The Old Sawmills Inn
Muddy says: Looking for a stylish family and dog-friendly pub with rooms, perfectly placed for exploring the North Devon coast? The Old Sawmills has you covered.
Sawmills is one of those rare family-friendly pubs that has style and substance. Owned by the talented peeps of The Thatch at Croyde, a 2016 makeover has preserved the chalet-style woodsiness of its sawmill heritage but scratch beneath the chic surface and you’ll find everything you want in a family pub: open all day 7 days a week, quality food with known provenance, a genuine warmth in the staff – and in that covetable wood-burner between the bar and the restaurant. Grab a sofa next to it while you can!
Rock up any time from 9am for spot-on scrumptiousness. They’re big on slow food here, melt-in-the-mouth briskets and braised dishes prepped in Big Bertha, their charcoal-fired oven. In summer, sit outside on the terrace next to the river and tuck into a Devon cream tea and home-made cakes – it’s a great place to bring Mum on Mother’s Day. The popular Sunday lunch menu offers 100% Ruby Red beef sourced from hand-reared cattle on Exmoor and fish landed daily in Appledore and Ilfracombe. Food matters here, so do wear the big pants – the portions are humongous.
Located on the A399, here’s perfectly placed for exploring North Devon, with Ilfracombe and Damien Hirst’s awesome 20m bronze statue, Verity, a mile down the road, along with The Landmark Theatre, the locals’ fave Lee Bay with its rock pools and pebbly beach, and great walking and adventuring. Upstairs are four contemporary rooms, all ensuite with two pooch-friendly. You’re over the pub, but it’s not exactly a rowdy crowd, thanks to the secluded valley location. As it says on the sign over the bar – ‘Take a walk on the shore, come relax at the Saw’. If you like to take things slow, you’ll love it.