Sidmouth’s Seaside Splendour Awaits…
- Credit: Picture: Alex Walton Photography
If you are wondering what to do during the summer months, you need look no further than the East Devon coast.
In a year when a foreign holiday seems unlikely, or a bit difficult to go on at least, day trips to some of the local beauty spots may be high on agenda.
The East Devon landscape affords us a pleasant variety of choice on places to go, and it seems, during this period of lockdown, people living in other parts of the country have longed for what we have right on our doorstep. Reports have shown a significant increase in interest in properties in Devon.
When the sun shines, it’s hard not to gravitate towards one of the many beaches dotted along the coastline. And one town, and its beaches, is a highly desirable place for a non-resident to visit - Sidmouth.
The grand Regency architecture, the narrow and partly pedestrianised streets lined with independent shops and the lengthy Esplanade add a certain elegance to the place. If it’s bucket and spade you’re after then you will need to go elsewhere.
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The Esplanade runs the full length of the town’s main beach and boasts an unrivalled panoramic view of Lyme Bay. People don’t walk along there - they amble. Slowly.
Usually adorned with a line of traditional stripy deck chairs for hire, those paying to sit on them have a prime spot, without anyone spoiling their view. It’s a great place to be, to enjoy the seascape and tuck into some freshly caught fish and customary accompanying chips, leaving space for a welcome ice-cream afterwards. As in all seaside resorts, it seems the lingering gulls have their beady eye on anything that people like to consume, so do keep a beady eye on them!
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The beaches of Sidmouth give day visitors a choice of pebble, shingle or dark red sand to sit on. Over the last few years, the sandy part of the beach near Jacobs Ladder, seems to have swelled in size, giving youngsters a great opportunity to build grand sandcastles or scratch names or pictures in the sand with their spades. The nearby rockpools are filled with aquatic critters and marine life, adding another level of interest for the young visitor to this picturesque part of the beach.
When the sea conditions are right, surfers head to this area to make the most of the less frequent opportunity to surf on the south coast of Devon, compared with the north shores in the county.
It’s easy to access the beach near to Jacob’s Ladder with its wide level path that meanders from the cliff to the pebbles below, making it accessible to buggies, wheelchairs and those with walking difficulties. Whilst the steep white steps of Jacob’s Ladder that snake up to Connaught Gardens and the many well positioned benches, are worth climbing as the view of the red cliffs and across Lyme Bay is simply breath-taking. Depending on what way the wind is blowing, it can be a bit of a heat trap there, so it’s a perfect spot to spend hours simply soaking up the sun.
If you’re wanting to be in the heart of the action then the main beach in the town is the place to be. Thick towels or portable seating will be needed to add some form of comfort from the large pebbles, but the crashing sound of the waves against the stones makes for a deeply relaxing time. You’ll find the odd angler taking their chances against the sea here, so you’ll be first in line to see the latest catch. In normal circumstances, and most years, the Red Arrows fly so close to this beach, making it a superb vantage point to admire some of the best flying acrobatics in the world. It makes this quintessentially British resort seem, well, even more British!
A great asset to Sidmouth, is the close proximity of its beaches to the heart of the town with its independent shops, cafes, hotels and restaurants.
So, this summer when you’re wondering what to do and where to go, do pay a visit to this refined town with its majestic red cliffs, lengthy beaches and amazing seascape. Just remember to take things slowly - and amble!