The traditional concept of ‘hygge’ (pronounced hoo-gah) is considered a crucial aspect of the Danish way of life, and recently there’s been a lot of attention on the word in the UK too. Studies have suggested that the Danish are amongst the happiest people in the world, and many Danes believe hygge plays a big part in this.
Down here in South Devon, we have a similar interest in life’s simple pleasures, from enjoying a local ale with friends in a medieval pub to savouring a Devon Cream Tea with our families.
Linguists have long been scratching their heads over the best way to translate the concept of ‘hygge into other languages. OxfordDictionaries.com defines hygge as ‘a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being’, suggesting there’s no convenient single word-word translation we could use in our daily lives.
Perhaps it’s better to understand it from examples such as these provided by VisitDenmark:
The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking – preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life.
Cosiness, simple pleasures and spending time with our loved ones seem to be important elements of hygge. Here in South Devon, we believe those in search of hygge will find plenty of it here.
A rustic pub
Little inns with thatched roofs, cob walls and crooked wooden beams evoke the essence of hygge. Spending time in one of South Devon’s welcoming pubs is one of the simplest yet most enjoyable pleasures there is, whether that’s warming up by the open fire after a walk or enjoying a candlelit meal with friends or loved ones. The above picture is of the Millbrook Inn, a popular pub and restaurant in the picturesque village of South Pool, a short drive from Kingsbridge and Salcombe.
The best pubs in South Devon
A cosy cottage
Even better for fostering contentment than a friendly, traditional pub is to have a luxurious holiday base to call home. Pick a cosy cottage as your hideaway from the stresses and strains of daily life, such as Higher Collaton Cottage near Salcombe. In the picturesque and peaceful little hamlet of Collaton, this delightful thatched cottage provides the perfect backdrop for a restful break. Warm your cockles by the woodburner, cook and dine together or just take in the lovely country views.
Take a look at these seven stunning holiday homes with roaring fires for some great examples of properties with huge potential for hygge.
A picture window
Nothing beats a sunny day in South Devon, but a close second has to be retreating on a rainy day to a warm and cosy spot to watch the storm. South Devon has some great places for sheltering from the elements while enjoying the view. Whatever the weather, there’s hygge to be had, from relaxing with a book or your favourite magazine on one of the window seats in Woodwell to sitting in Dittisham’s Ferry Boat Inn, looking out over the River Dart with a drink in your hand.
A delightful South Devon dish
South Devon’s culinary specialities are based around relatively simple, homely dishes, which range from Dartmouth plaice and Salcombe crab to Devon Cream Teas and clotted cream fudge. On the Sharpham Estate near Totnes, you’ll also find award-winning cheeses and refreshing wines – the perfect refreshments to enjoy with loved ones as you forget your worries and focus on the pleasures of here and now.
A chance encounter
Another aspect of South Devon that makes the region so special is the friendly and outgoing people. Spend much time in the region’s pubs and yacht clubs for example and you’re certain to meet some of our larger-than-life local characters. From artists and artisans to sailors of distinction, there are plenty of long-time residents waiting to regale you with stories from South Devon’s past or their own adventurous lives.
A brief look at our region’s busy calendar of events tells you a great deal about the community spirit of Salcombe, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge and the surrounding villages. So take a look at what’s going on during your next visit and don’t be afraid to spark up a few conversations while you’re in South Devon.
For a week filled with hygge, book a break in South Devon with Coast & Country Cottages. Browse our extensive range of self-catering properties today.