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A pretty Devon town on the Jurassic Coast

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The first thing that hits you about Sidmouth is its surroundings. The town is bookended by tall red cliffs, and lined with green trees and hills. Add the beach, and the sea, and Sidmouth becomes a looker from just about any angle.

Sidmouth Beach
Photo Reading Tom
The cliffs are a particularly big part of Sidmouth's appeal. They form part of the Jurassic Coast, a group of fossil-filled rocks that were formed around 240 million years ago. It was made into an official World Heritage site, by UNESCO, for its archaeological importance, and its aesthetic appeal. From walks to cruises, there are lots of different ways to explore the amazing sights that this natural wonder has to offer.

Jurassic Coast at Sidmouth
Photo Ian James Cox
The cliffs slope down towards Sidmouth's beach. Its surface is mostly covered with pebbles, but if this disappoints you, then just be patient. At low tide, the water recedes, revealing a layer of soft sand. There are beach huts for hire, and rock pools full of interesting creatures.

Photo Robin Lucas
The town itself is just as pretty. In fact, it's a previous gold award winner in the fiercely competitive Britain in Bloom competition. There are flowers and plants all over town, but the best example of Sidmouth's greenery is at Connaught Gardens. This clifftop complex was opened by its namesake, the Duke of Connaught, in 1934. There's lots to see here, including an army of carnivorous plants, the jungle garden, and some amazing views of Sidmouth's cliffs. Jacob's Ladder, a white, jagged staircase, leads directly from the gardens to the beach.

Connaught Gardens
Photo nitebot
Another good spot to relax is at Blackmore Gardens, which is known for its eye-catching mascot, Fred the Peacock. Fred is a floral sculpture, made by carefully arranging and trimming a selection of beautiful flowers. There are several similar sculptures dotted around the town, including a lion, a tortoise family, and the Loch Ness Monster!
Sidmouth also has many stylish eating places and some of the best shops in East Devon, selling desirable items such as unusual gifts, designer clothing, and local food and drink.

Fresh fish in Sidmouth
Photo David Hawgood
Many old, attractive buildings are stood here too, so don't forget to give them some of your attention. The highlight is the Royal Glen Hotel, a Grade I listed building, and something of a local landmark. In the early 1800s, when it was called Woodbrook Cottage, it was occupied by Prince Edward, the fourth son of King George III. Unfortunately, just a short time after he moved in, he died of a severe cold. It was the start of a bad week for the family, as King George died just 6 days later! 18 years after this, Edward's daughter, Victoria, inherited throne of the United Kingdom, and reigned for over 63 years. Room 15 of the Royal Glen Hotel bears a plaque, informing visitors that they're staying in a room once occupied by Her Royal Highness.
Sidmouth's busiest week is in August, when it hosts the internationally renowned Sidmouth Folk Week. This event began as a folk dancing event in 1955, but it soon grew to include music, crafts, and more, with people travelling from all over the world to perform. It is a hugely popular event that attracts visitors from far and wide to this beautiful little town.
Visitor Information
Sidmouth Tourist Information Centre, Ham Lane, Sidmouth, EX10 8XR. Tel: 01395 516441

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