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Road Trip to Beer: a True Hidden Gem

Sometimes you come across a West Country gem when you’re least expecting it. Beer, an old fashioned seaside village in East Devon is just such a place.

It’s boaty, festooned with bright coloured bunting and lined with the kind of yatch-faring shops and posh delis you'd expect in  a much grander seaside town. Think low-grade Salcombe but not in a bad way – just without the marauding teenage Yahs.

There’s a beautiful pebble beach here offering mackerel fishing trips, speed boat hire or high-octane rides on donuts.

We opted for mackerel fishing and though our 11-man haul was tiny – one miniscule mackerel – the trip out to sea on a bright, sunny Sunday was perfect.

Even better there’s The Anchor Inn to retire to afterwards, a pub with a good sized garden looking out to sea, with top-knotch Aspall’s cider on tap and a live band when we there. Sitting here, cider in hand, with a spectacular view, well it doesn't get much better than this in the West Country.

And the fishing debacle couldn’t have mattered less when we discovered a brilliant fishmonger’s right on the beacb and scored possibly the best jumbo prawns I’ve ever eaten.

There’s plenty of exploring to be done here too. Beautiful Bovey Manor House lies right at the top of the village with spectacular views out to sea and closed by is the iron age hill fort of the wonderfully named Blackberry Castle.

Beer has a strong salty seadog feel and it’s no surprise to discover it was a hotbed of smuggling in the 18th century with fishermen going out in traditional Beer luggers to haul brandy, tea, tobacco and silk in from Northern France.

In high summer Beer becomes a tourist centre but not in that aggressively mobbed way of somewhere like Padstow or Salcombe. The people who holiday here know what they've got - a low-key seaside haven that not many people know about.



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