Like so many of the resorts on the south coast of England, Sidmouth benefitted greatly from the Napoleonic wars of the late 18th and early 19th Century which denied the leisured classes access to their favourite resorts on the continent. It grew from an obscure fishing village into the grand and stylish resort that it is today, with handsome Georgian buildings, beautifully cared for parks, its broad pebbly beach, all backed by its dramatic red sandstone cliffs.
Sidmouth has had its fair share of notable holiday makers, including the likes of Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter and the renowned novelist, William Makepeace Thackeray. Much of the town that these famous visitors experienced is still very much in existence, with over 500 of Sidmouth’s buildings actually listed, and a stroll along the Esplanade here might take one back in time somewhat, such is the architectural elegance that the town has retained.
However, for all its tradition, the town undergoes a fascinating transformation each August, when the long-established Sidmouth Folk Festival plays host to all kinds of colourful folk performers from all around the world. Over 700 diverse events make this one of the most colourful events of its kind in the southwest of England. At any time of year, Sidmouth is perfectly geared up for the visitor, with a great selection of accommodation, cafes, pubs and restaurants, and plenty in the general area to see and do.