Venus Beach Cafes, Devon

After probably the longest winter in living memory the restrictions in the UK are starting to be relaxed and suddenly we don’t need to stay at home, or more recently stay local. We live in a particularly beautiful area but sometimes you also really feel the need to widen your horizons, and particularly get a bit of sea air!

By a fluke of luck we had a mini-break booked in Salcombe, South Devon to start on the 12th April, the day self-catering holidays were first allowed. Boy, were we lucky! We’d only booked it up as we’d been in October just before the November lockdown and had the most horrifically wet and stormy weather and we really wanted to go back and see what Salcombe had to offer. Luckily for us 3 nights were available (the only available dates until October 2021!) and so back in November we snapped them up. For a while it didn’t look like we’d go, but fate was smiling down on us and all the dates slotted into place and we got our holiday! It was so fabulous to go away, enjoy some beautiful beaches and the cute winding streets of the town.

When we visited in October we went on a day trip to Bigbury on Sea and checked out Burgh Island (famous for Agatha Christie and the setting for some of her novels) and warmed ourselves up with tea in the Venus Cafe. Warming our hands on the steaming mugs we noticed the menu looked pretty awesome for us, all allergens clearly stated, plenty of vegan/veggie options and even a selection of safe ice creams. We couldn’t resist and scoffed down Swedish Glace cornettos despite the in climate weather, and then needed to warm up again. Cue a sharing plate of some of the best chips we’ve ever tasted!

Burgh Island

Consequently we were very keen on return to the Venus cafe on this visit. It turns out there are 4 Venus cafes in the Devon area – Blackpool sands, Bigbury on Sea, East Portlemouth and Millendreath, and whilst I’ve only eaten at the Bigbury one, if the others are just as good then they’re well worth hunting out.

Luna our Cavapoo on Bigbury Beach

The Venus cafe is just what you want from a beach cafe, a good selection of ice creams, cooked breakfasts, burgers and toasties and amazing chips! We had to eat outside as that is all that is allowed right now, but what a treat. Delicious safe burgers (toastie for me) and chips followed by ice creams. We couldn’t have asked for a better beach cafe experience.

Not only is the Venus cafe allergy aware but they’re also pretty hot on sustainability, local ingredients and introducing packaging solutions that are kinder to the environment. Venus cafe, we’re big fans of you, your food and ethos, and in our experience you deserve a big allergy applause 🙂

The Seed, Buckfastleigh, Devon

I’m always delighted to find an independent health food shop, especially one in such a tiny, cute town as Buckfastleigh. It was very unexpected in such a small place, and it was one minute’s walk from where we stayed. A most welcome find 🙂

Well stocked with plenty of dairy free cheeses and milks, gorgeous fresh fruit and veg and also great coffee on tap. The staff were super friendly and helpful, with bags of local knowledge and advice. What’s not to like? Well worth a browse if you’re passing….

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Holidays: Glorious South Devon

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This last half term we needed a break. We really needed a break. Some friends at work recommended Wowcher for great deals on family holidays, so I spent hours browsing, but even that led to my stress levels rising ( not the idea with a holiday!) – all the family friendly options were catered or all-inclusive. And as ever all inclusive holidays just wouldn’t be possible for our family with allergies to consider. Each meal time would be a supremely stressful occasion with us hoping our requests had been taken seriously ( or simply understood if given in a language we are not familiar with) and then examining the food for any anomalies, following by a lengthy period of watching like a hawk for any reactions. It’s hardly the relaxing time you want to have on holiday and I would have returned from any such holiday a frazzled wreck! Besides, as you may have noticed, I do quite like to cook!!

So self-catering it had to be, and in the absence of owning a lovely villa somewhere warm, we were looking at a 3 days getaway in the UK. And that’s how we came to be in South Devon. Doesn’t sound terribly exciting does it? Well it was absolutely beautiful and such a wonderful ‘get away from it all’ holiday, that even after just three nights we returned fully recharged and ready to face life again.

We stayed in the tiny little town of Buckfastleigh just on the southern edge of the stunning windswept Dartmoor. It was seriously tiny and picture-postcard pretty but also with more than you could possibly need. Oddly perhaps. I long for such a well stocked and friendly health food shop as The Seed just a few yards down the road. And what we would give for an outdoor lido, which this tiny place also boasted. There was even a vintage steam train that went directly to Totnes. In fact the steam train was so much fun that Big S, who is no train fan, claimed it was the best part of her holiday.

The Seed, Buckfastleigh

Totnes was indeed a great town to visit, one place where being a veggie is not unusual! There were plenty of lovely looking veggie places to eat, but sadly many not suitable for us due to an over abundance of nuts and seeds. That’s often our problem, places where you think we’d be able to eat aren’t suitable due to another item on the menu! Anyway we had a filling and tasty cafe style lunch at The Brioche, fitted in some shopping in the ethnic inspired and crystal shops, and got a big haul of interesting tasty ingredients from the massive health food shop.

While we had eaten safely at the Brioche, it wasn’t without its stresses and issues so the rest of the time we ate in our lovely little cottage or took picnics with us on days out. Slightly dull, yes, but also far far less stressful. As I mentioned at the start, self-catering seems to be our only real option, although I’d love advice of other possibilities.

The weather played ball and we also visited the lovely seaside port of Dartmouth, traipsed over the windswept moor and played with the beautiful shiny pebbles at Blackpool Sands. And we only managed to fit in a fraction of the things there are to do. If you haven’t been, I wholeheartedly recommend it – the rolling hills and wild flower-lined country lanes are England at its idyllic best, with beaches and interesting towns. There is so much to do and you’ll definitely feel like you’ve had a break.

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