South Devon gets left off the radar quite a bit on Eating Exeter. We’ve done reviews in all parts of Devon but nothing towards Plymouth or the South, so I was over the moon when we were invited to touch down the historic port town of Salcombe for a spot of Afternoon Tea at the prestigious Salcombe Harbour Hotel.
We compiled a quick video of our afternoon including a walk around Salcombe afterwards. Camera was jiggling around so apologies for the wobbles.
The first thing that hits you about Salcombe is that there are, in fact, two Salcombes in Devon. One of them lies just outside Sidmouth and the other one – the one which is much better known – is Salcombe in South Devon.
There are two things about both Salcombes, is that most of the infrastructure relies on lanes and hedgerows. To navigate the lanes and roads of this end of Devon requires a good dose of ‘single lane driving knowledge’ which I have perfected over the years living in this funny and beautiful county. Parking in Salcombe is tricky, in fact the Harbour Hotel has its very own park and ride service.
But this is to be expected at the peak of summer at the busiest times in one of the UKs most desirable places. Our fuddy little Skoda wasn’t the naffest car in the car park though, although it was definitely second.
Nestled snugly on the Kingsbridge Estuary, or as some refer to it as the Salcombe Estuary, the inhabitants have historically lived off smuggling and fishery. There are a number of historic wrecks that lie just beyond the estuary including one of three known UK bronze age wrecks. Although I am certain smuggling doesn’t continue, fishery and tourism is now the mainstay of this little town. One of the bigger attractions is the Salcombe Harbour Hotel.
Owned by Harbour Hotels, they have other hotels in attractive Harbour locations across the UK. The Salcombe Harbour Hotel is a four silver star rated hotel and spa, and food is served at The Jetty restaurant and bar which has fantastic views over the estuary.
We had been invited along to sample their Jetty Afternoon Tea, a light tea with the classic sandwiches and cake options. A little bit of each.
There are grander and more expensive options available for Afternoon Tea with champagne or sparkling wine, but you are going to be hard pressed to find a nicer location to have an afternoon tea in Devon.
Parking was, despite my initial worries, a total breeze. There was space in the car park and even if there had not been, the park and ride service would have catered for us. Once parked up the front desk look after your keys and you’re taken through to the Jetty Restaurant, a large open plan restaurant with big windows overlooking the beautiful Kingsbridge estuary.
The hotel provides its guests and visitors with sumptuous fine dining as well, in fact Co-Editor Lauren visited not too long ago, look out for her review! But for us today, we were going to do Afternoon Tea!
The tea arrives on a platter, a three tiered tray of treats towering over the table. Starting at the bottom with a small selection of sandwiches, moving up to a Devon Cream Tea and then finishing with a selection of small fancies at the top.
We were particular fans of the home-made scones that Tori had likened to her own ones she bakes at home. They were warm and fresh, with lashings of cream and jam to spread.
It all went too quickly, so we decided to go for a walk around Salcombe. The day was bright and the tourists had gone home to leave a few stragglers enjoying a quiet Sunday evening rambling among the narrow streets and alleys.
We ended the day in the pub. The Ferry Inn to be precise, having a swift half before heading back to the hotel to pick up our car.
Everything about the Salcombe Harbour Hotel is about making life easier. From the car turntable outside the hotel entrance to the little touches. The service was, throughout our visit, completely dedicated to making us feel welcome and the Afternoon Tea was delicious. A perfect escape from the city!
This meal was paid for by Salcombe Harbour Hotel. The opinions expressed here are independent of influence from the restaurant.