Sidmouth, Devon: A Perfect Seaside Town for Senior Travellers

Senior Travel Expert’s Holiday Editor, Tony Taylor, and his wife have family connections with the Devon town of Sidmouth and hence have visited many times. Here are his tips for an enjoyable short break in this perfect, little, seaside town.

Sidmouth from the east cliffs
Sidmouth from the east cliff

Sidmouth is an attractive Regency seaside town on the south Devon coast. It is situated at the mouth of the River Sid with cliffs to the west and east.

During the summer period there is a small local bus called the Sidmouth Hopper which charges a pound per ride and runs from the Donkey Sanctuary in the east of Sidmouth to the Connaught Gardens and the cliff top to the west.

This facilitates a downhill stroll from the west cliff through the Connaught Gardens (where one can obtain tea coffee and enjoy a lovely view over Sidmouth) down to the sea-front Esplanade.

The free-entry Donkey Sanctuary is a good starting point for a cliff top path back to the promenade. However less nimble senior travellers should note that this walk involves steep uphill stretches.

Sidmouth from the west cliff
Sidmouth from the west cliff

Ladram Bay to the west of Sidmouth can be reached by a scenic, hilly, cliff top walk. The large holiday site at Ladram Bay has a children’s play area, restaurant and bar – so a good place for refreshments before returning the three miles to Sidmouth town centre.

If hilly walks present a problem, then the wide Esplanade is a level, pleasant walk of about just over half a mile. Another easy, level walk is from the lifeboat station to the east of the promenade, over a footbridge at the ford to the tollbridge, and then through parkland (The Byes) alongside the River Sid to Sidford.

My wife enjoys shopping in the compact pleasant shopping centre which has a good variety of shops, including one department store, a small indoor food market, cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Sidmouth lifeboat
Launching the lifeboat

There is a range of evening entertainment in the town. In the summer period there is ‘Music in the Park’ in the Connaught Gardens on Sunday evenings. This is a brass band concert which plays a variety of music and is free but has a bucket collection for donations.

For those who enjoy live music and dancing, on Friday and Saturday evenings the Black Horse public house has a live group.

The lovely little Manor Pavilion Theatre has plays on from Thursdays to Wednesdays during the June-September period. This gives weekly visitors a choice of two plays in a week and the ones we have seen have been very well produced and enjoyable. An alternative in the evenings is the town cinema.

Ladram Bay to the west of Sidmouth
Ladram Bay to the west of Sidmouth

Sidmouth has good bus links (excellent for those of us with senior citizen passes) especially to Exeter, Lyme Regis and Honiton. This facilitates easy travel to visit other beaches and shopping centres.

On the sea-front a variety of watersports are available during the summer period and over the years our children and grandchildren have very much enjoyed these diversions.

We will be returning to Sidmouth again soon to enjoy its pleasant, relaxing atmosphere. Although there are a few weeks each summer when the town hosts festivals and then it can be exceedingly busy.


See some of STE’s other ideas for Short Breaks including to the Yorkshire seaside resorts of Scarborough and Whitby.