Woman's Weekly beauty editor Stephanie enjoys a break in Southwest England


Where I went

Devon – famous for cream teas (cream then jam versus Cornwall’s jam then cream), scrumpy and some of the most beautiful views in the UK. I decided to show my husband one of my favourite childhood holiday spots, Woolacombe Bay on the north coast of Devon – via somewhere completely new and equally breathtaking – Dartmoor.

What I did

We arrived in Ilsington, a sleepy picture-postcard village on the eastern edge of Dartmoor, and after a quick tour of the grounds of our hotel (see ‘Where I stayed’, below) we headed straight to the newly refurbished spa for a refreshing dip in the pool and a session in the steam room.

A delicious meal in the restaurant overlooking the stunning scenery was the perfect way to end the day.

On our drive up to Woolacombe Bay, we stopped off at The Miniature Pony Centre (miniatureponycentre.com), where you can roam around paddocks of donkeys, tiny foals and ponies – it’s an animal lover’s dream.

When we arrived in Woolacombe, the sun was shining so we went for a bracing walk along the award-winning beach, which is popular with surfers. It was a bit cold for anything as active as body-boarding, though!

Where I stayed

We began our mini staycation at the family-run Ilsington Country House Hotel, set in the idyllic Dartmoor countryside – an ideal base for exploring the gorgeous scenery of the National Park, then drove up to the north coast to the Woolacombe Bay Hotel (01271 870 388).

Book a room with a sea view – you can hear the waves crashing as you drift off to sleep.

What I ate

After a day of walking and spa-ing in Dartmoor, we opted for dinner at the hotel and, boy, was it good! Chicken liver parfait to start, followed by roasted duck, and a deconstructed lemon meringue pie to finish.

Devonians love their dairy, so while we were staying in Woolacombe Bay we enjoyed some amazing clotted cream ice cream at the beach – and, of course, fish and chips!

Travel details

We drove down to Devon from Milton Keynes, which took about 3½ hours; for rail times and fares, visit nationalrail.co.uk. Rooms at the Ilsington Country House Hotel start from £130 per night and include breakfast and full use of the spa facilities.

For more information on spa packages, visit ilsington.co.uk.