Finding something to do in the evenings while you are travelling can be a challenge. Especially if you are travelling on a budget – you don’t always want to eat out. Likewise if you have a big day planned you don’t want to go out to the pub either. Nor do you want to sit in your hostel or hotel room and be bored out of your brains watching people come and go – lounging around is only fun in your own living room.
It doesn’t have to be this way though, I am a big advocate of finding out what the locals do in the evenings and following suit. Whether its going dancing, catching a show, hanging out by the river and playing games – whatever it is it’s probably going to be more fun than sitting back in your accommodation.
This was the attitude I had while tramping around Dorset and Devon with my grandfather. We decided to go to the seaside town of Sidmouth, a town more famously known for its contrasting red clay cliffs than for its night life.
We took a walk along the sea front in the bracing summer wind (seriously even in the middle of a heat wave the wind can still cut straight through you). My grandfather told me about the geology of the cliff side and showed me the famous Jacobs ladder which leads up to the iconic Connaught Gardens – a place that I remember running around often as a child.
After the sea air had built up an appetite we headed for dinner at Sidmouth Tandoori Indian Restaurant a refreshingly tasty surprise where they kept the poppadoms coming. It took all of my self-control not to fill up before my meal had even arrived. When it did arrive the size of the helping was almost my undoing – the layers of flavour, the chicken just fell apart on my fork.
After we had finished I rolled out the door and followed my grandfather to our evenings entertainment. The Theatre! I think local amateur theatre is some of the most underrated experiences, it’s a great night out and not just because of the half time ice creams.
The show playing at the Manor Pavilion was “Whodunnit” written by Anthony Shaffer and presented by Paul Taylor Mills. At first it seemed to be a run of the mill old fashion murder mystery set in an old English Country manor – but before the second act had even got into full swing I had gasped in surprise then burst out laughing with each new twist and turn. The actors were anything but amateur, most of them had been run spells in some of London’s biggest theatres and more than a few had been in a couple of movies as well.
By the time the show was over and we sidled out I was sorely disappointed that I wouldn’t be in the area for the next show – as they do a different play every week throughout the summer! To top it all off you can purchase a ticket for only 14 pounds (also I need to note that my keyboard does not have a British Pound sign) – a great way to stick to that budget, especially when the intermission ice cream is only 1 Pound!
Granted I was the youngest person in the room by at least 40 years but instead of feeling like I was the odd one out – I was ashamed that more of my generation weren’t making the most of this great night out. Is the only way we know how to have fun in the darkened rooms of pubs or clubs? I certainly hope not, because I laughed out loud as the brilliant actors before me bought to life a well-rounded and ludicrous script and thought what could be more enjoyable than this?