Sunday, 2 March 2008
Sidmouth's delightful ambience
We spent last night in Sidmouth, the Devon seaside town that puts so many other English resorts to shame. It lacks the pier and entertainments that seem central to others' offer. But its wonderful seafront, with magnificent red cliffs, great hotels and charming independent shops more than make up. We stayed in the splendid Edwardian Victoria hotel, where Miss Marple would surely feel at home, with jackets required for an excellent dinner, a band playing during and after, and the whole ambience reflecting what one assumes the Imperial in Blackpool or Grand in Brighton used to offer a long time ago. It is not a cheap place; and though we used public transport (hourly buses from Exeter), one can't help but feel that the resort may have remained in a genteel timewarp thanks to the absence of a railway since 1967, having been another victim of Beeching's rail cuts. For once, perhaps, the axeman did us a favour.