Not only is it a beautiful place to enjoy a staycation, but as Richard Webber discovers, there's plenty of vegan food in South Devon to enjoy too...
The South Devon coast is varied, encompassing everything from dramatic cliffs and secluded coves to enticing sandy beaches and popular family resorts, including Torquay, Paignton, Dawlish and Teignmouth.
Step inland and you’ll be offered a feast of rolling hills, isolated moors and truly glorious landscapes.
Richard Webber finds that for somewhere to eat, there are several cafés and restaurants across South Devon offering vegan dishes, especially in the market town of Totnes.
This welcoming café, half a mile up from Torquay seafront, has a wide vegan selection. I had a Moving Mountains burger with fries (£10).
Other choices include jacket potato with vegan chilli (£8), or for a sweet treat, try waffles (from £6) or blueberry Bakewell (cakes from £3).
Owner Craig is a keen upcycler, so chairs, tables and crockery have been passed down from relatives. Open:
Weds-Sun 9.30am-3pm, Sat 6.30pm- 10.30; 480 Babbacombe Rd, Torquay; @DaisysCafeTorquay on FB.
This cosy 100% plant-based café offers breakfast, sandwiches, toasties, wraps and main meals.
I sampled a Soul Bowl of up to six house salads plus, among others, houmous, kale, roasted chickpeas, baked tofu, mixed seeds and soy/tahini dressing (£8.75) – it was certainly a generous portion!
Liz, the owner, is always willing to adapt the menu for little ones or specific dietary requirements.
Open: Tues-Sat 9am- 3.30pm; 12 Regent St, Teignmouth; @TeignmouthDevoneatplants on FB.
In an enviable coastal position, this eatery has an uninterrupted view of Paignton’s seafront through floor-to-ceiling windows.
This artisan pizza and burger restaurant lives up to its slogan, “Pizza is our passion”, with my cheese and pineapple-covered margherita (£11) being one of the best I’ve tasted.
If you’ve not had enough pizza when you get to dessert, try a strawberry and chocolate sauce dessert pizza or, as I did, enjoy salted caramel cheesecake.
Open: Mon, Tues, Sun 9.30am-5pm, Weds-Thurs 9.30am-8pm, Fri-Sat 9.30am-9pm; Eastern Esplanade, Paignton; paigntonbeach.com
4. The Edgy Veggie
Ruth’s contemporary café is inside Totnes’ 18th century Mansion House. Vegan lunch choices on the day I visited were homity pie (£5.50) and lentil/ lemon soup with vegan cheese scone (£4.50).
I had a slice of carrot cake with walnuts and cashews (£2.50) with a fab oat latte. The soup is always vegan, while about 75% of the remaining dishes are plant-based.
Open: Tues- Fri 8.30am-4.30pm, Sat 8.30am- 3pm; The Mansion House, 36 Fore St, Totnes; theedgyveggiekitchen.co.uk
5. The Hairy Barista
This cosy café is popular with locals and tourists alike. A 98% vegan menu includes cheesecakes, sushi rolls, veg pie and their own vegan cheese.
The café also sells produce from plant-based providers in the area.
I loved the orange/lemon cheesecake with thyme and mesquite crust, plus the raw blueberry cheesecake (£4.25).
The toastie, packed with smashed falafel, tomato, pickles and leaves, was tasty too.
Open: Mon-Sat 9am-4pm; 69 High St, Totnes; @thehairybarista on FB.
Willow’s menu changes daily and has both vegan and veggie dishes from around the world. Try African curry of sweet potato, peppers, baby corn and mangetout, with brown basmati rice (£7.50 or £11.50 with salad).
The most popular cake is apricot, mango and banana oat slice. If the weather is kind, sit in the garden.
Open: Mon-Sat 9am-4pm, Fri-Sat 6.30pm-10pm; 87 High St, Totnes; @Willow RestaurantTotnes on FB.
7. Seeds 2 Totnes
This self-service café-cum restaurant has a set sit-in price of £9.95, entitling you to choose as many times as you like from the food bowls.
Among the offerings for my visit were stir-fry noodles, carrot and beetroot, lentil dhal and a selection of breads.
Seeds 2 has been recently taken over by Katie, who plans to run things on the same lines.
Open: Mon-Sat 11am-3pm; 40 High St, Totnes; @Seeds2totnes
8. The Wild Fig Deli & Café
Though not entirely vegan, there’s lots of choice here, such as savoury tofu tart (£9.25). Two soups were pumpkin and squash with coconut, plus sweet potato, squash and green lentil.
I had crushed avocado with chilli flakes and spicy butter beans on sourdough toast (£8.45). For dessert I had chocolate courgette cake.
Open: Mon-Sat 10am- 3pm; 53 Fore St, Totnes; thewildfig.co.uk
Encouraged by her daughters, nutritionist Emma opened Bubblelicious.
Inside it is bright, cheery décor and the menu is 100% vegan. Choose from milk and fruit teas, all with a choice of popping boba.
I enjoyed the coconut milk tea with passion fruit boba – very refreshing.
Open: Mon-Sat 10am- 6pm (shut Weds), Sun 10am-4pm; 3 Wellington St, Teignmouth; getbubblelicious.co.uk
10. Oasis Eatery
Nikki opened Lil’l Mamas Vegan Kitchen takeaway, then Oasis, a restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Lunch options include gallo pinto, a Costa Rican dish of rice, tofu, avocado and plantain (£8.50).
Dinner options include vegan quiche lorraine (2 courses, £20).
Open: Tues-Sun 10am- 3pm, Thurs 6pm-9.30pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-11pm; 66 Palace Ave, Paignton; @theoasispbe on FB.
UK towns and cities are teeming with vegan restaurants! Check out what’s on offer here:
Where to stay in South Devon
Need a rest after tucking into all the delicious vegan food on offer in South Devon? Here’s where to stay to catch some rest.
Cofton Holiday Park
Tucked away amid the gentle curves of Devon’s lush landscapes is a gem of a holiday park. Set in 80 acres of countryside, Cofton Holidays has been family-run for more than 40 years and is open all year.
We enjoyed a three-bedroom luxury lodge, which came with all the mod-cons, including floor-to-ceiling windows making the most of the stunning views.
Each lodge offers a contemporary open-plan kitchen, living/dining area and spacious bedrooms. Onsite facilities include indoor/outdoor pools plus a large restaurant with some vegan options.
Anyone who fancies a break in this part of the world will be hard pushed to find a better location or holiday lodge.
Further information: visit coftonholidays.co.uk or call 01626 912016.
Top five things to do in South Devon
1. Trip on the South Devon Railway
Jump aboard a steam train for the seven-mile journey between Buckfastleigh and Totnes, running alongside the River Dart.
Buckfastleigh Station offers a museum and gift shop, with a model railway. Enjoy a riverside walk, too.
Further information: southdevonrailway.co.uk
2. Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve
The extensive beach at Dawlish Warren has been awarded the coveted Blue Flag for 23 consecutive years.
Its sand dunes are home to almost 600 types of flowering plants and are among the most important in the UK for wildfowl and wading birds.
Further information: Dawlish Warren Visitor Centre is open April-Sep; free entry.
3. Babbacombe Model Village
Open for nearly 60 years, the model village is one of Europe’s best. Set in four acres of beautiful gardens and boasting over 400 model buildings and 13,000 characters, it’s a delight for all ages.
Further information: model-village.co.uk
4. Teignmouth and Shaldon Museum
Take an enlightening look back at life during Teignmouth and Shaldon’s rich fishing and shipbuilding history.
Plus, discover how during the mideighteenth century the area became one of the first fashionable seaside resorts along the Devon coast. It was even dubbed the “Montpellier of England”.
Further information: teignheritage.org.uk
5. Buckfast Abbey
On the edge of Dartmoor, Buckfast Abbey was founded in 1018AD and restored in the 20th century.
Visit the extensive grounds, with a lavender garden in summer, along with the restaurant and gift shop selling produce made by the monks.
Further information: teignheritage.org.uk
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