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6 "must dos" for your couples stay in the South Hams

Can there be a better place for you & your loved one to stay for a few days or more?


The simple answer is NO!




The South Hams has it all- proximity to Dartmoor, absolutely amazing beaches, breathtaking views, lovely villages, great pubs, superb food with many local producers, pretty small towns & is so easy to reach from Somerset, North Devon, Dorset, Gloucester, Bristol, London and Cornwall for a cheeky midweek or weekend stay. Even if you live in Exeter or Plymouth, why not book a few days away for a complete change of scenery that's super quick to get to.


The South Hams is perfect for a romantic break at any time of year & there is soooo much to do- you might need to stay for a week or more! Our Mill Cross philosophy is to stop, step off & recharge your batteries, with simple pleasures on your break away together. Yes, of course if you're staying with us, you can enjoy nature & your woodfired hot tub (the ultimate romantic treat under the stars) but there is much more right on your doorstep.


Here are our top tips on how to recharge your batteries the Mill Cross Retreats way- with our round up of lovely, couple-friendly places to visit or things to do during your stay.


1. Walk on South Devon beaches

This one is our absolute favourite- Bigbury on Sea with beautiful Burgh Island to visit. The hotel is Art Deco and beautifully styled- try it for afternoon tea. Or visit The Pilchard Inn on the island or the beachside cafes. Do check the tide times if you want to walk as when the tide is up, you can't get far.


Other brilliant local beaches we'd highly recommend to blow the cowebs away, feel the elements on your face & enjoy the sound of the waves include; Bantham, Wonwell, South Milton & Slapton. If you're feeling more active or adventurous, try stand up paddle-boarding or kayak hire along the coast.


2. Head to Dartmoor

Bring your hiking boots & a decent jacket and get out into the natural beauty of Dartmoor. There are so many beautiful places to visit & hike- of course, all the favourites like Haytor, Bellever Forest & Wistman's Wood are lovely & worth a visit but we'd recommend getting off the beaten track a bit more.


Our personal favourite is Bench Tor above the village of Holne with incredible dramatic views down to the Dart. You can walk down through ancient woodland to the Dart, then back along the "pipe" track to Venford Reservoir where you can walk around the perimeter. Listen out for the skylarks & take in breathtaking views.


Another lovely walk is across Hameldown and then down into Widecombe in the Moor for a cream tea at The Cafe on The Green https://www.thecafeonthegreen.co.uk/ or the wonderful & highly recommended Rugglestone Inn http://www.rugglestoneinn.co.uk/



If you're staying at Mill Cross Retreats, an alternative nearby walk is to park at Shipley Bridge & to walk up to Avon Dam and beyond if you wish, up onto the moor to reach Huntingdon Cross, part of the ancient Abbots Way & the Two Moors Way.


You might even try horse riding if you feel adventurous- you won't find finer scenery.


https://visitdartmoor.co.uk/ has all the info for your Dartmoor trip.


3. Visit Totnes

If you like to meander around independent shops, quirky Totnes is at the heart of the South Hams & is well worth a visit (see our blog on 5 reasons why you'll love Totnes for more info). It has a narrow, winding high street that goes up to The Narrows, packed with independent shops and cafes, beautifully curated collections of crafts & unusual items & a thriving market on Fridays. Totnes Castle crowns the town- we'd recommend a visit but also meander along the side and back streets & enjoy the great alternative vibe & history.



Totnes is a good starting place for various walks- most notably to Dartington Hall or from Totnes towards Sharpham along the River Dart. See the lovely views below.




4. Make time for a cream tea

Afternoon tea says "Devon holiday" and yes, the RIGHT way to do it here in Devon is cream first, then jam. After a Dartmoor or seaside trip, why not take time to enjoy a fine Devon clotted cream tea with your lovely partner.


We think the best places for a cream tea in South Devon include Ullacombe Farm Shop at Haytor Vale https://www.ullacombefarm.co.uk/cafe, The Birdcage in Mortonhampstead or Two Bridges Hotel on Dartmoor https://www.twobridges.co.uk/devon-cream-tea/


At Mill Cross Retreats, you can book a lovely organic cream tea for your arrival. Enjoy our own homemade scones fresh out of the oven with lovely local Riverford clotted cream.



There are some other fancy-schmancy places for afternoon tea including Bovey Castle and Boringdon Hall where you can push the boat out with a range of cakes, sandwiches and scones too for an extra special treat.


5. Book a lunch or supper at the brilliant Riverford Field Kitchen

Eating together is a mainstay of a romantic break. There are so many wonderful places to eat in the South Hams & you'll find no shortage of recommendations from us on our Instagram and Facebook pages & in our online guidebook when you stay at Mill Cross Retreats.


BUT...Riverford Field Kitchen is the MUST book- you won't find anywhere else like it. It's the grandmother of all farm to fork experiences & absolutely brilliant value. They are committed to everything local, seasonal, organic & waste free. You'll dine on shared platters with a superb range of meat & vegetarian dishes. Wonderful wines, beers and soft drinks too! What's not to like? Open Weds- Sun.


(image reproduced from Riverford Field Kitchen's facebook page with thanks)


You'll need to book in advance- so as soon as you book your accommodation, we'd recommend you hop over to https://fieldkitchen.riverford.co.uk/book-online/



6. Gardens galore

What could be nicer than a gentle stroll around a beautiful garden holding the hand of the person you love? There are a number of National Trust places nearby- our favourite is Coleton Fishacre where you can meander hand in hand down to the coast and enjoy these lovely gardens and beautiful house https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/devon/coleton-fishacre




Another particular favourite and well worth a visit is The Garden House on the Western edges of Dartmoor. Beautifully maintained, with naturalistic & formal planting areas & a lovely plant nursery to buy from https://www.thegardenhouse.org.uk/




Staying closer to Totnes, the lovely gardens at Dartington Hall https://www.dartington.org/visit/the-gardens/ are well worth a trip & you can extend your walk along the Deer Walk and to the River Dart. There are cafes & a pub at Dartington Hall too if you want to treat yourselves.


(The Henry Moore sculpture with the Tiltyard in the background at Dartington Hall- image from their website)


If you'd like to explore everything that the South Hams has to offer, why not stay with us in one of our beautiful, luxurious eco-friendly, romantic, rural, peaceful cottages or shepherds hut, each with woodfired hot tubs, just for couples at Mill Cross Retreats? Hop over to our website www.millcrossretreats.com to see what's on offer and book your lovely stay with us.








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