It’s not often I visit gorgeous places in England, because I love the sunshine and warmth from going abroad. However, I am pleased to say we decided to head to Devon, a place in which I hold some cherished childhood holiday memories.
We settled on staying at Hope Cove – a cute little seaside village on the southern tip of Devon. Our cottage was a lovely, 2 bedroomed converted barn with a front garden in Bolberry with stunning walks down to Hope Cove.
Hope Cove is a lovely place with a great atmosphere, a shop and gallery, 2 beaches and plenty of places to eat. There were many walking options from the cottage. The first took about 25 minutes with a walk down the narrow road that led to the start of the National Trust field at Hope Barton. We had dinner at the Hope and Anchor, sitting outside in the sunshine, which was lovely. On the walk back it took us past golden fields of thistles, hay bales and the most splendid views toward Bantham and Burgh Island.
What was abundantly clear is how much people love the water here. The sand is so soft and the sea is shallow and incredibly clear. Great for kayaking, swimming and Paddleboards. Luckily after speaking to the lovely family who owns the Karrageen Campsite, they mentioned Triocean Surf, a great place to hire kayaks near Kingsbridge. It was so much cheaper than the extortionate prices down at the beaches. After a helpful chat with the owners at Triocean they helped put the Kayaks on the roof using their soft roof racks, we were off back to Hope Cove to try them out.
Just so you know my children are 7 and 9 years old and between us all, we have only ever canoed once. Like a duck to water, we took to the seas very easily helped by the gentle sea. Kayaking is an excellent way to see coves and caves that you normally can’t see from the beach. South Devon is full of fascinating stories about smugglers and like all the adventure books I have ever read I wanted to investigate further.
The next evening we took a long walk along the South West Coast path toward Bolt Tail and then down to Hope Cove for another delicious meal. The views from the top were breathtaking.
What you can’t hear in the picture below, are my children, who felt very compelled to sing at the top of their voices and belt out a tune to be carried on the wind to the other islands.
The view inspires creativity in us all.
I love this image of my son surveying the land, king of the seas!
The second day of kayaking took us out to South Milton Sands – but get there before 11 am as the car park fills up quickly. The tide was out so we had to drag the kayaks down, bear this in mind as they’re heavy. Once out on the sea which was a little choppy, we explored again and headed towards Thurlestone beach. From here you can row across to Burgh Island or back to Hope Cove but as the current was stronger we stayed in the bay area. There is, however, a fantastic rock with a hole through it called Thurlestone Rock. It was fun kayaking through the crashing waves. The water is very shallow near the beach so once again great for swimming and paddling, especially for small children.
Realising we hadn’t yet had a Devonshire cream tea and sampled the local fudge, we headed to Salcombe, a very pretty fishing town with lots of upmarket shops and quaint boutiques. Visit Roly’s fudge shop or Cranchs’ sweet shop for fudge and other sweet delights. We boarded the foot ferry to South Sands beach – a sea tractor picks you up as the boat can’t go too close to the shoreline. From here we walked up a steep hill (be warned!) to Overbeck, a National Trust treasure – a beautiful 7-acre garden and there awarded ourselves with a cream tea. Yummy!
Our last day we checked out and headed towards Exmouth to cycle the Exe Estuary. You can cycle all the way to Dawlish and back or get a ferry back over the other side. But for my two and their tired little legs, we only cycled 2 hours with a delightful stop over at Topsham for a scrumptious chocolate and banana pancake as fuel for the home journey.
Devon, we loved you and we’ll come back to explore again.