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Staycay, Salcombe Style: 4 Island Place

THE LOWDOWN

It might feel a way off right now, but at some point we will tentatively travel again. And since we’ll have some serious lost time to make up for, why not just allow yourself a moment to drift off and imagine your post-apocalyptic utopia that’s ideally not a million miles from home…

Whatcha thinking? You want to live it up in Salcombe, you say? Right in the thick of it? [nods]. You want the faff-free ease of self-catering, but after weeks of lockdown, you need a generous dollop of luxury and plenty of outdoor options nearby? I hear you and, don’t go telling everyone, but I reckon we’ve just found you a corker. 

Well, technically, West Country based Toad Hall Cottages have actually, since they’re the experts in matching seaside-seekers with their dream digs (and they’ve been doing it for over thirty years, with a massive trophy cabinet to boot, so I reckon that gives them some kudos).  

In amongst their vast, 900-strong portfolio of properties scattered across the region’s prettiest destinations is 4 Island Place, one of a clutch of swanky new properties in town. It’s bright, stylish and it makes staycationing so easy, you’ll have your shoes off, bags unpacked and a G&T in your hand before you know it. 

THE LOCATION

Who doesn’t know at least a bit about Salcombe? Whether you recognise it for its rich sailing community and ship-building heritage, its healthy head count of celebrity residents, its glam shops and restaurants, or simply for being easy on the eye, you’ll know it’s super-popular, particularly in those peak months. 

While that can bring problems for visitors, namely access and parking (case in point, we visited not so long ago for the day and spent a good hour looping around town, binoculars out, ready to trade a kidney for a parking space), you can be smug in the knowledge that 4 Island Place is not only easy to find, it has secure private parking underneath. There’s no better feeling than swooping down into the throng, peeling off from the traffic and disappearing beneath electric gates. 

Emerge back upstairs and you’ll soon get your bearings from your terrace. This little development is located just next to bustling Batson Creek, with its waterside views and soothing sounds of sails blowing in the wind. Meanwhile, you’re also at the start of Island Street, which is good news, as this is where your journey on foot into town and all its trappings begins. That’s if you can make it past Salcombe Gin Distillery, just a minutes’ walk away, of course. Many don’t.

THE VIBE

With a clean, crisp, contemporary nod to its nautical habitat, there’s a reassuring vibe of newness here, from the moment you enter the back gate and land on the terrace, neatly bedecked with potted shrubs and rattan furniture. 

Swing open the front door and a bright open plan space greets you downstairs, thanks to vast windows letting light spill in at both ends. The sleek, gadget-laden kitchen takes centre stage, flanked by a dining area at one end and a cosy living space at the other. Cheerfully coloured fabrics and furnishings and local, sea-themed art adorning the walls injects a little character to what is otherwise a very modern abode. 

There’s plenty on offer to keep you in, or get you out and exploring depending on the weather, from suggested walks, and guides to the best beaches, to board games and books. 

PILLOW TALK

Upstairs, you’ll find three bedrooms, sleeping 6; a master with superking bed, views of the creek and sizeable ensuite shower room; a double and a twin. Beds are to die for with a comfy factor through the roof and the bath is suitably huge for bubbles and more bubbles, preferably in a flute. As with downstairs, it all feels so clean and new. 

SCOFF & QUAFF

For those days where you just want to hang at home, the kitchen is kitted out with everything you could need for your group – and indeed the rest of the town if you’re feeling sociable, the cupboards are some of the most well-stocked I’ve seen!  Plus, it’s mega-easy to self-cater since there’s a very handy Co-op right beneath you. You can discover you’re out of fizz and be in, out, back in again and popping a cork in under five minutes. FACT. Just on that note, if you’re a coffee lover, make sure you pick up a supply of Nespresso capsules for the machine, to avoid that early morning dash out in your PJ’s.

With smart, well-equipped terraces to the front and the back, you can make the most of the moving sunshine and the BBQ, too, whilst watching the world go by. There’s no doubt this place brings its self-catering A-game – I’d defy you to find something they’ve forgotten to provide.

But if you’d rather ditch the catering bit (I don’t blame you), then you’ve plenty of options for all tastes, all within walking distance, from coffee shops to lively pubs and buzzy waterside restaurants, as well as family-friendly beachside institution The Winking Prawn, a must visit when in town. Sadly, as we arrived just as lockdown was coming into force, we didn’t get to indulge, but a big shout out to the businesses doing their best to adapt with big friendly smiles, including The Salcombe Coffee Co. who provided us with caffeine and hot chocolates (with extra marshmallows for our daughter) for our morning walks. 

OUT AND ABOUT

You’ve so many options, no matter how long you’re in town for and what time of year. Salcombe is a perennial favourite for so many for good reason. You can while away a day browsing the many indies, from the legendary (and highly Instaworthy) Cranch’s pantry and sweet shop at one end, through to the very enticing Busby & Fox for seriously pretty threads and accessores at the other. In-between, galleries, homeware boutiques and delicious deli’s make shopping by the sea a hit. 

Further afield, you can walk the twenty minutes or so out of town towards North and South Sands, passing mega mansions and drinking in the views while playing the always-fun ‘which one would you buy…’ game. North Sands beach itself is perfect for bracing walks, or lazy summer bucket and spade days and is where you’ll find the super laidback Winking Prawn

A mini ferry hop from Salcombe will take you to the more distant shores of East Portlemouth and you can always count on there being a National Trust, visit nearby. Overbecks, on the cliffs above Salcombe is where you’ll find the subtropical gardens that surround the seaside home of scientist and inventor Otto Overbeck. Ahh, you’ve gotta love the National Trust.  

On your return from a day out, all sandy and salty, don’t forget to do some souvenir shopping, Muddy style, at Will Bees Bespoke (who doesn’t want a gorgeous personalised clutch as a reminder of fun times?). It’s seconds away from your digs, along with Salcombe Gin.  Oh, did I not mention the world-class gin is made right on your doorstep? It would actually be rude not to indulge somehow, whether enrolling in Gin School, knocking back a few with a taster session, or hiring a gin butler to come and shake up a storm back at the ranch. Whatever you do, at least you’re rolling distance from home.

KID FRIENDLY?

Oh yes, absolutely, it would be a crime not to welcome kids into this neck of the woods. I wouldn’t say this is one of those uber child-friendly properties that encourages you to leave all the paraphernalia at home, but from the crabbing nets that greet you outside, to the high chair, travel cot and ready installed stairgate, the nippers and their safety aren’t overlooked. A nice touch is the little night torches installed on the upstairs landing, handy in case any little legs take a night time trip to the loo.  

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Families seeking a change of scene, small adult groups craving sophisticated catch-ups, dog owners (2 dogs allowed, £30 per dog, per week); those considering relocating can stroll the streets and browse the estate agents for inspo. Short breaks are available, making this a very versatile option, indeed. 

Not for: Access can be tricky for anyone with mobility issues, as some stairs are involved. Anyone seeking cosy, cottage-style character and period charm may need to head off and peer through a few windows in town if they get desperate* (Muddy isn’t endorsing this though). 

The damage: 7 nights in March costs £940; in peak season £2189. Cheapest rate in low season is 7 nights for £884, or 3 nights for £590. Prices are for the whole house, sleeps 6. 

Want more, more, more? 4 Island Place can be booked through Toad Hall Cottages who are taking bookings for holidays from 4 July 2020. Toadhallcottages.co.uk. Call 01548 202020 or you can email any queries to thc@toadhallcottages.co.uk. Check out their coronavirus FAQ here.

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