High Five: Devon and Dorset
My son’s recent rugby tour in South Devon provided the perfect opportunity to spend some time appreciating the beauty of both Devon and Dorset. Here are some of the highlights, from coastal cafés to a haunted house…
- Located on South Milton Sands in South Devon, Beach House Café is a laid-back foodie haven exactly as you dream of discovering after a bracing coastal walk. Food is served all day, and the menu has a leaning towards freshly-caught seafood. Locally-sourced dishes include lobster Caesar salad, crispy calamari with aioli and herby Salcombe crab. There are also burgers, sandwiches, daily specials and various tasty vegetarian options.
- The stunning South West Coast Path offers rugged cliffs, old smugglers’ haunts and secluded coves. Set back from the coast, with sweeping coastal and countryside views, Thurlestone opened its doors to guests in 1897 and is still owned by the Grose family. The hotel is a hive of activity and great for families. Facilities include an outdoor pool with sea views, two tennis courts and a nine-hole golf course and, for rainy days, an indoor pool with spa and a separate squash and badminton hall.
- It’s not often that you walk into an art gallery and genuinely love everything on display. At Gallery 5, in Salcombe, I would happily have purchased several acrylic paintings with splashes of neon by Devon artist Emily Powell. Based in the town’s ‘arts’ quarter on Island Street, the gallery showcases a wide range of local talent. In the same street, Paper Bird Island is an enchanting art shop offering découpage, and the Salcombe Distillery and Bar is a good spot for a G&T.
- Home to the UK’s largest natural harbour, a UNESCO-protected heritage coastline, thatched cottages galore and gorgeous countryside, there is much to enjoy in Dorset. One unexpected pleasure on a recent visit to Wimborne was listening to live music at the art deco Tivoli Theatre, followed by sublime pizza at Topogigio, an unassuming Italian bistro which has been serving authentic Italian fare to locals for over 30 years.
- Regarded as one of the most haunted houses in Britain, we decided to spook ourselves at Athelhampton House, near Dorchester, Dorset. Several ghosts have made an appearance at this handsome Tudor manor house: an ape can be heard behind the library walls, a ghost named Cooper occupies the wine cellar, and a Grey Lady has been seen wafting around the house and disappearing through wood panelling. Nothing out of the ordinary happened on our visit, I’m glad to say!
By Julia Farish
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