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Christmas Day swim in South Devon at Bantham Beach

An icy Christmas Day swim in South Devon has been a tradition for some time now, but in the last few years, it has exploded with popularity.

Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline fuelled activity to burn off a chocolate rich breakfast, or a wild escape from the formalities of Christmas as you know it, making a chilly dash into South Devon’s cold waters is sure to be a festive highlight, making the most of the abundance of sheltered coves and sandy beaches, all of which invite you to take the plunge.

The team at Coast & Country Cottages are avid sea swimmers, some of whom wouldn’t be without the tradition of a Christmas Day dip. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, check out our favourite beaches for a Christmas Day swim in South Devon – we look forward to seeing you in the water for some festive fun!

Christmas Day swim in South Devon | Our top 10 swimming spots

Looking for a beach in particular to enjoy a refreshing Christmas Day Swim in South Devon? Use our quick links below to navigate the content, or read on for our top 10 swimming spots…

Bantham Beach
Thurlestone Beach and South Milton Sands
Hope Cove Beach
North Sands
Beesands Beach
Torcross Beach
Mothecombe Beach
Bigbury Beach
Mattiscombe Beach
Gara Rock Beach

1. Bantham Beach

This large, sandy beach that overlooks the iconic Burgh Island is a popular family beach where you will find people of all ages braving a quick dip, enjoying a blustery walk and even cooking sausages on the stove. For more information, be sure to read our Bantham Beach guide.

Christmas Day swim in South Devon - Bantham Beach

2. Thurlestone Beach and South Milton Sands

Thurlestone Beach and South Milton Sands blend together to create one beautiful stretch of golden sand, which is extremely popular amongst locals for a Christmas Day dip. These striking beaches overlook the iconic Thurlestone rock arch, and if the water is calm enough, you can even swim through it!

Christmas Day swim in South Devon - Hope Cove beaches

3. Hope Cove Beach

The two beaches situated in the village of Hope Cove are amongst some of the most popular in South Devon and regardless of season, rain or shine you will always find a flurry of activity here. Boasting a combination of stunning natural scenery and excellent facilities (even on Christmas Day!) Hope Cove Beach makes for a convenient location for those in search of a wild festive adventure.

Christmas Day swim in South Devon - North Sands

4. North Sands

A popular sandy cove just a short walk from Salcombe town centre, North Sands beach enjoys stunning views across the harbour. The beach here often avoids the winter storms and currents, making it a great, safe place to run in for a quick dip – it’s a perfect spot for children keen on a Christmas Day swim, especially because the car park is found adjacent to the beach, meaning you can warm up rather quickly!

Christmas Day swim in South Devon - Beesands Beach

5. Beesands Beach

A mile-long stretch, Beesands Beach is backed by fields and a freshwater lake and takes in stunning views of Start Bay, and is a popular spot for a festive swim – you can even run to the sea from your holiday home! After all, who wants to be lounging on the sofa after a Christmas Day feast when you could be laughing yourselves silly at the beach?

Christmas Day swim in South Devon - Slapton Sands and Torcross

6. Torcross Beach

Torcross Beach is a beautiful shingle shore that is part of the three mile stretch of beach at Slapton Sands, situated in the heart of Start Bay. The beach has a steep shelf upon entering the water, so be prepared for full immersion upon entry – there really is no hanging around when swimming at Torcross Beach! A haven for wildlife, you may be joined by a seal or two, so don’t be surprised if they pop up to say hello.

7. Mothecombe Beach

Unspoilt, sandy, shallow and sheltered, it comes as no surprise that Mothecombe Beach is a popular destination for a Christmas Day swim in South Devon. This large and enclosed beach is backed by quintessentially British sand dunes, rolling farmland and sheltered woodland providing quite the vista, especially when submerged in the icy winter water!

From the car park, the beach is a 500m downhill walk, which is great if you want a gentle warm up pre or post swim to really get the blood flowing, and best of all, the route is suitable for little legs and buggies, making it a great family-friendly swimming spot.

Christmas Day swim in South Devon - Bigbury Beach

8. Bigbury Beach

One of the regions most loved coastal boltholes, Bigbury Beach is a large sandy beach that joins Burgh Island by a causeway. Backed by rolling countryside and rocky cliffs, the views are second to none. One of South Devon’s premium surfing beaches, depending upon the conditions, you may even have a few rolling waves to play in – what an exhilarating experience! There is ample beachside parking here too, making it a really convenient Christmas Day swimming spot – it’s easy to see why so many people choose this beach to take the plunge here.

9. Mattiscombe Beach

One of South Devon’s most secluded coves, Mattiscombe Beach is the ultimate sandy escape. The beach is found nestled alongside the South West Coast Path, so it’s a great spot if you want to enjoy a Christmas Day walk too. Situated a steep walk down from the Start Point car park it’s renowned for being challenging to access, but for those who like seclusion it is well worth the hike – just be sure to bring supplies, snacks and perhaps a warm hot chocolate! For more secret and secluded beaches in South Devon, be sure to read our comprehensive guide.

Christmas Day swim in South Devon - Gara Rock Beach

10. Gara Rock Beach

An unspoilt sandy cove situated near Prawle Point and the mouth of the Salcombe Estuary, Gara Rock Beach is a much loved secret spot amongst local residents and visitors who love exploring something a little off the beaten track. It’s a great spot for a refreshing dip, and for experienced explorers with the right equipment, it also boasts some of the region’s best rock jumps, reaching up to 10m high should you be hankering after something adrenaline seeking. A large sandy escape, it’s also perfect for spectators of the Christmas Day swim, and a great place to snuggle down and enjoy some sumptuous Christmas beachside treats.

Christmas Day swim in South Devon

Christmas Day swim in South Devon | swimming tips

Whilst a Christmas Day swim in South Devon is positively exhilarating, do be mindful to follow a few simple steps to ensure you are safe at all times. Firstly, be sure to check the weather, tides and currents before your swim. When you arrive at the beach, run around a little to get your blood pumping and come prepared with bundles of warm clothes and blankets – we love to bring a hot water bottle too, our biggest tip being to leave this on your towel whilst you’re swimming.

Whilst children tend to be amongst the bravest cold water enthusiasts, don’t let them stay in for too long as they get cold very quickly. There are no lifeguards on the beach at this time of year, so regardless of where you choose to swim, ensure all swimmers are confident with the conditions of the water. We hope you have a fun time when enjoying your Christmas Day swim in South Devon!

Holiday cottages in South Devon perfect for a Christmas break

South Devon is the perfect place to spend a Christmas break – with empty beaches, miles of coast paths and picturesque harbour towns and fishing villages, it offers the ultimate opportunity to really slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures that the festive season allows. Regardless of whether you want a luxury holiday to enjoy a special family celebration, a romantic escape complete with an open fire in your holiday cottage, or perhaps a dog-friendly holiday, we have a variety of properties to suit a Christmas getaway. Choose your winter retreat from our collection of South Devon holiday homes, perfectly positioned for a Christmas Day swim in South Devon.

Book your South Devon Christmas holiday today

If you’d like to browse our range of holiday cottages specifically located near one of beaches mentioned in this blog, use the links below to find your perfect festive getaway:

For more festive inspiration, read our blogs: