Perfect day out at the Gallery Lodges Braunton. Its so sunny and beautiful here.
The sea is warming up, surf is on the way and the sun seems to keep on shining. Just 2 minutes drive up the road from the Lodges we took one of our favourite walks. Past the stunning historic house and gardens through carpets of bue bells and wild garlic.
Over to look at Croyde Bay and then back through the trees down to Saunton Beach for a coffee and a cake and just squeezed in a pasty at the beach cafe. Rested and refreshed we headed back through the dunes to collect the car. Now you would think we couldn’t eat any more and life just couldn’t get better.
But then we took a short trip round the headland to Down End Car Park and took home a Sri Lankan curry Tambapanni (See food Guide) from the Saturday Take out van and ate it on the Headland at Croyde.
If you are going to stay at the Lodges, just remember the food vans at Croyde Down End Car Park. The sign by the entrance is updated with the van schedule this season.
Saturday is the Sri Lankan Curry and its absolutely wonderful, well cooked and hits the spot every time.
Booking for the Lodges at www.thegallerylodges.co.uk or pm me.
If you want to know where this stunning walk in you will have to visit ud at the Lodges or at the art studio www.petecaswell.co.uk
To make your stay a bit more fun, here are our food tips from the area near the Gallery Lodges, where we like to dine, including some gluten free options. Please do ask for further info.
Braunton top picks
The Riverside Café Pete’s favourite all round breakfast, lunch and evening café / restaurant. Very reliable chef and service with some really tasty food at a reasonable price. Lunch club sandwich and the black pudding sausage on the breakfast. Outside of the peak season this place does the most amazing restaurant style Sunday Lunch. Cater for Gluten Free. http://www.theriversidebraunton.co.uk/
First Class French Food although not cheap is on the corner in the centre of Braunton. It has rave reviews. http://lebistroducoin.co.uk/
Wild Thyme Café / Restaurant fun and trendy surf café for coffee, cakes, breakfast and lunch. Our favourite for atmosphere although can suffer from mothers & toddlers sometimes. Has gluten-free options, sometimes including GF scones. http://wildthymecafe.co.uk/
Squires Fish & Chips is a complete all rounder – filling, cheap and perfectly cooked Fish & Chips. BEST VALUE. At peak times you have to queue for the restaurant & Take Out. Try before 6pm at busy times of year. Can’t beat their chips they are perfect. The gluten-free among us should try Poached Cod. The chips are always fried separately too.
Siam Bistro if you like Thai try the take-out or eat in. Atmosphere in the restaurant can be a bit quiet at times but staff are nice and food is great. The mixed starter is recommended, best value and Pete’s favourite part of the meal. Will do gluten free if you ask (but check the soy sauce)
Stoned Wood Fired Pizza http://www.stoned.org.uk/ Cool new venue with take-out or eat. Proper pizzas cooked in a wood fired oven right in front of your eyes. Mouth watering toppings, and seasonal menu. Not to be missed. Gluten free base and vegan cheese also available. The best coffee in Braunton. Offers online orders and local delivery. Next to Squires Fish & Chips.
SQ a new pub and restaurant in Braunton getting some good reviews. The live music on certain nights makes this a popular venue. http://sqdining.uk/bar/sq_bar_restaurant_braunton_devon.php
Tambapanni, Sri Lankan Food at Braunton. Our favourite food choice in 2017 returns for the 2018 season. Simply heaven. We eat here every week! Authentic Sri Lankan Food cooked with a passion. Served from their food van at Croyde and Braunton on certain days of the week (usually Friday and Saturday). It’s not the cheapest take out curry but I rate it among the best. Delicate flavours, meat, veg, gluten and dairy free and Vegan options. Heaven on a plate. Check out their facebook page for times and days. Don’t miss it. https://www.facebook.com/tambapannicurry/
As if one Sri Lankan Food option wasn’t enough here is another. Not quite as amazingly tasty, but close. If you get a sunny day with low winds sit and eat your curry on the beach and you could well be back at your favourite beach in Asia. Not in Braunton but top pick if you like authentic Sri Lankan food – Meat and Veg options. Barricane Beach Café, 20 min drive away at Woolacombe. Seasonal and weather dependent so do check on facebook https://www.facebook.com/Barricane-Beach-Woolacombe-163881457003060/
The top pick is a choice between The Riverside and Wild Thyme on the right and the left as you walk into Braunton. Both different to each other and both great for different reasons. Wild Thyme stands out for its juices and smoothies. Pete prefers The Riverside but then we really like the Fruit smoothies in Wild Thyme. As you walk further into Braunton there are more cafes, such as At One with more breakfast options so take your pick. As we said earlier, Stoned is our top pick for a morning coffee.
Blue Groove in Croyde and TheThatch Pub Croyde also do breakfasts if you fancy a drive. Another great coffee and cake stop is The Stores at Croyde next to the post office. https://www.thestorescroyde.co.uk/
Out of season The Riverside do amazing Sunday Lunches (and we mean really amazing) but you have to be hungry.
The Williams Arms is pretty reliable but a bit more of a walk (so best to drive), on the other side of Braunton but does a popular Sunday Carvery. The Aggi Inn nearer the village centre also does a great reasonably piced home cooked pub style Sunday Carvery. There are many pubs in Braunton which all do food and beer but we’re yet to try. http://www.williamsarms.co.uk/.
http://www.theaggibraunton.co.uk/ also ok for Sunday Lunch, very reasonably priced.
Country Pubs & Georgeham.
If you want more of the country pub experience and some great food try the two pubs in Georgeham. A bit of a drive so best to call and book ahead, about 10 to 20 mins but well worth it for that cosy country pub vibe. The Kings Arms – http://kingsarmsgeorgeham.co.uk/ and The Rock Inn –http://therockinn.biz/.
The Thatch at Croyde is popular place with live music. For a bit of younger atmosphere try The Thatch at Croyde which has a fun and lively young / surf atmosphere and reliable, but a little expensive, pub food. Live music is on most weekends which makes it a really good night out. This is one of those must see pubs being part of the surf culture so many regulars to the area head straight here for their first pint. Check out the facebook page for any live music.
Saunton Road Studios just 10 minutes walk up the Saunton Road toward Braunton also has live music. If you are a music fan this small, unusual venue may prove interesting. Check out what live music is on the website – http://sauntonroadstudios.co.uk/
SQ Bar in Braunton opposite Squires chippy has live music on certain nights. Check out the listings. http://sqdining.uk/bar/sq_bar_restaurant_braunton_devon.php
Sea Food Options
If you are by the sea and want to sample the sea food:
Sands On The Beach at Saunton Beach. This has gone up in the ratings recently. On the beach. Great food and lots of locally sourced sea food. A real one to visit and out of season they do some offers on lunches. One of the few restaurants on the beach. Pay by the hour car parking at the beach now makes this a realistic option for an evening or lunch. Interesting modern menu. Not cheap but location is good. Lobster is a key feature and steak along with other locally sourced fish. Its one of the few beach side restaurants. I am putting this one on my favourites list for sure. Great place for a coffee and a gaze at the sea. https://www.beachsidegrill.co.uk/
Cheaper cafe option below https://www.facebook.com/sauntonbreak/
Riverside restaurant always has a good fish option on the menue. SQ in Braunton has some sea food.
The only dedicated fish restaurant in the area I know of is Fat Belly Fred’s in Barnstaple (5 miles away) which receives good reviews. They really know their fish and get local fresh deliveries so you can be sure of the best catch of the day. The scallops are great. Gluten free options. http://fatbellyfreds.co.uk/.
Squires Fish and Chips is a must if you like your Fish and Chips.
Blue Groove and The Stores in the centre of Croyde. Park at the village hall by the hour. Blue Groove does great meals and and now The Croyde Stores cafe is competing for your business with lovely cakes and light lunches.
Sandleigh National Trust café & Baggys Café are both at the start of the Baggy Headland near the National Trust Car Park. Nice headland walk and some good cake and coffee options. Great afternoon tea option too. Sandleigh always has a gluten free pasty, cake and scones.
Down End Cafe, on Down End near the Croyde Bay. Check out the surf and get a coffee. http://parkingcroyde.com/the-drop-in/
Other Braunton Restaurants / Pubs
http://www.sqdining.uk/ Modern restaurant & bar in the centre of Braunton. Not my cup of tea but some of our guests have enjoyed it and given some good feed back on this.
https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g551629-d2199832-Reviews-Ebrington_Arms-Braunton_Devon_England.html Pub at Knowle, gets good reviews.
Further Afield up to ¾ hr drive & Walks.
Harbour Deli Combe Martin my favourite breakfast. Great breakfast and coffee for a very reasonable price and a counter of superb home made cakes for afters. Then take a walk up to hangman and back. See maps in the Lodge. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g551660-d4178654-Reviews-Harbour_Deli-Combe_Martin_Exmoor_National_Park_England.html
Barricane Beach Café Woolacombe. This is perhaps one of my gems of the area if the weather is good. A bit of a drive but great authentic Sri Lankan food on the beach. Cheap and characterful. The menue is fixed and you sit on the beach to eat it but it is first class. Veggie or meat options. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g551703-d2665967-Reviews-Barricane_Beach_Cafe-Woolacombe_Devon_England.html
National Trust Café at Riversmeet at Lymouth. Great location and some nice food and a great walk up the river starting in the village. See maps in the Lodge.
Hunters Inn Headdon Valley. Pub / restaurant in a great location and a beautiful walk to the beach or up around the headland. See maps in Lodge. Narrow scenic roads to access, plenty of parking. Not the cheapest pub but great location.
Marwood gardens and Cafe. If you want to get away from it all, here is the place about 20 min drive, peaceful valley and gardens with an old fashioned cafe run by volunteers. Go on Sunday and have a bargain afternoon tea at the village hall in real old Devon ways served by the WI.
http://www.moransrestaurant.co.uk/ A great Thai restaurant at Westward Ho, a bit of a drive, very tasty, but I think it uses msg so do check this.
Yum – Probably the coolest & tastiest day out you can have.
Opens around 5pm to 7.30pm and serves up the most amazing Sri Lankan curry you will ever have in the UK.
Sit on the beach to eat a delicately and fragrantly spiced curry while watching the setting sun and lapping waves.
Meat or Veggie options, served from the beach hut on Barricane beach. Take a bottle of wine and your sunnies.
Then top it all off with a stunning walk round Morte Point.
About a 20 min drive from the www.thegallerylodges.co.uk to Woolacombe.
This place is my favourite curry stop in the UK and beats all the others hands down, providing the weather is ok though.
One of my favourite mornings is to get up and set off up to Combe Martin about a 20 minute drive away.
Then take what I consider is the best breakfast in the world.
Its a little unimposing cafe near the beach called the Harbour Deli, on the left as you walk down the High Street to the beach.
A cooked breakfast and a coffee here costs about £5 and it is always perfect and great value.
Then after a great breakfast stock up on all the homemade cakes which I usually spend all morning drooling over.
They do a bread pudding which will feed an army and a selection of traditional home bakes your gran would be proud of.
Having consumed all these calories there is a perfect hill opposite to walk them off. Head up to Hangman’s peak and then back through a beautiful little stream back to the village, a couple of hours should do it.
A detour off to Wild Pear Beach (Can be steep a tricky at the bottom where the steps sometimes wash away – be careful) is an added bonus and a chance to eat all those cakes. Check out the maps in the Lodges for directions.
If you visit in July August you will get the treat of your life with the hills resplendent in the most beautiful purple heather and Gauze profusions of colour.
Simply magic when set against the jaw dropping cliffs plunging into the Bristol Channel and the chugging white clouds. Can’t beat it. And that’s the breakfast…
Lynton and Lymouth in North Devon is one of the most stunning coastal trips you can take from the Gallery Lodges.
Its about a 40 minute drive and is best suited to non beach days.
The advantage of this area and the closer Hunters Inn is they offer a variety of walks sheltered from the South Westerly Winds and rain.
At Lynton the walk up to Watersmeet where there is a National Trust Cafe is in a steep wooded valley and the walk along the river is perfect on any day.
On wet and windy days this can provide the perfect escape from the weather and give you a superb walk for you money, and you may barely notice the weather above with the stunning sculpted oaks and crystal clear waters rushing by.
You can approach this walk from the car park at the bottom at Lymounth or at the National Trust car park at the top which gives a shorter walk.
Combine this walk with a walk through the Valley of the Rocks at Lynton and a drive from Lynton through the valley of the rocks along the coast road to Hunters Inn and Combe Martin.
Stunning but narrow so avoid with large cars or if you can’t reverse or in very precious cars.
This walk is also great on a sunny day as well and the harbour is a real treat to look round.
Other great walks are Hunters Inn where you can walk to the beach at the end of the river about 3 mile return and fairly sheltered. Combe Martin up to Hangman and back, great views.
Probably one of the most stunning coastal cycle rides in England. You can start the ride at the Hunters Inn at Heddon Valley in Exmoor National Park.
You can extend this ride by starting at Combe Martin, Ilfracombe or for really long ride from The Gallery Lodges at Braunton.
Starting at The Hunters Inn you may need a stiff drink to tackle the steep climb out of the valley. To avoid this park at the parking areas nearer to Lynton.
Once you have climbed the hill through the woods you get great views across the hill tops to the coast
Soon you reach the coast and the stunning vistas begin of the amazing North Coast.
Woody bay is a fun detour if it s hot for a swim, or hang on for Lee Bay further on.
The descent down to Lee Bay near Lynton (not the one near Wolacombe which is a great ride also) is a real treat and if like me the main focus on the trip is a great cafe don’t rely on the beautiful cafe at Lee Bay. They have quite a short season. But don’t worry there is a more reliable cafe just a mile up the next hill with a lovely garden with large portions of pudding pies.
Once down in Lee Bay climb up through the Valley of the Rocks past the Lee Abbey Christian retreat, probably the most scenic place to try your hand at some religious pursuits.
At Lynton check out the historic cliff railway and if you need to stretch your legs further descend the steep road into Lynmouth.
The way back is a real treat as from Woody Bay you take the old Victorian Carriageway which hugs the cliffs and bluffs all the way back to the pub at Heddon Valley.
From Heddon Valley there is also the stunning short walk out to Heddon’s Mouth Cove.
If you get it all right you get your rewards right here at the splendor of the Victorian Era Hunters Inn, which together with the Victorian Carriageway and Woody Bay formed the start of a very ambitious Victorian Holiday Resort to rival Ilfracombe.
Cycle ride starts at The Gallery Lodges and climbs over the tops through the back lanes into the views open up over the ocean.
Then the stunning drop down into Woolacombe. High speed and great fun but be careful. Then stop for a tea in Woolacombe or head back to Putsborough.
Extensions to this ride, from Woolacombe could go further North up to Mortehoe, Lee Bay, Ilfracombe, Combe Martin and back via Mullacott Cross then taking the long downhill all the way back to Braunton. Feeling fit then follow the coast road on the North Coast right up to Lynton, what a stunner, but a lot of ups and downs and a long way.
You can just about do this trail on a road bike but needs care and less speed. Stone trail pictured here, you need to go on the edge to avoid the bumpiest stones.
Heading up towards Putsborough.Trail gets a bit narrower here. After heavy rain could be tricky on your road bike, but I’ve done it. Worth it for the views.
Hang around at the beach cafe for the inevitable sunset at Putsborough. Paintings of these Putsborough sunsets at www.petecaswell.co.uk
If you come on another day it might look like this.
You could come back with your surf board and surf this magical beach the next day. Avoid bank holidays and busy weekends as the traffic can be a killer on the narrow lane access.
See if you can find this photo in the paintings below.
Take a look at all the paintings by Pete Caswell of this route by Pete Caswell on www.petecaswell.co.uk
See more paintings of Putsborough and Woolacombe at www.petecaswell.co.uk
As Autumn is here and winter is approaching you can get your first taste of the snow and a sneaky early season ski and snowboard at the Gallery Lodges in North Devon.
4 hours drive from London, pistes right inside the door and epic powder conditions on tap every day with bright sunny conditions. Sounds too good to be true?
But it really is check it out in the latest article by Pete caswell on skiing in North Devon
You can buy these beautiful skiing and snowboarding paintings and prints from www.petecaswell.co.uk