10 Salcombe attractions for an unforgettable break

August 15th, 2016 | By Ross Purdy

Wondering how to spend your days whilst on holiday in Salcombe? We’ve put together a quick list of 10 fantastic Salcombe attractions to help you plan a fun-filled break.

If you like to get out and about on holiday, you can also find out more about our stunning region with this article on reasons to visit South Devon.


Sitting high over Salcombe, the view from Overbecks House and Gardens is as impressive as the property itself. Now run by the National Trust, Overbecks is one of the most popular Salcombe attractions in our list. The quirky natural history and art exhibitions, combined with the unique assemblage of plants from around the world, are a fitting tribute to the eccentric scientist and inventor, Otto Overbeck (1860 – 1937).

Overbeck's HouseFind out more about Overbeck’s life and work as you explore the house and grounds, which you’ll find close to South Sands, a little over a mile from the centre of Salcombe.

Whitestrand Boat Hire

Explore the beautiful Kingsbridge Estuary on a self-drive boat with Whitestrand Boat Hire. They’ll show you the ropes so you don’t need any experience to take the wheel of a range of vessels, from open fishercraft to cabin cruisers. The company also offers mackerel fishing trips if you’d rather leave the piloting to someone else.

Salcombe Dinghy Sailing

Ross Crook from Salcombe Dinghy Sailing, one of the best Salcombe attractions for budding sailors

Dinghies are ideal for sailing beginners, and with Salcombe Dinghy Sailing you can (literally) learn the ropes under the watchful eye of Ross Crook, an RYA Chief Instructor, or even hire a dinghy to take out yourself (experience permitting).

Wondering how to take your first step? We asked Ross for some first-time sailing tips here.

Salcombe Maritime Museum

Salcombe’s little museum packs in plenty of interest for lovers of all things maritime. Through paintings, photographs, models and other artefacts, visitors can learn about Salcombe’s links with shipping and the sea, from ancient times all the way to the Second World War.

Paper Bird Island

Paper Bird Island in SalcombeFor creative kids and families keen to explore their artistic sides, Paper Bird Island is the perfect Salcombe attraction.

Paint papier mache animal shapes, boxes and hanging bird greeting cards in a fun and friendly atmosphere, or sign up to a workshop for a more structured session.

Salcombe Boat Hire

Yet more options for getting on the water are provided by Salcombe Boat Hire, who offer self-drive 12ft-16ft boats, all driven by steering wheels and suitable for beginners. They’ll provide you with lifejacks, instructions and a chart of the estuary so you can find your way around.

Sea Kayak Salcombe

Sea Kayak SalcombeWould you prefer to be out exploring the water under your own steam? Sea Kayak Salcombe, based at South Sands, will either train you up, take you on a tour, or let you hire a sea kayak so you can discover the Estuary yourself.

Beautiful beaches

South Sands, Salcombe - beach cafe

We’ve grouped them together here, but each of the town’s beautiful beaches really belongs on this list of Salcombe attractions in its own right. Salcombe’s beaches include North Sands and South Sands, both within easy walking distance of the centre of the town, as well as East Portlemouth Beach and Millbay which are easily reachable via the passenger ferry.

Enjoy delicious food by the beach at Venus Takeaway (East Portlemouth beach), the Winking Prawn (North Sands) or Bo’s Beach Café (South Sands) after your day of building sandcastles, sunbathing and swimming.

Sea N Shore

Hungry for even more ways to enjoy the clear blue waters of the estuary? Sea N Shore could be the Salcombe attraction for you, with their powerboat training, rib rides, water-skiing and wakeboarding sessions, banana boat rides, wildlife watching trips and more.

The South West Coast Path

Walking tips in South DevonSalcombe sits on a beautiful section of the South West Coast Path, with stunning scenery in both directions. An eastward hike (after taking the passenger ferry) will take you to Gara Rock beach, Prawle Point and onward to the rugged charm of Start Point and its iconic lighthouse. A south-westerly walk will lead you to Starehole Bay, Soar Mill Cove and you could even make it all the way to Hope Cove’s beaches and beyond (stamina and sturdy footwear are required!)

Cranch’s Sweet Shop

Little brings out the nostalgia in all of us like a trip to a traditional sweet shop. At Cranch’s Sweet Shop, jars of colourful, traditional sweets adorn the shelves – the same varieties that caused most of us to part with so much of our pocket money as youngsters. While you’re in Salcombe, don’t forget to try our other local specialities – Devon fudge, Salcombe Dairy Ice-cream and Salcombe crab are all a must (but perhaps not in that order!)

Cranch's sweet shopCranch’s Sweet Shop is certainly the most nostalgic of Salcombe attractions, as well as being one of the best places to go to pick up some gratefully-received souvenirs!

For more information about Salcombe attractions, check out our blog posts about this special South Devon town.

Stay in Salcombe to make the most of these top attractions

Whether you love walking, watersports, wining and dining or all of these, why not book a holiday in Salcombe and spend your week enjoying the best that South Devon has to offer. Choose from around 150 stunning Salcombe holiday homes with Coast & Country Cottages. Like Salcombe itself, we have accommodation options to suit everyone, from large groups to young families and couples.