The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West

Sprawling in a pub garden is a summertime ritual – Rosanna Rothery discovers one a pebble’s skim from the ocean waves, which also serves decent food and cracking G&Ts

Drinking and swimming generally don’t mix, but sipping Tarquin’s Cornish gin and tucking into delicious seafood followed by a waft of sea air on Sidmouth’s esplanade is hard to beat on a lazy, heat-drenched evening.

Dukes’ fail-safe formula of good honest classics (with a great fish menu to reflect its setting) served in seaside-y surrounds means everyone can smugly bask in postprandial satisfaction at this well-positioned pub.

VISIT for a let-your-hair down, don’t-stand-on-ceremony vibe with food that appeals to everyone. Fish-and-chips- and pizza-loving kids will be as delighted as those seeking classics such as pan-seared chicken supreme and braised lamb shank. And everything is cooked with great care which guarantees the whole gang a comforting, flavoursome feed.

Inside, newly refurbished interiors offer several dining spaces (meaning you can enjoy a slightly different experience each time you visit), but the best seats are undoubtedly by the window.

Outside, the dining patio is festooned with beachy cheer: planters, bunting and parasols hint at the salty breakers only a short stroll away. It’s perfect for a summer’s night spent getting familiar with the eight-strong menu of local gins.

DON’T VISIT for posh nosh. This is the kind of expertly executed family-friendly food that everyone enjoys eating on holiday – the Branscombe Ale-breaded Brixham fish fillet with chips is a particular fave.

WE LIKED the effort taken by the chefs to flag up all the South West producers on the menu and to source ingredients within a 35-mile radius.

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