Since my childhood home got sold, Bristol has been feeling much more like home. That in turn means that whenever I do find the time to visit Devon, it feels like a mini holiday, especially now that the weather is getting warmer.
British seaside holidays or staycations are so popular - of course you can get amazingly cheap flights to Europe, but if you're strapped for time or have a lot of things to bundle into your car (including kids) it can be a lot less stressful to just drive a couple of hours to the coast.
Here's what you can get up to in three days in the South Hams.
As I'm from sunny South Devon, I'm not the biggest expert on where to stay. BUT I know for a fact that Alf Resco in Dartmouth is a lovely place to stay, as I visited Lily and Tom when they stayed there last summer! Their little top floor flat was absolutely adorable!
Breakfast is included, and Alf's do the tastiest breakfasts for miles around - you'll also probably find my uncle Kevin in there, so say hello to him from me.
There are also always loads of nice places to stay on Airbnb as well - and it's always good to stay with a local! Across the river from Dartmouth is the village I grew up in, and a beautiful place to stay. If you use my code for your booking on Airbnb, you can get money off too! This place in particular is very nice, and I've seen it with my own eyes as it's my friend's mum's place!
A TRIP TO THE COAST.
I am extremely biased, but the Devon coastline is absolutely stunning. My favourite stretch is from Dartmouth to Salcombe, and there are so many beaches to explore. From wild hidden coves only accessible down a narrow, slightly treacherous footpath, to more family friendly shores with all the amenities you could need.
The latter is what we went for, as Mum and I had one of my favourite little people in tow. With a picnic packed, suncream slathered on, and a windbreak put up to shelter us from the sea breeze, we settled in for a lovely few hours at Blackpool Sands. Lots of playing, paddling and lying in the sun (which did actually make an appearance, despite the cloudiness of these snaps!).
You do have to pay to park here, but there's everything you may need including a cafe, shop, toilets, lifeguards, as well as fresh water pool which is very safe for children to play in.
Don't forget to have an ice cream before you leave!
AN AFTERNOON AT PENNYWELL FARM.
This is one of my favourite attractions in Devon, and my mum has been taking us since we were really little! It's improved so much since then, but the feel of the place is still the same. The staff are amazing - they really engage with the kids, they learn so much about all the farm animals, and can get really hands on.
Talking of hands on, the best thing about the farm is that you get to cuddle piglets! This is the biggest draw for me, and they have become famous for their tiny little pigs. I always want to take one home!
Throughout the day, there are lots of talks about the different animals, as well as interactive activities.
If you're looking for other animal attractions, Paignton Zoo is hands down one of the best zoos ever, and the Rare Breeds Farm is meant to be excellent as well.
SHOPPING & EATING IN TOTNES.
I've spent many Fridays browsing the market, wandering in and out of the shops and eating cakes here.. and now it's where my mum lives! It's very handy to be able to walk a few minutes to the best coffee in town - The Curator Cafe - before making our way up the high street.
The shops of Totnes have changed over the years, but as well as the lovely new clothes shops like Colony, there are a few absolute gems that have really stood the test of time.
PaperWorks is an amazing shop full of beautiful cards, handmade paper and other crafty things. I found this place extremely useful when I was into bookbinding!
Revival is an absolute treasure trove of vintage. It is jam packed full of amazing dresses and interesting things. I've spent so many hours looking through the rails and exploring the different hidden rooms in this shop, and I've spent a lot of money in there too...
Gazebo is full of colourful, adorable things. I always find something I want in there, and now they stock Liberty and Rifle Paper Co too!
Drift sells records and coffee, and is obviously pretty popular as it moved to this larger premises at the top of the high street a couple of years ago.
Even if you sampled the delicious brunch or something sweet at The Curator, by the time you get halfway up the high street you'll probably fancy something. Perhaps some lunch?
One of my favourite places to get lunch is Seeds 2. It's a vegetarian cafe where you just grab a plate and help yourself to whatever you want - you can usually find macaroni cheese, roasted veg, dhal, and an amazing array of salads. I always have a little bit of everything.
Another of our usual lunch spots is The Tangerine Tree - great coffee, freshly made lunches, and homemade cakes. That chocolate and hazelnut cake (below) was absolutely incredible.
And if that's not enough to sweeten the deal, you can always head up to Grey's Tearooms. Expect a full range of loose leaf teas, traditional cakes, and please switch off your phone. This is definitely the best place in Totnes to get a proper Devon cream tea!
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