An icy Christmas Day swim in South Devon has been a tradition for some time now, but in the...
South Sands’ proximity to Salcombe only partly explains its popularity – the rest of it is down to its beautiful surroundings, crystal-clear waters and excellent facilities, not to mention the fine sand that makes South Sands ideal for kids making sandcastles.
At only a few hundred metres long, you’d be surprised at the range of activities provided. Sea Kayak Salcombe is based at South Sands, giving you the opportunity to hire sea kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, wetsuits and buoyancy aids. They also provide kayaking courses and clinics to help you whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to upgrade your skills.
Next door you’ll find Bo’s Beach Café, a popular place to pick up a coffee or a quick bite to eat. This is also the place to go for beach accessories, toys and so on.
A stone’s throw from the beach, Beachside restaurant, part of the South Sands Hotel complex, is open to residents and non-residents seven days a week. Here you can order locally sourced dishes, including lots of seafood options, and there’s also a children’s menu.
The privately-owned car park accommodates around 30 cars and sits about 50 metres from the beach. Access to the level beach is via a concrete ramp or small set of steps, making South Sands one of the more accessible beaches in the South Devon area.
If you’re staying in central Salcombe, hop on board the South Sands Ferry, which take you directly from Whitestrand Quay to the beach – a fun and picturesque experience for all, the family… after all when do you normally get the chance to jump aboard a sea tractor!
There is limited parking (privately owned) at South Sands. However, there is a National Trust car park nearby (about five minutes on foot). As parking is limited, if you’re visiting in the summer, consider leaving your car in Salcombe and either walking or taking the passenger ferry from Whitestrand Quay. North Sands Car Park (managed by South Hams District Council) is half a mile away along Cliff Road.
Sat nav users, use the postcode TQ8 8LH for South Sands
South Sands is 1.5 miles from Salcombe town centre.
1. Join Sandhills Road from either Main Road or Bennet Road. (Following Devon Road south will take you on to Main Road. Turn left onto Main Road and then take the first right for Sandills Road.)
2. Follow Sandhills Road as it loops downhill. At the bottom, where you are directed to turn left onto Beadon Road, you’ll see North Sands beach ahead of you.
3. At the end of Beadon Road, turn right onto Cliff Road.
4. Stay on this narrow road, keeping to the left when the road forks (signposted to South Sands).
5. After a few hundred metres, you’ll arrive at South Sands beach.
Dartmouth is a little over 20 miles from South Sands.
1. Leave Dartmouth on the A3122, going straight on at the roundabout (Townstall Road).
2. After seven miles you will come to a T-junction by a garage. Turn left, joining the A381.
3. Turn right at the roundabout to stay on the A381.
4. Turn right at the next roundabout, staying on the A381.
5. You’ll pass through the village of Churchstow and after that you’ll reach a roundabout. Turn left.
6. Turn right at the T-junction, staying on the A381. You’ll come to the village of Malborough.
7. Pass through the village and continue straight until you reach Salcombe. Stay on this road as Salcombe Road becomes Main Road.
8. You’ll come to a crossroads with a brown sign that points right for North Sands and South Sands. Take this right onto Sandhills Road.
9. Follow Sandhills Road as it loops downhill. At the bottom, when you turn left onto Beadon Road, you’ll see North Sands beach ahead of you.
10. At the end of Beadon Road, turn right.
11. Stay on this narrow road, keeping to the left when the road forks (signposted to South Sands).
12. After a few hundred metres, you’ll arrive at South Sands beach.
The nearest bus stop is Shadycombe Road in Salcombe, around 1.5 miles from South Sands. The Tally Ho 606 service runs from Kingsbridge to Salcombe from Monday to Saturday.
Once in Salcombe, either head to Whitestrand Quay to board the seasonal South Sands ferry or walk.
South Sands is easily walkable from Salcombe town centre. It is about 1.5 miles from Fore Street. Continue south down Fore Street until it becomes Cliff Road, and follow this winding coastal road until you pass North Sands on your left. Follow the road around to the right, following the sign for South Sands and Overbecks.
The road will then wind back on itself as you climb the hill. Stay on Cliff Road until you come back down the hill and see South Sands beach appear in front of you.
Make the journey part of a fun day at South Sands by travelling from Whitestrand Quay on the colourful passenger ferry.
Children under 3: Free
Children 3 to 16 years old: £2.90
In 2019, the ferry will run from Saturday 30th March to the 2nd November 2019 (subject to sea and weather conditions). The first trip from Salcombe is at 9:45 am and then every 30 minutes until 5.15 pm (except at 1.15 pm).
Departing South Sands, the first ferry leaves at 10 am then sails every half hour until 5.30 pm (except 1.30 pm).
The exceptions are:
• During August, an extra sailing is introduced, meaning the last departure from Salcombe will be at 5.45 pm and the last from South Sands at 6 pm.
• During October, the last sailing from Salcombe will be at 4.45 pm, and the last from South Sands will be 5 pm.
Rent a boat from Whitestrand Boat hire, based in central Salcombe, to explore the estuary and visit South Sands beach. Choose from a Cap 400, Cap 4700, Krüger Cuddy or Fishercraft, which you can hire for one hour, four hours, by the day or on a week-long basis.
Yes, dogs are welcome seasonally from November to March.
• Parking (limited)
• Sea Kayak Salcombe
• Bo’s Beach Café
• South Sands Hotel
• Adventure South
• The South Sands Ferry
South Sands’ golden beach and clear waters make this stretch of coastline ideal for traditional family beach activities like sandcastle-building and swimming.
If you would like to take to the water, Sea Kayak Salcombe, based at South Sands, offer watersports equipment for hire as well as guided kayak tours and lessons to explore Salcombe Estuary.
Want to raise your adrenaline and add a thrilling experience to your holiday agenda? Adventure South offer group activities, such as coasteering, high-speed rib rides and donut rides that are perfect for a birthday bash in South Devon. Or, if you would prefer to keep your feet on land then tackle their outdoor team challenge ‘Escape The Hills’ – think an escape room in a scenic countryside setting just behind the beach at South Sands.
Once the old Salcombe life boat house, and now a bustling relaxed beach café serving delicious coffee, tea, cakes and light lunches, Bo’s Beach Café is the ideal place for a seaside lunch. Pick up a crab sandwich, warm panini, pizza or ice cream and enjoy the fantastic scenery.
The local area is a haven for freshly picked foraged goods, with each season offering a range of delicious wild produce. At the South Sands Hotel, these tasty ingredients such as wild garlic and rock samphire, are cherished in their elegantly crafted dishes. Situated on the waterfront, why not try famous local seafood as you enjoy the coastal view?
Sea air and salty hair, toes nestled in the sand, and the sun blanketing over you… well, we can’t blame you for wanting to spend every second in beach bliss! Don’t worry about packing up your beach towels, relax on the sand and feed rumbling tums with a delicious South Devon picnic.
Jamie Rogers is an esteemed chef in the local area, who you may recognise from Masterchef: The Professionals. After working for famous chefs such as Michael Caines, and some of the most popular eateries in South Devon, he has now opened his very own restaurant named ‘Twenty Seven’ in Kingsbridge. So, when we found out that Jamie was launching Picnics by Jamie at Salcombe Crabfest 2019, we were thrilled! Their range offer different picnic spreads, that will be boxed and delivered to your holiday home in Salcombe. So, with the murmurs of ‘you need to try this crab pasty’ and with people polishing off their stand rapidly at Crabfest, it’s safe to say that you need to be adding a crab pasty to your choice of picnic… and where better to treat yourself to tasty shellfish treats than on the beach.
The Salcombe Delicatessen is the perfect place to prepare a feast of delicious local products to fill your picnic basket up to the brim. Located at the top of Fore Street in Salcombe, why not stop-off on route to South Sands if you’re staying in the town centre? From salads to sandwiches, nibbles and pasties, and all the added extras to make your lunch a real hit, you can find everything you could need at this popular deli… including ice cream to eat on your way to the beach! We highly recommend that no matter what you choose, to purchase a jar of the South Devon Chilli Farm’s chilli jam – not only does it go with almost everything in the deli, but you’ll be left wondering why you’ve never had it before (yes, it’s that good!).
There are so many fantastic places to walk to from South Sands, including The Winking Prawn at North Sands, tropical gardens at Overbeck’s, a secluded walkers hut at East Soar Farm, restaurants on clifftops at Gara Rock and Bolberry, lobster pods at Hope Cove, plus secret bays dotted all around the coast path.
By exploring the area by foot, you come across so many beautiful hidden places that you wouldn’t find by car, that’s why we love walking the South West Coast Path. To make sure you can fit in plenty of adventures on your holiday, our team have put together a selection of guided walking routes, so you can find some of our favourite ‘local loves’ around the area…
• South Sands to the Winking Prawn at North Sands
• South Sands to Bolt Head
•South Sands to Hope Cove
North Sands is a similarly popular and unspoilt sandy cove, half a mile north towards Salcombe, where you can eat at The Winking prawn, a fun-filled family restaurant. East Portlemouth beach, which faces Salcombe across the estuary, is slightly quieter but similarly beautiful, and served by a popular Venus Takeaway.
Sitting happily on the clifftops at South Sands, 4 Bolt Head boasts elevated views of the stunning Salcombe Estuary. This two bedroom property benefits from a light and airy open-plan kitchen, dining and living room, with French doors that lead out to a beautiful balcony. Start and end your day relaxing in the enviable outdoor area, where the beautiful vista inspires you to have a coastal adventure! After salt-licked days spent on the sea, you can enjoy relaxing with loved ones in the comfort of your holiday home.
Treetops is ideally located within a five-minute walk of South Sands beach, perfect for dogs! Featuring an extensive garden, your four-legged friend can have lots of fun running around the grounds. Decorated with traditional interiors, including a warming wood-burning stove, this large property doesn’t compromise on cosy finishings – perfect after a brisk beach walk!