Set in a green wooded valley and surrounded by spectacular red sandstone cliffs, Sidmouth boasts a fine range of Georgian and Regency architecture. It’s said that the first staycations were prompted by worries over the French Revolution, but rather than taking a few days in a hotel, wealthy visitors built their own holiday villas and mansions in the town, some of which are now used as hotels and guest houses.
The Connaught gardens are well-known for their colourful and imaginative semi-tropical planting set against a backdrop of blue sea and red cliffs, and there are far-reaching views from the top of Peak Hill or along the Southwest Coast Path to Branscombe and Beer. The wide pink sandy beaches and shallow rock pools are perfect for family fun, or you can safely wander in the pedestrianised shopping streets with their individual shops and eating places.
The town has a fine Art Deco cinema, a theatre, and hosts frequent band concerts and the world-famous Sidmouth Folk Week in early August: a week-long celebration of music, food and fun.