Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

H I do like to be be­side the sea­side’ as the old hol­i­day song goes... and you could not get any more ‘be­side the sea’ than the fan­tas­tic Beach Cove Coastal Re­treat on the beau­ti­ful North Devon coast.

It’s ‘bi­jou beach huts’ are perched above a charm­ing cove and the lux­ury one we stayed in (a kind of cross be­tween a chic vintage beach bun­ga­low and top-of-therange car­a­van) was lit­er­ally feet away from the rolling waves.

Our ‘hut’ had the added at­trac­tion of a hot tub on the pri­vate bal­cony… and I can tell you there are few more re­lax­ing and en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ences than lux­u­ri­at­ing in a bub­bling tub in the Devon late spring sun­shine with your bet­ter half, watch­ing the yachts sail past… and en­joy­ing a glass of, what else, bub­bly.

Our long week­end ad­ven­ture be­gan with an un­der five-hour drive to the North Devon Coast, which was rel­a­tively stress-free as it is mo­tor­way for most of the route fol­lowed by a pleas­ant few miles through beau­ti­ful Devon coun­try­side… and it also helped that we were in an ‘on-test’ £180,000 Bent­ley.

On ar­riv­ing at Beach Cove in pic­turesque Hele Bay we were de­lighted to find a quirky and im­mac­u­late site with some 26 charm­ing ‘beach huts’ – which come in four lev­els of lux­ury – and that we were to stay in a ‘Premier’ lodge with that hot tub.

The hut/lodge was im­mac­u­late, too, and the whole de­vel­op­ment is clearly only a few months old as ev­ery­thing still feels rel­a­tively new. The ac­com­mo­da­tion con­sisted of a gen­er­ous lounge/din­ing/kitchen area with that amaz­ing sea view and a rea­son­able bed­room with a full-sized dou­ble – none of those silly car­a­van cut down beds here. With flat screen TVs in both lounge and bed­room, there were also dock­ing sta­tions for your smart­phone and a well-equipped kitchen. Be­ing late spring the nights were still a lit­tle chilly so the full-size gas-fired do­mes­tic cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem and elec­tric ‘wood burn­ing stove’ were most welcome and meant we were snug 24-7.

The beau­ti­fully-kept park is clev­erly laid out so all huts have that fan­tas­tic sea view and none are re­ally over­looked by the oth­ers.

An ini­tial foray found the bay had two pubs within a five-minute walk, both cosy and wel­com­ing and one in par­tic­u­lar serv­ing ex­cel­lent food.

Our first morn­ing saw the se­ri­ous busi­ness of coastal walks, which is one of the re­ally big at­trac­tions of the area, and we took the mildly stren­u­ous 30-minute path into nearby Il­fra­combe – which in places fol­lows the shore­line and has some crack­ing views.

Il­fra­combe it­self was charm­ing too – re­mind­ing me very much of happy child­hood hol­i­days to Devon and Cornwall and boast­ing a num­ber of at­trac­tions, some more tra­di­tional than oth­ers.

I can rec­om­mend a trek up Lan­tern Hill to the 650-year-old St Ni­cholas’s Chapel (which was once also the light­house) and boat trips around the bay plus the fa­mous tun­nels beach carved out by the Vic­to­ri­ans. But what I was not ex­pect­ing was a

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