I am writing in defence of Westward Ho! – just because there is an exclamation mark in the name of this north Devon seaside town it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a personality that can’t be taken seriously!
This is a holiday destination worth watching – as ever-changing as the seascape that is carefully captured in the ‘Grand Design’ seafront developments which shout out about their locations with names such as Nautilus, Horizon, Ocean Park, Atlantic Way, Surfer’s Paradise – ah, that one is in Australia - but this is the theme and fair enough. These are a far cry in style and design from the traditional Sea View and Buena Vista and the town is catching up fast.
The Blue Flag beach has miles of sand at low tide and smooth pebbles at high tide. It has rock pools, surf, a kite festival. The town has a new Thai restaurant that you have to book ages in advance to get a table and the award winning Tea On The Green cafe... they have started the ball rolling. Best of all though, none of this is at the expense of the traditional bucket and spade shops and the amusement arcades that some of us love to hate. Everything is side by side on a gentle scale that really does seem to work. There are deck chairs to hire, people to watch – that lazy holiday pursuit we all indulge in.
All this on the doorstep but just up the road is the lovely old fishing village of Appledore, the more grounded sister to Instow just across the estuary – a little passenger ferry obliges with a Fish & Chip run between the two, Bideford for shopping and boat trips to Lundy Island with its prime spot on the horizon, and Clovelly, clinging to the bottom of a cliff– more history if you have the stamina of a mountain goat because the steps are not for the faint-hearted - though you can always cheat when no-one is looking and take a Landrover ride back up the hill to the car park.
Find the perfect place to explore all these areas with a north Devon holiday cottage.