Retire to Sidmouth
God's waiting room!
by Lesley Pinkett
Do you want to retire to Sidmouth? Think it over; it’s a lovely place and historically has been a place to find peace and quiet to enjoy the finer things of life.
In fact, over the course of almost three hundred years people have flocked to Sidmouth to enjoy it’s tranquil atmosphere and pleasant climate. The town nestles at the mouth of the River Sid between two huge hills, Peak Hill to the west and Salcombe Hill to the East, both of which are more than 500 feet high. The valley is reasonably level and the hills shelter the homes from the prevailing westerly wind.
It’s a small town and has a population of about 14,500. Its cosy situation in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has attracted many people of retirement age to settle here. In fact, about 60% of the people who live here are retired.
A few years ago I worked for a mobile optician and we went to visit one of our many clients in Sidmouth. This lady and her husband had lived there for many years. The reason that I remember this particular retired lady was because my boss laughed and laughed at hearing the town described as “God’s waiting room”, entirely because of the numbers of older people living there.
Retire Amid Sidmouth's History
The town centre has a large department store, pubs, restaurants, hotels and tearooms. In addition, you can enjoy walking on the Regency esplanade or stroll in the beautiful Connaught Gardens. These gardens are named after the Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria who was a regular visitor here.
Another well-known person who chose to retire to Sidmouth was Sir Norman Lockyer. Along with the French scientist Pierre Janssen, he is credited with discovering the gas helium. He and his wife moved to Salcombe Regis from Wimbledon when he retired in 1911 and lived there until 1920 when he died. The observatory that he built is still there and open to the public at various times throughout the year.
Further back in time, other visitors who chose to live, if only briefly, in the mild climate of East Devon included Jane Austen, the English novelist and Elizabeth Barrett, the poet who later married Robert Browning.
This lovely little corner of England is a wonderful place to live, whether you are retired or not. Do visit us soon.
©2006 Lesley Pinkett: Retire to Sidmouth Used by permission
Which place do you think is the best place to retire?