This year I’m really trying to make the most of what the UK has to offer. As well as continuing to explore the rest of the world I’m enjoying visiting new places in my own country. (My last trip was a lovely long weekend in Cornwall.) A trip to the tiny seaside town of Shaldon in Devon a few weekends ago was my next UK break, and a very special one at that as it was a surprise trip for my husbands 30th birthday!
Six months ago I booked ‘Beach Hut number 1’after watching a programme on Channel 4 called George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. The series focused on the use of small buildings and spaces including boats, buses and everything in between and followed the progress of turning them into unusual dwellings and holiday homes. The beach huts in Shaldon featured on the programme and stood out for me, as I’m a big fan of all things to do with the sea. I instantly fell in love with it and thought it would be a fantastic place to take Matt to celebrate turning 30. The hardest part was keeping it a secret for so long! I gave Matt three envelopes containing clues about where we were going. He guessed on clue three; so I think I did a pretty good job! We excitedly set off on a sunny Saturday morning and arrived three hours later. Pulling up outside Beach Hut One, sun shining and seagulls soaring high in the sky I knew we were in for a great weekend. As we opened the door we were greeted with a glow of white washed walls and nautical décor. A modern twist to a traditional beach hut this one came with everything including the kitchen sink! A galley kitchen, light and airy living space, a mezzanine level with a cosy bedroom complete with comfy futon mattress and a compact bathroom under the stairs. Bi-folding doors which opened up along the full width of the building onto our own private terrace and under floor heating (I love little touches like these!) completed this small but perfectly formed beach dwelling. The beach hut also had a TV and wi-fi, but I tried to leave the wi-fi alone as I wanted to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. This tiny space is so cleverly thought out and elegantly designed, it’s amazing that so much can fit into such a small area. Overlooking the Teign estuary, Teignmouth and the beach this was definitely the ultimate glamping weekend and we were very excited! With the champagne chilling ready for a birthday cheers we headed out to explore the village. Shaldon is full of West Country charm; it has a few pubs, The Shaldon Bakery, The Yummy Shop, (love this name!) a coffee shop full of local treats, a few great shabby chic style gift shops and some good-looking restaurants. We had dinner at The Ness a lovely hotel and gastro pub with fantastic views overlooking the estuary and Teignmouth. I had steak and ale pie washed down with a large glass of red and finished off with a salted caramel sundae, it was just what I wanted!
The following day we explored the area in more detail, taking the passenger ferry from the beach at Shaldon over to Teignmouth. The journey takes about 5 minutes and cost £1.50 each way! We had some lunch and a stroll along the promenade and then headed back over to Sheldon. Don’t miss Ness Cove; this lovely beach is accessed by a smugglers tunnel, very cool! Also follow the South West Coast Path up to Ness Point; there is a nice view through the trees at the top of the hill looking towards Teignmouth and the rest of the coastline. Shaldon also has aZoo; it’s worth remembering (at the time of writing) if you have kids you get one free child entry with each ferry ticket. I loved taking photos and capturing the essence of the lovely English seaside in the sunshine. After this we retired back to our beach hut and chilled out on the terrace. Reading and drinking wine, while watching the changing tide and boats bobbing on the water were the main items on the agenda! We were only there for two nights but it felt like a lot longer, it was such a great place to unwind. Living in England knowing how changeable the weather can be we were very lucky that the sun shone all weekend too. I loved nothing more than opening up the doors onto the terrace first thing in the morning and seeing the golden sunlight shimmering on the water. It felt like I was letting the beach right into the hut and so relaxing to read my book in bed listening to the waves lapping at the shore while admiring the lovely view. Time seemed to slow down, making me appreciate the simple things in life. I love beach hut living!