It isn’t just the gorgeous countryside and the spectacular coastline that makes Sidmouth so special, it has also been rated as Britain’s top floral seaside town!
Parks and Gardens galore
There are few things better than spending warm days wandering among beautifully landscaped gardens. Why not visit Sidmouth and take a breath at the Sensory Garden in the Old Boat Park or explore in Springtime the Valley of a Million Bulbs
Sidmouth has an abundance of floral displays to enjoy, much of which is thanks to the work of Sidmouth in Bloom, a multi award winning volunteer group who regularly walk away with top prizes in the RHS Britain in Bloom competitions for the South West and the UK wide Nationals. For one week each summer town residents open their own gardens to the public, giving you even more of floral Sidmouth to explore!
There are a number of spectacular parks, gardens and meadows around the town to explore: some of them can’t be missed, while others are hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. All are a haven for floral fans and those looking for a tranquil place to hide away.
Three Corner Plot called affectionally ‘The Triangle’ near the sea front bus station.This area features Sidmouth in Bloom's famous 3D Floral Marine displays featuring fish, a star fish and whelk, our Rhynchosaur -a Triassic reptile that once lived here, a. planted up wrecked boat and marine artefacts found on the beach. In addition, this area displays the town’s Raised Floral Bed commemorating current national/local events and celebrations.
The historic Connaught Gardens is the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ flagship of East Devon and can be found at the western end of the Esplanade, part way up Peak Hill. The gardens’ name comes from the Duke of Connaught, the son of Queen Victoria and are one of Sidmouth’s many royal connections. The gardens are high up, giving you an incredible view over the coastline and out to sea, which became a strategic point during the second world war. The gardens contain the celebrated Clocktower café near the famous Jacob’s Ladder stairs and a heritage bandstand a where regular summer concerts are given featuring the Town’s own band. The gardens contain a variety of landscaped and themed beds and areas.
Located in the centre of town, Blackmore Gardens was once the private garden to Blackmore House, which no longer stands. They have been part of public land since gifted to the town in the 1950s. In and around these gardens, you'll find several beautiful flower beds, some containing Sidmouth in Bloom volunteer planted themed displays featuring well known and loved literary characters, large green areas, a cottage garden and a conservatory of exotic plants. It is one of the venues for the Sidmouth Folk Week, with a number of craft and food tents.
This long park runs from Sidmouth through to Sidford. The Byes is made up of many of the fields and meadows such as Margaret’s Meadow, Gilchrist Meadow, Livonia Field and Sidfield that surround the River Sid, Devon’s smallest river. The river stretches just over 6 miles and there are a number of riverside walks, trails and cycle paths following the rivers course. The Byes has a community Orchard, a Wild Flower Meadow and a Millennium copse of specimen trees all tended by the various volunteer groups -the Sid Vale Association. the Friends of the Byes and the National Trust. Take the opportunity to explore and visit these protected areas and see the variety of pretty wildflowers and fauna for yourself.
The Knapp Copse
The Knapp Copse is a nature reserve that can be accessed from both Peasland Road and Station Road. There are several attractive walking trails through the park as well as stunning views across the valley. The reserve is home to wildlife and some of Britain’s best loved wild plants.
The Sensory Garden
Sidmouth’s Sensory Garden can be found in The Old Boat Park, next to the river Sid near the sea front, which was gifted to the Town Council some years ago. Following a grant from Britain in Bloom and other fundraising efforts, the Sensory Garden now has a series of raised beds featuring flowers and plants that incorporate the five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and sound.
The ‘Secluded Gardens’ of Sidmouth event is supported by residents for a limited time each year to raise funds for the Town's Floral Displays. Residents open their private gardens over five days in late June which enables visitors to see and enjoy another aspect of Sidmouth’s horticultural heritage. A full list of dates and the open gardens can be found on the Sidmouth in Bloom website. Tickets for the gardens are on sale from the Tourist Information Centre and selected shops in the High Street or on the day at the gardens.