Within the cliff top walls there are several distinct linked gardens including a sunken garden, the ‘jungle’, a pergola walk and a band stand where you can hear live music and sometimes see theatre performances too. The popular Clock Tower cafe serves a mouth watering selection of enormous home made cakes and scones as well as substantial lunches. On the seaward side of the gardens there is a cliff top walkway with stunning views across Sidmouth main beach to the distinctive red Devon cliffs beyond.
A potted history of the gardens
Sidmouth Urban District Council purchased Sea View cottage and its gardens in the early 1930s. The house was in such a poor state that it was demolished leaving only key walls in place to provide sheltered areas for the wide range of plants the gardens now contain. The name comes from the Duke of Connaught, Queen Victoria’s third son, and is a sign of Sidmouth’s historic popularity with the royal family. Victoria had visited Sidmouth as a child and the Duke opened the gardens personally in 1934. Sir John Betjeman (1906-1984), Poet Laureate, wrote: “Pause on Peak Hill, look Eastward to the town, Then to the Connaught Gardens wander down, And in the shelter of its tropic bowers, I see bright and outsize Devon flowers.”