Review: Author’s Escape coastal cabin, North Devon
The name says it all – this cosy cabin was once the country home of a famed children’s author who escaped here to write, relax and be inspired by the wild North Devon countryside. Meet the Author’s Escape, one of Kip Hideaways collection of handpicked British boltholes and ‘small places with soul’.
Step inside this wood clad cabin, a modern construction built on older bones, and you’ll find yourself in the huge open-plan living area where you’ll spend all your time. There’s a well-stocked kitchen with a central island you can drink wine around while someone cooks up supper as well as a cosy sitting area with one huge wall of windows looking out to the coast. The house is well-stocked with books and films to cosy up with and best of all, it’s swapped a TV for a projector, so you can dim the lights and have a movie night lit only by the wood-burning stove.
Up the yellow-painted stairs there’s a wonderful warm-the-cockles bedroom tucked under the eaves with views to the sea. Down again there’s another bedroom looking out on the garden, once the author’s writing room. And I was a little obsessed with the bathroom, with green tiles that reminded me of travels in Morocco.
The Author’s Escape also has a little secret hideaway waiting. At the bottom of the garden is the author’s perfectly preserved hut. While you can’t sleep in the hut, you can borrow a huge iron key from the cabin and unlock the wooden door to explore its quirks and treasures, from two taxidermied barn owls keeping watch to an old gramophone and piles of old local guidebooks and trinkets. An escape within an escape, it’s the perfect place to while away an hour or two while you dream up the ideal for your first novel.
It’s tempting to just stay in and sit by the fire at the Authors Escape (as we did on both nights once night fell and as rain lashed at the windows – the epitome of cosy) but the coast, which you can just see glittering from the cabin’s windows, is calling. The Escape is the perfect base for keen surfers – we were a ten-minute drive from the swell at both Saunton and Putsborough, and each morning we loaded up the roof rack with surfboards and went chasing (little) waves. Bliss.
After a saltwater session, the local town of Braunton is the perfect place to warm up. I love the laid-back vibe of this surf-mad hub – the high street is lined with vintage shops and tempting eats, and no trip there is complete without at stop at my favourite spot. You’ll find only good things at Heartbreak Hotel Cafe, where owner Ella serves up the best coffee in town along with doughnuts you’ll dream about for days afterwards.
Salt water and coffee is my idea of a good day out, but when you’ve had your fill of the great outdoors and Devon’s surf culture the Author’s Escape is ready and waiting, with all the clean coastal air and peace and quiet you’ve been dreaming of.