Sidmouth is a small seaside town of 14,400 on the east Devon coast in south west England, about 15 miles south east of Exeter.
Situated in the south west, at the mouth of the River Sid, it is surrounded by the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is on the Jurassic Coast world heritage site and the South West Coast Path, a long distance footpath that skirts almost the entire coast in the West Country of England. The principal income of the town is from tourism. The town is also popular as a retirement community, with about 60% of the population being over retirement age.
Sidmouth has many independent retailers, including a surprisingly big department store. There are several pubs, restaurants, coffee houses and tea rooms. The town also boasts an indoor swimming pool, a college, sports hall, cinema, and golf course.
Once a relatively small fishing village and failed port, Sidmouth became a fashionable resort for the gentry in the early nineteenth century. The town's numerous fine Georgian and Regency villas and mansions are now mostly hotels. The Lockyer Observatory and Planetarium, completed in 1912, fell into disuse and ruin but was saved from demolition by the appeals of local enthusiasts to East Devon District Council. The observatory now operates as a science education project and is regularly open to the public.
In 1819 George III's son Edward, Duke of Kent, his wife and baby daughter, came to stay at Wolbrook Glen for a few weeks. In less than a month he had died after a brief illness. His daughter was the future Queen Victoria. The house later became the Royal Glen Hotel, and a plaque on an exterior wall records the visit.