Dawlish Warren

It already seems like a lifetime away, but a couple of weeks ago we were in Devon for a little holiday, staying with family and friends.

No trip to Devon would be complete without a trip to the beach and we certainly made the most of the lovely weather earlier in our visit with a day trip to nearby Dawlish Warren.

My Mum lives near to St Thomas in Exeter and so we caught the train from there direct to the station at the beach. It was both quicker and cheaper than I thought it would be and the journey itself is always rather nice - it wasn't just the kids who enjoyed looking out over the water at the boats as we sped along.

Dawlish Warren itself is pretty self-contained. They have everything you need at the beach - shops with supplies, an amusement arcade, fairground rides and places to buy the all important ice creams.

The food outlets closest to the beach tend to be more expensive and do get very busy but it isn't far to walk to other kiosks and shops further inland. The large shop selling beach supplies, clothing and souvenirs is actually very good value for money and the most convenient when you realise (as we did) that we didn't bring enough towels.

I love the beach huts at Dawlish Warren, the bright fun colours slightly faded and weathered by wind and sea. The beach itself is very long and the further down you go, the quieter it gets. However, the designated safe swimming area watched over by lifeguards is closest to the other amenities and this obviously gets a little more crowded.

We got there early and picked our spot down on the beach. It was quite blustery and so we were glad for the opportunity to hire a windbreaker and some deck chairs but despite the breeze it turned into a pretty hot day. I was grateful to my sister when she treated the two of us to some iced wine coolers - I went for a white wine base with mango and it was delicious and refreshing (if a little pricey at £5 each, thanks sis for paying).

There are plenty of places to grab lunch close to the beach but, based on previous experience, the best fish and chips is usually from the little takeaway just on the landward side of the railway bridge. Unfortunately for us, we realised too late that it was closed on Mondays and so we spent a little bit longer researching somewhere before deciding on the Welcome Inn.

I'm glad we did because it was wonderful. A small but pleasant beer garden with a play area for children and very kind and thoughtful staff combined with great homemade food have made it unforgettable and it's a good thing we're not nearby otherwise I'd happily get fat on those meals.

We spent about 5 or 6 hours at the beach and yet didn't get bored, there was no rush for us to get back but the children were flagging and so we didn't get the chance to spend much time in the arcade or on the rides - although there was time to check out the souvenir shops and grab some ice creams (obviously).

Our ice cream preferences vary in my family - my Mum and Matt would rather have a Mr Whippy ice cream and are fans of these ones which come swirled with flavourings but my sister and I definitely prefer a scoop ice cream. We were all spoilt for choice here - my sister found a fabulous kiosk on the seaward side of the bridge which had a great selection of flavours to choose from.

Trains run regularly to and from Dawlish Warren but it's worth checking on your phone what time the trains are because there can be a long wait if you miss one and you don't want to pack everything up ready to head home only to spend time on the platform that could instead be spent doing something fun!

Where is your favourite beach? I have so many to choose from but we've made so many memories at Dawlish Warren it definitely rates highly!
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