If your idea of a perfect holiday is a pristine seaside resort in the true Victorian tradition of railway, buckets and spades and a promenade, then Dawlish is the answer. This town is a unique take on the traditional beach holiday, with a real community feel to the town and all the traditional excitement of the sand and the sea.
The first inhabitants of Dawlish were fisherman and salt makers. This industry continued through the Roman occupation, and the town also benefited from farming in the surrounding countryside. Although it attracted literary figures such as Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, it was the railway that transformed Dawlish, allowing many more visitors to enjoy its classic Regency and early Victorian styles and ‘partake of the bracing sea air’.
Things to do
There are plenty of things for you and the kids to do in Dawlish, most notably the long sandy beach, which provides the perfect way to spend a summer’s day swimming, exploring rock pools or boating. The town has plenty of interesting shops and a pleasant park where you can see the famous black swans of Dawlish glide sedately along the river. But be careful – they can get very greedy if you take a few crusts of bread along for them.
Food and drink
For traditional seaside fare, Dawlish has all the hot pie and fish and chip shops you would wish for, with freshly caught, picked and farmed produce in abundance.
Something a little different
Dawlish is a railway resort in the great British sense, and from either direction the Great Western main line is regarded as one of the most scenic in Britain. It runs along the coast under the distinct red brown cliffs literally a few metres from the shoreline and cutting through a series of dramatic tunnels and coves. It’s well worth exploring the remains of Brunel’s Atmospheric Railway, an abandoned system of using atmospheric power to propel trains that proved impractical and costly. Pumping stations and exhibits can be seen along the line and in local museums.