You are never short of options for a short walk around Sidmouth. Here are five of our favourites:
There is a little booklet, available at Sidmouth Museum, to help you find all the blue plaques dotted around Sidmouth: A Guide to the Blue Plaques – Life & Times in Sidmouth. There are 60 listed, with Alma Bridge, the Beach House and Sidmouth Sailing Club, nearest to the hotel. See how many you can find!
Just a few steps along the Esplanade is The Ham. A hub for locals, it has the town’s swimming pool and main playpark. This area, known as Eastern Town, was once marshland. It was reclaimed in the nineteenth century and developed into a shipyard, forges, laundries and stables before becoming a recreational space. Closeby, the newly built Alma Bridge crosses the River Sid where it runs into the sea. If you’re lucky, you can spot kingfishers darting along the red rock cliffs opposite.
The Toll House, built in the early nineteenth century, stands at the entrance to Sidmouth’s 2km long Byes parkland. If you have the time and energy, you can walk from the town to Sidford village, not a car in sight. The Byes has everything: meadows, fields, open parkland, a community orchard and a lovely riverside walk through woodland, a great place to escape the heat in Summer.
If you have half an hour to spare, The Esplanade, just opposite the hotel, is the ideal place to stretch your legs, breathe in fresh sea air and, best of all, people watch. Starting at the eastern end near the vertical red sandstone cliffs that rise to Salcombe Hill, you can see where erosion has caused large rock falls on to the beach below. Walking along the Esplanade, you might see the lifeboat in its shed opposite or a team of rowers lifting their gigs down to the sea.
If the tide is out, you have a choice of pebble beaches to enjoy whilst watching the horizon for tankers, cruise ships or naval boats. Closer to the shore, sailing boats glide peacefully past. As you pass the Esplanade shelter, the beach opposite reveals its sandy shore, a favourite with children. Just beyond are the rock pools before the bay turns in to Jacobs Ladder. Your walk is finished as you reach the end of The Esplanade where it joins the Millennium Walkway.
Leaving the Millennium Walkway, the path winds between the sea and the contours of red sandstone. From Jacobs Ladder beach, it is a steep but short climb up to Connaught Gardens. Stop a while to marvel at the views through the arch, towards Peak Hill and out to sea. The immaculate gardens are the perfect place to relax and unwind. In Summer you can enjoy concerts on the bandstand, from Sidmouth Town Band. Lastly, enjoy the view over Sidmouth looking back towards Salcombe Hill.