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As well as boasting unforgettable scenery, plenty of space for sunbathing and building sandcastles, plus all the watersports facilities you could want, South Devon’s beaches are also some of the best places to head for tasty local food and drink. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to the top 10 South Devon beach cafés.
Whether you want to combine a coastal walk with an al fresco lunch, start your day at the beach with a hearty seaside breakfast or just pick up an ice cream cone, these beachside cafés and restaurants all offer something special.
Here, in no particular order, are our top 10 South Devon beach cafés chosen for their atmosphere, quality of cuisine and special views…
Making the most of the fantastic produce available in Devon, the Gastro Bus began life as a mobile al fresco eatery that would park up by stunning Bantham Beach during the summer. They’ve since added a second Gastro Bus at Thurlestone Sands but the basic idea has remained the same. At each site, weather permitting, patrons are treated to home-baked bread and cakes, Devon-roasted coffee, local fruit juices, hearty butchers’ burgers and much, much more. There are outside tables and chairs, so you can ‘eat in’ or take your food and drinks back to the beach.
Special events, like pizza nights are planned for the summer, so keep an eye on the Gastro Bus website.
Right by the beach at South Milton Sands, the Beachhouse is a stylish seafood café and takeaway, which offers wonderful views of the bay, including iconic Thurlestone Rock. The menu focuses on locally sourced seafood but there are other options too, from breakfast butties to warming soups in the winter.
Located by Mouthwell Sands at Hope Cove, this is an atmospheric, family-run café-bar with a vibrant food menu and regular live music.
Food is served all day, with all menu options available between 12 noon and 9 pm (breakfast from 10 am to 11.45 am). Open all year round, The Cove is a good choice for a quick drink, light bite or meal, or even a lively night out with friends. Recently, they have installed a quirky pizza bar, using parts of an old camper van, where waiters and waitresses can deliver your pizza from the oven to your table. However, if you would prefer to eat on the beach, you can get your order to takeaway. Hope Cove is one of the best viewing points in South Devon to watch the sunset, so we highly recommend indulging on the beach on warmer evenings.
The “lobster pods” are one the latest foodie editions to South Devon. Located just above the beach at Inner Hope, the glass pods look out to sea, the sands below, and across the rolling countryside at Bolt Tail. The pods rotate, have Bluetooth sound systems and heating, which make for a unique fun-filled experience for up to 8-10 people dependent on the pod. Choose from seafood sharing platers, lobster, pizzas, the fish of the day and so much more, most of which you can choose from their takeaway menu too.
Situated on South Sands beach, next door to Sea Kayak Salcombe, Bo’s Beach Café is the perfect place to visit when you want to explore the water and indulge in delicious food. The building used to be an old Salcombe lifeboat house, and the slipway is now used for outdoor seating, so you really couldn’t sit any closer to the sea! If it’s great paninis, coffee, pizzas and cakes that you’re looking for, in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, then Bo’s Beach Café is the place to visit.
A stone’s throw from the beach at beautiful North Sands, around a mile from Salcombe, the Winking Prawn is a lively and stylish café-restaurant with plenty of inside and outside seating, fantastic views and above all excellent food.
The Winking Prawn tends to stay busy throughout the year, even while the nearby beach is relatively quiet. Here they serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, beers, wines, coffees, cakes and ice creams, and have a daily barbecue during the summer (dependent on weather). For breakfast, you can choose the buffet option, enjoying all-you-can-eat sausages, bacon, mushrooms and all the English breakfast classics you’d expect.
Known locally as ‘The Shack’, Britannia @ The Beach is a rustic beach café-restaurant and takeaway, a traditional fishmonger and even a village shop. Right by the long, dog-friendly shingle beach at Beesands, this often-busy establishment is a good choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner (opening times change with the seasons).
Being an al fresco eatery, albeit undercover, Britannia @ The Beach is especially nice if you want to feel like you’re still at the beach, enjoying the fresh air and sea view as you tuck into a tasty meal. Most of their ingredients are sourced from the South Hams, including seafood from Start Bay itself.
Currently, Britannia @ The Beach is undergoing renovations, however they hope to open again soon. Keep up to date with opening times, or to read their menu, on their website.
Seabreeze Café is a cosy and friendly seaside eatery towards the southern tip of Slapton Sands at Torcross. A minute or two’s walk from the Start Bay Inn and the Boathouse Restaurant, this café is in a pleasantly tranquil spot just a little out of the way from the busiest part of the beach.
From tasty traditional cream teas to flavoursome soups, there are plenty of irresistible options for breakfast or lunch, making it a favourite amongst our locally based team. There are indoor and outdoor tables, some of which have parasols. Sea Breeze opens every day in the summer (weekends only during the winter).
Tucked away, you almost wouldn’t realise The Lime Coffee Co. was there, that’s why we had to let you in on our secret! Nestled half way along the beach at Slapton sits Strete Gate, where you will happily stumble upon The Lime Coffee Co. van, serving freshly ground coffee and locally sourced cakes and pastries (including delicious gluten free bakes).
Blue Flag-awarded Blackpool Sands is one of the most popular beaches in South Devon.
Known for its stunning scenery and fantastic facilities, the beach is also popular all year round in part because of the Venus Café and Takeaway, which serves excellent homemade snacks and meals. Right at the edge of the beach, the café has inside and outside seating, and is often bustling even during the colder months, such is its fantastic reputation.
For help discovering more fantastic places to eat in the local area, read our blog finding the best pub food in South Devon. Or, for the best takeaway seafood, read our article on the best fish and chips in Devon. Wishing to cook up a storm and impress your loved ones? Read our top tips to planning the perfect South Devon barbecue.
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