7 special South Devon cafés by the beach

By Ross Purdy on June 6, 2017

The Winking Prawn in Salcombe


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.


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 café-restaurants all offer something special.

Here are our top seven beach cafés in South Devon, chosen for their atmosphere, quality of cuisine and special views.

Do you already have a favourite beach café? Vote in our poll!

1. Britannia @ the Beach (Beesands)

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.

2. Venus Café (Blackpool Sands)

Venus Cafe at Blackpool Sands

Blue Flag-awarded Blackpool Sands is one of the most popular beaches in South Devon (actually #2 according to our ongoing poll – vote for your favourite here.)

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.

See menus, photos and more on the Venus website.

3. The Winking Prawn (North Sands)

The Winking Prawn in Salcombe

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.

Like Blackpool Sands’ Venus Café, 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. 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.

Find out more about the Winking Prawn.

According to our current poll, the Winking Prawn is Salcombe’s most popular café? Have you voted for your favourite? Visit this blog article to choose your favourite café in Salcombe.

4. Gastro Bus (Bantham & Thurlestone)

The Gastrobus at Bantham

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 ‘eat in’ or take your food and drinks back to the beach.

Special events, like curry nights and acoustic performances, are planned for the summer, so keep an eye on the Gastro Bus website.

5. Sea Breeze (Torcross)

Sea Breeze 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).

For opening times and more, see the Sea Breeze website.

6. The Beach House (South Milton Sands)

The view from a picnic table at South Milton Sands

Right by the beach at South Milton Sands, the Beach House 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.

See more on the Beach House website.

7. The Cove (Hope Cove)

Located by Mouthwell Sands at Hope Cove, this is an atmospheric, family-run café-bar with regular events like live music, mini-festivals and special offers.

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.

East Portlemouth beachFind out more about South Devon’s best beaches in our South Devon Beach Bible.

Take a break in stunning South Devon, home to fantastic beaches, abundant rustic cafés, charming gastro-pubs and elegant restaurants. Explore our range of almost 400 holiday homes today.