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A Weekend in North Devon

Finally a weekend AWAY AWAY! Taking advantage of a school inset day and the early May bank holiday weekend we packed up the car and headed to the Hartland peninsula, for a weekend away in North Devon.

We’d left it quite last minute to book accommodation for what was going to be the first ‘normal’ bank holiday weekend of the year so was really pleased to find Greenway Barn on Airbnb. It ticked all our boxes – rural location, on the coast, within a three hour drive from home and excellent facilities for the kids. Greenway is the biggest barn and is part of a small collection of self-catering lets at Southole Barns. It is a two bedroom renovated farm building with an up-side down layout. We found it spacious, homely, very clean and perfect for our get-away. There is a log burning stove which we loved, and lit every evening after the kids were in bed. In non-Covid times there is also a shared hot tub. The kids loved the play ground on the front lawn and we barely saw them!

Southole is a tiny hamlet on the North Devon coast right by the Cornish border. The South West coast path is just a stone’s throw away. Though it is down in a valley, so to get those sea views you do have to climb a small hill! But it is totally worthwhile. It is an incredibly tranquil and peaceful place surrounded by beautiful countryside.

South West Coast Path - North Devon
South West Coast Path – North Devon

We were super lucky with the weather and that meant we spent most our weekend in North Devon exploring the local beaches! On our first day we drove the 30 minutes down the A39, just over the Cornish border, to the coastal town of Bude. We spent the day exploring the harbour, playing on the beach and exploring the rock pools, which the boys loved. There is a sea pool at Bude, which is really cool but I wasn’t quite brave enough to take a dip. The boys put their big toes in and ran out screaming! We had a lovely lunch at Life’s a Beach, which has gorgeous sea views. The fresh Cornish mackerel was delicious, as was the burger, but the kids options were a little unimaginative.

Harbour at Bude
Beautiful Bude

On our second day we headed back down the A39, this time to Sandymouth, a National Trust managed beach. It sounded really lovely on paper but when arrived it was high-tide and so there was just a small strip of pebbles available to sit on! Definitely check the tide-times before you visit! We had our picnic lunch and waited for the beach to appear – which it did eventually! Again loads of rock pools to explore but not a whole lot of sand for the kids to play on. Being a National Trust beach there are good facilities including a cafe to get that all important ice cream!

Heading back to Southole we stopped at the Old Smithy Inn at Welcombe, a gorgeous 13th Century thatched inn. Still under Covid restrictions, so not allowed inside but we enjoyed a nice pint in the garden!

On our last day the weather had turned (it was a bank holiday after all!). As we were heading for home that didn’t matter too much. On our way back we stopped at Appledore for a wonder. There is a great pirate ship themed playground in the car park! And then drove on to Bideford in search of fish and chips, which we ate in the car – so British!

It was such a lovely weekend in North Devon. After a long winter and such limited opportunities to travel and explore, this weekend away was needed. I would thoroughly recommend Southole Barns and the Hartland peninsula is rugged, wild and beautiful. Definitely somewhere we will re-visit! Already looking forward to our next visit to North Devon when we head back to Westland Farm.

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