Cream of Devon resorts: If you like a good dollop of history, geology and science to go with your bucket and spade, Sidmouth could not be extra appealing – at any time of calendar year
- Sidmouth, one particular of Britain’s most sedate seaside towns, lies at the mouth of the River Sid in the vicinity of Exeter
- Forget about seaside arcades – Sidmouth’s primary attraction is an aged telescope at the Norman Lockyer Observatory
- Dukes Seaside Inn has a prime seafront location, attractive bed room and serves ‘very good’ crab sandwiches
Forget seaside arcades with penny slots and dodgems — Sidmouth’s main attraction is an aged telescope at the Norman Lockyer Observatory.
It is not just any previous telescope, head you. The lens of this instrument was made use of in 1868 by Lockyer, the world’s initially professor of astrophysics, to explore an aspect in the sun’s halo that he named helium.
Sidmouth lies at the mouth of the River Sid, 14 miles from Exeter. And if you like a excellent dollop of background, geology and science to go with your bucket and spade, it couldn’t be additional interesting — at any time of year.
Golden sands: The sedate town of Sidmouth on the Jurassic Coast has heritage aplenty
A single of Britain’s most sedate seaside resorts, Sidmouth was a fishing village right until the fashion for coastal resorts grew in the Regency time period from 1811 to 1820.
Edward VII checked into the Royal York Lodge in 1856, and when the Devon city was connected to a railway (no more time running) in 1874, effectively-heeled Victorians flocked there.
The esplanade is lined with Grade II-stated inns, quite a few trapped in the bygone period of tea dances, chintz and flocked wallpaper. It’s all pretty comforting in an old-fashioned way — however that is not the whole tale.
For a wind of adjust would surface to be in the air, if Dukes Seaside Inn, with its key seafront situation, is anything at all to go by. It is as interesting as they occur, with unfussy yet stylish bedrooms, and a restaurant with a pleasurable terrace and extremely excellent crab sandwiches.
Experience properly-fed, it was time for a different foray into the past. At Sidmouth Museum, the yr 1814 is captured in Long Photo, a 9ft-extended watercolour panorama of the city painted by Hubert Cornish. Lots of of the buildings in it even now exist, these kinds of as coral-hued Beach front Residence with its Gothic windows — a person of the 1st Regency homes to be designed on the seafront. Also still standing is Wallis’s Maritime Library, now section of the Bedford Resort.
Obtaining picked up a ‘blue plaque’ guidebook (there are 64 buildings of historic interest), I head for one particular of Sidmouth’s most prominent landmarks, the grand and sweeping Fortfield Terrace.
Forget about seaside arcades with penny slots and dodgems – Sidmouth’s main attraction is an old telescope at the Norman Lockyer Observatory
Below, at No 8, the Grand Duchess Helena of Russia, no considerably less, stayed in 1831. You just cannot miss out on the property as it is topped with an imposing Russian Imperial Eagle. Under the terrace is a croquet inexperienced, yet another of the town’s attractive aged touches.
But now I was following a little something extra adventurous.
‘Isn’t it brilliant?’ bellows Dude Russell, volunteer lifeguard and proprietor of Jurassic Paddle Sporting activities, as we kayak west in direction of Ladram Bay.
He’s referring to the 240-million-12 months-previous Jurassic Coastline with its distinctive crimson sandstone cliffs dating from the Triassic period (between 251 million to 199 million a long time back). Fixed to the cliff facial area is Jacob’s Ladder, a wooden stairway that has been a feature of the town since 1871. At the leading, you are going to obtain The Clock Tower cafe, housed in a 19th-century pseudo-castle, and further than is Connaught Gardens, opened by the Duke of Connaught in 1934.
Paddling on involving two rock stacks, which glow rosy-brown in the sunlight, Dude factors out cormorants nesting on cliff ledges.
In Ladram Bay, fossil hunters rummage, at any time hopeful of acquiring an ammonite or a mammoth tooth amid the rock particles. Last year a tooth weighing 12 lb was unearthed in nearby Sidbury.
The upcoming day I test the five-mile strolling loop that commences on Salcombe Hill, with sights west to Sidmouth and east to Weston Seaside. It’s a knee-crunching descent to the valley floor, right before a steep climb to Greater Dunscombe cliff, where Victorian gardeners with heads for heights at the time tended allotments.
Later on, the terrace of Dukes is the best location for a Sidmouth Seashore gin and tonic — and a toast to this pretty seaside city.