The Boat House, Beach Way, Dawlish Warren, Devon EX7 0NF – 01626 888 899
In the world of eating out, dining out and finding somewhere to eat in Exeter, Dawlish Warren doesn’t really jump to the forefront of my mind. The Mount Pleasant Inn which overlooks the Warren is quite nice, a pub/restaurant with nice views of the surrounding seafront and over to Exmouth. But below, within this view you can see The Boat House, a large strangely shaped gastro-pub-child-entertainment-hub that sells value food to tourists and day-trippers alike.
If you are a longtime reader of Eating Exeter, you might remember Steve Price’s unfortunate tea-cake based disappointment a few years ago. But a recent opportunity to revisit The Boat House came up, so I thought we’d give it another go.
I am adding this pub to my newly created Child Friendly category which I’ve created as a result of the increasing amount of conversations I have with friends and foodies who need a place to go where kids are welcome, not just tolerated.
The Boat House sits in a purpose built building in a complex of attractions at the end of a footpath. It is accessible both downstairs and upstairs levels can be accessed by wheelchair or those with buggies from two separate entrances, as a result it scores well on this aspect on my internal-mental scorecard.
The wall is covered in ephemera, bits, bobs, knick-knacks and much nautical stuff. Lots of brass fittings, dark woods and a diorama at the top of a large space within the centre of the building. I personally find this immensely off-putting; it reminds me of Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag (for non-Simpsons fans this might be lost on you…)
The menu is standard pub stuff. Burgers, hot dogs, pub classics.
It isn’t a foodie destination, this is what I call ‘functional food. There is a range of draught lagers available including Hanlon’s Yellow Hammer and Exe Brewery Avocet Ale as well as the usual bottles behind the bar. But I found the experience to be pleasant, no stress, just a nice meal with lovely views across Lyme Bay and Exmouth.
We both opted for the Brunch (£6.25) and a coke and a pot of tea.
We ordered our food at the food ordering point. The service throughout our meal was swift and friendly. Our companions went for the more substantial option, pictured here is one of the burgers for just over £8.00. It went down very well!
Our friend’s little one found the range of play activities to be quite enthralling, and there was space for him to push around on his scooter outside after we had finished eating. It was a bug with wheels which he had named ‘Bug-Bug’. It is moments like this that I often wish to regress to a young enough age where small green toys with wheels became fascinating and fun again!
We finished off our meal with an Ice Cream from the stand outside which is connected to the kitchens of the restaurant indoors.
Dawlish Warren isn’t at the at the top of many lists. But for kids it is excellent. The food at The Boat House was pleasant enough, the activities that are available in season for big kids and little kids is enough to keep you entertained and make that £3.20 parking fee worth it. Or £4.00 if you’re in the long-stay car park.
Alternatively cycle down the wonderful new cycle way that stretches from Exeter to Dawlish or catch the train. Or park the car at Dawlish and take in the scenic seafront Walk to Dawlish Warren along the sea front? The options are plentiful.