A La Ronde is a wonderful 16 sided house which was build on a hillside overlooking the Exe Estuary on the instructions of cousins Jane and Mary Parminter in around 1796. The Hexadecagonal House and gardens are in the care of the National Trust who have maintained and preserved the buildings keeping them in mint condition.
As you make your way around this unusual house, National Trust volunteers are at hand to tell you about each room and also there to answer any questions you have. The Parminter sisters had returned from a tour of Europe and were inspired to commision the building of A La Ronde. The design meant they could use every room as the sun moved around. The cousins used their creative craft skills to decorate the interiors and today you can see many of their collections which were memoirs of their travels. One of the unique features of A La Ronde is the shell gallery upstairs in the loft. On my first visit to A La Ronde (over 20 years ago)! you were able to go up and visit the shell gallery first hand. Sadly today, the shell gallery is in need of a little restoration. Visitors can view the gallery by way of a 360 degrees virtual tour touchscreen.
Once you've visited the house, you can play croquet on the lawn or take in some refreshments while enjoying the panoramic views over the Exe Estuary. There is also a walking trail called the Parminter walk which takes you on a tour around the gardens.
Admission prices (2012)
■Family (1 adult): £10.90
Opening times vary depending on the time of year, check website below for details.
Right on the Esplanade in Exmouth you will find a great childrens play area. Here you will find a lovely boating lake, crazy golf, bouncy castles, model boats and indoor soft play area for the younger ones. This play area is guaranteed to keep the children occupied for quite some time!
The Model Railway in Exmouth is over 40 years old. The working exhibition is an interesting depiction of Britains railways. Posters and memorabilia on the walls surrounding the model railway make interesting reading. There is a great gift shop at the entrance to the exhibiton and a rather unique cafe which is situated in an old railway carriage.
The Esplanade in Exmouth is a lovely place for a gentle stroll or brisk walk. From the sand dunes near the beach car park you can walk past some lovely well tended gardens, past the clocktower towards the marina where you can admire the boats and dream of a life out at sea.
Exmouth is now one of the termini of the recently developed (and still under construction) Exe Estuary Trail which is a walk/cycle path following the course of the River Exe Estuary between Exmouth and Dawlish with Exeter as its main river crossing.
At the time of writing (April 2011) the trail is substantially complete but some sections are still "on-road" particularly that from Starcross to Dawlish and a section around Topsham.
From Exmouth the trail begins where the railway station is and after a brief stretch alongside the road joins the railway track along the estuary until Exton, passing through (the well-worth a visit) Lympstone Village.
This is a scenic coastal cycle with great views across the river and a chance to enjoy the active estuary wildlife and of course there's a couple of cracking pubs on the route!
If you're visiting and haven't brought your bike then you can hire one from a couple of places in town including Exmouth Cycle Hire on Victoria Road (http://www.exmouthcyclehire.com/).
For trail information, maps etc use the Devon County Council link below:
Up where I presently live in Appledore, North Devon, we host the annual World Crabbing Competition. Strangely enough this event takes place every year and we get literally dozens of competitors from all over the world (well from Devon anyway).
Down here in Exmouth looks like a popular training area - maybe there's a champ in the making?
For the definitive rules of crabbing competitions visit website below - note that there is a 10 pounds fine for anyone falling in the water and frightening the crabs!
Unfortunately when I lived and worked here it was the middle of winter and so never did get a chance to take any of the boat trips but they do look like fun. The local company, Stuart Line, offer a range of interesting trips and cruises including a 3 hour non-landing cruise of the Jurassic Coast, various river cruises and day trips to Torquay and Brixham.
Not only do the trips look interesting but I also noted that the boats have bars!
All the details are on the website and the boats depart from the dock, where the ticket office is also located.
Orcombe Point, here in Exmouth, marks (marked literally with a geoneedle) the westerly start of the UNESCO designated World Heritage Jurassic Coast. The next 95 miles going east allow you to walk 250 million years of the Earth's history, literally walking on dinosaurs.
Whilst the immediate cliffs at Exmouth are in fact Triassic (250 million years old) and date back to when the area was a desert, continuing along the coast into Dorset the cliff face becomes younger. Fossils found in the Dorset cliffs indicate that this section of the coast was once an almost tropical forest where dinosaurs did indeed roam in the Jurassic era proper (140 million years ago).
The whole 95 miles is part of the Southwest Coastal Path and so is publicly accessible in its entirety. So far I've only walked the Weymouth to Lyme Regis section in Dorset (which is stunningly various), but the Exmouth section to Lyme Regis is definitely on my "To Do" list.
Not really my sort of thing but there if you fancy it. The local Stuart Line company offers 10 minute rides out into the bay in a 250 horsepower boat. This is a summer thing and depends on the weather and costs 6 Pounds for adults and 4 for children.
You'll find the boat and the booking office roughly in the middle of the seafront.
As I say in my intro page, Exmouth has a justly renowned seafront which offers something for everyone. I'm not really a "beach person" but this Beach suited me down to the sand.
This is a characterful proper pub with well kept local beers, friendly regulars and reasonably-priced proper pub food. Situated next door to the marina and docks makes this an ideal place to sit outside in the summer and watch the world go by. Whilst in the winter, when the horizontal rain is being driven by gale force winds up the estuary, the inviting beamed bar with its open fire is just the place to relax with a pint and good company.
The world of Country Life
An exhibition of cars, motors and buses, a deerpark, a farm park, a falconry, several adventure playgrounds, a petcorner, an exhibition of Countrylife and many things more. All at The world of Country Life.