The ancient town of Ottery St Mary is famous for its impressively imposing Medieval church, and unusual circular tumbling weir on the River Otter. This picturesque town has been a hub of literary inspiration for hundreds of years, most recently featuring in Harry Potter’s adventures as Ottery St Catchpole.
Situated on the edge of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, yet just a 20 minute drive from the Cathedral city of Exeter, visitors to Ottery St Mary will find there’s a huge variety of things to see and do.
The town itself boasts a ramshackle collection of excellent independent shops and eateries, and is a walker’s paradise, with almost 100 different walks to choose from, varying from level walks along the banks of River Otter where you may spot a family of otters or beavers, to hills from where you can enjoy views as far as Dartmoor on a fine day.
Nearby Wildwood at Escot offers a brilliant family day out. Set in over 200 acres of stunning parkland, here you can come face to face with some of the wildlife that used to live in Devon, including red squirrels, lynxes and wild boar. There’s also a maze, hidden playground, drop slide, indoor play barn, and Anglo Saxon village to explore.
For days out by the seaside, the coastal towns of Seaton, Beer, Sidmouth and Budleigh Salterton are all just a short drive way – each offering access to the magnificent World Heritage Jurassic Coastline, with its impressive cliffs, coastal walks, fossil hunting opportunities and family-friendly beaches to enjoy.
A holiday cottage in Ottery St Mary provides a great base from which to enjoy the many and varied rural and coastal charms of East Devon and neighbouring Dorset.
A family-run business, Escot House and estate is a beautiful country house and events venue in Devon. It’s also home to the Wildwood family day out, where you can come nose-to-nose with British wildlife past and present. See red squirrels, wild boar and lynx as you make your way around the park, and explore the adventure playground with a drop slide, indoor soft play area and a maze. Prices start at £9.50 for adults, and £8.00 for children, and the fee will support Wildwood Trust's Conservation Projects.
Great attraction everything very close
Devon Country Pursuits is the ultimate destination for outdoor activities - paintball, laser tag, clay shooting, quad biking, rifle shooting, assault courses and archery are just a few of the many activities on offer making for a great day out.
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Enjoy 10% off all activities with your Toad Hall Cottages Discount Card
Based in the Roncombe Valley, East Devon, the Alpacca Farm & Trekking breeds Huacaya and Suri alpacas and uses the fleece to produce beautiful clothing. They offer alpaca trekking all year along the beautiful bridleways surrounding the farm, as well as selling alpaca yarns, felt, socks, scarves and felt shoe/boot insoles. For more information, take a peek at their website!
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A soft play facility in Honiton, Playdome Indoor Play has a café on site, and is a safe environment for children to play and explore. It’s perfect for kids’ parties, and is open seven days a week. Prices start at £3.90 for children aged 1-4 years, and £5.30 for those over the age of 5.
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Enjoy 10% off the entrance fee with your Toad Hall Cottages Discount Card
A family riding school, established in the early 1960's offering hacks and lessons from a friendly team of experienced instructors. They stress the safety of riders and horses and have a superb family of reliable horses and ponies to suit all abilities.
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If you like specialist charcuterie, fresh pork dishes and other tasty specialities you’re in for a treat at the Rusty Pig. This specialist charcuterie shop and restaurant is run by ex River Cottage chef Robin Rea who transforms the freshest local ingredients into mouth watering dishes.
The Rusty Pig Yonder street, Ottery Saint Mary EX11 1HD (T: 01404 815580)
As locals we regularly visit the Holt for dinners as a couple or family gatherings - vibrant restaurant with a great menu and delicious food.
Pretty garden, good coffee and smiling service. Loved the slightly Glastonbury decor.
Lovely little cafe with a beautiful garden out the back. We stopped for a cup of tea and ordered sandwiches to take away. Not a great deal of choice and a little on the pricey side but they were tasty.
By the seaside town of the same name, Sidmouth Beach is a long stretch of pebbles that stretches from the River Sid at the east of the town, West to Chit Rocks and Jacobs Ladder Beach and beyond. From the town you go over a footbridge and a number of steps down to the beach, however there are also access points along the sea front esplanade. There are a number of car parks close by, most of which are a few minutes’ walk from the beach itself, and it benefits from nearby facilities, cafes, restaurants and shops. Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 1st May to the 30th September, however there is a small area at the East end of the beach where dogs are allowed all year round. It’s a delightful spot for swimming sailing and surfing if the weather permits it, but you do have to take your own equipment.
Visited twice and both times had a pleasant walk along the prom in the sun. Sea very calm. Lovely cup of coffee served from little coffee "bar" on prom served by a charming and coffee knowledgeable American lady. Pleasant and busy shopping area behind the prom. Not much parking and just a little expensive.
Nestled into a valley that reaches down to the sea, Branscombe Beach is tucked away on the Jurassic Coast, and is linked to a timeless, magical village of the same name. Surrounded by woodland and farmland, the area is peppered with thatched houses, a working forge and a restored windmill. It’s a National Trust location, with a number of charming walks and trails to follow, one of which leads to the Old Bakery tearooms. The beach itself is a long pebble beach below the village. It has a large car park close by where there are toilets available, as well as a picnic area. The beach is a haven for fossil hunters and adventurous rock-poolers. If you want to catch your supper it’s a wonderful place to fish for Mackerel and Pollack, although there is also a restaurant close by.
A pretty place down narrow lanes - the village is a must for keen photographers too - loved it!
Superb beach and surroundings. Tricky drive to get there but well worth it.
A picturesque two mile pebble beach backed partly with cliffs, with plenty of space and lovely clean clear water. Along the esplanade there are beach cafes and a car park and it is only a short wander into the village for toilets, shops and pubs. Care should be taken swimming towards the eastern end of the beach where there can be strong currents due to the River Otter, and there are no lifeguard facilities.
Step back in time to a gentler age here - lovely beach, quaint little town, reminded us of Southward in Suffolk on a smaller scale - we loved it!
A small pebble beach in East Devon, Beer Beach is in a picturesque fishing village that hugs the shoreline. Parking is a little distance away from the beach itself, which is accessed via a sloping road and steps at the east end. There’s one large car park that’s around five minutes away on foot, and another smaller one in the centre of the town. As the beach is such an integral part of the town itself, there are cafes and shops close by, simply by dint of its location. There are toilets above the beach, so it’s got all the makings of a charming day out for the family in the summer, or somewhere to stroll and have a cup of tea if it’s a bit cooler. There aren’t any organized activities on the beach, so if you’re bringing the kids then keep that in mind. Dogs are not allowed on the West part of the beach from 1st May to 30th September.
Visited one evening. A beautiful beach. You can walk to Seaton on the coast path, if you feel energetic and don't mind a lot of steps. Well worth it due to the stunning views.
Beer is a very pretty village!, and the beach is an absolute joy
Lovely beach at any time but especially lively on festival day. We appreciated the walkways over the pebbles.
Absolutely lovely so clean and tidy. Food and drink catered for very well three beach cafes. Fishing trips, hire of boats self drive if you wish, what more could you wish for.
Seaton Beach is a mile long shingle beach overlooking Lyme Bay in one of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of East Devon. The gently sloping pebbles make this an ideal place to take a dip or try your hand at windsurfing, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding with equipment easily hired on site.
An esplanade links Seaton town at one end of the beach and the popular Seaton Beach Café at the other. The South West Coast Path runs alongside the beach and a walk to the nearby picturesque village of Beer is a real treat. Dogs are welcome all year.
Nice place for a seaside stroll, we were a bit disappointed that bikes aren't allowed on the paths and that there are dog restrictions. Pebbly beach so no good for sand castles but we had a nice few hours and lunch and ice cream from one of the nearby cafes.
Lovely and clean,