Lucy Self headed down to Devon for a whirling dervish of a weekend packed with fantastic hotels and fish-tastic food.
With its craggy coastlines, rugged moors and some of the best seafood restaurants in the country, South Devon is a fantastic place for a long weekend any time of the year.
Culinary standards are as high as the area’s stunning coastal paths and you’ll find fish caught within a few miles of each restaurant and cider pressed within inches of the local pubs. Here are a few of our top tips for enjoy perfect weekend breaks in Devon.
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What to See
Situated in the unspoiled town of Salcombe at Devon’s most southerly point, this boutique hotel is the perfect starting spot for anyone wanting to explore the county’s famous coastline.
With a decidedly ‘surf chic’ Hamptons feel, Southsands has an easy charm – from its cheery bunch of casually attired staff to its simple but sumptuous rooms (ours dressed in nautical white and blue). We loved our sea-facing J Class room with Robert Langford armchairs looking out over the water and a private balcony outside in case we wanted to experience the view alfresco.
Other than its location, the other huge selling point of Southsands is its restaurant (and its award-winning consultant chef Mitch Tonks). Unsurprisingly the menu is largely fish focused and extremely good. Quick tip: in warmer months guests and visitors can dine on the outside balcony but make sure you book as it’s a (quite rightly) sought after summer spot.
For more information visit southsands.com
If anywhere sums up the quaint appeal of Devon’s coastal towns, which rise up in rickety rows from the water, then Dartmouth would be a strong contender.
Dart Marina, a five star hotel and spa, has the distinction of being somewhat a haven away from the hoards that visit in the summer months. The hotel is modern in design, with rooms finished to an elegant standard.
If you’re planning on staying for a little longer, we recommend booking into one of Dart Marina’s luxury self-catering apartments – with facials at the Elemis Health Spa of course. And don’t miss a sundown drink on their outside deck, looking towards the twinkling lights of the town.
For more information visit dartmarina.com
Mitch Tonks is a name you’ll hear uttered a lot in South Devon – particularly if you’re looking to sample the abundance of locally caught seafood. He made his name with his fish restaurant The Seahorse – which has won countless awards and critics accolades alike since it first opened – but we recommend keeping it casual at Rockfish.
The less formal franchise (there are three dotted across Devon) is a collection of well-dressed fish and chip shops, with gold-burnished battered fish with flaky flesh and greaseless fluffy chips. They do a bustling trade in take away, should you fancy your haddock with a side of sea view.
For more information visit therockfish.co.uk
Run by Jennie Jarvis, Graze and Flavour is an organisation doing its best to introduce Devon’s culinary credentials to tourists.
Experiences on offer include a day of butchery and beermaking at Pebblebed winery to a weekend in Topsham being introduced to local artisan producers.
Our favourite is their F.I.S.H (Fish in Sutton Harbour) tour – which literally takes you from sea to plate. Highlights include an early morning trip to Plymouth’s fish market where Harbour Master Pete educates and entertains in equal measures; a fishing trip littered with local tales and filleting lessons from the owner of Plymouth Boat Trips. By the time lunch is served, you’ll want to do it all again…
For more information visit grazeandflavour.co.uk