The traditional fishing town of Brixham is tucked away in the green hills of South Devon, along the spectacular...
Nestled between Salcombe to the east and Thurlestone to the west, Hope Cove is a small seaside village that rests in the sanctuary of Bolt Tail in the arc of Bigbury Bay – it’s regarded as the hidden jewel of South Devon, and once you’ve become privy to it’s magic this is easy to see why!
A place of childhood dreams, Hope Cove enjoys sheltered sandy beaches, safe bathing waters, and thatched cottages dressed in pastel hues, and the laid back, welcoming atmosphere makes it the perfect place for a coastal escape. What was once a thriving fishing village, Hope Cove is now devoted to a relaxed style of tourism, and the area lies within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Regardless of whether you want to feast on sumptuous food, explore sandy beaches, navigate the coastline by water, or hike the South West Coast Path, there is something for everyone in this popular South Devon village. Find out more about Hope Cove in our comprehensive village guide.
Hope Cove consists of two ‘villages’, Inner Hope, where the old lifeboat station and slipway provide boat access to the beach, and Outer Hope, which provides access to Harbour Beach and Mouthwell Sands, and as such, the geography of the village means that there are two wonderful beaches to enjoy. Both areas are just a short distance from each other and are easily accessible, so it’s well worth exploring everywhere if you can. With seasonal lifeguards and water quality designated as excellent by the Environment Agency, Hope Cove’s beaches are great for families to visit for a safe swim or paddle…
Harbour Beach enjoys views over Bolt Tail, and is backed by high cliffs providing almost direct access to the coastal path that leads up to Bolt Tail, and onwards to Salcombe. It’s a wide sandy beach, at low tide especially, and is perfect for rock pooling and sandcastle building. At high tide, children love to jump off the harbour wall – please don’t try this at any other time as the water is too shallow and could cause injury. Boats are kept on Harbour Beach during the summer season, so expect to find trailers being pushed up and down the beach, and on calm days, sailing vessels of all shapes and sizes moor up and relax in the tranquil, sheltered bay.
Mouthwell Sands buzzes with holiday makers during the summer, and the mix of sand and rocky areas make it the perfect spot for sandcastles and sunbathing, as well as exploring the rockpools for sea life. What’s more, a stream runs down the beach, making it a popular spot for children who love spending hours building dams! Mouthwell Sands is extremely sheltered, and provides a great swimming area, and the car park is just a stone’s throw from the slipway that leads onto the beach.
Hope Cove is a popular spot for those with canine companions, not just because of the large beaches but also because of the direct access to the South West Coast Path, providing an array of walking routes. Harbour Beach is dog friendly all year – dogs must be kept on leads, and it is worth noting that this restriction is strictly monitored. Mouthwell Sands enforces a seasonal dog ban from May through until September, but outside of this period, they can explore freely off the lead. For more information on the best beaches for you and your four legged friend to explore, read our guide to dog friendly beaches in South Devon.
Hope Cove boasts excellent facilities, and modestly nestled between the village beaches you will find the Hope Post Office and Stores. Open daily from 8am, it’s extremely well stocked with a fresh bakery and a wide selection of food, and best of all, an array of locally made ice cream. You will find everything you need for a day out, so there’s no need to worry if you run low on supplies or decide to watch the sunset and opt for a picnic tea on the beach. For the creative souls, the village is also home to the small and quirky Hope Cove Gallery showcasing art from all over Devon, with a particular focus on work produced in the South.
From an old fisherman’s pub to a thriving beach cafe, family run eateries, and even private pods nestled on the cliffside, you’re well and truly spoilt for choice with regard to places to eat and drink at Hope Cove. As you would expect, the food is always fresh, locally sourced and the menus heavily focus on the daily catch and seafood specials – lobster, crab and fresh fish frequent, as do the favourite British seaside staple of fish and chips. Many of the establishments also offer a takeaway service, which is handy if you want to stay on the sandy shores. Below (in no particular order!) we’ve detailed a selection of our favourite pubs and restaurants in Hope Cove…
The Hope and Anchor is a family friendly establishment that has retained many traditional features in the original pub area, whilst the upstairs enjoys a contemporary design and a sun trap terrace / decking area that takes in spectacular coastal views. Mussels, devilled whitebait and fresh lobster or crab feature on the menu, and are pulled fresh from the sea, just several metres away!
Situated just 50 yards from the beach, The Cove is a thriving beach cafe, also home to one of the UK’s best craft beer bars. Busy year round, regardless of time or day of the week, it’s a popular place amongst both the local community and visitors. In summer, watch the sunset on the top deck, and in winter, get cosy in front of the log burner and tuck into sumptuous food. There is a big emphasis on fresh food at the cove, and signature dishes include Devon red moules, sizzling fajitas and their renowned fresh seafood platter. The Cove is also a popular music venue, so head there for an evening boogie should the night prevail.
The Cottage Hotel is arguably Hope Cove’s most traditional food establishment, so expect old-fashioned service, comfortable lounges taking in the sea views and delicious food. The hotel has been run by the Ireland family since 1973, and they pride themselves on a personal service remaining key to everything they do. From five course dinners to a Devon cream tea (the proper way!), there is something for everyone.
The Hope Cove Lobster Pod is a bistro that is relatively new to Hope Cove. Situated overlooking both the harbour and beach, expect to enjoy views across Bigbury Bay from the comfort of both indoor and outdoor seating. Perhaps the most unusual, and arguably most popular, are the heated enclosed pods, within which is comfortable seating and tables. These are perfect on a summer evening, and equally so, on wild and windy days where mother nature can stir up quite a spectacle in the water. You can pre-book a pod, which is advisable, especially in the peak summer period. Takeaway meals are also available, as is the ability to purchase uncooked fish should you want to cook at home instead.
A small, boutique hotel by the beach, Hope Cove House is situated in Inner Hope and enjoys far reaching views over Bolt Tail. Family run, this establishment always provides a warm welcome and is a great spot to bunker down after a day at the beach, or a blustery walk on the clifftops. Sandy toes are more than welcome at any time of the year, children and canine companions included – there are few places where you will find a basket of lego, toy cars and a selection of wellies and flip flops on the doorstep. Boasting great coffee and a reputation for fine food, the main living area is open plan, with comfortable sofas and a large log burner, whilst the restaurant layout is clean, simple and fresh. Booking is advised.
Regardless of your preferred beachside past time, you certainly won’t find yourself short of things to do in Hope Cove. For water based enthusiasts, it’s the ultimate playground, with the calm, crystal clear waters providing the perfect environment for sea swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding, and there is a slipway situated at Inner Hope should you want to launch a water based vessel. The coastline surrounding Hope Cove is spectacular, and is peppered with secluded coves and thriving wildlife, best seen when exploring from the water – you may even meet the resident family of seals on your adventures. When conditions allow, and the swell provides, there is a small surfable wave to be found at both of the Hope Cove beaches. On a high tide, children (and adventurous adults!) love to jump from the harbour wall into the water, and you will find a handy ladder to assist with getting back out.
For those who prefer to stay on dry land, Hope Cove is a haven for wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled especially at sunrise and sunset, for you may spot pods of dolphins dancing in the waves. Rockpooling is another popular activity, best on a low tide, the pools are teeming with wildlife and are a great place to spot a variety of crabs and starfish. Hope Cove provides a safe and spacious environment for the classic seaside activities, so expect to find sandcastle building, dam building and family games in abundance.
Just a short drive away are the bustling harbour towns of Dartmouth and Salcombe, both popular options for those who would like to spend a little time exploring further afield. For more inspiration, download our comprehensive guide on Things to do in South Devon.
Every year, throughout the August bank holiday weekend, the village of Hope Cove curates a free festival, and this is one of South Devon’s most anticipated jamborees. Established in 1973, the whole concept of the event was to create a family friendly weekend that wasn’t too dear on parents pockets, so that both locals and visitors alike could enjoy the village and everything it brings! A family friendly event, Hope Cove Weekend is jam packed with good old fashioned fun, so expect an itinerary of children’s races, sandcastle competitions, live music, street entertainment, treasure hunt, land and sea races, and much more! One of the highlights of the weekend are the fireworks on the Saturday night – something not to be missed.
Situated on the South West Coast Path, Hope Cove is a favourite destination for walkers, and enjoys direct access to both coast and countryside from the village itself. Within just a short walk you can reach the beaches of South Milton Sands and Thurlestone Beach, and oppositely, the secluded Soar Mill Cove. For something a little more arduous, navigate the coastal path from Hope Cove to Salcombe, a tough but equally rewarding journey. Should you want just a short stroll, Bolt Tail is a great spot to stretch legs, and the views of Hope Cove at the top are second to none – this dramatic and rugged coastline sharply contrasts the rolling South Devon hills, providing a stunning backdrop, and best of all, you will find many viewpoints and picnic spots on route.
The region of South Devon enjoys miles of footpaths treading spectacular coastline, woodland trails, riverside rambles and rolling countryside, and Hope Cove puts you in the heart of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. At Coast & Country Cottages we love walking, so much so, we’ve created a comprehensive South Devon walking guide – download it for more inspiration.
This stretch of the South Devon coastline is a paradise for beach lover’s and boasts and boasts a wealth of secluded coves and large sandy expanses. South Milton Sands, Bantham Beach and Soar Mill Cove are just a few of the popular destinations amongst those visiting the area, all of which are just a short distance away, by foot or by car. Oppositely, and a little further afield, the shingle shores of Hallsands, Beesands and Slapton Sands offer a different experience entirely. At Coast & Country Cottages we love the beach, and as such, we’ve curated a comprehensive collection of content that covers all of South Devon’s sandy beaches, shingle bays and secluded coves. Read through our beach related blog posts for the full lowdown.
This popular South Devon village is nestled between Salcombe to the east, and Thurlestone to the west and lies in the shelter of Bolt Tail, within the wide arc of Bigbury Bay. For sat nav users, the postcode TQ7 3HJ takes you to the largest car park adjacent to the beach in Outer Hope.
For a small, sleepy fishing village, the parking facilities at Hope Cove are substantial. You will find a large car park by Mouthwell Sands, and council run layby parking at Inner Hope. Charges apply to both car parks, year round. Additional road parking is found throughout the village, and should you choose to use this, please do so with respect to the residents and other road users.
Our Hope Cove holiday cottages are ideally located to really maximise the coastal living lifestyle. From traditional fishing coastal cottages just a stone’s throw from the beach to large properties boasting sweeping sea views, our Hope Cove holiday cottages suit every size, taste and budget. What’s more, we have a number of dog friendly properties in the village, so you can easily bring your four legged friend on your break.