‘A town caught still in a timeless charm’
That was the Sidmouth that captivated the Poet Laureate‚ John Betjeman‚ and it will captivate you‚ too.
Beautiful gardens and leisurely walks‚ Regency history and fine hotels‚ clean beaches and friendly shops. it’s all here in this lovely seaside town that nestles beneath majestic red cliffs and the green hills of the glorious Sid Valley.
Rock pools for shrimping‚ sand for sandcastles! It’s a paradise for children when the clean pebbly beaches give way at low tide to golden sands.
Fine buildings‚ gentle walks‚ stunning views – with so much to nurture‚ conservation is Sidmouth’s watchword.
Its time warp ambience is the perfect prescription to relax and browse‚ be it a seafront stroll or a bracing walk on Peak Hill to wonder at the magnificent panorama of sea and coast with Sidmouth spread below.
For the less energetic there is many a gentler stroll around town‚ park and garden and along the seafront linked by a walkway to the western beach at Jacob’s Ladder.
Sidmouth Folk Festival Week!
First week of August (Friday to Friday)
Each year in August‚ Sidmouth hosts the celebrated Folk Festival Week‚ when we see vibrant colour and listen to music from around the world. Laughter and smiles are to be seen everywhere.
The History and Architecture of Sidmouth.
The band played and the bells rang out in December 1819 when the Duke and Duchess of Kent‚ with the infant Princess Victoria‚ arrived at Woolbrook Cottage‚ now the Royal Glen Hotel. Their stay‚ however‚ was tragically short‚ for the Duke died on January 23rd from complications after a heavy cold. His coffin lay in state here for several days and was seen by some 3000 people. But the funeral was delayed because of the death‚ six days later‚ of his father‚ King George III. Not until February 7th did the cortege leave Sidmouth through streets lined by silent crowds. In 1856 Edward‚ Prince of Wales‚ stayed at the Royal York Hotel‚ visiting Woolbrook Cottage to see where his grandfather died and where his mother slept as a baby.
Fortunately‚ not all Sidmouth’s royal connections are tinged with such sadness. A favourite Royal visitor was the Duke of Connaught‚ Queen Victoria’s third son. He first came in 1931 and in 1934 gave his name to Connaught Gardens so admired today by visitors from all over the world.
Much of Sidmouth’s history is gleaned from the Blue Plaques on the buildings which mirror the era when the nobility and members of London Society built fine houses here. Many still exist‚ while others have become hotels without losing their Regency charm.
The cob-walled Old Ship Inn‚ originally thought to be a monastery‚ dates back to 1350 and it was certainly a smugglers’ rendezvous in the days of brandy for the parson and baccy for the clerk.
Fortfield Terrace is another example of the style of the day. Here‚ a doubleheaded eagle commemorates the stay of the Grand Duchess of Russia in 1831. She brought a retinue of 100 gentlemen‚ ladies and servants and among the guests at a reception she gave was the Sidmouth artist and historian‚ Peter Orlando Hutchinson‚ whose diaries and sketches are a vivid picture of 19th century life in Sidmouth. Copies are among the treasures at the Museum next to the ancient parish church of St. Giles and St. Nicholas.