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A Weekend in Torquay

A long Easter weekend in London is a chance to go pretty much wherever you want. Paris – easy. New York – sure. Milan – let’s do it. This year’s Easter though just happened to fall in what is known to me as ‘birthday week’ – a week in which all of my closest friends celebrate their birth anniversary. As a result, one of the birthday girl’s suggested we escape the cities for a girls’ spa weekend in Devon – a seaside area on the western tip of England. And so we did – and it was bliss.

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Where we stayed: With the main aim to get some serious spa time, we opted to stay at the historic Imperial Hotel which offers amazing all inclusive dining and spa packages. Located on a cliffside overlooking the ocean, the hotel was huge and somewhat Faulty Towers-like complete with pink paisley wallpaper and framed pictures on pretty much every wall.

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The town: I guess I didn’t know what to expect for a ‘beach’ town in Britain but I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe because we got amazing weather too but Torquay really was beautiful and it was so nice to take a break from the pace of London. From the game arcades to the old boardwalk , juke boxes, vintage cars and slightly racist Royston Vasey reminiscent shops, there was an all encompasing retro vibe about the town – no instagram filter required. It also happens to be the home of Agatha Christie and where John Cleese was actually inspired to create Faulty Towers so that paints a nice reference picture for you.

 photo IMG_20140419_165404_zps841b283b.jpgWhat to do: For a sleepy town there’s plenty to do – or not do depending on your mood. Firstly, definitely get your spa on. We dedicated a good chunk of our holidays to getting massages, facials, manicures as well as some sauna and sun time, leaving us feeling very relaxed and shiny faced.

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Visit Living Coasts. We just happened to discover it by accident as we were walking to our hotel. The netted area is this amazing wildlife enclosure right on the water (and a stunning beach) where penguins walk around you, exotic birds fly above and you can also see otters (the best!) and seals. Well worth it!

 photo IMG_20140419_172423_zps47383756.jpgWalk to Boardwalk. There were some really fantastic markets and so much amazing food to try. I also couldn’t help myself at the ‘beach’ and made sure to put my feet in, where in which I discovered a new definition of cold.

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Crash a beauty pageant! On our last night in Torquay we were stoked to discover that our hotel was hosting the Miss Devon pageant so naturally we had to crash it. It was as amazing and as cliche filled as you could imagine. Like a reality show being played out before our eyes – in actual REALITY! The hair was big and the smell of fake tan was pungent.

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 photo IMG_20140418_152754_zpseb723aa1.jpg photo IMG_20140420_134332_zpse406a08c.jpgWhere to eat: The most important part of any holiday right? Our hotel included breakfast and dinner so we did eat our fair share of meals there. For a special birthday girl dinner though we booked a night at the highly rated The Orange Tree.  Family owned and warmly run, The Orange Tree makes a point to source all of it’s produce locally, and as a result, also make each course with love. Even if your not hungry, it’s hard to resist ordering all three courses.

And of course we couldn’t go to a British seaside town without drinking pimms in the sunshine and tea and scones when it rained.

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