Some of our favourite days out from Sidmouth


Sidmouth makes an excellent base for exploring this part of the West Country. Within half an hour’s drive you can be in Dorset, exploring the Jurassic coast; discovering pretty thatched villages in the heart of the Devon countryside or soaking up the culture in the cathedral city of Exeter. The Dartmoor National Park is less than an hour away, as are the gardens at Forde Abbey, Powderham Castle or Killerton House.

Or let someone else do the driving for a change and take advantage of the extensive local bus network which links Sidmouth to many of the nearby towns and villages.

Here are some of our suggestions for days out from Sidmouth.

A La Ronde

This fascinating 16 sided house belongs to the National Trust so you can explore its collections of Grand Tour curiosities and enjoy the views across the Exe estuary.

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The fishing village of Beer

The charming Devon fishing village of Beer has local pubs, cafes and galleries and is home to the Pecorama model railway centre and gardens as well as 2,000 year old quarry caves.

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The Otter valley: Otterton, Budleigh, Bicton and Escot

Climb Peak Hill, at the Western end of Sidmouth sea front, to see sweeping views across the neighbouring Otter Valley. Winding country lanes lead you down to Otterton with its working water mill and then on to Budleigh Salterton at the river mouth. Further up the valley discover beautiful botanic gardens at Bicton and the market town of Ottery St Mary.

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Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast

Famous for it’s fossil finds and as the location for the movie of ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’, Lyme Regis is a lively seaside resort on the Dorset Devon border with plenty of cafés, restaurants and unique local shops as well as family friendly beaches.

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Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor is one of the UK’s last wild places, a place of contrasts – dramatic granite tors, hidden sunken quarries, ancient standing stones and magical wooded valleys. And it’s only 35 miles from Sidmouth.

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A tasty hideaway in Seaton

I recommend taking a stroll along the esplanade to seek out this revitalised café which has one of the best seaside locations on the South Devon coast.

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Bluebell season in Devon

The bluebells were out in full force when we were in Devon for the early May bank holiday weekend. Their splashes of colour confirm that warm weather is finally on its way.

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Photo: Exeter cathedral

The cathedral city of Exeter

Just 30 minutes drive from Sidmouth is East Devon’s main city with a cosmopolitan shopping centre, beautiful medieval buildings, a Gothic cathedral, historic quayside, museums and theatres.

> More about Exeter.

Photo: The Seaton tramway

Seaton Bay, the Axe Valley and tramway

At the mouth of the river Axe lies the sweeping pebble beach of Seaton Bay. The Axe estuary is known for it’s rich and varied bird life which can be spotted from the Seaton wetlands and the riverside tram line.

> More about Seaton, the Axe Valley and the Tramway.

And here’s some recommendations from our guests:

  • “Lovely town and beach and surrounding towns and beaches. We travelled to Dawlish one way and Lyme Regis the other taking in all the towns and beaches in between.” Tim J from Manchester, September 2018.
  • “It was great. Went to National Trust properties – Killerton and A La Ronde.” Claire T from Sandhurst, June 2018.
  • “Enjoyed Budleigh Salterton, Bicton Park and the Donkey Sanctuary.” Margaret H from Rochester, September 2017.
  • “Use the buses – Exeter, Lyme Regis, Beer (return via Seaton).” Sue & Jim R from Peterborough, March 2014.
  • “Boat trip from Exmouth to Brixham – good.” David & Enid C from Pershore, June 2014.
  • “Really enjoyed trip to Blackbury Camp and Beer – very pretty village” Sally K from Guildford, May 2016.
  • “Crealy was perfect for our girls, aged 4 and 8, although may be less exciting for much older children – our girls loved it though!” Nadia L from Oxfordshire, August 2014.
  • “Crealy is a must if you have young children.” Michelle P-S from Hampshire, April 2015.
  • “We like visiting churches – Sidmouth, Colyton and Ottery St Mary are gems.” Stuart A from Birmingham, June 2016.
  • “Branscombe is lovely – best parking at the Sea Shanty pub at the sea front – but be prepared for very narrow lanes to get there!” Claire T from Sandhurst, September 2017.

Photo: Looking across Beer beach

Our Devon and Dorset photo album

Get a taste of this part of the West Country with Some of our favourite photos

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