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View of Blackpool Sands Beach

Blackpool Sands in South Devon is a sheltered, golden crescent of fine shingle, situated on the east-facing coast of the region. Occupying the northern end of Start Bay, Blackpool Sands is well regarded for its outstanding facilities and safe and secure environment. It’s one of South Devon’s most popular family-friendly beaches. 

Regularly frequented by outdoor enthusiasts, expect to find the crystal clear waters peppered with swimmers, kayakers and paddle boarders. You’re also bound to find the shingle shores covered in a myriad of ramblers navigating the South West Coast Path and eager anglers, hoping to land their dinner. 

A recipient of the much-coveted Blue Flag Award, this beach has everything you need for a brilliant day out.

Blackpool Sands

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About Blackpool Sands Beach

Blackpool Sands Beach

As a Blue Flag beach, Blackpool Sands Beach achieves the highest standards in terms of its environment and the facilities provided. This is why it comes as no surprise to us that it is one of South Devon’s most popular family beaches. 

Privately owned, Blackpool Sands is a picturesque crescent of fine golden shingle. Nestled in a sheltered bay it’s surrounded by towering evergreens and pines. 

The beach itself is wide, especially on a low tide, and provides the perfect environment for gentle exploration. The rocks, situated at either end of the beach, are popular with those who love to scramble and search in nooks and crannies. The shoreline is rife with marine treasures, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for mermaid’s purses. 

If you’re bringing children with you, and they’re craving a sandy beach then fear not, because you will find two large sandpits available during the summer months. What’s more, throughout July and August you can swim to the bathing raft and have fun jumping in and out of the sea. 

Known for being welcoming and spacious, the beach offers ample space to spread out and have fun, whilst being in a safe and secure environment. 

Things to do when visiting Blackpool Sands

You certainly won’t find yourself short of things to do when visiting Blackpool Sands. It’s a hive of activity. Boasting a wonderful cross-section of ramblers exploring the South West Coast Path, beachgoers and their canine companions enjoying the sand between their paws, as well as avid water sport enthusiasts.

The excellent facilities at Blackpool Sands Beach make it a favourite destination for families, and dog owners when the seasonal restrictions allow. Parking is plentiful and situated next to the beach. The toilets and showers are well maintained and there is a lifeguard team on duty throughout the summer months. 

The popular Venus Café is open year-round. And their shop sells all the beach-related goodies you will need, including buckets, spades, inflatables and swimwear. What’s more, you can hire equipment (kayaks, paddleboards, bodyboards etc) throughout the summer months. Blackpool Sands has everything you need for a fantastic day out.


watersports off South Devon beach

The conditions are often calm and protected in the bay. Combined with crystal clear waters and a gradual sloping seafloor Blackpool Sands provides the perfect playground for water sports enthusiasts, with swimmers, kayakers and paddleboarders taking full advantage. Spend your time on and in the water either exploring the bay. 

For those in search of a challenge, Blackpool Sands Beach offers the perfect starting point for exploring Start Bay. Head towards Torcross and discover an abundance of secluded coves and thriving wildlife.

Whilst you can of course bring your own watersports equipment; kayaks, paddleboards, bodyboards and wetsuits (including buoyancy aids) are available to hire from the beach in the summer months.

Run by Venus Watersports, the ‘Venus Riders Watersports programme’ is extremely popular, so we advise calling ahead to check availability.

Is Blackpool Sands beach dog-friendly?

Dog-friendly beach

Blackpool Sands is seasonally dog-friendly and welcomes canines and their companions at restricted times of the year. With a large expanse of fine shingles to tread and the South West Coast Path just a stone’s throw away, Blackpool Sands Beach is the perfect location for our four-legged friends. 

Due to its Blue Flag status, Blackpool Sands is required to have a restrictive policy when it comes to dogs. So unfortunately dogs are not permitted in the car parks or on the beach from mid-March through until the end of October. 

Dogs are permitted outside of these dates but if in doubt, please call the information line on 01803 771800. 

Your summer holiday wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the beach for both you and your canines. Here at Coast & Country Cottages, we love dogs and the beach, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to the best dog-friendly beaches in South Devon.


Fishing at Slapton Sands

Fishing in South Devon is a popular pastime, particularly within Start Bay. Due to its reliable conditions and range of catch, Blackpool Sands is a great place to fish.

Our favourite fishing spots at Blackpool Sands are situated close to the rocks located on either side of the beach. From here you can expect to reel in wrasse, and potentially pouting, whiting, dabs, plaice, garfish, bull huss, lesser-spotted dogfish and if you’re lucky, perhaps bass! 

In the summer evenings, it’s a fantastic place to feather mackerel too. During the summer months, the beach becomes a popular spot, not just on the shingle shores, but also in the water, so be aware that during the summer months shore fishing is only permitted in the evening. 

Outside of the main holiday season though, fishing is permitted at any time. For those in search of a little more space to spread out, consider fishing at the nearby beach of Slapton Sands.

Venus Café

Blackpool Sands Cafe - Venus Cafe

The Venus Café at Blackpool Sands is a much-loved establishment amongst both locals and visitors. With ample seating both indoors and out, there is also a popular separate dog-friendly café, complete with cosy beds and blankets for canine companions. 

In the busy summer months, there is also a separate takeaway area serving all the beachside classics. Expect to find ice creams and cheesy chips included! The Venus Café is not a typical ‘chips-in-a-cone’-style beachside kiosk and the menu consists of fresh, locally sourced dishes boasting organic meats, juicy salads and sumptuous seafood. 

The coffee served is organic and fairtrade, and for those after a tipple or two, there is an extensive selection of beers and wines. You can visit the Blackpool Sands café for dinner as well as breakfast and lunch, provided you book in advance.

Where is Blackpool Sands?

Blackpool Sands is located in the heart of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, at the northern end of Start Bay, between the villages of Stoke Fleming and Strete. By road, you will find this fine shingle cove on the A379, around four miles south of Dartmouth.

For sat-nav users, the postcode for Blackpool Sands car park is TQ6 0RG. The beach is also accessible by bus, with the No.3 Stagecoach bus running between Dartmouth and Plymouth, stopping just a few yards from the entrance to the car park.


There is ample parking found at Blackpool Sands, and the car parks are located parallel to the beach. So carrying beach equipment for long distances is never a problem! From mid-March to the end of October, the car parks are manned by attendants.

There is a charge to use the car parks and it varies throughout the summer season (you can check the current rate by calling the information line on 01803 771800). 

From November to mid-March parking is free. There are no vehicle height restrictions, so it’s a great spot if you have a campervan, but overnight parking and camping are strictly forbidden.

Blackpool Sands events

The team at Blackpool Sands host various events throughout the summer, from the popular music festival of Tunes on the Sands to an open-air cinema club. For the sporty ones, you can even participate in the gnarly (but equally popular) triathlon. 

Blackpool Sands is proud to have created an extremely inclusive community, so you’ll be sure to find something perfect for all the family to enjoy. Take a read of their upcoming events below…

Dartmouth Triathlon | Blackpool Sands

Dates: 10th & 11th June 2022

Head on down to Blackpool Sands Beach for the annual Dartmouth Sprint Triathlon. Watch and support participants as they take on 750m and 1500m sea swims on the first day, followed by an early 7 am swim, a 20k bike ride and a 5k run on the second day.

You’ll be worn out just watching! There’s even a shorter Supersprint version for those who fancy it. Brand New for 2022 is the Aquabike option. It’s guaranteed to be a fun day out for the whole family!

Check out Sportiva’s website for more details

Tunes on the Sands | Blackpool Sands

Dates: 8th – 10th July 2022

The ever-popular Tunes on the Sands music festival occurs every summer. The event has seen famous performers such as Billy Ocean take to the stage and always presents a fantastic line-up. 2022 sees Bony M and The Hoosiers take to the stage with more to be announced.

Showcasing a Tarquin’s gin terrace, art installations, cocktail bar, silent disco and so much more. Visit their website to buy tickets and keep an eye on who will be performing.

Open Air Cinemas | Blackpool Sands

Dates: Various dates throughout the Summer

Every year throughout the months of July and August, Blackpool Sands invites you to their shores to enjoy a cinema experience like no other. You can expect to choose from a variety of family film favourites, having previously shown Grease, Moana, The Lion King and so much more. 

This is always an extremely popular event. In fact, we would go as far to say the experience has become a much-loved staple of the South Devon summer! Bring your own picnic, camping chair and blanket, and snuggle down beside the sea for a highly unique open-air cinema experience.

Don’t want to bring food? Why not take a walk to The Venus Café. You’ll be able to grab some hot food, hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice creams. It is essential to book ahead, visit the Open Air Cinemas website to book your ticket and for more information.

Rockpool Ramble at Blackpool Sands Beach

Dates: August 2022

We know everyone loves a free activity which is why the Rockpool Ramble is brilliant. Bring your family down to the ‘Blue Flag’ flagpole on the promenade and meet the local wildlife ranger, Martin Summers. 

You’ll be able to discover anemones, strange clingfish, and maybe even a fierce velvet swimming crab. Your children will love this event just as much as you. While the event itself is free, normal entry charges apply.

‘Professor’ Elfic presents ‘Sort it Out!’

Dates: August 2022 

With enough magic, circus tricks, puppetry and comedy to fill a landfill site, ‘Professor’ Elfic tackles the serious issues of what we can do with our waste. He explores the nature of different materials in an entertaining way. 

This event is great for families with young children, so head on down to Blackpool Sands Beach between 11.30 am and 4 pm to see ‘professor’ Elfic perform. Although this event is free of charge, normal parking charges still apply.

The Royal Marines Iron Challenge

Date: 18th September 2022

Are you up for the challenge? This self-challenged, epic adventure race is all about testing yourself to the limit whilst raising funds for the Royal Marines Charity. Participate in a challenging yet exciting iron-distance triathlon race over the most iconic landscapes in the UK. 

You’ll be starting off with a pre-dawn swim before climbing 3,5000m and running a marathon along the stunning coast path. You’ll have to dig deep to complete this challenge by midnight. Over 70 triathletes completed this challenge last year raising an incredible £52,000 for the charity. 

Do you have what it takes? Can you beat the winning time of 12 hours and 15 minutes? For more details on entry, the race, and the charity itself, check out the Iron 2 Steel website.

Similar beaches to Blackpool Sands

Bantham Beach

South Devon is the ultimate playground for beach lovers. The region boasts not only shingle bays but also secluded coves and large sandy expanses, perfect for exploring. Within close proximity to Blackpool Sands, you will find the beaches of Slapton Sands, Beesands, Hallsands and Strete Gate.

For something completely different, head to the sandy stretches of Bantham Beach and Bigbury-on-sea. At Coast & Country Cottages we love the beach, so we’ve detailed the ins and outs of where to visit in our beach-related blog posts.

Holiday cottages near Blackpool Sands

Holiday Cottages near Blackpool Sands

Our holiday cottages near Blackpool Sands are perfect for those looking for a coastal retreat that puts you in the heart of South Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We have a wealth of holiday cottages throughout Start Bay.

From country escapes and coastal cottages to luxury getaways and dog-friendly holidays.  We also boast an enviable collection of pet-friendly cottages.

Book your holiday cottage near Blackpool Sands today