Cottage | 4 bedrooms | sleeps 8
This is a PERIOD HOUSE, on the cusp of REGENCY and VICTORIAN, and a much loved family holiday home. Because families with children book it for seaside holidays, it’s simply furnished with second-hand furniture, which may be cheaply replaced in the event of breakage, bought from the local auctioneers; that way, I can just about break even, and I have to!
My father bought the house in 1960, and changed very little. Most of the original fixtures and fittings which were there then are still present now. I have stayed in many B&Bs which have been advertised as period houses, but, particularly since the mid-1990s, I've been dismayed that, whatever the appearance on the outside, the style of the exterior is not reflected in the interior, and I find myself in a modern, minimalist building. Modernisation was also fashionable in the 1960s, but, where Barry Bucknell merely covered up an historic door with chipboard, the moderniser from the 1990s onward will probably remove both the door and the wall to which it was attached.
My father's lack of modernisation has provided me with an opportunity: NOT to remove all the period features of the house, but to RESTORE them. I've also reinstated some of the few features that he did remove. Many rooms are decorated with traditional wallpapers. I've removed the fitted kitchen sink, and replaced it with what was originally there: a Belfast sink with hand-carpented draining-board, and taps with rubber swirls mounted on the wall, in the traditional manner. Electrical fittings conform with modern regulations, but, externally, they are reproductions of Victorian and early-twentieth-century fittings. The floorboards are not the now-fashionable white wood, but traditional Victorian ebony black. The furniture is brown. Some rooms have free-standing carpets, rather than fitted ones.
I'm told that the fashion for over-modernisation has now created a shortage of houses with period features for those who continue to enjoy them. Many people visit this house, love it, and return. If your idea of an old house is that it has to be modernised inside according to the taste of daytime television makeover programmes, the chances are that you won't appreciate it!
|Size||Sleeps up to 8, 4 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Sidmouth 50 m|
|Access||Car not necessary|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Exeter (about 10 miles), Nearest railway: Honiton (10 miles) or Exeter (15 miles)|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages|
|Notes||Pets welcome, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Utilities||Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Washing machine|
|Rooms||4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms and 1 Shower rooms|
|Furniture||Single beds (6), Double beds (1), Cots (1), Dining seats for 8, Lounge seats for 8|
|Further details indoors|
• Duvets are provided, but not covers, sheets, or towels.
• Electricity meter (installed some years ago, and still set at a low rate!) takes £1 coins.
• For cold weather, there are night storage heaters in all rooms; these are not metered, so that the cost of such heating is included in the rent. These would not normally be switched on in the summer, however (though this is open to negotiation); for a heat boost in the summer, there are some electric fan and convector heaters.
|Further details outdoors|
I would not describe the forecourt as a "garden", but it is suitable for sitting in for the cliffscape and sea-view, as well as for parking cars.
The West Country region
Although Devon has a lot of rainfall, Sidmouth is to a large extent protected because rain falls on Dartmoor before arriving, so the local microclimate is dryer.
Devon is associated with Britain's maritime history, Drake and the Royal Navy are associated with Plymouth. Sir Walter Raleigh was born not far from Sidmouth, just outside East Budleigh. The two used to meet in a refreshment house in Exeter Cathedral close. The coastal regions are naturally traditionally associated with fishing. Stephen Reynold's "A Poor Man's House" is one man's account of living with fishermen in Sidmouth. The East Devon Coast was particularly associated with "Honiton" lace-making. Just inland, Ottery St Mary boasts a miniature version of Exeter Cathedral.
Sidmouth was a Georgian/Regency town built when it became dangerous for the aristocracy to travel to France because of the French Revolution. When it became fashionable for all classes to enjoy seaside holidays, Sidmouth remained genteel, which is perhaps why it continues to thrive now that the Victorian seaside holiday has declined.
Close to official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Cliffscapes owned by The National Trust. Nearest National Trust Properties: A la Ronde, Killerton.
Sidmouth has a cinema, Tourist Information Centre and public swimming pool. The theatre and Arts Centre runs a Summer Season, but is otherwise used mainly for amateur dramatics.
The beach at Sidmouth is sandy at low tide, but not at high tide, so the day's activities on the beach have to be varied according to tide times.