‘South Devon’ and ‘beaches’ go together like clotted cream and scones, but with plenty of craggy cliffs, coves, and...
The two beautiful Hope Cove beaches, Mouthwell Sands and Harbour Beach, are perfect for sandy-soled adventures and salty swims. Loved by locals and holiday makers alike for their natural beauty and excellent facilities, both idyllic shores tick all the boxes for traditional, unspoilt bays – just what you dream of when you picture South Devon.
Popular all-year round, both Hope Cove beaches cater for a range of interests. Once famed for pirates and smugglers, there are many caves to be explored at low tide and around the surrounding coastline – great for those visiting by kayak or paddleboard! The South West Coast Path runs directly past the beaches at Hope Cove, so walkers can hike the rolling flower-clad clifftops, taking in unbeatable views on route. Prefer to leave your walking boots at home? Rest tired legs and visit by car so you can enjoy an effortless beach day – sometimes it’s just what you need!
Use our quick links below, or read on for our comprehensive guide to Hope Cove Beaches:
The beaches at Hope Cove are located within close proximity to each other, yet boast different characteristics and benefits in their own right, so we highly recommend visiting both during your visit. It’s safe to say, however you wish to spend your time at the beaches here, the natural beauty of the golden shores and traditional village charm will effortlessly combine to create lasting memories.
Mouthwell Sands is located in Outer Hope, at the northern side of Hope Cove; the nearest beach to the main village car park. Accessed via a steep slipway with a hand rail on one side, be careful if you’re less physically able as it can be slippery. Mouthwell Sands is the smallest cove in the village, and boasts views towards Thurlestone, Bibgury-on-Sea and the iconic Burgh Island. Here you will find a waterfall-like stream that trickles half way along the sandy beach into the sea, which as you can imagine, is popular amongst younger beach-goers who love to build dams and water pools! Particularly popular amongst families, the beach benefits from a seasonal lifeguard service, not to mention an emporium of rockpools and sea life.
Harbour Beach is located in Inner Hope, and is the largest sandy inlet in Hope Cove. Popular amongst walkers and dog lovers, the beach benefits from breathtaking views of the rolling cliffs of Bolt Tail, and provides ample space for traditional beach games. You will often find many sailing dinghies and small motor boats moored here in the summer before they head out to sea for ocean adventures. In the winter, we recommend watching the high sea waves crash against the sea wall, providing quite a spectacle. However, our top thing to do at Harbour Beach is to watch the fishermen haul their catch on the beach, with huge spider crabs and lobster – what better way to soak up the heritage of this traditional fishing village!
Click here to read our complete guide to South Devon’s dog-friendly beaches.
As well as a public toilet located above Harbour Beach, a village shop and seasonal lifeguard service (Mouthwell Sands only), there are multiple places to eat by the beach, so you’ll never be short of food and beverage choices.
There are ample opportunities to dine by the beach in Hope Cove and soak up views of the ocean touching the sky. With a choice of seaside restaurants and a pub, there are a variety of choices to not only dine in, but to indulge in a takeaway on the sand. From fresh seafood caught off the South Devon coastline to locally-distilled beverages, there’s many relaxed dining options that boast the best delights of the region.
To find out more about the fantastic choice of pubs, cafés and restaurants in Hope Cove, click here to read our Hope Cove village guide.
Hope Cove’s golden sand beaches, rocky outlets and turquoise waters are some of the region’s most understated natural luxuries – an emporium of coastal treasures that invite you to get digging, learn about local wildlife and relax to the sound of the sea. We’ve put together a selection of our favourite things to do at Hope Cove’s beaches, so you can make the very most of your time here:
Hope Cove is one of the best places to go rockpooling in South Devon. This favoured activity is great fun for kids and can also be a fantastic, interactive way to learn! Just remember, try not to disturb any wildlife that you find. Learn about the Seashore Code on the Devon Wildlife Trust website.
It’s almost impossible to leave the beach without having made a display of sandcastles! If you really want to get your creative juices flowing, why not make a sand sculpture? Hunt for shells and sea glass to add to your creation for a decorative finishing touch.
The beaches at Hope Cove are thriving with wildlife. Look out to sea and you may spot dolphins and seals playing in the bay, or paddle in the sea and discover what small fish swim in the shallow waters, not to mention the occasional crab found in the rockpools!
Best enjoyed at the Mouthwell Sands, where the water feature provides a trickling stream into the sea, children can enjoy making a dam in the sand – great for when you’ve forgotten to pack a bucket and spade as you can get stuck in using your hands.
The best time to go exploring caves is when the tide is out, leaving you ample opportunity to venture further out the coastline. With so many nooks and crannies to explore, it’s no wonder that Hope Cove was well known for pirates and smugglers many years ago.
And breathe. Holidays are made for relaxing and unwinding, and what better way to stretch and shake off your troubles than by taking part in beach yoga – the therapeutic fresh sea breeze, relaxing peaceful sounds and stunning views are extremely therapeutic! Click here to find out more or to book a yoga session.
In and around Hope Cove there are many craggy inlets found within this picturesque stretch of South Devon coastline, just waiting to be explored! Hire a kayak or paddleboard from TriOcean during your stay and paddle from one beach to the other, as well as the neighbouring sandy banks that appear at low tide. See if you can spot the enormous compass jellyfish that bob in the sea off the beach, a great natural display! Just remember to be careful when heading out on the water and read the RNLI kayaking and paddleboarding safety guidance.
The South West Coast Path runs directly to Hope Cove’s beaches, from Thurlestone in one direction and Salcombe in another. Both trails offer different walking experiences, and we highly recommend exploring both trails if you’re able to. The Hope Cove to Salcombe walk (8.5 miles) is moderately challenging, however the views are incredible and definitely worth it! The Hope Cove to Thurlestone walk (2.5 miles) is a little gentler, and may be better if you are short on time.
For detailed trails, or for more South Devon walking routes, read our South Devon Walking Guide.
In and around Hope Cove, we consider ourselves pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches with a view – the region is peppered with beautiful secluded coves and expansive shorelines! Here are three South Devon beaches, close to Mouthwell Sands and Harbour Beach:
Inaccessible by car, Soar Mill Cove is one of South Devon’s best kept secret beaches that looks like something out of an Enid Blyton book. With no signal, this is the perfect place to venture to for a digital detox, away from the crowds during the peak season.
Approximately a 20 minute walk along the South West Coast Path from Hope Cove towards Thurlestone is South Milton Sands, a popular beach that has excellent facilities, including seasonal watersport hire and a bustling café.
Thurlestone Beach is made up of two beaches, Leas Foot and Thurlestone Sands. The golden wave-lashed sands is the perfect natural playground, so it’s no wonder that the beach is popular for wild swimmers, bodyboarders, wind surfers and paddleboarders. Similarly to the beaches at Hope Cove, Thurlestone is a mecca for rockpooling.
Nestled between the bracken-clad clifftops of Bolt Tail and the sandy shores of South Milton, approximately a 15 minute car journey from the boutique harbour town of Salcombe, Hope Cove is tucked away in the parish of South Huish. The winding country roads leading to Hope Cove may be narrow, but the destination is most definitely worth it!
Use the map below to navigate to Hope Cove car park, using the postcode TQ7 3HQ, just a short walk from both beaches.
The Tally Ho 162 bus service from Kingsbridge to Hope, via Thurlestone stops at Hope Cove.
There is a large car park by Mouthwell Sands (the smaller northern beach) and some on-road parking available.
Sleeps 8 | 4 bedrooms | dog-friendly
Located just a short walk from Harbour Beach, May Cottage is a seaside sanctuary – the perfect coastal cottage for some well needed rest and relaxation. At this wonderful coastal property, you can easily leave your car parked for the duration of your stay and explore the region via the coast path, or happily stay in Hope Cove and top up your Vitamin Sea.
Sleeps 4 | 2 bedrooms | dog-friendly
This chocolate-box cottage was made for laid-back seaside holidays, where families can rest assured they’re in a safe, friendly destination that’s within minutes to the beach, and couples can enjoy uninterrupted time together. Hope Cove is a peaceful, unspoilt destination, rare in this day and age! So, we suggest making the very most of this traditional fisherman’s town by starting at least one day of your holiday watching the sunrise on the beach, followed by the sunset at night. Or, why not relax on the terrace and watch the stars shine in the clear sky.
For more fantastic options for self-catering accommodation in Hope Cove, click here to browse all our Hope Cove holiday cottages.
We have over 450 holiday throughout South Devon, from traditional beach cottages with beautiful sea views to large properties that ooze luxury. So, whether you’re looking for a home from home for annual family holidays or a special romantic getaway, we have a variety of properties to suit your holiday requirements. We understand that sometimes, no holiday is complete without your canine companion, that’s why we offer a variety of dog-friendly properties, including dog-friendly beach breaks – we can hear tails waggling already!