Tuesday, 23 June 2015

My Salcombe

I have been going to Salcombe with one of my favourite family's in the world for 12 years, since I was 17. It is a ritual, a part of my summer and always, ALWAYS a good time... 

When we were in our teens and early twenties, me and my best friend shamelessly ogled the Salcombe Boat Hire boys with their bleached hair and sea tans, dying inside if they so much as looked our way. Days were spent in head-to-toe Jack Wills on the beach and buying underage ciders from the handsome barmen at The Ferry Inn. It is a teenager's playground in the summer, a chance to flirt and stay out late in one of the safest places you can be. Early mornings were spent in the local club - Fusion it used to be called - in nearby Kingsbridge where we danced to cheesy music and counted out our pounds for WKDs, before returning back to Salcombe on the coach at 3am.

Twelve years later and I still love it... Our collective group of early twenties - early thirties plus some of the older generation now tends to take up two properties and has entranced numerous newbies throughout the years. We also have a few routine activities which we partake in every year and places where we visit and as I've just come back from a weeks holiday, I thought I would do a post with a few tips. So here's my Salcombe guide... (please note this is not a guide for young kids as we don't happened to have had any of those yet - so if you do this may not be the guide for you...)

1) Hire a boat a few days if you can... there are two places that we always visit. Firstly the Milbrook Inn at South Pool, good beer and a nice little boat journey (watch the tides... always check when high tide is, or you can find yourself stranded aground). Secondly - as we always stay in the main town - we take the boat to the South Sands Hotel for sandwiches and rose.

2) The Winking Prawn at North Sands is great for some seafood obvs... It's a short walk on the road from the main village (you can't take the boat into the beach here, so it is walking) with wonderful views across the bay. If the weather's good it really feels like you are in the med. Incidentally there is great walking all around Salcombe, ask in any of the gift shops for a guide or download here.

3) Beach Sports on East Portlemouth or Millbay. When we were younger there were usually six teenage girls and our activities consisted of laying on the sand and occasionally trying to play bat and ball near a group of boys... In the last five years, we have played five-a-side, cricket, rounders, tennis and beach golf on these beaches. Accessible by ferry (£1.50 each way) from the pontoon near The Ferry Inn, in the sunshine these beaches are unbeatable. Stop at The Ferry for a drink on your way back, it is arguable the best beer garden in England.

4) For a small seaside village the shopping choices in Salcombe are unbelievable. My friend and I are big fans of Amelia's Attic, a boutique worthy of London and Paris where we seem to ALWAYS end up spending too much. As well as the obligatory Jack Wills and Fat Face, they have recently also opened a Havaianas. Sweet fans must go to Cranches and the ice cream at Salcombe Dairy is some of the west's best. This year our favourite new shop is Will Bees Bespoke, a leather shop that makes beautiful bags, wallets, keyrings and other leather goods, sometimes combining the leather with beautiful fabrics from Liberty and elsewhere.

5) The Pubs. There is an extensive choice of pubs in Salcombe and we have sampled them all, our favourites changing from year to year. Currently, we think the Ferry has the best beer garden for the day - view and all - we'd then switch to the Kings Arms (Whitestrand Bar) for the early evening drink or late afternoon tea and cake. The Victoria has the best food and a lovely upstairs area that can seat plenty with a beer garden out the back. (They also do incredible prosecco cocktails). For late night antics, it is generally The Fortescue with  Jukebox, Table Football and Pool Table to keep you amused. However Island Street is also a must visit, with live music twice a week. All of these venues are within a five minute walk from each other...which is dangerous.

There is so much more I could mention, kayaking at South Sands, the perfect brie, bacon and cranberry paninis at the Salcombe Coffee Company, numerous restaurants such as Captain Flints (get in the queue early you can't book), Captain Morgan's for breakfast.

If you go, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do...

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