Walking around Sidmouth Town Centre, you’ll likely spot blue plaques on some of the buildings and hotels. Explore the town’s past by following the heritage trail where you’ll be able to discover the rich history and heritage of this Regency seaside resort. The Blue Plaque Trail will take you on a journey through exotic gardens, traditional architecture, the town’s royal connections and many of Sidmouth’s local tales.
There are 64 plaques in total which have been researched and erected by the Sid Vale Association (SVA) to commemorate notable buildings or former residents of Sidmouth and the Sid Valley.
The first 32 plaques were introduced in 1992, with the total going up to 35 in 2012. A further 29 were then added bringing us to the current total of 64.
Good starting points
While you can follow the plaques around the town in whatever order you like, it is recommended to start at the Toll House which can be found at the end of the Byes. The Byes Riverside Walk also starts from here and is an excellent trail that will take you alongside the River Sid, Devon’s smallest river.
The Byes Toll House is located on Salcombe Road and is a Greek style Toll House. Dating from the early 19th century, it is thought that this Greek Revival style building was last used as a toll house in 1870. It’s Sidmouth’s original Toll House and controlled the eastern approach to the town and the original toll gate can also still be found there. From the Toll House you can follow the trail over the Alma Bridge towards the Lifeboat Station and on towards the seafront where you’ll find the next few plaques.
If you want to start at the Toll House, you can find it on foot by turning left opposite the cinema towards Salcombe Road and going over the bridge or if you are coming from the meadow, the Toll House is at the end of the Byes. Drivers should park at the Ham car park, and then walk away from the seafront along Mill Street.
Other alternative places to start the route is from Rock Cottage on Peak Hill, the first house to be built on Clifton Place and still features the original Georgian style. Alternatively, you can start at the Kingswood and Devoran Hotel which can be found right on the seafront. Now a luxury hotel, the building was originally Sidmouth’s Brine Baths which promised a cure for a variety of ailments. Or you could start at Connaught Gardens at the clock tower.
The Blue Plaque walk
The walk is step free and will take you around all 64 plaques. There is a steep climb at one point when heading towards Connaught Gardens from the beach, but the main road up towards the garden has less of an incline for anyone who would prefer an easy walk.