Clock Tower Tea Room, Sidmouth, Devon
High up on the clifftop at the western end of Sidmouth’s main beach, The Clock Tower tea room was a lime kiln in the 16th century; lime was brought onto the beach below by boat and then pulled up the hill by donkey. But that’s only part of the building’s fascinating history; the actual clock tower was added in the early part of the 18th century, as a folly in the grounds of what was then a large country house.
In the 1930’s the property was put up for sale and purchased by the local council who had the grounds redesigned for use by the townsfolk as a public garden. Much of the essential character and original features were retained, including the high stone walls and the clock tower. With such a prominent position overlooking the sea and the coastline, the clock tower was requisitioned and used as a gunnery in the Second World War.
In the 1990’s the building was sympathetically restored to keep as much of the character as possible – the thick, uneven stone walls and the quirky windows now add to the charm of a popular tea room and café. A conservatory has been added and there is outdoor seating with the wonderful backdrop of Connaught Gardens, so it’s a good place to go for a bite to eat when you’re in Sidmouth, especially if you’ve ventured up the steep wooden steps known as Jacobs Ladder, from the beach.
T: 01395 515319
All information correct at the time of writing