‘Dad, are we there yet? Are we there yet? Dad? Daddy?!’
Something I asked constantly from the backseat of the car. As I got a little older I realised how annoying this was and could tell I was about to get told off so changed it to, ‘When will we be nearly there?’ I thought this was very clever of me (aged eight). I now realise it was in fact rather amusing for my parents to hear me try and say this complete mouthful every five minutes.
That feeling of sheer excitement to finally drive over the hill, or around the corner to get that fist glimpse of the sea has never left me.
The first sighting of that blue sparkling water, the smell of the seaweed, the sound of the waves and clinking boat sails is one of my favourite childhood memories.
As a teacher I am very lucky to have the time to book trips away whenever the pennies allow it. This half term my boyfriend and I were determined to get away somewhere. My first thought is always somewhere near the sea, somewhere warm but this sort of destination costs and is not always possible.
One day Maldives, one day!
We needed somewhere not too far as we only had a few days and Salcombe in Devon sounded perfect. Quick check of the weather, B&B booked, ASBO cat left with food and water (and the box she has taken to sleeping on) we were off.
We stayed at The Fortescue Inn in Salcombe.
This was very easy to book and good value for money. We were about as central as you can get to all the beautiful shops and pubs.
They are in the middle of a refurbishment and our room had recently been finished. It was immaculate and very nicely decorated. The bathroom had a gorgeous bath and huge shower!
I was told they are getting all the work done in time for the Summer season and as there are not many places to stay so centrally, I have a feeling they will be booked up very quickly.
Car unloaded we immediately set off to explore beautiful Salcombe. With the sun shining we strolled through the streets looking in some of the clothes shops and then found ourselves in Love the Sea Gallery.
The owner Tina chatted away to us telling us all about how she visited Salcombe 18 years ago and never left. Her husband Nick is a marine photographer who takes the most beautiful photographs of the beaches, showcasing his passion for Salcombe, sailing and love of the sea. If you love all things beach this gallery is definitely worth a visit.
I’d had a recommendation from twitter about a restaurant called The Winking Prawn in North Sands. This was a glorious walk following the coast and took about 30-40 minutes.
I almost squealed with excitement as soon as we got to the beach. Although it was February it felt so warm and plenty of children were running barefoot on the sand.
We decided to eat first and enjoy a drink in the sunshine. This was the best part of the trip for me. A stones throw from a beautiful beach and seafood and wine on the way.
I can’t recommend this place enough! The food and wine were great and it had a lovely atmosphere. They even had a dressing up box for children…or your 38 year old boyfriend. He put the Zippy head on and his impression was actually very good as most of the queuing customers heard. Awkward.
After an epic lunch we walked on to the beautiful beach. The five year old in me immediately wanted to run in to that sea but being February I opted to stay dry. After a good walk around we settled on some rocks and just sat and watched the sea. Bliss.
After a while I noticed a little girl playing by the rock pools. Her trousers and most of her coat were completely soaked. She was having the time of her life! She did not care she was wet and sandy she was too busy exploring. This was ME!
What I loved more was that her parents were letting her do this. No fuss about her getting wet and dirty, they were allowing her to be free and experience the beach. Something she will probably always remember like I do.
After some convincing to leave we headed back to the B&B to look at places for dinner. Again I took to twitter and asked for any recommendations.
We had wanted to see the Salcombe Gin distillery but it was closed. Sob. Something to try next time.
I read from a tweet that The Victoria Inn served lots of gin and good food and boy they were not wrong! My pasta dish was absolutely delicious. It was the kind of meal you really take your time over because you just don’t want it to end. It did end though and I was very upset about it.
I will be going back!
Now, something important to mention. The Fortescue Inn is quite popular at night and our room was above part of the bar area. We had been warned it can be a bit noisy but were assured it wouldn’t go beyond 11.30pm. It was a little noisy but they provide ear plugs and the noise stopped after closing time.
If you like your early nights or have children this will be something to consider.
We both slept very well however, and enjoyed an excellent cooked breakfast which was included in the price.
On our second day we decided to visit Hope Cove and South Milton Sands.
This was the beach that I got that instant surge back to childhood. It was the smell. Seaweed and sand make me SO happy.
For me, being by the sea calms me and puts things into perspective.
I am a real worrier and sometimes this is quite overwhelming. Being next to the sea gives me space to think, order my thoughts and feel calm. Next to the crashing waves and never ending view of sparkling blue, my worries turn into little dots on the horizon.
Being on the beach is when everything else can just wait.
There is a little cafe called The Beachhouse that serves drinks, food and ice cream. I was sat drinking my tea as a paramotor passed overhead. I can only imagine the views. He probably saw my tea and was very jealous. It was Twinings after all.
Another walk along the beach we set off back to Hope Cove and the car.
We had just enough time to stop in Dartmouth for a quick look around and a pasty.
The Harbour here is very pretty and the perfect place to eat a pasty! Plenty of shops to look around and if we’d had more time we would have explored further.
For a mini trip we managed to pack quite a lot in and the journey time of almost four hours was completely worth it.
We both managed to switch off, enjoy our time together and create some special memories. We even made a pact to try and visit at least one beach each month.
You may have noticed the seaweed in the first photograph. Yes it came home with me! I have collected it for my class as we will be doing an ‘Under The Sea’ topic after Half Term but secretly I wanted to bring some of the beach back with me. It smells so good!
My best childhood memories were created on the beach and I intend to keep adding to them. The sea and all that comes with it are the things that make me the happiest.
Do more of what makes you happy, keep those toes in the sand.