Honiton is famous for its historic lace industry, and the Allhallows Museum is an homage to some of the highest quality production in the world. In Honiton’s oldest building, dating back to 1327, it features examples of 16th to early 20th century Honiton lace. The museum also incudes Honiton pottery, a mid Victorian furnished doll's house; palaeontology; children's toys; war memorabilia, mementos of Allhallows School and the Borough of Honiton; coins and trade tokens. There are children’s activities when you visit, and lace making tutorials are of course a highlight, helping to keep the craft alive for future generations. The museum is open from March to October although hours vary so keep an eye on the website. Admission is free, but it is a charity, so all donations are welcome.
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.
Established in 1896, Honiton Golf Club is a beautiful mature parkland course that’s relatively flat and easy to walk. That said, it still provides a challenge for ambitious players with 18 holes and lovely views in all directions. The clubhouse and bar are charming, and there’s an indoor training facility as well as coaching, a golf simulator, putting greens, pro shop, practice grounds and nets. Green fees start at £18 per day (members' guest fee) in peak season and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.
A little secret in East Devon, Burrow Farm Gardens are situated in the idyllic countryside between Axminster and Honiton. The 13-acre garden is brimming with colour throughout the year, providing a peaceful oasis with a variety of different planting styles which complement the rural views. It’s a chance to taste the different design styles within the garden and appreciate the naturalistic planting before sampling Devon cream teas that feature homemade scones, locally made cakes and homemade soups in the tea room, or popping into the nursery to purchase your favourite plants. Entrance to the garden is £7 for adults and £1 for children with group offers available.
An atmospheric Baptist meeting house dating back to the 17th century, Loughwood is one of the earliest surviving Baptist churches in the country. Founded in secret during a time of persecution towards non-conformists, this beautiful chapel is set into the hillside overlooking the rolling east Devon countryside with views of the Axe Valley. When you visit, it’s like stepping back in time. The interior is virtually unchanged, and the chapel is still used twice a year by the local Kilmington Baptist Church. It is available for prayer and is essentially still a working church, so there aren’t any facilities, but it is a lovely site at which to take in the calm. As mentioned, services are held twice a year, but otherwise it’s open throughout the day, so take a peek at the website for up to date information.
A friendly, traditional country pub in the idyllic village of Churchinford. Serving excellent homemade food and real ales in a rural setting. Separate bar, eating area, games room and a courtyard patio. Family and dog-friendly.
The York Inn, Honiton Rd, Churchinford, Taunton, Somerset, TA3 7RF (T: 01823 601333)
A friendly local pub with glorious views over the Culm Valley, along with a cosy log fire and selection of real ales. They have a good reputation for food which is all fresh and homemade, and includes local meat and fish as well as a mouthwatering array of puddings.
Half Moon Inn, Clayhidon, Cullompton EX15 3TJ (T: 01823 680291)
A traditional village pub in the heart of the beautiful Blackdown Hills. Friendly faces and a relaxed atmosphere make this the perfect place to unwind and enjoy quality food and drink. A cosy wood burning stove in winter and a lovely beer garden for al fresco drinking and dining in summer make this pub a great choice whatever the season. Also benefits from a skittle alley, pool and darts.
The Catherine Wheel, Cornhill, Hemyock, Cullompton EX15 3RQ (T: 01823 680224)
A well-kept, traditional pub in the picturesque village of Upottery surrounded by glorious East Devon countryside. Open all day, every day serving home cooked, sophisticated menus along with plenty of locally brewed beers to try and an array of other drinks.
Sidmouth Arms Upottery, Honiton EX14 9PN (T: 01404 861252)
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.
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.
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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.
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 fine shingle beach with sand at the water’s edge, East Cliff Beach is a beautiful place to spend the day with the family on summer holidays in Dorset. There’s lifeguard cover from July to September in the summer holidays on East Beach itself, but that doesn’t really cover East Cliff Beach, so just be careful when and where you swim and stay away from the cliff base to avoid falling stones. There’s a long stay car park behind East Beach and a smaller short stay car park just before entering the harbour area in front of the Bridport Arms Hotel. Toilets are located at the main West Bay Road car park and baby changing facilities are provided as well. Dogs are permitted on the beach all year round, but it is a clean zone that’s regularly patrolled by wardens imposing fines, so don’t forget to clean up after your pets!
Famous for its picturesque Jurassic coastline, as well as its array of fossils, Church Cliff Beach is on the edge of Lyme Regis town. Sandy in places, at low tide there is an extensive rock ledge with hundreds of rock pools where you can catch shrimp. The River Lym flows into the bay, so paddling is a necessity if you want to stroll on the sand. The beach is flanked by rock armour which protects the promenade, and the sand is covered at high tide. There’s paid parking close by, so don’t forget your change. There are facilities, restaurants and cafes in the town. There’s no lifeguard cover on this beach, and dogs are permitted all year round, which is great news for walkers as it also makes up part of the West Dorset Heritage Coast and its accompanying footpaths.