Rock pooling is what childhood memories are made of, but no matter what your age, you’ll find something to fascinate you by peering into the rock pools at Jacob’s Ladder Beach in Sidmouth. From the rocks at the base of the cliffs, climb the famous white ‘ladder’ staircase to emerge at the top of the red cliff in Connaught Gardens, where a fine range of plants flourish in the temperate coastal climate. Head to the far end of the gardens for a wonderful photo opportunity, with Sidmouth Esplanade as your backdrop.
Sidmouth is part of the Jurassic Coast. In fact, all the beaches in the Exmouth to Lyme Regis section of the Jurassic Coast are easily accessible from Forest Glade. Spot kite surfers, brave a swim, explore the colourful marina, or wander the miles of sand at Exmouth, or head over the border into Dorset to explore the fossil-laden rocks that tumble from the cliffs at Lyme Regis. With Budleigh Salterton, Beer and Seaton also dotted along this stretch of coastline, you’ll have sandy and pebbly beaches, locally-made ice cream and fish and chips all on the doorstep.
The Exe Estuary Trail links Exmouth on one side to the popular seaside resort of Dawlish on the other. It offers 22 mile of mostly flat cycling and walking, with wonderful views of the beautiful Estuary. It’s a bird spotters’ delight, with avocets, godwits and brent geese all regular visitors. Try Bowling Green Marsh at Topsham for the best spotting location.
May is the time of year for bluebells. Devon hedgerows everywhere are splashed with that beautiful watercolour blue, interspersed with the dainty white of stitchwort and sedate pink of red campion. However, if you want a guaranteed ‘carpet’ of bluebells, venture over to Blackbury Camp, a C4th hillfort just perfect for picnics.
No matter what your level of ability, the range of off-road trails at Haldon Forest Park, many with beautiful views over Exeter, are fantastic for walkers, trail runners and cyclists. You do have to pay for parking, but then you have the whole 3,500 acres at your disposal. There’s a café and bike hire available too.
If you fancy meeting a shire horse pulling a barge, then try a walk from the Tiverton Canal Basin on the Grand Western Canal. We explored the canal in our previous blog. A haven for wildlife, it’s easily accessible, very scenic and fun for families of all ages.
Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary is reopening from Monday 17th May. The Sanctuary has been rescuing and protecting donkeys since the 1960s and Sidmouth is home to hundreds of these gentle creatures. Meet donkeys and mules in the barn, visit the recently modernised restaurant and enjoy the play area. You can also take a walk down to the beach at Weston Mouth from the Sanctuary. It’s not a long walk, but quite steep.
We’re lucky to have easy access to two National Parks here at Forest Glade. Read our previous blog about the two moors, Dartmoor and Exmoor, to find out more about their wild ponies, picturesque valleys and craggy tors.
Visit Exeter, our nearest city, to immerse yourself in history. It boasts a stunning Gothic Cathedral, a bustling Quay with restaurants and cafes and the fantastic Royal Albert Memorial Museum (Read our previous blog about local museums). Try Fore Street and Gandy Street for an interesting range of independent shops. Exeter City Council have produced a set of self-guided walking trails, which navigate you around the most interesting and historic parts of the city for free.
The Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton is an award-winning public art gallery, which hosts a programme of contemporary arts and crafts exhibitions. You can check their website for the latest displays and events and, with the money you’ve saved on a free day out, why not treat yourself to a cream tea in one of Honiton’s cosy cafes?!
If you find a free day out that you think we should be recommending to our guests, then be sure to let us know.
Please note: indoor activities are expected to be open as of May 17th 2021, but please check before travelling to an attraction to avoid disappointment.