Crewkerne and Dorchester. Nearest airports are Exeter and Bournemouth.

Fact: Bridport’s rope and netmaking industry provided the goalnets at the 1966 World Cup.


Chard is a delightful, bustling market town in Somerset, close to the Devon border, with an unusually wide high street flanked by small streams, running alongside the pavements. Many of its handsome buildings were built originally by wealthy clothiers when cloth and lace were the town’s major industries.

By contrast, the town’s history is pretty ferocious. Chard got its first mention as Cerden in 1065, was almost destroyed by fire 500 years later and further damaged during the English Civil War. Famously Judge Jefferies held some of the Bloody Assizes after the failure of the Monmouth Rebellion.

But these days it’s a very much calmer place to live. The town is surrounded by pretty countryside and plenty to do for families wishing to live here, with a range of good schools. Chard Reservoir provides a peaceful oasis, surrounded by meadows and woodland. Forde Abbey monastery is much cherished for its award-winning gardens. Nearby Dillington House is an international hub for adult education, the arts and professional development.

Nearest train station is Axminster. Nearest airport are Exeter and Bristol.

Fact: Victorian aeronautical enthusiast John Stringfellow demonstrated the first engine powered flight in a disused lace factory in Chard in 1848.


From Bronze Age tribes to Roman times through to the present day, Colyton’s beautiful river valley has always provided the perfect place in which to settle.

Set in East Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this popular village with around 2,000 residents, is always in demand. And it’s easy to see why. With more than 1,000 years of history in evidence, it has proved itself as a great place to live over and over again. Take a stroll along its winding lanes and you’ll see what we mean.

With a variety of independent shops, and a reputation for great hospitality, Colyton welcomes everyone whether you’re a resident or a visitor. It also boasts a good variety of events, activities and regular clubs year round.

You won’t fail to be captivated either by the Tramway that runs between Seaton and Colyton passing alongside the River Axe wetlands.

Fact: Colyton is proud of its 36 heraldic banners, representing families and guilds of historic importance. They are displayed around the town.


Honiton’s great connections have transformed this traditional lace making town into a thriving business centre and shopping hub for East Devon.

Set conveniently near the A 30 and A 303, with its own mainline railway station and handy for Exeter Airport, Honiton provides the best of both worlds. A chance to live in one of Devon’s most delightful market towns, yet have the ability to commute easily to other towns and cities if job or lifestyle demands it.

So it’s a popular place to live for its convenience as well as proximity to coast and countryside.

With a population of nearly 12,000, the town originally grew along the Fosse Way, the ancient Roman road linking Exeter with Lincoln where it was an important stopping point. Lace making was introduced in Elizabethan times thanks to Flemish immigrants and the town became known too for its pottery.

Honiton’s wide main street features plenty of independent shopping and some excellent pubs and restaurants. The town has also built a reputation as a centre for antiques.

At ChampionHolmes, we can always offer a good range of houses, flats and bungalows to prospective tenants in Honiton. Landlords too know that their properties in the town will always be in demand.

Fact: The lace for Queen Victoria’s wedding dress was made in Honiton

Lyme Regis

It’s not difficult to see why many people want to live in Lyme Regis. Nestling in an Area of Outstanding Natural beauty, the town situated close to the Dorset/Devon border, takes some beating. With its pretty town and port with the famous 13th century Cobb harbour, it’s a seaside resort that has remained firmly unspoiled.

Needless to say, this ‘Pearl of Dorset’ is very popular with holidaymakers – and tenants looking to make it their permanent home. Property investors too have spotted the endless appeal of a town that is unlikely ever to fall out of fashion.

Once visited, never forgotten, Lyme has always attracted writers and poets including Tennyson, Longfellow and Tolkien. Film makers too have ensured its place in the cinema hall of fame, particularly with The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

The town is most famous though, for its fossil hunting, thanks to resident Mary Anning who put Lyme firmly on the map when she discovered the first complete ichthyosaur in England in 1847.

There’s a busy creative and cultural community here too, plus a great array of shops, eateries and events to enjoy.

Nearest railway station is Axminster. Nearest airport is Exeter

Fact: The inspiration for Hollywood doggie star Lassie came from the Pilot Boat Innkeeper’s dog who licked the face of one of the bodies brought in after a 1915 U-boat sinking. The man eventually stirred and made a full recovery.


Seaton is a traditional Devon seaside town with a comfortable and calm pace of life.  There is a sense of stepping back in time by living here  – particularly with famed Seaton Tramway and the recently opened Jurassic Visitor Centre, which tells the story of the Jurassic coast past and present.

Fresh air is in abundance, as are excellent schools, great fish and chips, fabulous coastal and countryside walks and cycle paths.  Seaton has a thriving local population of around 12,000 including nearby Beer and Colyton, good shopping, sporting opportunities and a great mix of restaurants, pubs and cafes.

Living here brings simple pleasures: the mile long shingle beach, Seaton marshes and wetlands  that provide great feeding grounds for birdlife all year round.

Ironically Seaton was originally a farming community.  That was before the Romans arrived, spotted its potential as a port and capitalized on its stunning location.

Fact: some 22,000 Roman coins, believed to be one of the largest 4th century collections ever found in Britain, were unearthed at Seaton Down in 2013



The Regency town of Sidmouth is in a class of its own. Once a favourite with the nobility who flocked there to build fine houses when seaside resorts became fashionable, its appeal has never diminished. Many of those beautiful buildings remain, giving the seafront its unforgettable grace and elegance.

Sidmouth has always captivated writers including Poet Laureate John Betjeman who lovingly described it as ‘a town caught still in a timeless charm’.

Tucked between majestic red cliffs and the soft green hills of the Sid Valley, it is easy to see what he was writing about. Sidmouth weaves its spell on residents and visitors alike.

Surrounded by beautiful countryside, there are beautiful gardens and leisurely walks to enjoy, clean beaches and clear blue waters. Not surprisingly it’s regularly voted one of the top places in the country to live.

Despite a population of some 15,000 at the last count, there’s a gentle pace of life here, reflected by a larger than average older population.

The town boasts a fantastic range of friendly, independent shops as well as some superb restaurants, pubs and tearooms. The annual Folk Festival fills the town with music and colour with participants coming from all over the world. There’s also a theatre, arts centre and cinema.

Sidmouth has good transport connections from Feniton, Honiton and Exeter and Exmouth rail stations plus an excellent bus service.

Fact: Sidmouth has featured in many literary works, variously disguised as Stymouth, Idmouth, Baymouth and Spudmouth.