Perched above Minehead, a town in Somerset, sits The Old Sweet Shop cottage, which, as the name suggests, is a former sweet shop, oozing character and personality, and providing the ideal venue for a family trip. We headed there for a long weekend in January and left feeling totally re-charged.
The four-bedroom thatched property is adorable from the inside and out. It comfortably sleeps eight people, with three out of the four bedrooms having an en-suite, plus another shower room close to the fourth bedroom.
The sweet shop feel isn’t limited to the cottage’s name and history; literally everything about the cottage is sugar-themed, from the names of the bedrooms to the interiors and even crockery pieces. It’s playful, joyous and unlike anywhere I’ve stayed before.
Rumour has it, some of the locals who live nearby can still remember buying strawberry sherbets and gobstoppers there on the way to school in the 1950s. Since then, the cottage has undergone a tasteful restoration to maximise the space, all whilst maintaining its traditional character. The beautiful living room, fit with fireplace and exposed beams, is a perfect example of this.
And if the homely interior doesn’t hit your sweet spot, the hot tub in the garden will. On a clear night, the tub has an unrivalled view of the night sky. Being so remote, there’s no light pollution, and so we spent a couple of evenings sipping bubbles, in bubbles, beneath the stars.
Our group stayed for three nights and found plenty to do in Minehead and the surrounding areas. If you’re seeking unspoilt coast, then Porlock Weir is a beautiful harbour with lots of walking routes. A trip to nearby Dunster Castle and its mill is also well worth a trip, especially on a bright day, when the high viewpoint allows you to see acres of Somerset’s luscious scenery.
In terms of local restaurants, we had a delicious meal at Reeves Restaurant where the portions are plentiful and the service is warm. But when the cottage is as homely and well-equipped as this one, there seems little point in leaving.
Cleanliness has always been essential, but in the pandemic, it’s even more so and this cottage was spotless. We couldn’t fault the owner Lucy and her team of staff who checked over the hot tub every day and were on call for any of our needs. It truly felt like a home away from home; the lemon drizzle cake on arrival was the cherry on top.
We stayed in the Old Sweet Shop in January, and were blessed with some blue skies, but the tiered garden would really come into its own in the summer months. It’s a total suntrap and has many secluded spots which lend themselves to an afternoon of Pimms and a good book.
In a nutshell
If we’re sticking with the pudding analogy The Old Sweet Shop cottage is a slice of heaven, and I’ll certainly be returning for extra servings.
Address: 22 Vicarage Rd, Minehead TA24 5RP
Photography courtesy of Exmoor Character Cottages 2022