The Most Romantic Spot in North Devon
We think there’s a good reason why a stroll along a sandy beach is so romantic. The sand between your toes, fresh air in your lungs, the horizon far in the distance and surf lapping at your feet. What could be better?
Well North Devon is blessed with some of the loveliest – and longest – stretches of beach in the country. There’s Saunton Sands, three miles of glorious sand just waiting for your footprints, or lovely Woolacombe, consistently rated as one of the country’s top ten beaches.
But if the big beach experience doesn’t do it for you, how about Bucks Mill in Clovelly, a pretty and quiet spot which is situated in a rocky cove at the end of the fishing village? Combesgate is another lovely tucked-away beach. Found at the far-right end of Woolacombe, it’s the go-to spot for rock pooling and escaping the crowds.
If all this sounds a bit strenuous, why not treat yourself to a little couple pampering? Book a relaxing session at The Haven Spa (open to non-residents at The Woolacombe Bay Hotel) and feel the stresses and strains of life melt away with a massage. You can also enjoy revitalising facials and nourishing wraps. The only problem you may experience is leaving at the end!
If you fancy a special meal after your massage, there’s a rather remarkable hotel – one that harks back to a grander, more romantic age – just down the coast. The Saunton Sands Hotel is a magnificent art deco building that looks out on wonderful Croyde Bay. Dine in the main restaurant beneath original 1930s chandeliers and you’ll feel like you’re in a scene from an Agatha Christie novel. The restaurant has AA Rosette status, gained for serving delicious dishes like Cornish mackerel with applewood smoked mussels.
For a pub with an equally impressive menu, head to the Masons Arms in Knowstone, just south of Exmoor. At first glance, this appears to be a rather lovely 13th century thatched boozer with an original bar complete with beams and locals perched on stools. But step into the restaurant and there’s a surprise in store. Here the eye is drawn to the ceiling, where there’s an extraordinary Italianate mural complete with Venetian canals. The food, you’ll be delighted to know, is just as magnificent. Cooked by Mark Dodson, formerly the head chef at Michel Roux’s Waterside Inn at Bray, the menu is inspired by French and British classics, with dishes like full-flavoured, slow-cooked pork belly on a tart layer of red cabbage. Well worth the trip if you’re splashing out for a special occasion.