At the age of 31 I didn’t think I’d be saying I’d never been to Devon before. A trip to Kent in February and a country walk past a huge windmill that had been converted into an AirBnB inspired me to get involved in the latest trend of staying in quirky remote countryside accommodation. This year’s Easter weekend felt like the perfect time to get away from the city and have a proper staycation.
After a lot of rural escape research, Nick and I decided on a week-long stay on the North Devon coast in a log cabin on the grounds of a isolated country pub called the Pig on the Hill in Westward Ho! (the only place in the UK to have an exclamation mark it its name don’t you know). The owner built three log cabins on site last year, and Potbelly, aptly named after a breed of pig that lives on the farm appropriate to the cabin’s shape, was our choice.
Our home for the week came complete with two double bedrooms (I won’t lie I thought it only had one), a lovely bathroom and living area, a barbecue, log burner and the selling point – a private hot tub in a secluded corner right next to our front door. In the grand scheme of things Potbelly was rather expensive at £640 for a week, but it was well worth it for the luxury of a all mod cons and jacuzzi all to ourselves.
Potbelly turned out to be the perfect base for exploring the Devonshire coast and our nightly barbecue followed by hot tub combo provided the ideal wind down after day tripping, squeezing in a pint at the pub before last orders too.
Unfortunately for us the pub and our cosy abode was the main highlight of Westward Ho!. There really isn’t much going on here other than retirement homes and a super slow pace of life. Not that that’s an issue, but it meant we were up and out early driving up the coastal roads to explore the area almost every day.
That said, I can’t write this without giving a shout out to the adorable Tea On The Green coffee shop in the town centre. We discovered this place on our first venture into town and were pleasantly fed with some of the biggest cakes and lunches we’ve ever had. Tea on the Green was clearly a locals favourite and the owner’s 50s-inspired decor meant our eyes were always busy taking in the artifacts as we stuffed our faces with tea and cake.
We spent Easter Monday in Ilfracombe and I bloody loved it. It was everything I wanted a stereotypical British seaside town to be – arcades, loads of fish restaurants and plenty of ice cream.
We started our day by walking to the top of Capstone Parade for an impressive view of the town and its curvy cliff edges. Lying on the grass listening to waves for a couple of hours was lovely.
The town had a feel of regeneration to it with some super smart independent businesses dotted around streets including The Antidote Wine Room (check out my photos to see how stunning their shop front is) and the cute HomeAtFive lifestyle shop which was oozing with coastal design charm. We were spoilt for choice when it came to eateries but fish and chips by the harbour was a must for us. We opted for cod and chips at the Dolphin, which was nice, but I’ve heard Maddy’s Chippy should be the top of any visitor’s list.
We finished our day with a round of crazy golf, of course. I’d like to say I won, but I didn’t.
Now this place is something to shout about. Think quintessential, gorgeous country cottages with an injection of city-style buzz. The newly-opened Croyde Stores cafe was right up my street and felt like a little corner of London by the sea. I could picture myself spending time there with a delicious coffee blogging in a window seat for hours.
The beach at Croyde was my favorite of the three we visited – tiny in comparison to its neighbours but full of character. We could tell it’s super family friend with loads to do – I was *almost* tempted to inquire at the surf school but we opted for the less-wet option of rock pooling instead.
It definitely felt like we visited Woolacombe way too early and our out-of-season Easter weekend trip was a little quiet. Woolcaombe beach was voted TripAdvisor’s Best English Beach in 2014 and 2015 so I don’t think my views on the place will do it justice. I’m sure it’s amazing in July and August when the surfers are out in force and the weather is a a little warmer!
Pick of the pubs
Our week involved a lot of boozers, some much more welcoming to non-locals more than others. Our favourites and those definitely worth a visit include:
The Thatch, Abbotsham
A gorgeous village pub with a modern garden and good food. Their Sunday carvery looked great (even though we didn’t eat there). I would recommend this as a stop off during a long country walk.
The Thatched Inn, Croyde
I got a super cool vibe from this place – it reminded me of the Newquay pubs I got merry in as a teenager and I can imagine it being very popular with the surfer crowd at the height of summer. The crab sandwiches we had were very good.
The Pig On The Hill, Westward Ho!
Obviously I couldn’t leave out our hosts! The staff were lovely throughout our stay and this is just the sort of place you’d like to spend an afternoon eating and gassing in. It’s worth a visit for a Sunday roast if you’re not staying too far away.
The New Inn, Clovelly
The first pub you come to as you descend down the hill down into Clovelly, this place was worth it for the cream tea.
We stayed at The Pig On The Hill’s Potbelly Cabin (sleeps 4) for 7 nights in April 2017 and booked through holidaycottages.co.uk.