A British Summer day in Salcombe, Devon, UK

A perfect day in I remember how surprised my friends and family were when I announced that I was going to spend a significant part of my summer in the UK. Not in the exotic waters of Mallorca, Algarve or even Miami. The UK, more precisely in England. Why? Because it took me the last 8 years to realise how wonderful this part of the world is – seriously pretty – and I felt that I should give it a bit more of Mrs. O’s love.

The wonderful South Devon coastline

The wonderful South Devon coastline

Needless to say, I am not totally mad. The weather people were predicting a heat wave lasting longer than the usual 2-3 days (which in other countries are not defined as heatwaves, but anyway, I digress!). And we got 2 weeks, in the summer of 2013, of pure bliss. Too hot, possibly, to be honest… (ok, I will not complain!)

Immediately after the Henley Royal Regatta, one of my favourite summer events in the British social calendar, I headed to the South West of England, more specifically, to Devon. I know Devon better than any other English county as there are a lot of O’Reillys living here. It is a good place!

One of the prettiest places in the area, has to be Salcombe – a small fishing village, with stunning views of the sea (and bay) and possibly some of the best shopping in this part of the world. I am not going to lie, there is something more to Salcombe than its outstanding natural beauty!

What's not to love about Salcombe?

What’s not to love about Salcombe?

Did I tell you about the shopping? Well well well. In the main street, you can actually hit quite some nice “English-style” clothes shops within a few blocks. Home of Jack Wills (seriously!), you can also help the British economy at local favourites such as Joules, Crew, Salt, Cath Kidstow, etc – there is a common theme between them, so you just need to find out.

A rare moment of calm in Salcombe's main street

A rare moment of calm in Salcombe’s main street

After a wander around town (strict parking restrictions may limit you to one hour), it was time to head to the beach.

One of the local delicacies.. think scones and...

One of the local delicacies.. think scones and…

Before we reached our destination, we headed towards North Sands for lunch. And with a view like this, we kind of stayed there for almost 3 hours.

North Sands beach, Devon

North Sands beach, Devon

We had the laziest lunch ever at the Winking Prawn, a very relaxed seaside restaurant with incredible seafood (this platter for 2 was £21!). One of the things I miss about Portugal the most is the food, but especially seafood – which we barely cook. I can’t tell you how nice it was to find exactly that. And with a side of rose, it was pretty perfect.

Fresh seafood for 2 (slightly large!)

Fresh seafood for 2 (slightly large!)

After lunch, it was time to head to our hotel, the fab and cool South Sands Hotel, which we adored! Right on South Sands beach, it was a lovely place to stay. Recently refurbished (I did get a hint of New England style, which I loved), it was perfect for us! What I need to mention? The drive between North and South Sands (possibly a mile long) can be horrendous if you get two-way traffic in one of Devon’s epic narrow lanes). Certainly adds a bit of excitement (not!).

Our chic Beach Suite at South Sands

Our chic Beach Suite at South Sands

Upon arrival, we were led to our Beach Suite, which had 2 bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, a great living room and independent access (to the street and the beach) from the main hotel.

As we checked-in, we were surprised by a glass of bubbly as we got to our room. Where did we enjoy it? At the stunning beach. I must confess it was my first time at the beach in England and it was lovely (interestingly, it was a bit cooler than I expected, so no dips to report!)

My first time on an English beach...

My first time on an English beach…

We saw a lot of brave people swim, play, or indulge in more adventurous watersports. My favourite was a 80-year old couple who got in their dingy intending to get to Salcombe for dinner. How sweet was that? Well, for those seeking a more relaxed way to get to Salcombe for dinner or a drink, they could always take the ferry. I knew there was a ferry, and I was expecting some sort of proper boat. I can’t tell you how surprised I was with the South Sands ferry. A tractor which got into the sea and then transferred you over to a little boat. I thought it was adorable and promise to get in it next time I am over!

Love the local ferry interpretation!

Love the local ferry interpretation!

Dinner took place at the Beachside restaurant, which we adored. If you are in the area and not staying at the hotel, it is absolutely worth a visit. Fish and seafood are highly featured on the menu. And the view.. oh my God. Staff were also friendly but very relaxed, which really made our evening and stay quite special.

Fab seafood restaurant at South Sands

Fab seafood restaurant at South Sands

Before we knew it, and after a great night’s sleep, it was time to head back home. Saying goodbye to South Sands wasn’t easy, but other UK pleasures awaited.

It wasn't easy to say goodbye to this!

It wasn’t easy to say goodbye to this!

What I know for sure? That I will be back for more, come rain or that incredible sunshine that sometimes blesses this part of the world.


Mrs. O


Disclaimer: I was a guest of the South Sands Hotel who looked after us incredibly well.

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View Comments (32)


  1. Monica

    March 17, 2014 at 11:56 am

    This place looks so beautiful! I’m going to be staying here later this month and I’m so excited. Hopefully the weather holds out and we can have a good old fashioned English holiday 🙂
    Monica recently posted..Skiing in Spain for scardy cat skiersMy Profile

  2. carol lovell

    August 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I missed you by a week! Annual family holiday there every July. If you do visit Salcombe again, I recommend sunny cove. On a perfect day there truely is nowehere like it in the world.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      Sunny cove sounds delightful! Need to check it out next time 🙂

  3. Erin at The World Wanderer

    August 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    What a beautiful place! I’ve never been, but I’m adding it to my list as we speak! 🙂
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..Music Monday: Pompeii.My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      We need you to come across the pond, Erin!

  4. the lazy travelers

    August 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    looks beautiful, mrs o! ive never been anywhere in england outside of london. take me with you next time, mmk? xo, the wino
    the lazy travelers recently posted..jetsetters: @ShortTravelTipsMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      I will, promise! The romantic could have gone, but too busy 🙂

  5. Hogga

    August 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    fresh seafood….so good..
    Hogga recently posted..Honging the KongMy Profile

  6. Pola (@jettingaround)

    August 5, 2013 at 5:50 am

    I remember taking a British geography class in college (yup) and everyone’s shock when the teacher talked about the “British Riviera.” Say what again?? But apparently that area gets some warmer air and can be quite lovely int he summer. 🙂 It’s definitely something that’s been on my list for a while, so thank you for giving me a town to keep in mind! 🙂
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photo of the Week: Bookstore in Buenos AiresMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 5, 2013 at 11:25 am

      The English Riviera exists indeed.. I do find the concept quite strange, I must confess. But it is a wonderful part of the world. Absolutely worth a visit, Pola!

  7. Traveling Ted (@travelingted)

    August 4, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    There is nothing wrong with staying relatively local. This is why I spend a lot of time in Wisconsin. It is close and beautiful just like Salcombe although Wisconsin lacks winking prawns, they just have the regular variety.
    Traveling Ted (@travelingted) recently posted..An adorable alligator slumber in the EvergladesMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 5, 2013 at 11:26 am

      Promise there are prawns and I will be on my way to Wisconsin!

  8. lola

    August 4, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    LOVED Salcombe. i really didn’t know what to expect but it far exceeded my expectations. South Sands was a dream place to stay. i could be quite happy there for a long time.
    lola recently posted..The Top 6 Florida BeachesMy Profile

  9. Anita Mac

    August 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I really will have to explore the UK a little more. I have only been to Heathrow and it looks like I am missing out on some lovely experiences! How’s the weather in the fall? An upcoming trip to Dublin will leave me with just a little bit of spare time for some exploring!
    Anita Mac recently posted..Missing the boat when Spiderman came to town!My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 5, 2013 at 11:27 am

      The weather in the UK is always a surprise. And one thing.. do get out of Heathrow. There is so so much to see – and London (which I love), doesn not define the UK!

  10. Jane

    August 3, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Salcombe as the perfect place for relaxed family holidays.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 4, 2013 at 11:49 am

      It is indeed!

  11. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    August 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I explored southwest England (Devon, Plymouth, Falmouth, Tavistock, etc.) a long time ago and found it quaint and the folks very friendly. Beautiful part of the UK – I need to explore others further north still.
    Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted..Boarding Pass Stories: Little Rock, ArkansasMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 4, 2013 at 11:49 am

      There is so much to see in the UK.. so so much

  12. Nadya's Side Of The Road

    August 2, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Wonderful post! There is nothing like small towns!
    Nadya’s Side Of The Road recently posted..The Point Reyes Lighthouse: The Breathtaking Edge of the EarthMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      And England has so many! Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Vicky

    August 2, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Salcombe is a lovely place. Be aware if you decide to book accommodation in the residential part of town that some of the streets are very steep. The walk back to our apartment was so steep that one almost needed moutaineering gear in places! Lovely view of the estuary from the patio though 🙂
    Vicky recently posted..RUTHWELLMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      That is a very valid point! Glad you liked it!

  14. Simon O'Reilly

    August 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Salcombe is a must for any visitor to the UK and for those living in the UK. It has so much to offer, great SANDY beaches, superb fishing, fabulous sailing, golf on links courses nearby, and usually brilliant weather. Also good food and nice pubs. What more does one want!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      Hummmmm indeed! Thanks for introducing me to this fab place!

  15. Leah Travels

    August 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Salcombe was just as I imagined an English sea side town to be. Who wouldn’t like a place like the Winking Prawn? The name alone is worth a return. And South Sands was perfection. It was totally worth the crazy skinny roads to get there.
    Leah Travels recently posted..Three Fun Ways to See IndianapolisMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      Oh yes the roads, shall never forget those! Thanks for joining me on this trip!

  16. Becky Padmore

    August 2, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Beautiful part of the UK, especially when the sun’s out!
    Becky Padmore recently posted..10 of the prettiest wine regions in FranceMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      Yes, that makes a little tiny difference 🙂

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