After a busy year at the leading foodservice marketing agency and a hectic festive season, what better way to drive away the post-Christmas blues than a weekend in an old English village pub? That was our excuse to stay at The Tower Inn in Slapton, a tiny village in South Devon, between Salcombe and Dartmouth. The Tower Inn is about as quaint as you can get – sloping floors, roaring log fires and almost entirely lit by candles. The pub stands next to a crumbling tower (hence the name) that belonged to a 14th century ecclesiastical school that used to stand on the site.
The village itself is set around windy country lanes and is a short walk from Slapton Sands which is a glorious expanse of sand with a nature reserve behind it, but a bit bleak for walking in February! The sands are famous for being used by the American Army in April 1944 to rehearse for the D-Day landings. However it turned into a tragedy as hundreds of American soldiers were killed by the use of live ammunition to make the exercise as life-like as possible. A disused American tank still remains as a memorial to those who died.
The area is perfect for walking, a wonderful mixture of coastal and inland footpaths – we were spoilt for choice – and the weather was ideal, bright sunshine with a little bit of a brisk wind, and of course we had the Tower Inn to come back to. What can be better than being able to step out of your room and into a warm old English pub, with local ales and a wonderful dinner to look forward to?
Locally caught seafood was a feature of the menu – mussels, sole and fresh fish of the day. I really enjoyed a roast pigeon breast risotto, a meat I had never tried before, but it was delicious and I followed it up with a selection of English cheeses. The pub also had a good range of English wines from the West Country – this pub really knows how to make the most of the wonderful food and drink we British can produce. The breakfast also lived up to expectations, of course you have to have the full English, and it was eaten beside a log fire and by candlelight which was the perfect antidote to the pouring rain which greeted us on Sunday morning!