The cove that time forgot – and the gorgeous pub with rooms that it harbours: Inside the Hope & Anchor, a warm and welcoming inn nestled in a time-capsule village on the South Devon coast
The approach to a hotel can be incredibly important in setting its atmosphere, so take your time to savour the final stretch on the drive towards the Hope & Anchor.
High-hedged lanes wind downwards for miles under ancient spreading trees, offering tantalising glimpses of a twinkling sea getting ever closer in this corner of South Devon.
Eventually the view opens out at Hope Cove, a tiny sandy beach framed by jagged rocks. Park by the sea wall and you’re right outside this classic maritime inn, the timeless heart of a community huddled in the shelter of the cliffs.
Inside the Hope & Anchor it’s warm and bustling, a rambling jack-of-all-trades village pub, restaurant, smart hotel and beach bar that combine into a hearty welcoming world where you can instantly feel at home, whether your plan is to retreat in comfort or embrace the wet and wild outdoors.
Upstairs is the hotel’s realm, its winding corridors packed with gloriously quirky art. Rooms have clunky old keys, modern neutral chalky paint and huge beds, but that’s all dominated by the stunning sea views. Only later you notice the Nespresso coffee-maker, a fridge (with a jug of fresh milk) and generous free bottles of St Austell Brewery ales.
Simon Heptinstall checks in to the Hope & Anchor in the Devonshire village of Hope Cove (above), which has two sandy beaches and a ‘wonderfully windy’ clifftop coast path
The Hope & Anchor is a classic maritime inn with a village pub, restaurant, hotel and beach bar
For larger groups, up to eight can sleep in The Beachcomber, a spacious three-bedroom self-catering cottage across the road from the pub that is just yards from the beach.
Days can be spent in Hope Cove’s time capsule. Splash or lounge on one of the two sandy beaches, walk the wonderfully windy clifftop coastpath or explore village footpaths between piles of lobster pots and quaint cottage gardens – the hotel provides good printed walking routes.
Or go looking for the public barometer in a glass case behind the old lifeboat station (used by boatmen to check the weather) and the ultimate destressing point at the quaint Edwardian Fisherman’s Reading Rooms, where ‘no noisy talking is permitted’.
It was chilly during our visit to the Hope & Anchor, so we chose to eat dinner between the buzzing bar and quieter restaurant, right by a lovely warming woodburner.
‘Rooms have clunky old keys, modern neutral chalky paint and huge beds, but that’s all dominated by the stunning sea views,’ writes Simon
Nespresso coffee-makers and generous free bottles of St Austell Brewery ales are features of the inn’s guest rooms
Isolated: Above is The Beachcomber, a spacious three-bedroom self-catering cottage across the road from the pub that is just yards from the beach
Simon describes the inn as a ‘hearty welcoming world where you can instantly feel at home’
The menu is much more sophisticated than you’d expect from a seaside pub. On offer during my visit was mushroom arancini with truffle and chive mayo, vodka cured salmon with horseradish, juicy scallops fresh from local fisherman Nick and sea bass from Brixham Fish Market that morning.
Breakfast is served in a modern wood-and-glass room upstairs, staring out across the bay.
Whether you go for a fry-up of West Country ingredients or a healthier choice, the 20-mile panorama across the bay is constantly distracting. On warmer days there’s an outside terrace that must make it hard to eat at all.
Hope and Anchor, Hope Cove, South Devon. B&B costs from £94 a night (hopeandanchor.co.uk).