For the August bank holiday weekend we hired a car and drove down to Exeter to stay with a friend who's just moved there, took our bikes and crossed our fingers for the weather.
We started Saturday with a full English breakfast at the cool brunch place Boston Tea Party and cycled 60km around the beautiful Dartmoor rolling hills, through the old market town Moretonhampstead and up to the Edwin Lutyens-designed Drogo Castle and before heading back to Exeter for drinks, dinner at The Fat Pig and cocktails at the speakeasy-style Oddfellows bar. We may or may not have then spent a couple of hours in a student bar dancing to R Kelly.
On the rather drizzly Sunday we wandered around Dartmouth, which was decked in bunting and flags for the royal regatta, had fantastic seafood at revered chef Mitch Tonks' Rockfish restaurant on the harbour front - last time I was in Dartmouth back in 2012 we went to his Seahorse restaurant a few doors down; both are excellent - hired a boat to travel up and down the River Exe and went up to the shingle beach Blackpool Sands to skim stones and warm up with tea as dusk set in. Back in Exeter we did a bar crawl and ended the night with cloudy local cider and 2am pizza at the Old Fire House.
On Monday we cycled 60km again, this time down to the sea and along the Jurassic Coast via Topsham, Exmouth and Budleigh, where we stopped for cream tea outside a quaint little teashop, before cycling back to Exeter for burgers at hipster diner joint Hubbox, piling our bikes in the boot and heading back to the big smoke. I love living in London but there's nothing quite like exploring the beautiful English countryside.