If you haven’t already had the pleasure of reading about how we found ourselves at a ukelele festival, getting squirted to hilarious effect at Teignmouth and my nieces attempt to cross the channel in a £17 dinghy then pop back to Toddlers & Teens in Devon parts 1 & 2.
Part three sees us visiting the beautiful ( if questionably named) Cockington, having a close encounter with a Great White at Living Coasts in Torquay and splitting up briefly for some solo activities.
During the week we were in Torquay there was a Country Fair at one of the local villages – Cockington. It was on a Wednesday which seemed a bit weird to me (I assumed it was mostly for the benefit of tourists like us). Cockington is a pretty little place with history dating back to the iron age, an 11th century church and a huge ‘bowl’ field running up to the house at Cockington Court – a stately home built on the site of a medieval court. The village itself is now home to several arts and crafts workshops and an ancient forge – you can see everything from glass blowing to chocolate sculpting (guess which one the toddlers and teens liked best?!). The ‘picnic’ we ended up having consisted of hotdogs and chocolate fish and chips!
As all the rides and inflatables were very expensive we didn’t end up staying too long in the end. The place was heaving and we had to queue to get out through a gap in a hedge!
That afternoon we took a walk down to Ansteys Cove from our hotel near Babbacombe. The cove is what you might consider a perfect place for smuggling – tucked into a kink in the Devon coast as it is, surrounded by cliffs. The rocky, pebbly beach was perfect for exploring (albeit we had to purchase some little rubber soled wetsuit shoes for the boys to protect their feet). Even so JJ still managed to gash his knee against the rocks during a deep wade! Meanwhile, EJ just revelled in picking up the biggest heaviest rocks he could manage (blimey that boy is strong!) and hefting them into the sea! At one point I found myself carrying him precariously from rock to rock as he urged me onwards in an attempt to catch up with JJ and his cousin before I had a sudden vision of pitching headfirst into the water and dashing the poor boy’s head against the outcrop (I didn’t but this thought was enough to send me rapidly shorewards!).
Later we saw a dog owner take a little swim in the bay whilst her poor water-shy pooch stepping stoned it to the furthest rock, skittered and barked furiously until they were reunited.
The following day was our last in Devon. It was the day before my birthday and my mum and sister had got together to treat me to a couple of spa treatments at The House of Beauty in Wellswood where we were staying (according to my mum’s Torquay- based friend this was, traditionally, the ‘upmarket’ part of the area and still has a couple of nice little cafes and a deli as well as a lovely pub – the Kent’s- which *gin alert* ladies!! – specialises in gins from around the globe ( I really wanted to like ‘Death’s Door’ from Wisconsin but actually preferred Tarquin’ s Cornish Dry…) But I digress.
In the morning my mum and sister packed the boys up and took them off on an Odyssy of train and bus rides up the coast to Dawlish whilst my dad and nieces trekked back down to Ansteys for a kayak adventure and I meandered down to Wellswood to let the pampering commence! After I was done it transpired that the kids were all still out doing their various bits so I took myself down to The Kent’s and had a lovely salmon bagel whilst reading my book. Glorious birthday treat! On my return to the hotel I ran into the dad and nieces who were hungry so we went back to the pub (goodness knows what that bar maid must have thought!) and I had a yummy dessert whilst they tucked into their sandwiches.
We then drove down to Torquay’ s version of the sea life centre, Living Coasts, and met up with my mum, sister and the boys. My mum and dad opted for a rest at the lovely cafe complete with a wrap around balcony sporting stunning views out across the bay, whilst the rest of us headed inside for close encounters with penguins, otters, seals and a very friendly octopus!
The entire place is covered by a huge high net and one area to the next is separated by those doorways covered by hanging plastic flaps. Apparently plastic flaps are more interesting than otters *sigh*.
Soon after the otter experience JJ informed me that he needed the loo which sent us off on a wild goose chase through the entire exhibit to the very end to find the nearest toilet ( where JJ pointed out to me that someone appeared to have completely missed the toilet with their number two – not quite sure why this particular part of the experience was so memorable!). Then we retraced our footsteps to join the others for a chance to get up close and personal with some seals, protect EJ from a random duck which took a dislike to him and pecked his leg (notice the accusing finger in the picture!) and witness a shark attack!! (Only kidding but this anamatronic beast was enough to scare the living daylights out of JJ whilst his cousin was happy to oblige with her best ‘terror-stricken’ pose!).
And then the fun ended and the following day we all returned home. Thanks for reading!