|The bay at Jacobs Ladder, Sidmouth, Devon|
I am sure I about to offend lovers of the town of Sidmouth and this pretty part of Devon, but Sidmouth leaves me really cold. I don’t get what the fuss is about as this is a popular and sought after place to visit.
To be honest, I find the beauty of the place pales as I always feel like I have been stranded a decade or two back in some Old Folks Home World planet. Not that a place full of retired people should be a bad thing, but for some reason Sidmouth seems to give the feeling that you have strolled onto the set of some creepy Leaugue of Gentleman style created town. Every time I have been I have left feeling a bit unsettled and also a bit depressed as the town feels like it is slowly wilting and fading.
On the surface it looks fine. As the picture shows, there are long beaches with grand bays and huge (crumbling into the sea) cliffs, seaside hotels and rambling town streets. It attracts a lot of people on the summer weekends in particular, with walkers and people braving the cold UK seas.
But the whole place from a hotel and sea front perspective seems to have become an over extended retirement centre. The hotels are full of people peering out at you as you pass. Now of course if you want somewhere busy to sit and peer at people with the backdrop of sweeping beach and sea this fits the bill perfectly. The hotels seem quite cheap even in the peak season.
We had a drink in the Riveria hotel and again it feels like you are caught in a strange time warp. Both the decor and the service is very 1970s.
The food and service in the hotels and restaurants is good enough, but again feels a few steps behind. This may be as there is a lot of transient passers through, and so they can get away with it.
There is a large Folk Festival in August that is a big deal for the town and has loads of people camping outside the town. Then across summer there are a number of different functions and events, and it feels like the whole area breaks out in small fetes and garden parties through the July/ August season.
Of course, if you like the sea side, like walking and big bold cliffs and bays then is best to make sure you face that way and enjoy that part of Sidmouth…
It is not all Devon towns and villages I am not wild about! See what I thought of Beer in Devon
I you want to disprove me and go then use the Visit Sidmouth Site
Official Sidmouth council site