Devon or Dorset - where for my birthday ?

Must be mad. Heading South next week with no place ( yet ) to stay.
Its also my birthday.
So, where to stay and eat. Ideally by the coast.
And ideally with good rooms.
And ideally not chock full of kids.
And with a kitchen which can accommodate a super low fat diet for my partner.
Only Harters can save me now !!!

Thanks in advance.

Possible narrowing down to Lyme Regis or Sidmouth area…in case that helps !

If you’re reliant on me for this, you’re mightly fucked, mate.

I had a few days in Paignton a year or so back. The Sea Horse at Dartmouth was an excellent lunch but not on the plot for Lyme or Sidmouth.

Harden’s Guide mentions the Hix Oyster House in Lyme. I know Mark Hix has now got so many places to his name that this must be regarded as something of a mini-chain but may be the best there is.

Sorry not to be more help. Hope the lovely weather stays fine for you.

I can’t recommend a visit to River Cottage HQ highly enough. I don’t think they have any rooms, but they’re incredibly helpful and I’m sure they would know where is good locally.

Torquay has a nice resto called the elephant. It’s pleasant enough around to stay locally and walk along the front and drive to the string of villages nearby. You might also consider staying in the moors. Prince hall hotel in dartmoor has a nice restaurant and is very dog friendly if that matters.

Hello Robin

Do you mean eating at HQ or the canteen in Axminster ? Looking at the website HQ looks like a tourist attraction/shop and Axminster is for eating ?

Or am i looking at it wrong ?


Cheers John

Still nowt booked but will let you know where I end up !


Well HQ is designed around visitors, many of whom have lunch or supper as part of their visit. Ax is perfectly good as a stand alone restaurant, but HQ’s a real treat. Quite expensive,
mind, and they get booked up a bit.

We had a really nice two-day stay last year at Dartington Hall in Devon. It’s not right on the coast, but the hotel is lovely, and we had a huge room with lots of charm. The grounds were beautiful. It was a short drive to Dartmouth and even closer was Totnes - had a nice snack there on the river. Of course we had to go to The Seahorse in Dartmouth for lunch, and it’s wonderful seafood. Luckily, it wasn’t tourist season so the town wasn’t mobbed.

Is it too late to contribute an idea? Do Plymouth - there are some great restaurants with fresh seafood. I wrote a really really cringe article about it for Plymouth Tourism Board who were kind enough to organise a trip. But, actually we loved it there. Very peaceful, very interesting and lots to do and eat.

Where to stay: Strathmore House Apartments
Where to eat: Boathouse Cafe or Rockfish for outstanding and fresh (low fat) seafood
What to do: Plymouth Boat Trips, Plymouth Gin Distillery tour, Theatre Royal, Drinks around the Barbican, Mayflower Museum, Plymouth Aquarium

Here is the full lowdown if you can bear reading through it.

Rockfish is another Mitch Tonks place (see Seahorse, Dartmouth). Should be excellent.

Ahh he does Seahorse too? Been meaning to get down there - definitely more of a draw now!

Evening everyone

Thanks again for all of your ideas and suggestions.
We ended up staying near Bath for a couple of nights, so ate at Rotisserie place -
one night ( as grilled salmon was available ! ) . I had a decent burger but poor ‘fries’ ( how can you get fries wrong ??? ) and then just outside Lyme Regis so ate at the Axminster River Cottage Canteen outlet - helpful service, nice restaurant room in the back, decent glass of Torrontes, by the glass ( but hardly locally sourced ! ) food solid but nowt special. Then ate at the Tytherleigh Arms
which is worth a visit if you are ‘down that way’. Very much a pub with posh food, but a warm welcome, nice amuse bouche of ‘crab n cracker’ ( my phrasing, not theirs !) and other half had a lovely cod dish while I had belly pork which was a bit too much belly and too little pork for my personal taste but which was perfectly cooked. A panna cotta for pud passed the ‘wobble vs angel delight’ test ( unlike the River Cottage one which was served in a bowl ( the horror ! ) and a half bottle of Trimbach Riesling. All very satisfactory.

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We had lunch there last year (the Seahorse). It’s a terrific place.