shabby chic

19 Mar

Mention North Devon to most people, and learning to surf and the Tatler magazine ‘hot spot’ Croyde beach will probably be the focus of their attention. However nestled around the coast, away from the wetsuit clad crowds is one of my favourite spots in the southwest, Ilfracombe.

A holiday hotspot for Victorian England, the town has fallen on harder times of late, but the slightly down at heel edge to the town adds buckets (and spades) of character to its truly picturesque location. The best way I can describe it is it’s like Padstow without the Jack Wills hoardes cluttering the pavements gnawing on pasties.

A slightly more famous fan of Ilfracombe is Damien Hirst, who after moving to the area opened 11 The Quay a few years ago. With its interior influenced by its nautical surroundings – note the ship’s hull inspired ceiling, the restaurant has more Hirst art in it than a retrospective at the Tate.

Within the spectrum of food available in North Devon it’s a pretty good standard, and fairly reasonably priced at that. What I can’t understand is that every time I visit is how there’s always space in the restaurant. I’ve personally never had a bad meal there, so I’m not sure why it doesn’t receive better patronage. Unfortunately I can’t help but feel as though if its owner wasn’t the highest earning living artist it may not have lasted as long as it has.

With the restaurant right on the working harbour with its fishing nets, lobster pots and bait boxed and ready for the trip out to sea, it can feel a bit like the inspiration for  ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”  is all around you…

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2 Responses to “shabby chic”

  1. nonoymanga March 20, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    beautiful photos. but the panorama is to die for. thanks for sharing Nonoy Manga

  2. O March 20, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    Thanks Nonoy, very kind! They were taken on a Sony nex 5 – it’s a great little camera…

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