STROLLING along the coastal path from Maidencombe to Babbacombe, we stop to admire the scenery.

We’re on a clifftop and the view out across the bay doesn’t require any conversation.

Having taken our chances and set off between rain showers, the sea has transformed into a sparkling stretch of aquamarine.

Better still, although neither of us says it aloud, we’re both aware it’s two years since my husband Mike had a kidney transplant.

These are the moments – being able to pull on hiking boots and tackle a four-mile coastal path – which still feel magical.

So here we are, making the most of the Devonshire coast in 48 hours, despite Met Office warnings that the forecast is, well, mixed.

After our hike, we returned to Orestone Manor Hotel, a Georgian mansion high on a hill and surrounded by lush gardens complete with palm trees and sea views to die for.

We were housed in a glamorous two-storey coach house in the grounds with two balconies, the first-floor perfect for enjoying a drink and those sea views and the other housing our own hot tub.

I’m not a hot-tub person. I’m too fidgety but even I had to admit this was a Good Thing.

Former professional cyclist Mike knows how to chill out properly, so had to be dragged out of there an hour later, so we could head across to Orestone’s dining room.

There is a Days of the Raj vibe to the hotel’s décor and thoughts of Basil Fawlty pop, unbidden, into your mind.

But, once the hotel’s warm and genuine staff gently quiz you about which type of gin, mixer and garnish, you know you are in good hands.

And sipping Hendrick’s with Fevertree, cucumber and ice, while nibbling home-made canapes, you couldn’t care less about Basil or Manuel.

Make no mistake, this place is serious foodie heaven and dinner was exquisite, as you’d expect from a place which has two AA Rosettes.

Head chef Nathan Hill’s menu is adventurous and I started with salmon cured in gin and beetroot, fennel salad, lobster sauce and toasted rosemary focaccia, followed by oven-roasted supreme of cod with red pimento crust and Fowey mussels on a bed of spinach and ricotta ravioli, pesto and crispy seaweed.

Incredibly light and delicate, this was Skrei cod, a Norwegian delicacy and it’s exactly this sort of attention to detail which makes the difference.

After scrumptious puddings, we rounded off with deliciously runny Sharpham brie, made in Totnes, vintage Cheddar and Dorset goat’s cheese.

Everything about Orestone Manor is a testament to how much the D’Allen family who own it really want people to enjoy their stay.

Apart from a choice of lounges, there is the newly opened Brunel bar, ideal for a nightcap.

And our coach house included a TV lounge with huge flat screen and free Sky Premiere movies – a nifty touch given the British weather.

OK, the claw-foot bath is between the kitchen sink and the sofa but the quirky layout doesn’t detract.

The bathroom was gorgeous, with twin basins and a walk-in shower and they earn top marks for the towelling robes, slippers and masses of fluffy white towels, which give off a spa vibe.

On day two, we decided to take the bus into Torquay.

I remember a few childhood holidays there and Mike’s grandparents once lived in the town, so we had fond memories.

The best thing you can say about Torquay is that if you enjoy shopping, you may be pleased that all the big chains, such as WH Smith, Boots, Primark and H&M are there.

Sadly, the town has the down-at-heel air of a place that has seen better days.

Babbacombe, on the other hand, impressed us with its indie shops and cafes, theatre, model village and newly re-opened clifftop railway.

But the real star of the show was Teignmouth.

Pretty and full of character with colourful boats and the sun shining, it almost felt as though we were exploring an Italian fishing village.

Apart from the Devonshire fudge, that is.

Double rooms at Orestone Manor Hotel in Maidencombe start from £110. For more information, call 01803 897511, or see