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Villages & Resorts in Devon in general
Member Name: jeremypaxman
Villages & Resorts in Devon in general
Date: 21/01/02, updated on 26/01/02 (333 review reads)
Advantages: The beach, Bustling town, nice weather
Disadvantages: Can be overcrowded
I have lived in Exmouth for 8 years and think it is a wonderful place. Most people don't know enough about it so I thought I might change that.
Exmouth lies just 15 miles due south of Exeter right on the coast. The entrance to the river Exe estuary is at Exmouth. Sidmouth is 10 miles due east alomg the coast and Torquay is 25 miles the other way.
Exmouth is a large town (the largest town in Devon) with over 35000 inhabitants. There is an even mix of young and old although most of the elderly choose to live nearby in Sidmouth or Budleigh Salterton. It is spread over an area of about 10 square miles, with the town at sea level and the housing predominantly up the hills on two sides. The other two sides are surrounded by water - one side by the Exe estuary and the other by the sea. The main attraction about Exmouth is the lovely white beach that spans most of the length of the town - over three miles. This can be crowded at peak times but usually it is perfect. The only other problem is that the Exe estuary is one of the most tidal places in the country so swimming is not safe at all times. We do, however, get the benefit of good weather during the summer being so close to the sea.
Exmouth town has all the usual amenities -quite a number of shops including WHSmiths, Woolworths, Boots and Superdrug. There is a lovely strand where the war memorial lies. There is a cinema and a library and 2 public fitness centers - with an array of squash courts and swimming pools - as well as an indoor tennis centre and a two sailing clubs. Exmouth has successful rugby, cricket and football teams as well as a smart bowls club and tennis club. The cricket pitch lies right by the sea on the 'Maer' and it is lovely to go and watch a few overs in the summer. Exmouth is a town of great tradition and is renowned locally for its Christmas Day swim. The turn out is usually around the thousand mark and we
all line up on the beach and when the clock strikes 11 we charge! About three seconds later we all charge back out again but it's all in the name of fun! Exmouth has its own train station and is 30 minutes from Exeter both by car and rail.
I would say that Exmouth definitely has the best nightlife in Devon with the exception of Exeter and maybe Plymouth. On New Year's Eve, people flock in their thousands to the sea front to join in the celebrations. There are about 10 pubs in the town - the best being The Powder Monkey, a new Weatherspoon's. There are also a few on the seafront, the best being the Deer Leap. There are 2 nightclubs, both of which are fairly uninteresting (although Samantha's on a Saturday night is quite lively). On the whole it is a very happening place for youngsters and older people.
Exmouth has a number of hotels and guesthouses. The best without a shadow of doubt is the 3 star Imperial Hotel and the next best is the Devoncourt, both of which are a stone's throw from the sea. The Imperial is also the biggest and has its own swimming pool and tennis courts. If you want something a bit more special in that part of Devon, I would strongly recommend the Victoria in Sidmouth - a four star hotel and one of the best in the whole of Devon renowned for its fine food.
The seafront is the heart and soul of Exmouth so I will take some time describing it. You start at the end nearest to Exeter and the estuary. There is the docks which used to be grotty but now are surrounded by quite a trendy housing development. There is talk of a new marina but this has been debated over for over 5 years. There is a nice private sailing club - the appropriately named Exe sailing club. If you want to do some sailing whilst on a holiday in Exmouth, I would recommend going to Spinnaker's run by a local girl, Steph Rowsell and her husband Eric. This is a
great sailing club - very safe and very experienced whilst being fun at the same time.
Also at the docks is the Dive Centre where Scuba diving regularly takes place throughout the summer. Geoff and Ginny have their own 30-foot Rib ('Rebel') and in my experience are also very good. There is also a water taxi service to take you over to the other side of the estuary and a slipway to launch motorboats etc.
Walking along the seafront, you come to a Stuart Line Cruises kiosk, which does various excursions from a simple 'trip round the bay' to mackerel fishing and night cruises. It is well worth doing. There is a nice ice-cream parlour, the Octagon, nearby and also the Exmouth Pavilion, which is like an old concert hall and has regular entertainment as well as a nice enough bar. Next to this is Pete Manfield's watersports centre which organizes anything from windsurfing lessons to powerboating. I have always found them very pleasant and easy to deal with.
For a cheap but delicious meal, I would always go for the Harbour View, a very friendly café next door to the watersports centre. There is the onshore lifeboat station just across the road which is well worth a look in. From here you walk past a series of amusement rides/parks: A boating lake, minigolf, a model railway museum and an arcade. They are all fairly crowded in summer but there is always a very pleasant atmosphere. Further down the beach is the rock pools, a favourite with the children at low tide. I once caught 126 crabs in just under an hour there - quite impressive I must say! (They really like smoked bacon - try it)
That's pretty much it for Exmouth. It really is a lovely town and well worth a visit in the summer time. Feel free to come along.