A family holiday is an oxymoron. So is a British summer. Thus, with little expectation of either fine dining or the sun shining, we planned our break. With two small children, the boot was full, the journey short. We were going from Somerset to Devon. For the second year running we had booked into The Crab Pot, an ex-fisherman’s hut situated on South Sands beach near the mouth of the estuary about a mile from Salcombe. The cottage has everything we could need: the presence of frighteningly high bunks for the courageous three-year-old and the absence of (frighteningly high) stairs for the outrageous one-year-old. The décor is “spartan-chic”, having been recently redecorated. Like the children, our holiday world is small. Besides the cottage, where time is spent being amused by the children and the view, the week is played out in three places: the beach, the nearby National Trust property and Salcombe. The beach is only a few steps (seven, to be exact) from the cottage. It has plenty of yellow sand, which responds well to childish manipulation — which, frankly, is all that matters to half the family. The kids prefer the rock pools. We all like the locally produced ice-cream sold in the boat house. The National Trust property nearby is Overbeck’s Museum & Garden, situated a 15-minute toddle away. It supplies all necessary aspects of family activity: a garden for running races, a tearoom for filling faces, and a museum for hiding spaces (in this instance, a children’s secret passage). And back to the beach, it’s all downhill. Which is more than can be said for the journey to Salcombe, the third pillar of our holiday experience. Salcombe is reached via hills, which on foot require mountaineering gear, and by car require first gear. If you prefer, a ferry service runs half-hourly from South Sands to the centre of Salcombe (adults £2.70). Salcombe is a picturesque town overlooking a beautiful estuary. It appears to be populated by models from a Boden catalogue. Luckily, they must have an appetite, which is well served by numerous cafés and ice-cream parlours. We like the Wardroom, which overlooks the water. For more space, the Marine Hotel has a fantastic view — and fantastically few visitors in the afternoon. We’re going back to the same cottage next year, trusting that with slightly larger children the journey will be easier, the boot emptier. It will be family; it might even be a holiday. Tessa Dean, Taunton thecrabpot.co.uk.
Hope Cove comprises of two tiny villages, Inner and Outer Hope which are linked by a road and footpath. For much of its life it has been a fairly remote fishing village – the principle means by which its inhabitants supplemented their incomes was by smuggling and plundering wrecked ships. Surrounding the cove are lovely coastal walks which are perfect to spot wildlife and take in the sea air.
Kayaking available all year .. cold weather gear available http://www.southsandssailing.co.uk/ The Crab Pot is about 20 paces from your sea-kayak!!
In the centre of Salcombe – www.victoriainnsalcombe.co.uk
October 2012 we visited the Victoria Inn for lunch.. A good varied menu with lots of fresh fish and all local produce. Friendly staff, gorgeous huge beer garden at the back of the pub. Nice touches were a firstly big box of fleecy blankets in case you are cold in the garden. Second was a basket of reading glasses on the bar for those who had forgotten their own and could not read the menu. On the fireplace was a chalk board with the WiFi number and pass code so free use of their wiFi. Outside was a blackboard reading “Man Crèche” basically offering to look after men safely whilst their wives went shopping! This is open all day and also has rooms. I understand they also own CaptainMorgan’s on Whitestrand Quay which does a fantastic breakfast!
Probably the best beer garden right on the water in Salcombe.
A. Fore Street, Salcombe, Devon, TQ8 8JE
T. 01548 844000
For plant lovers Overbecks tropical garden is a haven of peace and tranquillity with rare and interesting varieties and stunning views over Salcombe Estuary.
Again one of our favourites for dining out and right on our doorstep.
Swimming pool and squash courts open to non residents – no children under 8 years old .
This trust operates three tall ships/classic yachts. Keep an eye out for Provident, Leader and Golden Vanity as they periodically enter Salcombe Harbour for the evening/night. You can charter any of these yachts for six day trips/long weekends with professional crews laid on.
T. 01803 883355
Great sea fishing out of Salcombe, for bass, cod, pollock, ray, sole, plaice, shark, conger eel, mackeral and other species.
T. 01548 842840
M: 07855 315770
The River Maid (Kingsbridge/Salcombe ferry ) runs bird watching cruises though it appears only out of season. So if birdwatching is your bag then why not book The Crab Pot for late September/early October onwards. Next cruises are on Saturday 29 September and Saturday 13 October 2012.
Enquiries April/May 01803 834488
June to October 01548 833607