It’s my favourite holiday spot...
I first visited Sidmouth one August in the late Sixties and I’ve been coming back ever since. When I arrive I just feel happy!
Visit the local Donkey Sanctuary, where you can pat and feed some of the 500 resident rescue donkeys before enjoying a light lunch or tea at the onsite Hayloft Restaurant. They hold special events for International Donkey Week (May 5-12) when you can visit neighbouring farms that are usually closed.
- Donkey Sanctuary 01395 578222
The best hotel
In my opinion, it’s the Royal York and Faulkner Hotel. It’s a pretty Regency building right in the centre of the promenade with lovely views of the sea and friendly, helpful staff. I’d recommend it to anyone.
- Royal York and Faulkner Hotel 0800 220714
Take afternoon tea
At the Clock Tower Cafe,by Jacob’s Ladder beach, I always enjoy a large piece of homemade lemon meringue pie. You can then burn it off by visiting nearby Connaught Gardens. There’s a bandstand there which often hosts live music over the summer months.
- Clock Tower Café 01395 515319
Potter around the shops
Everyone heads straight to Fields of Sidmouth, which is the town’s department store. Smaller shops worth a visit include Goviers on the High Street, which has sold beautiful fine china since 1904; Emily’s Chocolates on New Street, where everything is homemade; and Annie’s on Old Fore Street, which sells lovely leather goods.
- Goviers 01395 513419, Emily’s Chocolates 01395 579966, Annie’s 01395 513900
If you enjoy walking…
Sidmouth is the place for you! The south-west footpath is well-signposted and runs from Dorset to the tip of Cornwall, so you can walk as far as you like. I recommend stopping at some of the neighbouring villages en route. Beer is a pretty little coastal town, while Branscombe has a 500-year-old pub called the Fountain Head, which is dog friendly and offers traditional pub food. Branscombe also has a restored forge and mill that are worth a look.
Watch the carnival parade on September 26. It travels through the streets for two hours and there are lots of illuminated floats to see.