From beach shacks to fine dining, eating out in the South Hams offers an extra special holiday memory.
A simply prepared meal eaten in a beautiful place or a superb spread of the freshest local food – these things can take a holiday from good to great. For instance, did those local sausages taste amazing because you were eating them on the beach? Or was that the best-ever G&T because you made the gin?
Reading our Dittiscombeguest books and online reviews, many of our visitors happily share their special eating-out places. It seems that authenticity of the food, atmosphere and great views, friendliness and beautiful surroundings are all part of a wonderful holiday experience. So we’ve mixed some guest suggestions with a little local knowledge and come up with a (not definitive) list of memorable eating out places in the South Hams.
Combine a beautiful walk with a refreshing pit stop and head to the unique Walkers Hut at East Soar, with its open sided barn cafe where you DIY from the simple homemade cakes and put money in an honesty box. At the aptly named Ocean’s ReachRestaurantat Bolberry Down you’ll get far-reaching views of the South Devon coastline, and a menu filled with local ingredients and vegan and vegetarian choices too. Work up an appetite with a walk into Dartmouth, starting at the National Trustcar park at Little Dartmouth, and make sure you get to the finish for a big brunch at the dog-friendly Cafe Alf Rescoin town.
After a spot of paddle boarding you can hop off your board and pop into The Crabshellfor a cocktail whilst overlooking the Kingsbridge estuary. Or if a sitting-down sport is more your thing then join in one of the groups going out in two-man canoes with Dave of Singing Paddles; help him fire up the kelly kettle for hot drinks and savour the taste of bbq sausages on a deserted beach.
Some of the small villages have the best pubs around. For instance the Bear & Blacksmith in Chillington, described as ‘ultra local’, dishes up beef from Slapton (almost next door!) and the freshest fish from nearby shores. Right next to the sea at Beesands you’ll find Britannia @ The Beach where seasonally available local seafood is, of course, the order of the day. Leave time for a post-lunch walk along the National Trust coast path which runs right by the front door!
There are opportunities a-plenty to discover more about where and how our local food and drink comes from. Find out how organic food is produced at Riverford Field Kitchen with a farm tour followed up with dinner made from food freshly picked and cooked on site, and served up on large platters at shared tables. The family-run South Hams Brewery hang out at the Tap Room at Stokeley Farm Shop. They hold beer, music and foodie events year-round and you can arrange a tasting to pick your favourite craft beers from a list of intriguing names such as Hopnosis or Pandemonium. Learn the art of distilling gin and develop your own unique flavour at the gin school at Salcombe Gin. Or tour Sharpham Vineyard near Totnes, tasting the fruits of a successful and award-winning English vineyard.
For some unforgettable dining experiences we are lucky to have one of the best of the South West young chefs in Jamie Rogers, now fronting his own restaurant in Kingsbridge, Twenty Seven; cook book author and TV chef Jane Baxter of Wild Artichokes holds pop-up feasting events in various locations around the South Hams; and Geetie Singh-Watson brings eating and ethics together in her new pub project The Bull in Totnes, the first fully organic pub in the area.
Sunday lunch with the papers and a great view doesn’t come much more relaxing than at the Gara Rock Restaurant near Salcombe; or settle down with a traditional Devon cream tea at the Cottage Hotelin the old fishing village of Hope Cove and enjoy fabulous sea views over Inner Hope beach.
Take a stroll around the art displays and craft gallery at Avon Mill Garden Centre stopping for a jaw-dropping cheese scone savoury tea in the Cafe, before heading out to walk along the old railway line walk which runs next to the beautiful Avon River.
A plate of fish and chips is the best prize after a hard day on the beach. Close to some great beaches you’ll find the Start Bay Innat Torcross, The Sloopat Bantham, and The Cricket Inn at Beesands where you can pitch up for heart-warming meals to satiate sea-air appetites!
For the self-catering holidaymaker the South Hams offers a good opportunity to cook with new ingredients or using food with low food miles. The Kingsbridge Farmers’ Market is on every other Saturday. Farm Shops such as Stokeleyand Aune Valley, Lidstones Butchers, Catch of the Day fishmongers and Samphire Foods all sell locally produced, top-quality food and drink.
Creating the best experiences with food, ones which are talked of many times between family and friends, can make holiday memories extra-special. So while on holiday in the South Hams, the world is your oyster!
Dittiscombe Estate & Cottagesis located in a perfect spot to try all these different eateries and shops. Just north of Slapton village, and a 20 minute drive from Kingsbridge, the six pretty self-catering cottages nestle peacefully within a rewilded conservation valley. For more information visit Dittiscombe Estate & Cottages, or call Ruth & Jon on 01548 521272.