East Devon District Council

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Guide Organise an event on council land

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11. Sidmouth

Set within the popular Jurassic Coast, Sidmouth is a truly charming seaside town renowned for its breathtaking scenery, leisurely gardens and the famous Sidmouth Folk Festival, which draws in thousands of visitors each year.

The town has plenty to offer in terms of shops, high-end cafes and entertainment, with annual band concerts and theatre performances regularly taking place all year round within the popular Connaught and Blackmore Gardens. 

Classic car shows, craft shows and the illuminated carnival also light up the town, which also plays host to the one of the world’s premier acrobatic display teams, the Red Arrows, who enthral crowds along the esplanade and seafront each August.

Sidmouth Beach and Esplanade

Sidmouth’s pebble beach can be booked for a range of seaside events such as sailing or surf lifesaving competitions.

The esplanade is used during Sidmouth’s August Folk Festival for performances and street trading. It can be hired at other times of the year and previous events have included vintage motorbike display and art shows. There are various level access points along the sea front esplanade and there are also steps at various points. At the eastern end of the esplanade there is a short slipway

There is ample pay and display parking at the eastern end of the beach and there are several public toilets within easy reach.

Blackmore Gardens

This stunning walled garden is situated in the heart of Sidmouth and boasts a number of large shrub borders with perennial planting, adding colour and interest all year round. The area is divided into two halves by a high wall and a number of trees on the lawned area. In addition there is also a small conservatory housing more exotic plants and offering a wonderful, colourful backdrop for photo opportunities.   

Perfect for closed or private events, the larger of the two garden areas is gated at each entrance point and bordered by a high wall with two pedestrian entrances and one main entrance.

The gardens have restricted vehicle access however the nearest car park is located a few minutes away at The Ham, near the Tourist Information Centre and toilets are located just 5 minutes away, near the bus stop at the 3 Cornered Plot (The Triangle).

Connaught Gardens

Connaught’s formal Victorian style gardens enclose a number of beautifully maintained shrub borders, trees and flower beds making it one of the most popular sites in Sidmouth and well frequented by visitors from both near and far. Offering a fantastically diverse site, which can be utilised for a number of different events and activities, the gardens have previously been used for wedding blessings, photographs, theatre productions, concerts, community events and much, much more.

Situated on a cliff top and overlooking Sidmouth’s pebbled beach, Connaught Gardens offers fantastic views from a number of points. The gardens are divided into several areas that include a lawned area in front of bandstand, (the main area for events), a beautiful sunken garden and an extension garden with onsite cafe operated on a concession basis.  Electricity and public toilets are available on site and a large pay and display car park is positioned opposite the gardens for easy access.

There is one vehicle access point with several pedestrian entrance points; therefore public access to all or part of the gardens may be restricted for private or closed events if required.

The Byes

The Byes riverside park runs from  the Toll House at Salcombe Road to Sidford with large open grassed areas and mature trees. There is a community orchard and wild flower areas. Footpaths and a dedicated cycle path run it’s entire length.

Used for the annual Duck Race and for cycle and running events, The Byes offers a safe and traffic free area. Although it cannot be closed off, specific areas are available for use with appropriate signage and marshalling. The Sid Vale Association own and maintain Margaret’s Meadow and Gilchrist Field which adjoin The Byes along the upper section with pedestrian access. At the Sidford terminus there is a children’s play park and recreation field.