I said in my week in Dartmouth post – part 1 that part 2 would be coming later in the week. Turns out I meant, if you wait a month (almost to the day) the second part will come – total fail, sorry! Things, as always, have just been so busy, but I still really wanted to get the second part of our week up on the blog. As I love being able to look back at what we did and all the pictures. I hope that you still enjoy it, even if it is so late.
Day 3 – Dartmouth Marina Spa
I ended the last post with our trip to the farm and our night in with fajitas. The next day was Wednesday and the group did separate things that day. Andy, Nicky and I opted for a relaxing day at Dartmouth Marina Spa. Nicky is a new Mom, so was really looking forward to a day of rest and relaxation and Andy and I always try to get a spa trip booked in on our trips away.
We did a little bit of research before hand on the best spa in the local area and this seemed a great option. Firstly the location was perfect. It was literally across the water on the ferry and was directly in front of you. So we had a nice walk along the side of the train track in Kingswear, in order to get the upper ferry, rather than the lower ferry which was right by our house. This meant that the spa and hotel was less than a minute walk the other end.
The spa itself wasn’t particularly well equipped. It had a small pool area with three loungers around it. A Jacuzzi, a steam room, a relaxation room and the two treatment rooms. So it certainly wasn’t up there in the best spas I have been to. However, it was a really lovely day. The staff were very friendly and helpful and the treatment itself was really amazing.
The treatment we all booked was a hot stones massage and express facial. I however; had an extended hot stones massage and a face and scalp massage, rather than the facial, as I can be quite allergic to products on my face and it was a brand I have never tried before. So I didn’t want to risk it.
They started with a lovely foot cleansing process, which was heated cloths on your feet and a small foot massage. This instantly relaxed me and sent me to a place of zen. They put some of the hot stones under the hole in the bed which my face was through and they added some essential oils to them, so I could breathe them in to relax further, which I thought was something a little bit different and very welcomed.
The other thing they did, which I haven’t had before at a hot stones massage, was to put a couple of the hot stones under the blanket I was lying on for added relaxation. So, whilst she was massaging my back, she slid a couple of the stones under the blanket around the chest area, so the pressure of my body lying on the bed meant I could feel the stones on my front too. This was another really nice touch.
Andy and I were actually in a couples treatment room and by the end I could hear gentle snores from his bed, so he definitely relaxed.
Lunch was another lovely touch, and quite different to anything I have had before. There was a very limited choice of lunches and you were asked to pre-order. The choices were, meat, fish or vegetable platter. We all opted for the meat and it was really tasty and very different. It came presented in a Japanese style box and in each section was something different. It was over a month ago now, so my memory has slightly faded but I think it included a meat terrine and chutney, some cured meats and some fresh turkey with salad.
You could also pick from a selection of speciality teas, which were also presented in a very Japanese style.
The downside to lunch was that is was served in the relaxation room, so you were perched on the end of a large lounging chair, leaning over a little table, Although they did say you could go into the main hotel restaurant if you preferred, we just opted not to, knowing we would be the only guests in robes, as we were the only spa guests that day.
All in all Dartmouth Marina Spa was a lovely, not too expensive spa day and it was great to go to as we were so local, but I wouldn’t rush to recommend it as an actual spa as they just really weren’t set up for it.
Later that day
We then left the spa and Nicky went to meet the rest of the gang in the pub, whilst Andy and I had a little explore of Dartmouth. We stopped for cake and tea in a gorgeous little spot. I would really recommend it. It was called Smith Street Delicatessen and was independently owned by two gentleman. It had a great buzz, with a fabulous selection of cakes and a little shop to take away local produce.
We all decided that we were going to stay out for tea that night and sample Dartmouth’s fish and chips. We tried to get into The Rockfish restaurant, as we had read loads of really positive reviews about it being the best fish and chips in Dartmouth. However with 8 adults, 2 children and 2 pushchairs it just wasn’t possible to fit in. So we went to the Wheelhouse fish and chip restaurant instead and it was really lovely. They offered gluten free battered fish which was great and I got to try some local cider.
Day 4 – Steam Train to Paignton
I was really super excited about a) getting the steam train and b) going to Paignton. Paignton was the first beach I ever went on, as a tiny little baby, so it felt quite nostalgic ( even though I clearly don’t remember going.) What I will say is Paignton is not at all what I had thought and had a real Blackpool feel to it; but the steam train was fab.
The station where you get the steam train from was gorgeous, it felt like something from a film. It opened in 1864 originally, but I don’t know what year it was actually made to look like it does today.
The steam train journey to Paignton was lovely, and had some great views. I have always wanted to go on The Orient Express, because I just love the old train vibes. Although I know this little steam train, is not the Orient Express, it had that old train vibes, so I just totally loved it. I would really recommend, if you come to Dartmouth or the local area to definitely do the steam train.
Paignton itself was really not my cup of tea. Very tacky and touristy. So it isn’t somewhere I would recommend coming to if you are there with friends or as a couple. We wandered for quite a while to try and find a lovely, cute beach front place to eat and could only find “Brits abroad” type pubs. However; if you do have children it is fab. There is the amusement arcade, which provided loads of fun. There is the beach itself, as well as a great outdoor climbing frame /swings /slides etc. So we spent a good couple of hours here and then got the steam train home.
After getting back to Kingswear, we went to our local pub for a few drinks and it is here I discovered the most gorgeous new vodka. I really love vodka, but definitely posher ones not your standard Smirnoff’s. So when I saw they had some lovely more independent vodkas, I couldn’t wait to try them. The one I opted for was a Rock Sea, which is a sea salt vodka from the Isle of Wight and it was so delicious. I actually hunted down a bottle in a local store to bring back with me.
We then headed back to the house for the evening and had a meats / cheese / olives type dinner and undoubtedly another evening in the hot tub. (Although again, I can’t be fully sure.)
Day 5 – Miniature Village and Halloween Party
This was another day where we all did separate things. I really wanted to go to the miniature village, but the rest of the guys weren’t too fussed by going. So Andy and I went together and had a good look around the miniature village and also a stroll down the front of Babbacombe.
We really enjoyed the miniature village. It was so interesting, with so many different scenes. There were areas of real life scenes, so things like Stonehenge, Wembley Stadium and loads more. As well as lots of more generic real life scenes. Things like a church with a couple getting married, a street with someone moving house with the removals vans. Just so many different set ups. There was also film area, where there were loads of miniature scenes from famous films.
There was a great 4d film experience too, that both Andy and I really enjoyed but would be fabulous for children too.
The café here wasn’t great, so we had a quick cup of tea and left.
We then had a stroll down to Babbacombe itself and it was really lovely. Very up market, helped to feel so lovely by the beautiful weather. We went to grab a little portion of chips – from one of the many award winning fish and chip shops and brought them back to eat on a bench over looking the beach.
Now I don’t celebrate Halloween, but Nicky was super excited to throw a party for baby Finn. So she had brought a load of decorations to kit out the house and do a pumpkin carving competition. I must admit, it was really lovely, even though its not normally my thing. Amelia and Finn both looked totally adorable and it was super fun to do with them. We had the disco light on, music playing and lots of nice snacks. All three pumpkins looked great although Lisa and Kelly were crowned the winners.
Us girls then rushed to get ready and headed out to our local pub for a meal and drinks. We had our girls night tonight as the boys were having their boys boxing night the next evening. The food was lovely and again they did some great gluten free options which really made me happy. I had a gluten free duck and hoisin pizza – delicious.
Day 6 – Pancakes and Crabbing
We had a lovely morning making pancakes, which is something Amelia loves to do – and we love to eat, so it worked well. We had loads of topping options -Nutella, sugar, lemon, strawberry, blueberries, syrup, banana, ice cream – the list goes on.
After enjoying this, we headed out for a day of crabbing. This was potentially my favourite thing we did, and for those who know me, this is quite unexpected. We had been told the best place local to Dartmouth to go crabbing was Dittisham. The guy was right, we caught loads and I loved every minute as did Amelia.
After an hour or so of catching crabs, we headed up for a beautiful lunch at Anchorstone Café. It was freezing that day, so very welcomed to warm up inside and the food was really great. I had fresh scallops, which were amazing – but everyone else’s lunch looked great too. One to visit if you are over there.
We then headed back over on our little private boat – not as glam as it sounds, but you have to ring the bell to get the man to come and take you back over to the main ferry.
Once back in Dartmouth, we left the boys to start their boys night. We left them playing pool in the local pub, before coming back to watch the boxing. So we headed off for a mooch around Dartmouth shops and then back to the house. We had take away for tea and the headed to the upstairs lounge for drinks and a couple of games of tension. This is my new favourite group game, I have already ordered it for Christmas time, as I think the family will love it.
Day 7 – Heading Home
We spent the morning of our last day enjoying a fry up together. We then packing up all our stuff and loading up the cars – back down the 72 steps! That is the end of our lovely week in the UK. I can really recommend Dartmouth as a beautiful part of the UK. There is loads to do, especially for families with children.