There’s a quiet, historical feel as you walk into Sidmouth. a very English run of villas and mansions built in the Georgian period of the 18th century, when the old fishing village gave in to the fashionable resort loved by the then Prince of Wales (before he became George III).
The wide and wonderfully regal esplanade dates from this time, and it is easy to imagine the horse drawn carriages conveying the finely attired well-to-do visitors to take the sea air, some brave souls even venturing into the water via the new-fangled bathing machines.
Today the town still appeals to the same generally genteel visitors - principally a retirement town, they often never leave but remain wandering the gardens or on the promenade or listening to the music from the bandstand.
The architecture here is fascinating (there are nearly 500 listed buildings) and the accommodation for arriving walkers equally impressive with some fine but well priced Regency hotel options as well as well-heeled guest houses and B&B's. The pebbly beach here is great for a swim and once you emerge you will find any number of ornate tea rooms to recover in including one in a clock tower.
There is a museum for those who want to know, but in some ways the appeal of the place is that just walking around it feels like you are at an exhibition and Sidmouth, whilst hardly cosmopolitan, retains its own air of quality in both location and facilities and provides a very welcoming and restful overnight stop.
Eating out offers choices of bistro, brasserie, fine dining and fish and seafood options to name a few. Sometimes it feels like the whole town takes its pre-dinner stroll along the Esplanade to take in the coastline to the east where the red cliffs rise dramatically.
For you there is good reason to look as this offers a taste of tomorrow’s changing landscape as you enter some of the oldest rock formations in the Jurassic Coast.