Our favourites places
We thought we should list a few of our favourites places, just give you an idea where to start. There is so much to do, sometimes you're just spoilt for choice. But we think you can't go wrong with these ideas.
The beach at Bigbury
Check tides in the local directory and plan your outing to fit in with high/low tides. When the tide is high there is still a lot of sand, but as it ebbs there are many exciting rockpools and vast expanses of superb sand. You also get to come back from Burgh Island on the sea tractor!
The beach at Mill Bay
Opposite Salcombe, via East Portlemouth. There is a National Trust carpark, a good beach shop, and for the energetic a 30 minute walk across the fields takes you to the Gara Rock Hotel, where the views are stunning and the refreshments well worthwhile. Clowns entertain on Sunday afternoons and if you walk back via the coast (45 minutes) you won’t be disappointed. Alternatively have lunch at the Millbrook Inn South Pool then catch the little ferry over to Salcombe for a browse. Don’t miss the local pubs, chocolate factory and museum beneath the Tourist Information Centre in Salcombe.
The beach at South Sands
Next to Salcombe. Park at the hotel or at the National Trust carpark at Sharpitor Gardens where there is a superb picnic spot with a fantastic view, gardens reminiscent of the Mediterranean, and an interesting museum where children will spend some time doing the quiz and looking for Fred the friendly ghost in the children’s area through the secret door. You could hire canoes etc at south Sands or catch the ferry boat to Salcombe, walking back along the coast lane – once again stunning views.
The Round Robin trip
By boat, ferry, steam train and open-top double decker bus. You can pick this up at Totnes or Dartmouth – we find Totnew more convenient. You can take all day over this, stopping off en route, or nip around in about two hours. There is also a steam train from Buckfastleigh to Totnes with a vintage bus connection.
Combined with Buckfast Abbey (of Francis Drake fame) or Cotehele, a National Trust property suitable for dreaming swashbuckling youngsters.
The Aquarium in Plymouth
Not to be missed – ideal for a rainy day – very new and allegedly the best in the country. Close to the Mayflower Experience in the picturesque Barbican.
For young buccaneers. You can park up there or if you are more energetic you could park the car in the National Trust carpark at Stoke, walk along the coastal path or track (shorter/easier at 25 minutes), visit the castle then take the ferry into Dartmouth.
The Visitor’s Centre at Princetown
Followed by a trip over Dartmoor (beautiful place) and antique shopping in Ashburton or white water rafting and other adventures at the Dart Country Park.
From Dartmouth, Plymouth or Salcombe - that’s if you like cooking mackerel, as they are inclined to catch rather a lot!
Woodlands Theme Park and Pennywell
are perfect whole days out for children, but personally we would do our very best to avoid Trago Mills (with or without children) unless you have greater stamina than us and are all shopaholics who like ferreting for a good bargain, even when on holiday!!
Just a few more...
We love to visit Coleton Fishacre (NT), the Dartington Arts Centre, the Reel Cinema in Kingsbridge, the Eden Project together with Lanhydrock (about one hour drive, but leave early to there by 10 am, otherwise arrive at 2pm) – and of course all the fantastic coastline walks.
Finally, pamper your tastebuds
You should not be disappointed if you eat at the Ship at Ugborough, the New Inn at Moreleigh, the old Church House at Harbertonfor, the Tower Inn at Slapton, the Port Light twixt Soar Mill and Hope Coves, Pig Finca in Kingsbridge, the Ship and Dolphin at Newton Ferrers and Noss Mayo – and last but by far the least, the Oyster Shack at Easton, on the way to Bigbury – or you could just eat in as Jasmine Chinese Restaurant in Kingsbridge offer a free delivery service too, which can save the day if all else fails. But no doubt you will find favourites of your own – the opportunities appear to be endless. Alternatively you could just go fishing, put your feet up, play the odd game of tennis, take a dip in the pool, read a good book, listen to the birds or some light music and relax in the garden.