Thinking about what has made me smile this week was a bit of a no brainer as we have just got home from spending a few days in South Devon, visiting some of our favourite haunts. As much as I am a self proclaimed ‘sun and beach holiday’ type of girl, when the weather is good there is nowhere nicer than a English holiday by the sea! Read on for our top 3 favourite places to visit which, as an added bonus, are also child friendly if you have littlies in tow.
Crabbing in Dartmouth
I couldn’t not mention one of our favourite pastimes in Devon which, if the rain stays away, provides hours of entertainment for adults and children and costs little to nothing once you have the kit. By kit you only need a crabbing net, some bait (the co-op in Dartmouth do a smoked bacon which the crabs seem to love!) a supply of snacks to fend off any ‘I’m hungry’ moaning and a little bit of patience! Having crabbed in Salcombe and Dartmouth I feel qualified to say that Dartmouth wins in the quantity of ‘crabs caught’ stakes, with the girls raking up 15 each this trip! What I love perhaps even more though than the actual catching of crabs is the social interaction side that this pastime provides. Sat on the side of the harbour people walking by will stop and have a look at our catch, and the girls love showing off the crabs and daring people to pick one up! Many a conversation has been struck up and recommendations about other local activities shared via the medium of crabbing! Dartmouth itself has the prettiest harbour and you can see the Dartmouth Steam Railway train setting off into the distance whilst sat by the edge of the water. Word of warning – the seagulls are particualy sneaky here and will take any opportunity to swoop and steal a sandwich!
Kayaking at Bigbury-on-Sea
If you have never visited Bigbury and Burgh Island then put it on your to-do list as it’s one of the most picturesque and family friendly beaches in South Devon. The beach itself has two sides which meet in the middle when the tide is out and then slowly separates as the causeway across the middle reappears. At high tide the sea tractor (small fee) will take you across the water to Burgh Island where you can climb the small hill to the old ruins of a house at the top, which the girls like to think is Rapunzel’s castle.
This year we branched out into kayaking after some gentle persuasion by friends to come out on an ‘expedition’ with them. Kayaking to me fell under the umbrella of ‘adventure sports’ ( and I was therefore dubious, to say the least, as to my abilities to stay afloat and dry!). However I am so glad we took the plunge as being out on the water was nothing less than glorious. If the sea is flat you can kayak right round Burgh Island which gives a whole new perspective to the landscape and you can stop off at some hidden beaches and coves only reachable by water. Kayaking itself was easier than expected and more relaxing than I had anticipated, and being able to stop and bob around the sea provided the perfect opportunity to pause and take a few moments to reflect and appreciate everyday life. The girls made the most of the opportunity to become real life Moana’s and I’m sure the other people relaxing out on the water appreciated the renditions of ‘I am Moana’ as they paddled around……!
Overbeck’s National Trust at Salcombe
I’m slightly reluctant to include this one only as it feels a bit like our ‘Devon Secret’ and definitely takes the top spot on our Happy Places list. Having had the most delicious lunch at the Southsands Hotel (review to follow on the blog) we made our way up the hill from Southsand’s Beach to Overbeck’s. I feel like Overbeck’s is the unknown jewel in the NT crown as it is so tucked away at the far end of Salcombe, and the narrow roads make it a bit of a mission to reach. However it is so worth the effort as it provides a tropical oasis of gorgeous vibrant plants and flowers with beautiful views down onto the sea. The gardens are the main attraction here and there are lots of windy, hidden paths to explore each leading to individual smaller gardens. This visit I noticed that all the plants names were detailed on rocks on the ground next to them, perfect if you want to steal some planting ideas to take home to your own garden, but are a bit of a flower novice like me! They also offer a garden trail for children, complete with clipboards to follow; perfect for a bit of distraction if the only thing your children (and Mr Bristol!) are really interested in is the cake selection in the tea rooms (spoiler – the cakes are good!). Special mention to the incredibly friendly lady in the gift shop who entertained the girls for 5 minutes while we perused the amazingly good selection of homeware, candles, garden décor etc. Does anyone else love a National trust gift shop?! As per usual we came home with half the shop, including the most gorgeous Tor Allen print of Overbeck’s which you will have seen if you follow me on Instagram @abrunetteedit. Overbeck’s is a must visit if you go to Salcombe, just please don’t tell too many people!
I hope you’ve enjoyed discovering a few of our favourite pastimes in Devon, and I’d love to hear any recommendations of your own for future visits!
Hope you’ve all had some wonderful moments this week. Jess X