After taking the leap and deciding to launch my own business in January of this year, there has been very limited time to stop and do anything aside from work. Needing a break and with a holiday abroad simply a no go, instead I decided on a girly weekend with some of my closest friends and colleagues.
After searching high and low across the country and even abroad, we decided to scrap the long commutes and stress of airports and opt for a weekend staycation in our own very beautiful Devon. The truth is, no matter how much you love the great place you live, you never really value how great it is until you really take the time and take it all in.
We were extremely lucky to stay in the fantastic newly renovated Woodside Cottages at Cofton Holiday Park, in Starcross. These cottages were situated in rural Devon with Picturesque views across the beautiful Exe Estuary. Relaxation was at the core of the weekend and so the hottub was a welcome addition to the already amazing accommodation. Hot Tub Holidays have never been so popular – and after this weekend, it was easy to see why!
For me one of the key reasons I love living in Devon so much, is that there really is such a rich array of things to do and places to visit. Starcross did not disappoint as a location for a staycation either, with just minutes to walk for the beach, the woodlands or the fantastic Exe Estuary Trail. Even if you are visiting from further afield and fancy a day in the city, Exeter offers some spectacular history, great shopping and wonderful attractions.
So how did we spend our time over the weekend?
The weekend was all about chilling out, catching up and having fun and so on Friday night we settled in, had some great food and a good old catch up, of course while relaxing in the hot tub. Bats flying overhead, it was cold outside but warm in the hot tub, what a way to spend a Friday evening.
Early Morning Fitness
Although not a feature of most people’s weekend getaways, I have recently caught the running bug and couldn’t help but get up a little earlier and take in some of the great views and the crisp morning air whilst running. Now it was only a short 5km run, but there really are views to die for just a stone’s throw away. Getting out early in the morning also often means some chance encounters with Devon’s best loved wildlife.
A day at the beach
As someone who was born and bred in Devon, as the sun comes out it’s only natural to want to head for the beach, but as a tourist it really is a must. Closest to Starcross is the lively Dawlish Warren, but it is just as easy to hop on the ferry and take a trip over to the neighbouring Exmouth if you are looking for something different.
For our day at the beach we decided to pay a visit to Dawlish Warren. We packed up a picnic which of course included a compulsory bottle of Prosecco as well as an array of other treats and walked just 15 minutes to the beach. We spent most of the morning chatting playing games and even went swimming. Dawlish Warren in the sun is a fantastic way to spend the day.
No weekend away should be without a BBQ. So after the beach we headed back to the cottage, chilled out and got things ready for a delicious BBQ feast. The afternoon was all about music, interesting chat, a few drinks, games and lovely food. The setting was so peaceful, it really was the perfect escape from the everyday.
Woodland Wildlife Walks
As the evening continued and the group were a little boiled by the hot tub and the sunny weather, I suggested a wildlife walk in the woods as something fun to do. Devon is notorious for its array of wildlife, but it’s rare that we see them or even know where to look. So six of us head for an evening walk in the Woodlands next to the cottage. As soon as we start walking we see a beautiful grey owl as well as an array of other birds, mice and rabbits. What we really wanted to see was a badger, we had no luck on this evening but perhaps a quieter group might have.
Aside from the wildlife, perhaps the biggest discovery of the evening was some of the amazing views that could be seen from the highest points in the Woodlands. We could see across the whole of Exeter as well as the stunning glistening Exe Estuary.
A Walk on the Estuary
On the Sunday, after such an amazing laughter filled Saturday, we wanted to do something a little more chilled, so we decided to take a walk. We walked along the Exe Estuary path, first to the fantastic Powderham Castle, where we had a look around some of the shops and then onto one of my favourite pubs the Turf Locks. The Turf is about a 40 minute walk from the cottage but worth every minute with the great views along the way and the stunning setting when you arrive. On a good day the turf also provides a great place to take part in a whole host of watersports including canoeing and paddle boarding.
For the remainder of the weekend, it really was just about valuable chill time. There was something really nice about the fact that we bought all of our food and drink in advance, were totally secluded from everyone and could just relax and do our own thing in the beautiful countryside. No hustle and bustle, no time pressures and most importantly no travel time meaning more time to relax.
Not only did I have a fantastic weekend, but I perhaps #LoveDevon even more than I did before.
If you are thinking of a getaway, the key is not forgetting to look closer to home. The first thought when thinking of a holiday or a short break is to get as far away as possible, where actually there are the most amazing places that you would never have fully explored right on your doorstep.