101 Reviews

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January, 2018

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I found Sidmouth captivating as did the Poetlaureate John Betjeman.
A lovely seaside town nestling beneath the red cliffs and green hills of the Sid Valley.

As a child, I remember an aunt who visited and talked of this place with affection. A place to relax and unwind and enjoy the fresh sea breeze.

A town rich in history as it’s architecture reveals. Blue plaques mirror the era when the nobility and members of London Society built fine houses here. Some have become hotels, maintaining their Regency charm.
As well as a smugglers rendezvous, The Old Ship Inn, now a coffee shop, was originally thought to have been a monastery, dating back to 1350.

The striking red cliffs around Sidmouth were formed in a baking desert about 240 million years ago in the Triassic period. Sidmouth Museum contains information about this World Heritage Site.

A variety of shops can still be found in Sidmouth, from big stores to speciality shops, boutiques and dairy shops, mens outfitters, an interesting barber shop, bakers, fudge making and ice-cream; to name but a few!
Interesting cycle rides, walking, festivals, regattas, fairs and events – always things to see and do!

Stroll along Jacob’s Ladder beach which gets it’s name from the wooden steps which lead down from Connaught Gardens. Here is one of Sidmouth’s two large beaches which is an expanse of sand and shingle. Although the beach can be accessed via the steps you can walk around from the town’s main beach.

Connaught Gardens, situated at the slope towards Peak Hill, have been described as the town’s ‘jewel in the crown’.
Way back in 1820 it looked very different when Emmanuel Baruh Lousada of Peak House had a pretty detached Cottage with thatched roof and trellis work. It was built on an exposed grassy knoll at the base of the cliff fields.

In 1834, Constance Emily Kent was born in the house. Her parents had an unhappy relationship. Mrs Kent suffered from bouts of insanity and was locked in her room at times.
Later on, the father re-married and the Kent name was to become synonymous with a Victorian murder mystery. Constance became the centre of attention, following the murder of her little brother after the family had moved from Sidmouth. Eventually she admitted murdering the child. The story was used as the basis for the book, The Suspicions of Mr Whitcher by Kate Summerscale.

So, as you can see, this is a place of natural beauty, history and intrigue – worthy of a visit!

Caroline Hutchings

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