Secret Britain - Sidmouth

Secret Britain - Sidmouth

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!

Animal lovers

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.

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.

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.

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.

Don't Miss!

Watch the carnival parade on September 26. It travels through the streets for two hours and there are lots of illuminated floats to see.