Wow, it’s been a while since my last post hasn’t it? I don’t know where the time has gone. Well, if I’m totally honest I know exactly where – work has been hectic (I suspect I am preaching to the choir here..), the horses always need attention especially as I am making a conscious effort to train my youngster and I have an impending deadline for my next MSc module (I’ll get onto that again tomorrow…). But I’m not here to talk about how chaotic things are at the moment, although I have a feeling that after the return to work tomorrow that may be the theme of my next post… What I actually want to talk to you about is where I spent the most relaxing few days (yes I actually said the word ‘relax’ and meant it!).
I’ve had a few odd days off from work here and there this year but I haven’t actually had a proper break (by that I mean more than a day or two off work) since Christmas last year, so it’s been long overdue for some time. The problem with taking time off for me (I’m sure you can all relate), is finding a ‘quiet’ time or dealing with double the amount of work when you get back! But everyone needs a break now and then so I bit the bullet and booked a stay at Dimmet – a gorgeous little bungalow in Braunton, North Devon.
I absolutely adore Devon, it’s been the destination of many a family holiday over the years for good reason, the beaches are stunning as is the countryside and if there’s a dilemma at the Farm, my dad doesn’t have to get on a plane to get home!! So it was a no brainer as the location for a few days away. I love travelling abroad just as much as the next person but I don’t think you can beat the UK for a holiday and if (and it’s a big if) you can guarantee the weather, there’s nowhere nicer. There are so many lovely places to choose to stay in Devon, but Dimmet is a truly unique, one of a kind, not-to-missed kind of place, which is why I have to shout from the rooftops about it.
70’s Style – Groovy!
Dimmet, romantically named after the Devon term for half-light at the end of the day, that magical time where the sun is still warm but casting shadows as it begins to sink from the sky, is a celebration of a good old fashioned 1970’s style holiday. The beautiful holiday home situated in Braunton, North Devon was once the location of family holidays for Andrew as a child in the 1970’s, who alongside his wonderful wife Emma are responsible for creating Dimmet. Rather than refurbish the home to an ultra-modern and super sleek holiday let, Emma & Andrew have harnessed all that was great about the Great British Holiday, long before package deals and internet formed the main focus! The house has been lovingly revamped to celebrate the super 70’s, including a make over from stylist and film set decorator, Marina Morris complete with genuine vintage pieces from the 1970’s!
Before your mind runs wild and you’re shouting ‘but I can’t cope without my mod cons’ or ‘holidays are supposed to be luxurious, not basic!’ let me stop you right there. What I didn’t previously mention is that Emma & Andrew are also responsible for creating Dimpsey Glamping, which I had the pleasure of visiting last year (read more about Dimpsey here) and if they know one thing, it’s how to create a luxurious, unique and memorable experience. Dimmet has a real 1970’s feel, from the funky wallpaper and sofas (which, by the way have to be the most comfortable things ever!) to the record player and retro DVDs but equally importantly, you can’t escape the feeling of ultimate luxury. Each room has been thoughtfully planned to include an eclectic mix of 1970’s artifacts and modern luxury – think original corkboard wallpaper next to Dualit toasters and coffee machines, or retro record players and vinyls next to the latest Sony TV and wifi (just incase you’re having withdrawals!). Attention to detail and a genuine passion for providing people with the best experience they possibly can make Dimmet one of those rare gems and a must-visit destination.
Good Old-Fashioned Family Fun
That’s the main aim of Dimmet. So often nowadays we are all glued to our phones (me definitely included) or to a TV screen, with the whole family in the same room not speaking to one another so it’s hard to remember how people enjoyed themselves before all of that. Dimmet provides the perfect base to reconnect with family or friends, or in my case, my other half, whatever the weather.
From cold days with hot chocolates to long summer evenings with BBQs, Dimmet has you covered – 70’s style!
I can really testify to this statement, the first day that we arrived at Dimmet brought torrential rain and, if I’m totally honest, the thought of being stuck inside all day like a caged animal was not filling me with joy. I didn’t quite manage a proper lie in but 7am is quite good by my usual standards – the Naturalmat beds must have had something to do with this – they are the most comfortable things ever! Even though I was up early, the super squishy retro couches and one of the mountain of books on offer kept me put until well after lunchtime. This has to be the best review for relaxation I can give because such a thing is unheard of for me. The afternoon was filled with yummy hot chocolates (marshmallows included, of course) and endless games of scrabble and monopoly followed by dressing up in the vintage 70’s clothing provided and dancing to ABBA on the record player. It was such a treat to sit inside and relax, without worrying about the things I should, or could, be doing outside – again testament to Dimmet’s charms because there’s no way I could do that at home!
From Scrabble to retro dress up and dancing, Dimmet has it all for a rainy day..click the video below to see more!
Location, Location, Location
Thankfully, after our first day the weather really cheered up (so much so, I managed to burn my very ‘English Rose’/aka translucent skin!) so we were able to venture outside and enjoy all of the outdoor activities that were recommended by Dimmet. These included trips to the beach and a bike ride along the Tarka trail which follows the River Taw – very highly recommended and suitable for all abilities because the going is flat and the distance is as long or short as you want to make it. We cycled from Braunton to just past Instow and back again, totalling nearly 29 miles! Rest assured though, there’s plenty of delicious cafes and viewpoints to take a break along the way.
The closest beach, Saunton Sands is also a hidden treasure and only a 5 minute drive away from Dimmet. The weather certainly helped to showcase the beach at it’s best, but even on a dreary day it would look beautiful. Tiny colourful beach huts line the secluded bay which is a haven for surfers and sunbathers alike.
Dimmet is also perfectly located to walk into the centre of Braunton which is a lively village full of delicious eateries and local shops. We did try, but unfortunately failed simply because we ran out of time, to work our way through the list of recommended places to eat – another good reason to return. The places we did visit though are certainly worth mentioning, our favourites were Stoned (a gorgeous woodfired pizza company founded by a local boy who started out by making and delivering pizzas to local camping sites) and Squires fish bar (you can’t go to the seaside without treating yourself to fish & chips and this one comes recommended by Rick Stein!). That said, Dimmet is fully equipped to cater for yourself, we did enjoy the retro mini BBQ to eat in the beautiful garden on one of the evenings.
Cosy nights in with the most delicious woodfired pizzas and stunning Castlewood Rose wine (also from Devon!) or proper country pubs..there’s too much choice when it comes to eating!
Who wants to go away when you can staycay?
The last few years have seen the revival of the ‘staycation’ and I couldn’t think of a better place to enjoy a British holiday than Dimmet. The location is perfect for glorious beaches, eateries, outdoor activities and so much more, but most importantly is the house itself. There are plenty of places you could visit to experience the beautiful beaches or places to eat, but you’d be very hardpushed to find anywhere that matches the charm and fun of Dimmet. It’s one of those special places that will stay with you forever, that you will end up comparing all of your other holiday stays to (I can gaurentee that the comparisons will be ‘that’s not quite as good as Dimmet’ or ‘Well Dimmet had X,Y,Z..’. There are brilliant holidays and then there’s the Dimmet experience – something that is capable of creating loving memories to last a lifetime.
As with my recollection of Dimpsey, I’m quite sad to let the cat out of the bag with Dimmet – because if I’ve managed to even get 25% of our experience across to you, it will mean Dimmet will be fully booked forever. On that note, I better get our next stay booked!