Lunch with a view: 12 riverside eats
Ahh, is there anything better than a stroll along the riverside? Actually, yes - a riverside that includes a long lazy lunch and some stonking views across Devon.
Otterton Mill, Otterton
A hidden gem for day trippers, this ancient working mill on the River Otter serves up a diverse menu of Welsh rarebit, mackerel pate, venison burger or a Devon cream tea, served with their freshly made bakery bread. Who knows, you might even see an otter (or a beaver)! Budleigh beach is a two mile walk away or hang around and enjoy the artists gallery or head to their excellent on-site Farm Shop for more bakery goodies to take home.
The White Horse, Exford
A wonderfully tranquil spot on Exmoor, where you can sit with something chilled or eat from either the pub or a la carte menu and watch the river running by. If you fancy a stay, be sure to pack your walking boots – there are loads of walks in the fresh air on your doorstep.
Mitch Tonks’s Rockfish restaurant on Exeter’s increasingly fashionable Quayside is sandwiched between the canal and river, so if it wasn’t for the runners and cyclists gliding by, you’d feel like you’re sitting right on the water. The fish is fresh, flavourful and it’s not just posh fish and chips – the waiter’s reel off the flavours of the various catches of the day, like salty sea dogs. And there are bottomless chips, just saying.
The Passage House, Topsham
After a cycle-stop off or Sunday lunch destination? Snaffle a waterside table right next to the Exe Estuary for traditional gastropub burgers, fish and chips, and a great children’s menu, known for its great sunsets. And all Muddy quality-control tested, you can be sure!
The Maltster’s Arms, Tuckenhay
A totally charming 18th century riverside pub with rooms (once owned by wine-quaffing chef Keith Floyd) where you can sit out by the creek, or even arrive by boat if the tide is high. Menu highlights include Dartmoor lamb, River Exe mussels and yummy local cheeses. Name-checked in The Times’ Best 50 Places to Eat Al Fresco. Totnes and Sharpham Dairy are just down the road for a mooch among the award-winning cheeses and dreamy riverside walks.
The Ship Inn, Teignmouth
Hashtag no filter! Head for the seaside’s town’s back beach on the Teign Estuary, where in-the-know locals flock for their post-work bevvies and stunning views of the sun setting on the boats.
The Ship Inn, Noss Mayo
The terrace is the place to catch the beautiful sunsets at this stunning riverside pub on the Realm Estuary (reputedly newsreader Sophie Raworth’s favourite pub) open every day until 11pm. And no need to book.
Anchorstone Cafe, Dittisham
Ladies lunch by the water? While the previous owners of Dittisham’s Anchorstone Cafe have left for a new life in France (ooh, la possibilités!), the Dart’s only riverside daytime cafe is still going strong under new ownership. On the menu are all the old faves, including fish pie, local Dart oysters and fish and chips, to tasty quiche and pies. Two sittings daily: 12 – 2.30pm and a second from 2.30pm. Booking absolutely essential.
The Crabshell Inn, Kingsbridge
Take a seat next to the palms at the harbour town’s only waterside eatery for fantastic seafood, pizza and coffees. A locals’ favourite, and waterside go-to for paddle-boarders in need of sustenance.
Fisherman’s Cot, Bickleigh
Take your pick from a deckchair facing Bickleigh Bridge (rumoured to be the inspiration for Paul Simon’s Bridge over Troubled Water after he stayed there in the 60s) or one of the undercover tables by the inn. Just add gin and sunshine.
The Turf Locks, Exe Estuary
Located on a breezy promontory between the River Exe and Exeter canal, the fabulous Turf Hotel has a large garden, picnic tables a-plenty and their popular outdoor barbecue. And you may as well tuck in as you have no choice but to walk, cycle or kayak it off, as it’s not accessible by car.
The Boathouse, Instow
Fancy a snifter overlooking the water? Take a pew on the upstairs deck of this beach bar and restaurant right on the Taw and Torridge Estuary. It’s half outdoors, half undercover so plenty of fresh air to go round while you enjoy sustainably caught seafood and locally-raised meat, while mulling a luscious list of over 50 wines. Cheers!