About Sidmouth beaches, Devon
Devon is a place of childhood idylls, surfer dudes and cream teas, of quaint villages and cheesy clubs, beach bums and lobster pots. Sidmouth, east of Torbay and on the ever-popular south coast, is a quieter option than its westerly neighbours, with a slower, less showy pace, combining picturesque gentility and sedate senility.
The main town beach is 1.6km (1 mile) long, pebbly and nicely maintained. Nestled against red sandstone cliffs, the stones give way to golden sands at low tide. To the west is Jacob’s Ladder, a shingle and sand stretch, backed by more russet cliffs. The latter is popular with families, and you can hire a beach hut for the day.
Beyond the beach:
The nearby fishing village of Beer is a picturesque combination of flint-faced cottages and brightly coloured boats. It is sandwiched between startlingly white headlands and is famous for its quarries (www.beerquarrycaves.fsnet.co.uk) and its shady smuggling history.
At low tide Sidmouth’s golden sands are perfect for building sandcastles, while rock pools are great crabbing territory. Sidmouth Sailing Club (tel: (01395) 512 286) offers sailing lessons. Backed by pastel Regency buildings, the esplanade cries out for a genteel stroll. For something more vigorous, climb up Peak Hill and appreciate the views. If in the mood for something cosmic, there’s a planetarium at Norman Lockyer’s Observatory (www.normanlockyer.org). In the surrounding countryside, you can go llama trekking with Peak Hill Llamas (www.walkingwithllamas.co.uk) – guided walks that involve loveable herds of llamas, beautiful coastal scenery and Devon cream teas.
Aspara spa (www.aspara.co.uk) is a recent, state-of-the-art addition to the seafront Royal York & Faulkner Hotel, where guests or non-guests can indulge in a range of rejuvenating, relaxing, holistic and spa treatments. The hydrotherapy pool is lined in mosaic and Italian stone, and there’s also a sauna and citrus-scented steam cabin.