On a mid-September weekend, Dan and I took the baby on a trip down to Devon. It was a spur of the moment holiday, decided by Dan’s desire to watch Southend United play Torquay, but I didn’t argue – anything to get away. A few weeks before we travelled, we looked on various websites for somewhere to stay. Initially, we looked at hotels in Torquay, but we were put off by the price and low availability. Instead, we looked at Exeter, and settled on River Retreat Apartment.
We arrived at just after 4pm, following possibly the worst drive in history. At first, we missed the apartment and had to turn around, but quickly realised that the apartment is in the lower section of a house, directly opposite a small green beside the river. It’s a lovely view, especially in the mornings.
The front door is reached by three steps, which was a little tricky to navigate with a pram, and would be impossible with a wheelchair. Thankfully, we were able to just snatch baby up and carry her in. Samina, the host, met us at there and greeted us with a smile. She showed us around the apartment, explaining the little extras, and left us to unpack.
The door we use to enter the apartment was originally the front door to the host’s home, so the two lower front rooms are now a bedroom and a lounge. The lounge is bright and fresh, with an L shaped sofa bed, TV stand, foldaway table and chairs, and a metal, circular side table. On the wall adjacent to the door is the kitchenette. As well as essentials, like a fridge, sink, and microwave, there is a coffee machine, kettle, and toaster, and a strip of fairy lights underneath the hanging cupboard for a little ambiance.
On the other side of the hallway is the door to the bedroom. It’s a similar sized room to the lounge, with an inbuilt wardrobe. In the centre of the room is a double bed, and a bedside table on each side which match the side table in the lounge. Clearly, the host has an excellent eye for interior design – everything had been carefully selected. I was also thrilled to notice a mid-length mirror too.
At River Retreat, the bathroom is split in two: the shower and sink is located in the bedroom. It’s not ideal for having a night time shower when you have a sleeping baby in the bedroom, but without the baby, wouldn’t have been an issue at all. The toilet is located in a small room off the hallway, which is great as it meant we didn’t disturb the baby when we wanted a tinkle.
Things to do from the accommodation
You can reach the centre of Exeter from River Retreat Apartment in less than an hour on foot, ten minutes by car, or there are public transport routes too. A five minute drive away is a Tesco Extra, and small retail park.
If you don’t have access to a car, but are feeling a little peckish, there are three pubs within walking distance from the apartment. At the end of the road is a village pub called The Tally Ho!, which serves the typical ‘pub grub’ like pies, burgers, and chili. We ate there one night and got what we expected from the place. A little further away, on the other side of the playing fields behind the apartment, is a Brewsters, which is a ten minute walk.
Our hosts recommended a trip down to Double Locks, an 18th Century pub on the canal. We took a walk there on a Sunday afternoon and were able to sit in the large garden. As well as numerous tables, some with canopies for cover, there is a children’s play area, and large green area for playing on, or sitting on while enjoying a cold pint. Our dinners were huge and delicious, with a yorkshire pudding the size of my hand, and more beef than I had seen in a supermarket. We were even able to get baby her own Sunday roast, which she tucked in to too.
In terms of day trips, Torquay and Exmouth are a half hour drive away if you are a fan of beachy days out, or there are some theme parks within reasonable distance. Instead, we drove over to Dartmoor National Park to hike through beauty spots and see England’s tallest waterfall.
Whatever you choose to do, I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time. The stay definitely exceeded our expectations, and I hope to go back one day.
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