My dream home would probably be on top of a cliff with a winding pathway down to a secluded beach with rocks pools and caves. Amazing views all year round – and in the winter, stormy seas and crashing waves.
Until I win the lottery and buy my dream home, the next best thing are lots of family holidays by the sea – and we had a great stay recently at Leonard’s Cove near Dartmouth in Devon.
Located in the village of Stoke Fleming in the beautiful South Hams district, Leonard’s Cove boasts stunning views out across Start Bay and a range of accommodation from camping pitches to mobile homes, lodges and cottages.
We stayed in one of the lodges which are perched on top of the cliff at the lower part of the site – and it suited us down to the ground. The views were spectacular – and during our stay we experienced both atmospheric, windy weather and then bright sunshine and flat calm seas.
The lodge was very comfortable – plenty of space, nicely furnished and a real home from home feel. Most unexpected was the bathroom – a big wet room complete with underfloor heating and better than many upmarket hotels I’ve stayed at.
The South Hams area is packed full of things to do and places to go and the town of Dartmouth is an absolute must – great restaurants and coffee shops, castles and walks – and rather a lot of boats. Oh – and some great views…
Here are my top ten must do things in Dartmouth:
Go crabbing: Get yourself a crabbing net, some bait and a bucket and spend a lazy afternoon catching (and then releasing!) crabs by the water’s edge. My tip: the bait is very smelly so have some hand-wash handy!
Visit Dartmouth Castle: You can walk from the town to Dartmouth Castle which is owned by English Heritage – and there’s a very nice tea and ice cream shop (with great views….!) The historic church is very pretty too. My tip: Get a boat from the town out to the castle and then stroll back.
Go on a ferry: I’ve been going to Dartmouth since I was a child and getting there from Kingswear on the other side of the river Dart by car ferry always felt like a treat – and still does! If you don’t need or want to take your car then hop on a passenger ferry.
Go on a steam train: While you’re in Kingswear you could take a trip on a steam train – the train goes to Paignton (and stops at Greenway).
Take a river tour: Sail down the Dart and keep a look out for Agatha Christie’s Greenway House which is now owned by the National Trust.
Get up early and have breakfast at Café Alf Resco: It is really no exception to say that this is one of my favourite cafés in the world (click here is another) – great food (proper freshly squeezed orange juice, local bacon and a range of cereals (Small Son’s favourite)), friendly staff, a nice vibe and it’s open from 7am (and staff are cheerful even if you’re a bleary-eyed parent out for early morning crabbing)
Have lunch or dinner in Rockfish. Rockfish is one of three restaurants in Dartmouth by chef Mitch Tonks (the others are the fish and chip shop by the car ferry and the more formal Seahorse).
Rockfish is brilliant – the food is delicious and the prices are very reasonable. And if you’ve got children then the Rockfish activity packs are priceless (quite literally as they are free).
Have tea and cakes in Saveurs – lovely service and great cakes. And they do dinner too. (Another place I’d recommend for eating is Kendrick’s)
Further afield then it’s well worth taking a drive out to Start Point. From there you can walk to Start Point lighthouse (which is open to the public at certain times and the old lighthouse keepers’ cottages can be rented out from Rural Retreats.)
There are obviously lots of beaches in the area but my favourite is Bantham – it’s very sandy but also has ample rock pools which kept Small Son occupied for many hours. (Incidentally, if you’ve got a spare £10 million, the whole village of Bantham is up for sale)…
After a lazy afternoon at Bantham it was back to Leonard’s Cove for a cosy family dinner… and time to watch the sunset (and enjoy a nice glass of wine…)
Our accommodation was provided courtesy of leonardscove.co.uk