Live the high life in a super-swish penthouse flat with a great British seaside resort on the doorstep, writes SUSAN HILL
"LOOK mum, I can see the sea! And the pier…and is that a playground with an awesome climbing frame? "Can we go there now, mum? Can we? Can we?" We'd only been inside our holiday apartment in Teignmouth, South Devon, for a few minutes and my four-year-old daughter Scarlett was already out on the balcony making a list of what she wanted to do.
From the newly-constructed Riviera Apartments atop a listed building dating back to 1812 on the seafront we had a panoramic view of everything the town had to offer and beyond to Exmouth, Dawlish, Sidmouth and even Weymouth.
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Combining the luxury of a modern hotel - flatscreen TVs, leather sofas and iPod docking station - with the convenience of a self-catering apartment, it wasn't long before I too was jumping up and down in excitement with Scarlett.
The double aspect balconies are huge, with uplighters and luxurious patio furniture.
Sitting up there, sipping a glass of something cold as the sun went down with the bright lights of Teignmouth twinkling on the sea, it was more like being in Ibiza or LA than in Britain.
But this historic port town on the mouth of the Teign estuary has all the ingredients of a classic British seaside resort.
With its Victorian pier, working harbour complete with miniature lighthouse, waterside inns, model railway and bowling greens, the place will easily keep a family of different generations amused for a week. It's no wonder Muse frontman Matt Bellamy still holidays in his home town with his Hollywood actress girlfriend Kate Hudson.
One of their regular haunts is the Beachcomber Caf© on the seafront.
There you can guzzle a gut-busting English breakfast - the Beachcomber Bumper - along with indulgent puds such as the Chocolate Bonanza, consisting of chunks of rocky road, smothered in clotted cream, ice cream and chocolate sauce.
The seafront leads to The Den, a large open space with lawns and flowerbeds, children's play area and mini golf, which is a venue for family activities during the holidays.
The Carlton Theatre is also on the prom and stages good quality productions all year round.
My kids loved watching a matinee of Jack And The Beanstalk and, over the next few months, shows will include Roald Dahl's The BFG, The Teignmouth Folk Festival and The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice.
The town has undergone significant improvements over the past few years and the shopping area is now pedestrianised, giving it a relaxed feel.
A short drive along the coast is Shaldon, where we visited the zoo.
Set in an acre of woodland and boasting some of the world's smallest and most endangered animals, the trip is a must for kids. This year the zoo is celebrating the birth of pied tamarin, tiny monkeys which are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity.
My two kids loved feeding the meerkats and the staff were on hand to talk us through all the different species, which left my three-year-old son Albie wanting to go back the very next day.
Teignmouth is a ten-minute train journey from Exeter, a beautiful and vibrant city with attractions at every turn.
Built in a mixture of styles, from Norman through to Gothic, Exeter's famous cathedral took more than 250 years to construct and houses a treasured volume of the Domesday Book.
Running through the city is the River Exe, bordered by attractive public gardens, parks, riverside walks and nature reserves.
England's oldest public green space, the Northernhay Gardens, boasts views over the city. For kids with plenty of energy, try the nearby Crealy Adventure Park.
It has big thrill rides like the Tidal Wave Log Flume, the South-West's biggest double drop log flume, plus a Victorian carousel and animal petting, so it's a good day out for all ages.
Our week in South Devon provided the perfect mix of classic seaside fun, attractions and outings galore, topped off by a 21st Century design masterpiece for a holiday home.
THE Riviera Apartments in Teignmouth, which sleep up to eight, cost from £235 for a two-night stay. To book visit rivieraapartments.co.uk.
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Bed with breakfast at The Beachcomber Caf© is available during low season.
For more details on Teignmouth click on visitsouthdevon.co.uk.
South Devon Crab Festival takes place on August 3, the day before the Shaldon Water Carnival.