The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Devon Edition

Tick Tock! Mothering Sunday still need sorting?

12 Mar 2017

I mean, the Mummas among us have a vested interest in this one, don’t we?  Who wants to spend the day at Pizza Hut when everyone else is out there having all the fun?  So whether you need to employ some careful manipulation with your brood (read: shove this post under their noses), or you’re looking for inspiration for your own mum and in-laws, you’ll find the Muddy Mega Mothering Sunday picks here.

Family Sunday lunch (cooked and cleaned up by somebody else)

I reckon most mums would feel they’re winning, given the opportunity to go out for Sunday lunch and not have to do the washing up.  I’m beginning to get ve-r-r-ry familiar with Devon’s pubs and some of my family-friendly favourites include, (drumroll please!)…. Turtley Corn Mill at Avonwick, Millbrook Inn at South Pool, The Ship Inn at Noss Mayo and the Tytherleigh Arms, near Axminster. Or for something more restauranty, River Cottage Canteen in Plymouth has great grub in a very family-friendly atmosphere, right on the waterfront.

If you’re looking to pull out all the stops and make up for not phoning, or visiting more,  and the kids are a little older, then swank it up with a special meal at Hotel Endsleigh in Milton Abbot, Glazebrook House in South Brent (who will also be offering afternoon tea as an alternative), the Horn of Plenty near Tavistock, or The Pig at Combe.

Family walk (that’s not the school run)

If you can persuade the kids to put one foot in front of the other and take a family walk, all bases are covered here.  In the North, join the South West Coast Path at the Hunters Inn and make your way out to Heddon’s Mouth, an easy two mile loop, taking in woodland, rivers and a pebbly beach.  Bring the pooch and rest assured that the pub is dog-friendly so you can kick back and enjoy a laid-back bite to eat.

In the south, Bantham beach is unbeatable for blowing away the cobwebs and gazing out towards Burgh Island.  If the weather behaves, the Gastrobus is a fab, quirky pitstop, dishing up hot chocolate, cakes and some of the best burgers around.

Muddy Mums based in the east could take a stroll in the grounds of Powderham Castle, home to the Earl and Countess of Devon.  Wander amongst the deer park and seemingly endless gardens; the kids shouldn’t be bored, either, with activities galore available for all ages.

If you’re heading west, then why not park up at the Royal William Yard in Plymouth and jump on the ferry across to Mount Edgcumbe, for a waterside walk in the country park.  It’s always nice to take in two counties in one day.  Stop off at Seco Lounge either end of your walk for tea and cake.

Finally, don’t forget that great big handsome hunk of inland turf that is Dartmoor.  For something a bit different, take a look at the Dartmoor Artisan Trail.  Named one of the UKs best travel experiences of 2017 in the Daily Telegraph, this is an opportunity to tour the moor and meet the talented makers of Devon’s arts, crafts and food.  Booking onto a guided tour, or creating a bespoke family day might make a thoughtful gift for Spring.

Afternoon tea (cake doesn’t count on M-day)

Pass me a macaroon and a finger sandwich and I’m anyone’s.  Fortunately, Devon does the best cream teas (ahem, excuse me while I dodge the glare from Muddy Cornwall!).  For really special afternoon tea treats, head to Boringdon Hall near Plymouth, or Bovey Castle.  And for something a little different, the South Devon Railway is taking families for a scenic afternoon tea by steam train, starting from Buckfastleigh.

Mums only jaunts* (*my preferred option, in case you’re reading, Mr Muddy)

Much as I love the Mudlet, I can think of nothing better than a lie-in, followed by a day off from Mum duties right now.  For the like-minded, who happen to be partial to a spa, chill out at Ilsington Spa, recently reviewed by me here; or if you’d prefer to be by the sea, try the new Spa at the Cary Arms, or the Salcombe Harbour hotel.

If retail therapy is more your thing, let the family send you on a shopping spree and offer to buy yourself a gift from them (what? the sentiment is there!).  Favourite clothes boutiques include Bibi & Mac in Salcombe, Fifty5a in Totnes and Lorna Ruby in Exeter.

For gin-lovers (what do they call it, Mothers’ Ruin? Very apt), the Salcombe Gin Distillery has now opened a shiny new school.  Book onto a course, where you’ll learn the secrets of distilling, create and bottle your own recipe and then get to toast your efforts in the gin bar.

And finally, if there’s a wedding on the horizon, there is no better bonding experience than some big-day shopping.  Whether you take bridesmaids, your mum, or future in-law, or all of them, you’ll have plenty of girly fun at the The Wedding Show, taking place at Westpoint in Exeter this Mothering Sunday.

I’d love to know how you spent the day round at yours.  Tell me the good, the bad and the hilarious by posting in the comments box below!

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Devon Edition