by Sian Goodspeed
Sian Goodspeed, founder of Flying Start Tuition and busy mum of two shares her Special Places with us.
I live in Chesham but also spend quite a bit of time in Dartmouth, so I have picked some special places in Buckinghamshire and Devon.
The Rex Cinema, Berkhamsted
Stepping into the Rex Cinema in Berkhamsted is like stepping back in time to the 1930s. This beautifully restored art deco cinema provides an elegant and charming setting for any film. The seats are spacious and comfortable, or if going with a group of friends, you can book a table. There is a bar serving a range of snacks as well as a good selection of wine, and you can even order a cheeseboard to come to your seat during the viewing! Website: click here.
The Drawing Room, Chesham
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit different for a drink or a meal, The Drawing Room has a quirky charm that makes each visit special. It’s my go-to venue for a lunch or a coffee with friends and my kids love it too! There is a variety of food and drink to choose from, including an extensive lunch menu and in the evening, a wonderful selection of tapas. The Drawing Room is also a music venue, hosting regular live gigs in the evenings. Website: click here.
Chesham’s Open Air Pool
In my opinion, there is little more refreshing than an early morning swim in an outdoor pool on a warm summer’s day. There are a range of swim sessions to suit everyone, including adult only lanes, Aqua Zumba and kids’ inflatable sessions. Although I have never been brave enough to try it in the winter, the pool is open all year round and has a gym, tennis courts and a café on site. Website: click here.
Blackpool Sands Beach
This picturesque beach in South Devon holds a very special place in my heart as it is where my husband proposed to me! This shingle beach is beautiful, clean and great for family day trips, with seasonal sand pits, life guards and water sport hire and well-kept toilets. The Venus café provides a delicious range of organic meals and snacks and there is a well-stocked, reasonably priced shop for all your beach-day needs! Blackpool Sands beach is also a wonderful setting for evening strolls, picnics (and proposals!) Website: click here.
Café Alf Resco, Dartmouth
A firm family favourite, we always manage to squeeze in a lunch at Alf Resco’s in Dartmouth when we visit Devon. The café has a nautical charm and, with a menu packed full of delicious, home-cooked food, there is always something delightful on the specials board to tantalise the taste buds! You can also book an overnight stay in the Captain’s Cabin, a self- contained flat with views over the River Dart, or in one of their two B&B rooms. Website: click here.
Miniature Pony Centre, Dartmoor
The first time we visited the Miniature Pony Centre, Dartmoor, I couldn’t quite believe how tiny some of these ponies are! Set amongst beautiful countryside, with a lovely playground, picnic spaces and a café, the centre provides a lovely family day out. The ponies wander freely in a large paddock and visitors are free to roam amongst them. There are not only ponies to see – you can also get up close and personal with miniature donkeys, heavy horses and a variety of pets in the pets paddock. Absolutely delightful! Website: click here.