Staycation: The Chalet, Saunton
If you want a breathtaking beach view from the comfort of a designer sofa, these stylish modern apartments are just the ticket, says Kirsten Price, who enjoyed a blissful Devon getaway with husband Steve and their two children.
As we lugged our bags into The Chalet, overlooking the golden sands of Saunton, we all gasped. The sight of the wide, clear beach, rolling waves and vast horizon blew away our city cobwebs, and we couldn’t wait to get out in the fresh air. These six purpose-built luxury apartments – five with three bedrooms and one deluxe two- bedroomed penthouse – are sleek, light, airy and spotlessly clean. All come with those fabulous sea views, plus a private parking space. The friendly staff were on site, and made sure our check-in was smooth and professional.
The children – Harry, 13, and Annie, nine – may have started the holiday sprawling about our vast open-plan living room with their ever-present devices in hand, but they were soon distracted by the rolling waves, and it was trainers on to troop down the short footpath for a hike along the sands. They played a rough-and-tumble game of hide-and-seek among the Braunton Burrows – the largest sand-dune system in England – while we watched the surfers show off along the three-mile beach. It was a fabulous way to let off steam after a long car journey, and there’s plenty of room for families to spread out and make the most of the wide-open spaces.
We stayed out until the epic sunset came and went, then set out to hunt out dinner. A short drive just around the headland brought us to the village of Croyde for a pub supper. At The Thatch, with its rough plaster walls, wall-mounted lanterns and lots of brass and copper on show, we cheerfully tucked into nachos, loaded burgers and crispy fish and chips.
The next morning, after a full English cooked up by Team Price in our all-mod-cons kitchenette, we decided to visit Clovelly, a fishing village clinging to the side of a 400-foot cliff overlooking Bideford Bay. The village, privately owned by the Rous family for more than 400 years, has cobbled streets so steep and narrow that it remains car free. Velvety-smooth donkeys – once used to transport goods – nowadays give children fun rides, leaving residents to heft their shopping around on human-dragged sledges.
For lunch, we headed for Johns, an excellent café and deli in Appledore, a nearby village with a gorgeous seafront, where we tucked into an array of local specialities. Then it was time to return to the apartment for a bit of R&R in front of the giant flatscreen TV. That evening we headed to Georgeham and, after a stroll around the beautiful church and along the beach, stopped off at the Kings Arms for another pub feast. What a warm welcome we received!
The place was packed, yet the owners couldn’t have been friendlier, and we tucked into moules marinière with mussels from the River Exe, West Country pork belly with mustard mash, and apple crumble made with Thatchers Cider. After supper we helped ourselves to the pub’s selection of board games and enjoyed some quality family time, debating the rules of old favourites such as Trivial Pursuit for several hours.
On our last day, a hike to nearby Baggy Point saw us following the coastline to the top of the headland before heading back through farmland. On the way we stopped to explore wildlife ponds and admired the memorial to Henry Williamson, author of children’s favourite Tarka The Otter. We were sad to be clambering back into the car for the long drive back to London. However, a stop-off for lunch at our new favourite place the Kings Arms, and the rare sight of our children too tired to argue for once, was enough to put a smile on our faces.
How to book
Three-bedroom apartments start from £400 per night (sleeping six) on a self-catering basis, including a welcome hamper of local produce. Visit chaletsaunton.com or call 01271 890514 to book.