Nestled above Salcombe’s estuary, above the fishing cottages painted the colour of raspberry, blueberry and lemon ice cream, sits Highwater House. Get ready to chill on the balcony and take in the harbour and the ruined castle, almost within earshot of the wind that sings through the rigging of the bobbing sailboats.
It’s a glittering harbour, home to beer gardens, pints of prawns, regattas, coves and cream teas. But Highwater House shines as brightly. Sleeping 20, this is a home for families to tuck away memories, for kids to swim in the piping-hot pool and swing on the rubber tyre high above the harbour.
Dine in or out on fresh-as-it-gets spider crab or lobster thermidor. Then while away the evenings with a Sky film night, plunder the DVD collection, or escape with a book to a nook or cranny. Sleep deeply in luxury en-suites and wake to the shoosh of the waves and coffee on the balcony above the endless sweep of the estuary.
Here sits one of Devon’s most-interesting acres. Swathes of green carved between the crook of the undulating hills take you down to the slosh of the surf and the boats that bob in the estuary.
Before you get there, take time out to walk the woodland paths, swing in the rubber tyre, take tea on the terrace with the golden sun on the bright-blue water, or try a little croquet or cartwheels on the lawn.
Swimming’s a year-round thing here, with the water heated to a toasty 30 degrees and 30 feet of water in which to clock up some lengths, play a little water polo or just lark around with the kids. When you’ve dried off, there are further diversions in the games room.
Highwater House is a grand, sprawling place with even-grander views over the estuary of all estuaries, but it’s homely, too. Living spaces come with chunky rugs and cosy sofas made for curling up. There are logs to light up the evening and movies to watch on the Sky TV.
Pour the wine, throw back the doors to the terrace, open a book, join the escape club. Head to the family room for real downtime. Play a little pool on the American table, burrow down into a book on the bench seating, open the doors to the terrace, watch the kids be kids in the indoor pool below.
Get your cossie on and join them. Swimming’s a year-round thing here, with the water heated to a toasty 30 degrees and 30 feet of water in which to clock up some lengths, play a little water polo or just lark around with the kids. When you’ve dried off, there are further diversions in the games room.
Fan of fresh cooking? The kitchen gleams in high-black gloss and the six-ring hob and two ovens wait for you to weave your magic over lobster and scallops unloaded on the quay that morning. Or call up Claire’s Kitchen for barbecues, spit roasts and other marvellous menu ideas.
Eat together around the 18-seat dining table with doors open to the terrace and the harbour that hangs across the horizon. Or head outdoors to the gas barbie, to sear steaks or seafood in the sunshine and soak up the ocean air and the sense of freedom.
Venture out to Dick and Will’s brasserie for spider crab or lobster thermidor served on a terrace with panoramic estuary views. Or head for the sands to wash down a pint of prawns and popcorn shrimp with ice-cold cider. Keep the kids amused with children’s dishes, ice cream and outdoor seating by the beach.
Go gastro at The Beach House for crab cakes and crispy squid, guzzle the best fish and chips in Devon at Mitch Tonks’ The Rockfish Grill, or head to the quayside for The Crabshell Inn, home of bouillabaisse and moules marinière. Source your own produce at the quayside or in the polytunnels of the South Devon Chilli Farm.
Ten bedrooms come with the trickle of sea air through the windows, the call of the gulls and the distant clink of rigging. Chillax in a world of crisp cotton sheets, deep mattresses and shaggy rugs.
The master is a luxury family suite with superking bed and dressing room. Bedroom two offers two singles, with zip-and-link option to convert to a double, while bedroom three provides two singles. Bedroom four is a king, as is bedroom five with attached en-suite.
Bedroom six is a superking with zip-and-link option and shares a bathroom with bedroom seven, a kingsize. There’s another pair of singles in bedroom eight, with zip-and-link capability, and bedrooms nine and ten offer superkings, both with en-suite bathrooms. You’ll find a family bathroom opposite bedroom eight.
Let the kids waste no time and jump into the endless possibilities for fun. Keep an eye on them from above as they splash away in the indoor pool. There’s children’s pool cued up, as well as books and DVDs. The gardens invite games of football and a play on the tree swing with one of the most stunning backdrops in the country. These are the memories that will really stay with them, cherished for years to come.
Salcombe is just made for family holidays, with countless coastal activities to keep the kids happy for weeks. Head to the beach, try some watersports and walk the South West coastal path. If their energies are ever spent, rest assured Highwater will welcome one and all back with all the comforts to have everyone recharged and ready for more tomorrow!