Get out & enjoy!
PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 December 2014 | UPDATED: 15:19 20 January 2015
Remember, remember to have fun in November. With Christmas looming it's easy to forget to make the most of this month, so here KATE HASKELL selects her top ten ways to have fun right now
1. Cover yourself in chocolate….
There is a true art to making the perfect chocolate and where better to learn than at the Cockington Chocolate Company, Torquay? Award-winning chef Tony Fagan and his partner Simon Storey opened their business in 2011 to critical acclaim and you can share in their love of chocolate by taking part in one of their truffle-making courses. On a half day course you will learn to make up to 60 truffles; some for a dinner party and other little delights that you could give as Christmas gift.
2. On this spot…..
So many books have been inspired by our beautiful county and written in the area. Find the spot and take the book along with you for a truly novel experience! Jane Austen set her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, in and around ‘Barton’ (described in the book as ‘four miles northward of Exeter’), based on the village of Upton Pyne. Many identifiable locations are mentioned in the book, including the village church where the characters Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars get married. Dawlish also gets a mention.
Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson is set around the area of Bideford and Barnstaple where the Taw and Torridge rivers meet the sea. Williamson used real place names throughout the book, such as Bideford Long Bridge; The Beam Aqueduct, the Canal Bridge near Weare Giffard where Tarka is born and many others.
Agatha Christie was born in Torquay and used many local locations nearby for scenes in many of her novels. Among many, a cliff top in St Marychurch is believed to have been the setting for Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? The Imperial Hotel (as the Majestic Hotel) features in Peril at End House and The Body in the Library. Burgh Island features (under different names) in And Then There Were None and Evil Under The Sun.
3. Do some time travelling...
Some of our historic houses go into mothballs in the autumn and winter months but you can still explore the gardens and there are some that are open all year round. A la Ronde, Exmouth, is open at weekends throughout November and so is Berry Pomeroy Castle near Totnes.
4. On yer bike...
Devon has some of the finest cycle trails with the finest scenery to go with it. The Exe Estuary at Topsham is a new delight, mostly flat with a fine pub en route too! For all you budding Bradley Wiggins try the 21-mile Drake’s Trail from Tavistock to Plymouth.
5. Have a proper pint…
Discover a proper, traditional pub with roaring log fires and fine ales. Not all of our hostelries are chain pubs - there are still some unique and independent public houses. Warm your cockles at The Mason’s Arms, Knowstone, or work your way through an imaginative whisky list at The Nobody Inn, Doddiscombsleigh.
6. Get wet….
Coasteering is not for the faint-hearted or for doing alone. Dive into the sea to explore our fantastic coastline and get the ultimate adrenaline boost with a local company who offer a range of packages across the county.
7. Get all slushy and loved up...
Devon’s rugged and beautiful scenery is considered the most romantic in the UK. Try the stunning bay around Croyde with crashing waves, cliff top walks and dunes to tuck yourselves away in.
Dartmeet on atmospheric Dartmoor is where the East and West Dart tributaries meet to flow into the great River Dart. So not only is it beautiful and ancient, but it’s a very symbolical place to propose!
East Devon has spectacular coastline and this area is easily accessible at Branscombe where there’s a long pebble beach perfect for pebble skimming, painted beach huts, and a pretty thatched village nearby.
8. Get crafty...
Rosemoor Gardens in North Devon are holding willow weaving classes on 14 November and winter sculpture trails throughout November which should inspire your inner craftiness! The gardens are also open every day apart from Christmas Day.
9. Go out with a bang...
Obviously it wouldn’t be November without a bonfire; organised displays are the best with Exeter Round Table holding one of the biggest charity displays at Westpoint, Exeter, on 5 November and Shaldon, near Teignmouth, having, possibly, the biggest bonfire on a beach on 1 November!
10. From vine to wine
When all this activity has exhausted you, enjoy a gentle stroll around Sharpham Vineyard near Totnes to discover how your favourite tipple makes it’s way into the bottle with their Trek & Taste tours taking place every day, apart from Sunday, 11am-2pm. Make sure you try lots before you buy!