Broadcaster Jeremy Vine likes to get away from the spotlight by retreating to his favourite coastal spot in Devon…but he has two special places he could easily choose.
Jeremy Vine is momentarily blindsided when I ask him what his favourite stretch of coastline is. “Er, can I have two?” he asks. Well why not, especially when his selections are from either end of Devon, the only county in the UK with two distinct coastlines.
“I always used to say my favourite coast was the area in and around Sidmouth,” explains Jeremy. “My wife’s family live in nearby Tipton St John and we got married in their back garden. So I have incredibly happy memories of going down to the beach at Sidmouth over many, many years.
“To me the town always seems reminiscent of an Agatha Christie novel from the 1930s. It has that beautiful heritage about it. That whole mile-long stretch of the Jurassic Coast is just spectacular. And then you have Jacob’s Ladder at one end of the town – such a quirky feature – and it looks out over a long stretch of beach. There’s a fabulous cafe at the top too.
“And they have that amazing New Year swim every year with people taking to the sea in all sorts of fancy dress – I once saw a group heading into the water dressed as all the characters from the television series Poldark!
“I have had lots of fun around there over many years. It’s basically the opposite of being in London.”
Given the happy memories Jeremy, his wife Rachel and daughters Martha, 18, and Anna, 15, have enjoyed on the east Devon coast over many years it would be understandable for his top coast of choice to be there. But then a few years ago he was asked to do some author interviews at the Appledore Book Festival and it sparked a connection with the north Devon village.
“I have fallen in love with Appledore,” reveals Jeremy. “There’s something incredibly restful about the place. And the town itself is such an interesting town with so much to see and do and lots of backstreets to explore and quirky places.
“I am delighted to be involved with the Appledore Book Festival as a patron. Every year they get the most amazing authors there and it’s always a real highlight to come down for it.
“There’s a particular cottage we rent in the village and I find it just so restful to be there and relax and enjoy exploring. We always feel very at home there.”
Like what you hear? Read our pick of the 10 best things to do in Devon.