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The sea in front of 1, Clifton

Cottage | 4 bedrooms | sleeps 8

Key Info
  • Beach / lakeside relaxation
  • Nearest beach 0 km
  • Great for children of all ages
  • Car not necessary
  • Pets welcome

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

Luxuries Sea view
General TV, Telephone
Standard Kettle, Iron
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
Other High chair
Access Parking
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.

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Review 1-7 of 7

2 Sep 2013


"Unpretentious value"

Exactly as described - unpretentious no-nonsense 1950's decor sweet little cottage 20ft from the beach on the promonade. Ideal for small child beach holiday, teenagers sailing holiday or oldies S… More

Thanks for that! Not sure about the 1950s - it's certainly that in the stairwell, but the lounge wallpaper is probably early 20th century Regency revival and the main bedroom 19th century Arts & Crafts William Morris. Glad you liked the new bed, and I'm also impressed with the result obtained from the re-enamelling of the bath.

10 Nov 2012


"Idyllic location, interesting house!!"

This is the third time we have stayed at this cottage and Sidmouth is a place we hold close to our hearts and have visited most years of my life!

As previously reviewed the location is second to none being the closest cottage to the esplanade and sea in Sidmouth, you could literally throw a stone and it would land in the sea!

The place is exactly as the owner describes ie like a traditional old house a old aunt may have lived in. The house has had no modernisation and it really is like stepping back in time! If you like old properties you will love this place, if you like your mod-cons you certainly will not!

Plusses - 7* location, super access to beach, gardens, town etc. private parking, reasonable rental for its size and it does feel very 'homely'!!!

Minuses - seriously tired in places paricularly bath now very rusty and master bed seriously uncomfortable and frame falling apart!, views obscured by very dirty windows (not had this problem before though!), some dirty pans and some dirty and chipped crockery, some dirty fittings IE some lights, bathroom heater etc. Having said this you are paying a reasonable price and some considerations really have to be made! We happily compromise creature comforts and thoroughly enjoy our holidays here.

Overall if you read the owners description properly and want a cottage in a fabulous location in one of Devons most beautiful towns and be prepared to see beyond a few shortcomings you will have a fabulous holiday PERIOD!

I'm sorry you didn't find the bed comfortable. The base is indeed old, and all that has prevented me from replacing it is the difficulty of getting even a new SINGLE bed upstairs, which was no mean feat. I'm not sure how my parents got the existing double-bed in. The mattress, however, is much newer.

I have already spoken to someone about the possibility of re-enamelling the bath (the rust is apparently only superficial), and he suggested getting someone to remove the plug before he does it; I may take advantage of the presence of plumbers this winter to see if they can do this. The reason they'll be present is that I'm planning to turn the dressing-room into a shower room this winter (subject to listed building consent), so if you come next year, you may well find an alternative to the bathroom!

Nearly all the light fittings, incidentally, though antique in appearance, are brand-new: the exterior design is in keeping with the house, the internal electrical connexions are modern.

20 Jun 2011


"The best location for a seaside holiday"

This June will be our fourth holiday here, we love it, I think this speaks for itself… More

2 Jun 2011


"A fantastic seaside location, in the heart of a beautiful and friendly town"

My week at 1, Clifton cottage, was blissful. This well-maintained and beautifully restored, spacious house provided a superb base from which to walk the Dorset coastal paths, explore the small and fr… More

24 May 2011


"A delightful period property in a fabulous location"

If you are looking for an imaculate showhome - don't come here. This is a well loved family holiday home and we return every year. A charming period property in an enviable location on the sea … More

23 May 2011


"A great holiday house - super location and excellent value for money"

A group of us, old schoolfriends now in our 70s, have rented holiday houses over many years and are returning this year to this particular house for the second time. We stayed there very comfortably l… More

23 May 2011


"Great Value, Perfect Location, Family and Dog Friendly Property"

We love the place and have been twice before, booked again for this summer and next summer! The cottage is old fashioned but is full of character. It has all the basic amenities you need and is clea… More

Review 1-7 of 7

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7 Nights min stay

Changeover day Sat


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You're booking with

Peter W.

  • 8 Years listed

45% Response rate

Calendar last updated:18 Aug 2014

Based in United Kingdom

Languages spoken
  • English

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