24 Hours With… Deborah Clark

Deborah Clark and husband Tony Orchard own Burgh Island in Bigbury-on-Sea and Southernhay House bout

Deborah Clark and husband Tony Orchard own Burgh Island in Bigbury-on-Sea and Southernhay House boutique hotel in Exeter - Credit: Archant

We like to get to know our local business figures, to find out where they go for lunch, spend downtime and visit for inspiration. This time it’s the turn of Deborah Clark, owner of Burgh Island and Southernhay House Hotel

Tyepyedong noodle bar

Tyepyedong noodle bar - Credit: Archant


Harry’s Bar (Northernhay Gardens, Exeter) is the best place to get steak tartare. But ask for the DIY version, not the pre-mixed! It’s also quiet, discrete here and has excellent staff. You can watch the backside of Exeter passing under the windows and muse on city living. Find more information right here.

Southernhay House Bar

Southernhay House Bar - Credit: Archant

Southernhay House’s private dining room (Southernhay East) is where I’d take a larger business meeting (up to 14). It’s comfortable, sunny and fully wifi-ed. Their food is simple and classic and it reminds me of lunching in the City in the ’90s. Definitely worth a visit and you can find all information right here.

Tyepyedong noodle bar (Sidwell Street) is where I’d take an arty meeting. It serves Japanese and Chinese fusion and the noodle dishes are fresh, clean and taste very authentic. It’s nice to find an independent ethnic place in town. Also, it’s firmly off the beaten track so discretion is assured! You can find their menu online right here.

Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral - Credit: Archant


There’s also a recently opened tapas bar called Forn (Mary Arches Street). The owners Gemma and Simon are proper Mallorcans and offer real tapas and good wines. They do a Spanish fried breakfast that absorbs the fiercest hangover. If you have any enquiries, just head to their website right here.

Southernhay House Bar (Southernhay East). This really is my favourite place in Exeter to chill and observe. It’s friendly and cosy during the day and then can be jumping in the evening. People-watching during the half-price cocktails on Fridays is an anthropological treat.

For meditation, I go to the gym. Exeter is a very sporty city so there’s no excuse for not finding your choice of activity. I use David Lloyd at Sandy Park, which manages to be clean and modern while keeping a friendly village-vibe. I plug in my headphones for half an hour of cardio whenever I can. If you’re looking for a new gym, have a look at the website right here for all information.


Devon probably has more artists working here than any other county outside London. I regularly check out the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton, which you can check out opening times for right here. Gloss Gallery (Barnfield Crescent) and I’m keeping an eye on the TOPOS project (Sidwell Street).

I’ve just bought an inspirational piece by Peter Randall-Page - surely the greatest sculptor working in the UK today? It’s called Brimstone but I think it looks like the drowned brain of Zeus.

I love walking in cities. Exeter is great for this because it’s small and diverse. Within an hour I can get from home in St Leonard ‘s, across town via Roman walls, gothic architecture, Tudor buildings and the Georgian quay. It’s an historical feast. exeterhistorysociety.co.uk

The city’s heart is the Cathedral, so no need to look elsewhere for inspiration when you have flying buttresses and a pure gothic form. For people of any belief, it’s a quiet place to sit, maybe catch a choir practice and meditate. I’m also inspired by the Dean’s plans for opening the Roman Baths under Cathedral Green - that would really put historic Exeter on the map. Keep up with their plans right here.

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We asked on Twitter what your suggestions were for great spots in Devon for a business lunch or to spend downtime. Here’s a selection:

@JoMortimerArt The Independent Coffee Trader in Tiverton is a wonderful place, for downtime, inspiration and a creative atmosphere I’d say :)

@DonovanTim Winking Prawn, Salcombe is my favourite lunch venue.

@sue_cade Café working + free WiFi @freshaexeter Exeter has great conference room. For networking @eastdevonbc meets at @DeerParkHotel

@AtOneCard @TheInstowArms is fab for lunch and downtime. We also love @PigontheHillND

@atasteofdevon I’d recommend @KGCoachHouse at @KentisburyG great surroundings, fantastic food & a function room

@HayleyJReynolds looking for a great business lunch venue? @glazebrookhouse will get the conversation started #visit

Keep tweeting us your ideas to @DevonLifeBiz and we’ll publish our favourites in the next issue of Devon Life Business & Professional

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