The Visit South Devon tourism partnership says that the opening of “cool new boutique hotels and award winning restaurants combined with fantastic visitor attractions are making South Devon a popular destination for the discerning traveller.”
South Devon’s unspoilt rural charm and stunning beaches along with new investment in hotels, restaurants and attractions are proving an irresistible draw to many tourists who are choosing to holiday in South Devon, as part of the current trend for “staycation” holidays in the UK due to the economic downturn.
The Marketing Manager for Visit South Devon, Sarah Streeter says that despite the economic gloom, the area is becoming increasingly popular with visitors: ” As a proactive tourism partnership we have been working closely with the local community in promoting South Devon with new initiatives such as the “Lets Get Cracking” campaign to highlight South Devon crab www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk/crab.
This has been a great success and with new investment in local tourism businesses we have seen a 36% percent increase in traffic to our tourism website compared to the same period last year. July has also seen a 15% increase in unique visits to our website compared to July of last year.” The Cary Arms Inn at Babbacombe, the South Sands Hotel at Salcombe and the Riviera Apartments in Teignmouth have all opened to great acclaim and have won rave national reviews for their luxurious and chic seaside charm. See: www.caryarms.co.uk www.southsandshotel.co.uk and www.rivieraapartments.co.uk .
The Thurlestone Hotel near Kingsbridge has spent nearly £4 million on a refurbishments programme during the past five years, which has helped make it a premier destination for holidaymakers who demand high standards in customer service and attention to detail. www.thurlestone.co.uk .
And South Devon is also tops for campers and caravan enthusiasts as they voted Ross Park Caravan Park near Newton Abbott the UK’s best in a competition organised by Practical Caravan magazine. See: www.rossparkcaravanpark.co.uk.
South Devon has built an enviable reputation for its high quality food producers and restaurants. The Millbrook Inn at South Pool and the Ode restaurant at Shaldon combine picturesque locations with locally sourced seasonal food cooked by award-winning chefs Jean Phillipe Bidart at the Millbrook and Tim Bouget at Ode. Visit these websites: www.millbrookinnsouthpool.co.uk and www.odetruefood.co.uk .
Celebrity Seafood Chef Mitch Tonks has been building on the success of his renowned Seahorse Restaurant in Dartmouth with the opening of his latest venture, the Rockfish Seafood and Chips. The stylish beach hut themed eatery on the banks of the beautiful River Dart has been packed out with eager “foodies” since its launch in June. Fresh local fish, including the famous South Devon Crab has been proved to be an overwhelming winner. See: www.rockfishdevon.co.uk
And for visitors who may want to walk off all that good food, then enjoying South Devon’s glorious coast and countryside is a must do, and South Devon has more than ninety miles of coastal paths that take in secluded seaside coves and breathtaking beaches. Check out: www.southwestcoastpath.com.
Blackpool Sands is one of South Devon’s natural treasures, situated in a sheltered bay. It is an award winning privately managed family beach with turquoise blue sea. The Venus Café offers a menu of local and organic dishes and where you can soak up the tastes and sounds of the sea. Look at the menu: www.blackpoolsands.co.uk/cafemenu.htm .
Bigbury- on- Sea is another great find for tourists looking for somewhere that just a little bit special. It is a sandy beach in an Area of Outstanding Natural beauty joined by the causeway to Burgh Island. It offers shallow water for paddling and rock pooling and is great for windsurfing and kite surfing.
South Devon can also boast the UK’s Best Day Out, the Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat Company. The service offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty of the area by steam train, ferry,cruise boat and bus. Visit: www.dartmouthrailriver.co.uk .