SOUTH DEVON is a great place to visit if you have children – and even better if you have the perfect base to call home for the duration of your stay.
Spindrift, a spacious bungalow nestled in the quaint fishing village of Hope Cove, ticked all the right boxes for us even if the typical inclement British summer weather threatened to dampen our spirits.
The one-level property is described as “a charming holiday home” and it is certainly chock-full of charm. As well as a splendid en-suite master bedroom, with walk-in wardrobe, a spacious kitchen and ample lounge, the highlight is the marvellous sun room that doubles up as a dining area, that leads outside on to a balcony/decking platform.
From here, you get a wonderful vista from the rolling hills of the Devon countryside to views of the Celtic sea shimmering in the sunlight.
Blue Chip Holidays prides themselves on providing ‘luxury self-catering holiday accommodation’ and you know before you arrive that you will be staying somewhere special and Spindrift did not disappoint.
As for Hope Cove, it is a picturesque coastal sanctuary on the west side of the region known as the South Hams, just up the shoreline from the sailing-mad town of Salcombe.
There are numerous beaches on your doorstep and Benjamin spent many a happy hour with his fishing net and bucket, exploring the many rock pools, building sand castles and paddling in the clear waters.
If stunning coastal walks are your thing, then you will be well catered for; the popular town of Dartmouth is only a short drive away, as is the National Park of Dartmoor, while a little further afield you will find the holiday towns of Torquay and Plymouth.
For those who enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies of the Devon shoreline, then I can recommend a shore walk with none other than Monty Halls, or at least a member of his knowledgeable team.
The TV presenter/adventurer has opened a shop called ‘Great Escapes’ in Dartmouth, from which he operates shore walks, boat trips and diving explorations, and it was with marine biologist Rachel that Benjamin and I spent an enjoyable hour on the rocky coastline in the shadow of Dartmouth Castle.
From discovering starfish to different types of crab and sea anemones, to indulging in a spot of seaweed eating, Rachel opened our eyes to the various forms of wildlife living quite happily by the sea.
If you’re lucky enough you may even get to meet Monty himself and his dog Reuben, as we did when popping in to his shop.
While you are in Dartmouth, you should treat yourself to a boat trip, provided by the Steam Railway and River Boat Company. We hopped aboard the Dartmouth Princess for a leisurely cruise that took us down the river and back.
We headed towards the village of Dittisham, past Greenway House, the former home of Agatha Christie, and then back down stream with an informative commentary provided by the captain.
A trip to South Devon is not complete without a trip to the east coast of the South Hams to ‘The King of Zoos’ at Paignton, which was founded in 1923 by Herbert Whitley, and provides excellent for money for all the family.
The highlight for Benjamin, though, weren’t the playful gorillas, the giant tortoises, or the endangered black rhinos, but the little diesel train that circumnavigates gibbon island every half-an-hour.
Set in lovely wooded grounds, the park attracts around 500,000 visitors a year and in recent years the zoo has been transformed with the addition of the Ape Centre, Monkey Heights and Animal Encounters Theatre.
Yes indeed, we may only have sampled a week of Devon life, but it was pretty clear to us that it is just the perfect place to go with children who love to be outdoors and a return trip is definitely on the agenda.
Spindrift is a four-star gold rated holiday home, which sleeps up to six guests in three bedrooms and can be booked from £409 for three nights or from £609 for a week. It’s just one of more than 800 four and five star properties available from Blue Chip Holidays in Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Cornwall, and The Isle of Wight. Bookings can be made online at www.bluechipholidays.co.uk or by calling 0844 7044987.
Ranging from cottages to luxury self-catering coastal houses, apartments and barn conversions, Blue Chip Holidays’ properties are chosen for their stunning location, amazing coastal or rural views or hi-spec interiors. Each is reviewed to ensure they meet the high standard set not only by Blue Chip Holidays, but also by VisitEngland.
Monty Halls’ Great Escapes can be booked by calling 01803 431858, or by emailing GreatEscapes@montyhalls.co.uk Booking in advance is strongly advised due to high demand. See www.montyhalls.co.uk/bluechip-holidays for latest available dates.