We have Fallen for Devon

Friday 28th October, 2016|Category: News

We recently expressed our love for Devon in the ‘prepare to fall in love with Devon’ blog which you can read here. With the perfect balance of seaside, city and stunning countryside including the iconic Dartmoor, we can’t think of anywhere we would rather live!

We tracked down a few people from The Duke to ask them their views on this magnificent area:

Jonathan Morcom – Director

How long have you lived in Devon?
45 years with a brief break in Somerset for two years!!

What do you love about living here?
I love the fact that you can see the sea and half an hour later you can be on the green Moors. There are so many opportunities to ride your bike or run in open spaces in a safe environment with fantastic views. I also love how many people visit and always say we are so lucky to live in Devon. Whenever my sister returns for a break, she makes her way straight up to the Hoe for a coffee as she misses it so much, the next day she climbs Sheepstor where we used to go with our parents as youngsters. You can’t beat having a pint overlooking the sea or the river from one of our many pubs around the Hoe and Royal William Yard.

What is the best thing about working in Devon?
Travel distance to work and the opportunity to run or cycle. In the Hospitality Industry we have so many unique and different venues to meet or host meetings in, I Chair a group called Conference Plymouth and we meet bi-monthly at different venues from Hotels, to Conference Centre’s and Leisure, Entertainment and Activities Centre’s, so I am lucky able to see a lot of what Devon has to offer to visitors. Our recent trip on the water with the Mount Batten Centre was a particular highlight!

Where is your favorite place to eat?
I prefer individual eateries where the owners are still hosts or Chefs like RockSalt, Salumi, Greedy Goose, Jolly Jacks, Chloe’s, or The Bridge at Mount Batten. When we meet the parents in law who live in Exeter, we meet at the Turtley Corn Mill at Avonwick. Special treat lunch or Dinner is the Masons Arms at Knowstone!
We also love to spend a ½ day in Totnes and always visit Rumour.

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off?
Golf at the stunning Moorland Course at Yelverton Golf Club although since I have re-married that is becoming less frequent!!!! Running, playing Tennis, cycling to the moors with my wife and back on one of the Devon cycle routes, always with a liquid lunch stop! My son is now a semi pro footballer, so I also love to watch his games and see some of the great little grounds and pitches in Devon.

And Devon’s Hidden Gem is…?
Drakes Trail Cycle Route, a 21 miler from Crownhill to Tavistock which you cycle over the Gem Bridge and go through the Grenofen Tunnel. Burrator Reservoir and Tavistock Tree Surfing Centre Gulworthy are all fantastic activities for individuals or families.

Below photos left to right: Plymouth Hoe (provided by Visit Plymouth), Drakes Trail Cycle Route, Sheepstor (both Dartmoor National Park), Royal William Yard (Onshore Media)

Walter Combstock – Managing Director

How long have you lived in Devon?
I have lived in Plymouth for seventy years, so all of my life!

What do you love about living here?
I love the quality of life that comes with living in Devon. There are plenty of things to see whatever the weather. I love taking the grandchildren for days out both to the beach and Dartmoor which are easily accessible within just 20 minutes.

What is the best thing about working in Devon?
I love the pace of life that Devon has to offer, I couldn’t imagine having spent my working life anywhere else. Business is conducted in a professional, yet friendly manner with a real sense of community. Having worked at The Duke since I was just 17, I have seen many businesses in the area thrive and have met some fantastic people.

Where is your favourite place to eat?
My favourite place has to be The Duke’s restaurant with its AA rosette for fine dining, it really is one of the best places to eat, if I do say so myself! If I am spending the day with my grandchildren, we love to go to SizzAll. Being different ages, they love the variety and there really is something for everybody.

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off?
My favourite thing to do is to spend time with my family. I like to take my grandchildren to one of our many local parks, their favourite place being West Hoe Fun Park, located just around the corner from The Duke. My youngest grandson Jack loves playing on the train that we now look after. The older grandchildren like to play football which I love to watch and sometimes even join in!

And Devon’s Hidden Gem is…?
Shaugh Prior is a small village in Dartmoor. There are no main roads going through the village which mean it is nice and peaceful and the perfect place to go for a family walk.

Below photos left to right: The Duke Restaurant, West Hoe Park, Shaugh Prior (provided by Visit Dartmoor)

Leila Nottage – Director of Marketing

How long have you lived in Devon?
All of my life, when I was younger I grew up in Dawlish, a pretty seaside town and moved to Plymouth when I was 22yrs, a little while ago now!

What do you love about living here?
Devon offers such a fantastic quality of life. We have a great cultural offer as well as tremendous landscapes. I recently drove from Plymouth to North Devon and in the autumn evening sun the Moors and North Devon coast looked incredible. I am a huge Plymouth fan as my Twitter account reveals – from Plymouth Hoe to the Barbican, Sutton Harbour and the Royal William Yard, we are spoilt! You can always tell when summer is coming when they clean Tinside Lido ready for the season ahead, it always makes me happy!

What is the best thing about working in Devon?
Working at the Duke! No one paid me to say that. In all seriousness, I worked in television for many years and I was constantly told I’d have to move to London, I never wanted to and had a brilliant career making food series with famous Chef’s, all the time enjoying the West Country lifestyle. I think it is all about balance, at the end of a long day or week being able to have a picnic on the Hoe, or drive onto the Moor to take a moment or enjoy a paddle at Wembury, that’s what it is all about. That was mainly pre-children reminiscing!

Where is your favourite place to eat?
I have many… Plymouth is blessed with so many great restaurants serving every kind of cuisine. Further afield I love eating at the Seahorse in Dartmouth, the fantastic Mitch Tonks has created something special for a grown-up evening out and then of course there is RockFish for the family – I have enjoyed the Plymouth, Dartmouth and Torquay restaurants! I really enjoy eating in Totnes – from Rumor in the evening to Woods for lunch there are so many great places on offer! Tavistock also has some lovely cafes and restaurants, the pizzas at Robertson’s are amazing and they pride themselves on using local produce. The Nobody Inn in Doddiscombsleigh is also rather special and a hidden gem.

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off?
I love escaping to Totnes with my husband for a delicious lunch and a mooch around the shops and galleries. If we are talking about a family day out then Wembury beach, Blackpool Sands or a trip to the Moor is in our top days out. Of course, the girls love Pennywell Farm and the Miniature Pony Centre too!

And Devon’s Hidden Gem is…?
Cadover Bridge – I have spent many happy days this summer enjoying a picnic with my girls, there’s water, rocks to climb and we have had a lot of sunshine this year!

Below photos left to right: Tinside Lido, Blackpool Sands, Sutton Harbour, Pennywell Farm, Wembury Beach (provided by Visit Plymouth), Cadover Bridge

Melanie Williams – Events Manager

How long have you lived in Devon?
I have lived in Plymouth for over 40 years. Whilst I’ve enjoyed travelling and seeing lots of different cities, Plymouth will always be my home town.

What do you love about living here?
I thoroughly enjoy living in such close proximity to the sea and moors, you can reach both in under 20 minutes which means there is always somewhere new to explore!

What is the best thing about working in Devon?
I have always found the people in Devon to be friendly and happy to help. Businesses of all sizes look to work together to form strong relationships and promote the city to a wider audience.

Where is your favourite place to eat?
My favourite restaurant is Positano, the food is always amazing and everyone is lovely and chatty! You always feel welcome and there is a lovely relaxed atmosphere. I also love Bistrot Pierre, a French restaurant in the stunning Royal William Yard. They always have a lovely selection of appetisers and beautiful main courses, not to mention their wide selection of cocktails! On a Sunday, I love to visit The White Heart, a gastropub in Modbury, where they do a lovely Sunday roast.

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off?
Eating, drinking and shopping – what every girl loves! I love that there are two lovely shopping centres, Drake Circus in Plymouth and then Princess Hay in Exeter which is not even an hour down the road. I particularly love shopping in Ashburton where there are some lovely quirky little shops, perfect if you are looking for something unique! In the lead up to Christmas, the shops are open late from 8th December onwards which is ideal for buying last minute gifts!

And Devon’s Hidden Gem is…?
I have recently discovered the Boringdon Arms pub in Turnchapel, it has a beautiful beer garden with friendly staff which is nice to visit on a sunny day. Turnchapel itself is a really quirky place. I attended the Sausage and Cider festival, which had a lovely atmosphere with lots of little market stalls, live music and really quirky pubs. I also enjoy going to the Clovelly Bay Inn, which is situated overlooking the Plymouth Sound!

Below photos left to right: Royal William Yard, Drake Circus (provided by Drake Circus), Ashburton (Dartmoor National Park)

Lyndsey Primmer- Reservation Manager

How long have you lived in Devon?
I have lived in Devon all my life.

What do you LOVE about living here?
I love that Devon has some of the best beaches in the UK along with Dartmoor which has fantastic ruggedness and mystery. Great for long walks and picnics. There are beautiful cities and towns which have a lot of history and are great for shopping, especially locally sourced products.

What is the best thing about working in Devon?
I’ve only ever worked in Plymouth but I have always found the buses to be good. It’s a very short distance for me if I need to pick up anything from the shops or fancy a walk around the Hoe after work.

Where is your favourite place to eat?
The Treby Arms, I took my partner there for a birthday treat and the food was delicious. Of course, we had to try the famous carrot cake and were not disappointed, that was truly a meal to remember.

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off?
I love taking the kids to a beach or up on the moors to burn off some of their energy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sandal or wellie day. Royal William yard is always a good choice when meeting up with the girls for some food and drinks too.

Share your top hidden gem of Devon!
I can think of a few. I recently went to Watermouth Castle which is close to Ilfracombe and it was a great day out, it has something for everyone of all ages. I don’t know how hidden it is but Bigbury beach is great, it has lovely soft sand and has lovely walks around the coast or across the beach and around Burgh Island. There are some beautiful views to be seen at the top.

When visiting Devon don’t just think cars, buses or trains to get around there are some lovely boat journeys you can make. The Cremyll ferry is fantastic for visiting Mount Edgecumbe which is a stunning place to visit all year around. Mount Edgecombe is in Cornwall but the Cremyll Ferry leaves Plymouth!! The Plymouth Waterfront Partnership worked with all waterways to create a brilliant map so you can jump on and off at every marina and more!

Below photos left to right: Dartmoor (provided by Dartmoor National Park), Watermouth Castle (Watermouth Castle), Burgh Island (Dartmoor National Park)

Toni Sharpe – Wedding Co-ordinator

How long have you lived in Devon?
23 years and counting. I love living in Devon, and cannot imagine moving elsewhere.

What do you love about living here?
I love the diversity of the place – there is plenty to do all year round, with a vast array of things to do to keep everybody occupied.

In Plymouth alone we have such a variety of beautiful places that I love to visit, from the Royal William Yard to the Elizabethan Gardens. When spending time with my younger siblings, there is plenty of family focused fun to be had at the National Marine Aquarium, West Hoe Fun Park and River Dart Country Park to name just a few.

What is the best thing about working in Devon?
The lovely people, and the supportive local businesses. There is a real sense of community, and I am fortunate in my job to meet some amazing people and local suppliers. One of the best things about my job is getting to work in such an amazing building so rich in history and character. Almost everybody I meet at the Duke has a connection to the place – from visiting previously for their school prom, or having parents or grandparents who got married at the hotel. I feel like I learn something new about the building every day!

Where is your favourite place to eat?
This is a tough question – eating is one of my favourite things to do so I have many! Let’s start with Las Iguanas at the Royal William Yard – nothing to do with the amazing cocktails! 42nd Street Grill on Plymouth Barbican is a fantastic local restaurant offering a wide variety of well cooked dishes. The Wet Wok is my favourite place to go for a Chinese, and the views are absolutely stunning. For a quick lunch and a hangover fix, I recommend the Pulled Pork Cheese Fries from Hubbox!

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off?
I love going out for a meal and a few drinks on the weekend. The atmosphere of watching live music and going to concerts is amazing, so whenever one of my many favourite bands are touring I am always keen to get tickets. In the winter, I love nothing more than staying at home, getting some popcorn and watching movies all day with my boyfriend.

And Devon’s Hidden Gem is…?
The Green Taverners Suite at Plymouth Argyle – two hours of entertainment prior to every Plymouth Argyle home game. It is a fantastic atmosphere to get everybody in the mood for kick off.

Below photos from left to right: National Marine Aquarium, Foo Fighters concert, Green Taverners

Joanna Holford – Marketing and Events Assistant

How long have you lived in Devon?
I have always lived in Plymouth and chose to study at Plymouth University as I love the city so much!

What do you love about living here?
I love that there is always so much to do, we are so fortunate that Plymouth is in such close proximity to the city, sea and moors so you don’t need to travel very far for a day out. I also love the rich history of Plymouth, especially on the Barbican, where the Pilgrim’s set sail for America from the Mayflower Steps in 1621.

What is the best thing about working in Devon?
Having recently graduated and been through the job application process, I was pleasantly surprised with the diverse range of businesses and opportunities available within the city. Working in Plymouth, there is great accessibility into the city from the surrounding areas which helps to create the perfect work/life balance.

Where is your favourite place to eat?
There are lots of lovely places to eat in Devon, too many to name! I especially like going to the Royal William Yard where they have a wide variety of restaurants including Wildwood and Bistrot Pierre. Seco Lounge is a great place to go for cocktails and also have a great vegetarian menu. For a special occasion, we like to go to The Treby Arms a Michelin star pub in Sparkwell for a gastronomical experience!

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off?
One of my favourite ways to spend my days off is to go on long walks with my dog, Tye who we rescued last year. We love going to one of the many stunning beaches where he can have a run around and swim in the sea. Saltram is a lovely place to go as dogs do not need to be on leads so you can have a more relaxing walk! We also like going to Burrator Reservoir with the stunning contrast of woodland and moor.

And Devon’s Hidden Gem is…?
There is a great little café in Torquay set up in the cliffs called Angels Tea Room. You can enjoy an afternoon tea after a relaxing walk along the coast.

Below photos left to right: Mayflower Steps, Burrator (provided by Dartmoor National Park), Tye at Mothercombe Beach

Whether you live in Devon or are thinking of visiting, we hope we have inspired you to take a trip and explore our fabulous region! Thanks for reading.

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