Devon: On a Shoestring

This month myself and Natalka from I want to buy a house swapped lives’. I stayed at home and enjoyed a spend free weekend whilst she visited Devon on a budget weekend away…. 

Noss Mayo. Where in the world is that? Well, I’ve been there. And it only cost me £41.50. So you see, you can still travel and see (parts) of the world when you’re saving money. Adventure will always be out there whether you’re living on a budget or throwing life to the wind. And Noss Mayo, by the way, is a small village on the coast of Devon just outside of Plymouth. 

As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to buy a house. That’s my number one goal. But something I’ve always talked about is letting a massive holiday home with all of my friends and just having the time of our lives. This is the post that proves I’m doing both. I know right, it sounds expensive. But it was £41.50… be honest, you’ve spent more than that on Deliveroo. 

Before I get into it I want to give you a little bit of background. I’m not a morning person. I don’t own a pair of walking boots. And I definitely don’t cope well on a hangover. Seriously, read this post describing the worst day of my life if you don’t believe me. I was a little bit nervous on the run up to my Noss Mayo adventure. Imagine being forced out of bed early and dragged out on a country walk. Probably no biggie to you, but I’m not that type of girl. I’m proudly able to tell you that I absolutely freaking loved it. I was in all the caves, up all the hills, ducking and diving between trees in the forest. Not one person there expected this from me, least alone myself. But it was one of the best experiences of my life.

How did we organise it all?

I’m a waitress, which means I work a lot of awkward hours and it’s difficult to get time off on weekends. Noss Mayo came about with a big helping hand from the owner of the restaurant I work at, who decided to close for 10 days in October to get some building work done. 

Anyone who’s ever worked in hospitality knows how close all the staff get. And it ends up becoming your social group just because you all work such random hours together. We have a facebook group called pub club, and as I’m sure you’ve guessed, spend most of our free time at the pub. Well it was at one of our pub club meetings that we talked about going away. At this point it was an idea, unlikely to happen. But then, one night I finished work to find that one of the girls had taken the lead and booked an AirBnB. Eternally grateful for that. 

So the house was booked, and all that was left to do was pay your share if you were going. We ended up with 9 people staying for the full time. And a few stragglers that turned up for a weekend. Now, once you’ve divided the cost of a 10 bed house for four nights between 9 people… you get £41.50 now that’s visiting Devon on a budget! 

Saving more money when you visit Devon on a budget 

So the accommodation in Noss Mayo was dirt cheap, but there was still travel and food and beer to be paid for. I was one of the drivers so got everyone to chip in for petrol and only ended up spending about £10 of my own money to fill the tank. Noss Mayo was about a three hour drive, which sounds like nothing until you realise I’m a city girl with a tiny convertible and Noss Mayo is a small farmland village with dirt roads. Either way, I got us there. Somehow. 

Food wise we also saved a ton of money. We elected pairs to cook each night. Half the party were vegan so they did their food and we did ours. Then we only had to pay for our meals ingredients. We did spaghetti bolognaise on our night, and probably spent about £20 on food in total. 

Obviously, beer and alcohol was quite essential to this trip and I couldn’t even begin to calculate the expense. Probably another £10-£15 per person but there was a few more shop runs in between. The weekend stayers chipped in a lot for alcohol, as they’d got off without having to pay for accomodation. Their share probably saved another £10 per head.

But what does Noss Mayo have to offer?

I’ve somehow got 700 words into this post without telling you about Noss Mayo. Now that you know I’m a penny pinching money blogger, and seeing as I am writing this for a travel blog, I think it’s probably time we discussed it. Noss Mayo is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in the UK. And I live on the Jurassic Coast which I brag about all the time. 

To drive into Noss Mayo you have to go over a huge hill, and once you’ve come over the top you’re looking down at the village. It looks like Balamory, with an estuary running through the middle, and fishermans boats molded into the sand. The houses are painted different colours, and stacked on top of each other in terraces like a movie scene. I’m honestly so shocked that no one knows this place exists.

Devon on a budget – Noss Mayo: The Ship Inn

Day one, after the excitement of looking in every cupboard and cranny of the house, was a pub trip. It wouldn’t be a pub club holiday without one, would it? The guide that the owners of the house had left for us mentioned The Ship Inn as being a great pub for a view over the estuary and fantastic food (which is what we all needed after the drive).

After a good trek through the woods, we found The Ship Inn and the place didn’t disappoint. It was in the most gorgeous location, right on the waters edge. And the beer garden was done so nicely that we sat out there all night. I had a hake fillet, which I’ll admit was quite expensive, but I imagine the venue doesn’t have a wetherspoons to compete with and can serve decent meals. It was more than a decent meal. And that’s coming from a fish snob. Night one was definitely a success. And we somehow made it home in the dark.

Devon on a budget – Noss Mayo: Stoke Beach

Day two, and my favourite day. Stoke beach is a geologists dream. In fact, Noss Mayo is a geologists dream. We had glorious weather on this day, and knew we were heading for a beach of some description. I found stoke beach on tripadvisor and off we went (despite the warnings of steep stairs). 

Now, I’ve debated how honest I’m going to be in this post. And decided that anyone still reading over 1,000 words in deserves some honesty. I was drunk for pretty much this whole day. Not too drunk that I don’t remember it, but just never didn’t have a beer in my hand. Can you imagine being in a strange village, with all of your friends, no phone signal or data, with a beer in your hand, in the beaming sunshine, setting off on an adventure? I don’t think I can explain it any better than you can imagine it. 

Yes, the walk was hard, but we were fuelled by the excitement of our destination. And our beers. And eventually, we arrived at the beach. After a mini photo shoot, we were in the sea, in October. Sure, we might not have been as aware of the sea temperatures as we should of been, but we were having the time of our lives and I’d highly recommend anyone visiting Noss Mayo to fill their rucksack with cans of beer and set off in the direction of Stoke Beach. Even if you do have to guess because no one’s maps is working on their phone.

Devon on a budget – Noss Mayo: Nights In  

I was expecting wild parties. We’re not a very tame bunch. I was terrified that the house was about to get absolutely destroyed in a chaotic mix of twerking, house music (which was not my choice), and mario cart arguments. It wasn’t that bad at all. We were very well behaved. I think the day drinking and adventures tired us all out. We hit our peak around 4-5pm, and were mostly in bed before midnight. I must say I think this was my saving grace in terms of the nerves I was talking about earlier. I was getting enough sleep, and wasn’t getting put to bed in a drunken state, so was fresh and dandy ready for more adventures.

One thing I did notice was that the evenings felt like parties from the 80’s. The pictures I have remind me of the pictures I’ve seen when flicking through my mums old albums. Although I’m sure she’s never been to Noss Mayo, she has definitely had her share of boozy nights in.

Noss Mayo: National Trust Walks and the Church of St. Peter

The day I was dreading. “Let’s go on a walk”. I’m usually a politely decline kinda person. But this time, it was surprisingly refreshing. I wanted to get out, and although I wasn’t excited to show off how completely unfit I am and how pathetic my lung capacity is, I wanted to see the sites. And, let’s be honest, I wanted to get some pics for the gram. Noss Mayo is beautiful, so you can’t blame me.

By this point, the beer was creeping up on us and the last thing anyone wanted was another tinny. So we set off beer free. We found some national trust signs, and followed the arrows to the most amazing gorge. Although, at times I was scared that someone was about to plunge to their depth. 

An hour or so in, we had already walked a few miles of coastal cliffs, threw a wooded area (that apparently isn’t big enough to be a forest but I am going to call a forest), and found ourselves at a derelict church. I say derelict for dramatic effect, it was just an old church. But it was so cool. And I am not the type of person to describe a church as cool. We spent a good half an hour in there, signing the visitors book and reading the murals, before started the horrific trip back up some very steep hills that I hadn’t noticed as I declined down them. I won’t pretend to enjoy the journey back, but would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Devon on a budget – Noss Mayo: Final Words

I had to head off the night before everyone else because I had uni in the morning. Although I was gutted to be missing the last night, I can’t pretend I wasn’t a little bit happy that I didn’t have to clean up in the morning. And I left with some amazing memories. Can you believe we didn’t have a single argument? Good vibes only. 

To summarise (I promise this is the end of this book I’ve accidently written), go to Noss Mayo! See it for yourself. Go and get lost. Get a bit muddy. But have an adventure. Because if I can do it, without dipping into my savings pots or spending more than a weeks salary and have the time of my life, imagine how much fun you’d have with more money to travel and explore with. If you’d like to see more images from my Devon on a budget weekend head over to Elle’s Instagram

What do you say Elle? How was your No Spend Weekend and have I turned your attention to domestic holidays yet? Maybe we should go back to Noss Mayo together and I’ll show you exactly what you’ve been missing out on!

I’m sure you’ll agree that Natalka’s post on Noss Mayo is incredible… I had never heard of it before but I definitely want to visit it out soon. For some great tips on saving money head over to her blog and give her a follow on Twitter, trust me you won’t want to miss out….



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