You don’t have to fly half-way around the world for new horizons and some much needed rest and relaxation.
Post August bank holiday the South-West summer crowds disperse, leaving the beaches and towns gloriously clear, the sea still warm from months of sun and prices considerably lower.
Whether you are looking for a peaceful weekend for two, or a full on week of family fun we recommend heading to Salcombe on Devon’s south coast, just four hours drive from London.
Burgh Island Hotel – once a firm favourite with Agatha Christie and Noel Coward, this art deco the Burgh Island hotel sits on its own tidal island and can be reached by helicopter, using the hotel’s private helipad, or, at high tide, by sea-tractor. Exclusive, elegant and somewhat ethereal, Burgh Island restrict use of their restaurant, spa and expansive grounds to residents.
* Rooms start from £310 per night. You can visit their website for more information or call 01548 810514.
Salcombe Harbour Hotel – voted one of the ‘coolest places to stay’ by The Time. The Salcombe Harbour Hotel is perfect for families who can take advantage of the hotel’s central location. There are a selection of family rooms and suites available, which can accommodate up to four people, and the whole building recently underwent extensive renovation and refurbishment.
* Rooms start from roughly £125 per night and include use of the spa and breakfast. Find out more here or call 01548 844444.
If you prefer the intimacy of your own holiday home, head to Salcombe Holiday House for a selection of the best rental properties, from quaint cottages to modern beach houses equipped for a party of eighteen.
The Beach House – head to The Beachouse (01548 561144) for a panoramic sundowner or superb supper. Beloved by one and all the restaurant is, quite simply, a wooden shed, albeit a very romantic one, perched above the beach with an open kitchen and thirty very in-demand seats. Although open throughout the day, try and snag one of the indoor tables around sunset and feast on charcuterie platters and ever changing selection of fresh fish.
The Oyster Shack – somewhat of an institution on the south coast, what The Oyster Shack (01548 810876) lacks in terms of a view it makes up for with straight-from-the-market seafood (think freshly caught Devon crab and oysters piled generously on ice) and impeccable service. Don’t let the prefab building or wipe down table clothes detract from its real charm either. This is English eccentricity at its best.
The Millbrook Inn – the Millbrook’s (01548 531581) key attraction is its location, the chocolate box village of South Pool. If you have managed to secure one of Salcombe’s elusive moorings (or borrowed/stolen a boat from a kind friend) paddle up the creek, tide times permitting, and moor right outside. Once settled, feast on local produce and seasonal ingredients.
Kayaking tours, paddleboarding lessons and coasteering courses remain available, weather permitting, throughout October. With SeaKayak & SUP, who are based in an old lifeboat house on South Sands beach, you can watch from the relaxed safety of the Southsands Hotel deck whilst adrenaline fuelled children (and/or other half’s) take to the water.
If you are a keen surfer head to Bantham beach (dogs are also welcome on the majority of beaches from October through till spring) for rolling waves before warming up with a cup of something hot and fresh cream teas at the brilliant Gastrobus.
If you would prefer not to test your sea legs then play a round at the beautiful cliff-top golf course in Thurlstone (01548 560405) or make the journey by boat, road or vintage bus to Greenway, Agatha Christie’s former home (01803 842382).
Alternatively keep it simple, the walks around the South Hams are arguably some of the most beautiful in this country. Take the ferry across the Salcombe estuary from The Ferry Inn and walk around the headland to Gara Rock where you can refuel on homemade cake at the newly built hotel with sweeping views of the sea below.
Last but not least, you could always forgo the outside all together and book yourself in for a spa day at The Thurlstone Hotel (01548 560382). The three luxuriously appointed beauty therapy rooms offering treatments are open to non-residents and use products from Decléor and Ytsara.