Sidmouth – Seaside Delight
Sidmouth sits on the coast at the mouth of the River Sid and sheltered by the massive bulk of Salcombe Hill on one side and Peak Hill on the other. This well-known small town is a wonderful place to visit.
Its main claim to fame is the Sidmouth Folk Week, held every year during the first week of August. However, the pleasant climate, varied history and architecture and beautiful situation attracts tourists and holidaymakers from around the world all through the year.
The town is made even more glorious each year by the wonderful floral displays. These have received many awards from the Britain in Bloom judges, most recently in 2005 for the Coastal Resort class. One display that I especially enjoy is a selection of grasses growing around a welcome sign. They look so good all year round.If you fancy the beach, then Sidmouth is a good place to be. There is a wide esplanade, where you can sit on a deck chair and enjoy the view or if you have a family then there’s the beach. Just across the road are cafés, ice cream parlours, restaurants and hotels, all within easy reach of the public car parks and seafront.
In the town centre there are lots of nice little shops and cafés, where you can enjoy a view of the world and his wife passing by on their way to the seafront or simply going about their daily work. Many people choose to retire here because of the slow pace of life and mild climate.
Who comes here?
Tourists have been visiting the town for almost 300 years and many famous people have made their home in Sidmouth. These include Edward and Victoire, Duke and Duchess of Kent, the parents of Queen Victoria. The inventor of the radio valve, Ambrose Fleming visited and the astronomer Sir Norman Lockyer retired here in 1911.
Other Royal visitors include the Grand Duchess of Russia and her entourage of more than 100 people. She stayed in Fortfield Terrace, if you visit today you can still see the Imperial Eagle on the front of the building.
Queen Victoria was grateful to the town’s inhabitants for their kindness when her father died unexpectedly at the end of the family’s stay on 23rd January 1820. Her third son Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught, was a regular visitor to Sidmouth from 1931 onwards. The Connaught Gardens were opened in 1934 and named in his honour.
Jane Austen visited Sidmouth, while she was on holiday in 1801. She met a gentleman called Mr Blackall and was very taken with him. If he had not died suddenly she may well have married him.
Another famous author was Elizabeth Barrett, who came about 30 years after Jane Austen. She lived in Sidmouth with her family for about three years. The Reverend George Hunter really wanted to marry Elizabeth and courted her for about 13 years Elizabeth married the poet Robert Browning.
More recently the seafront was the setting for the TV production of one of Agatha Christie’s Marple stories, Rolf Harris came two or three years ago to the Folk Festival and painter Alwyn Crawshaw has made many paintings of the landscape of East Devon.
In conclusion, Sidmouth has something for everyone, don’t forget to send us a postcard while you’re there!