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Within this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you can explore miles of unbroken trail along the South West Coast Path, enjoying spectacular views that take in iconic sights such as Burgh Island and Start Point. If you love being by the water, why not escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life in a coastal village like Thurlestone, Beesands, Hallsands, Hope Cove or Torcross, where the quality of the accommodation matches the beauty of the backdrop?
Family-friendly attractions, from steam railways and ferry trips to petting zoos and arts-and-crafts centres, make South Devon a great choice for those bringing children. Training and equipment are also available in a range of locations for budding surfers, kayakers, Stand-Up Paddleboarders, sailors, and other adventurous visitors.
South Devon is also a top food and drink destination, replete with fantastic bakeries and cafés, traditional thatch-roofed pubs, elegant restaurants, and of course excellent fish and chips throughout the region. For more hands-on experiences, there’s wine tasting at Sharpham Vineyard, or how about manning your own copper still at Salcombe Gin School?
Despite its tranquil reputation, South Devon loves to put on a party, so why not time your visit around a fun and friendly local event? Our annual regattas and festivals celebrate sailing, rowing and maritime culture, live music, local food, arts and crafts, and everything else that makes South Devon special.
Choose from an extensive range of accommodation including many dog-friendly holiday homes, with ideal options for couples, families, friends, and individuals, that range from cosy apartments to substantial detached houses.
The circular walk around the plateau of nearby Bolberry Down offers easy walking, suitable for most pushchairs. This walk is favoured by many locals and visitors to the Salcombe area, as it offers an easy way to enjoy some spectacular views from the South West Coast Path. The dramatic coastline contrasts with the gentle South Hams hills to create an unforgettable backdrop to your walk.
S W Coast Path
Bumble is a popular soft play centre situated on Fore Street (Kingsbridge’s high street). Enjoy a snack with your tea, coffee or super-deluxe hot chocolate while the kids let off steam.
111 Fore St, Kingsbridge TQ7 1AB
No family day in Salcombe is complete without a spot of crabbing off the harbour wall. Younger kids often stay transfixed for hours, buzzing with excitement after every catch, and checking back every few seconds to ensure their parents hadn’t missed their achievements!
The picturesque harbour town of Dartmouth is just a short drive away and no trip to Start Bay would be complete without visiting this historic gem. Explore the boutique shops and galleries, fantastic pubs, cafés and restaurants, treat yourself to a river cruise or take a ride on the Dartmouth Steam Railway.
600-year-old Dartmouth Castle, now managed by English Heritage, is one of three such fortresses within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Take an atmospheric tour of the castle and find out more about its place in the story of this historic harbour town.
Dartmouth Steam Railway departs from Kingswear, a quick hop on the passenger ferry from Dartmouth Harbour. These nostalgic trains take passengers on a picturesque journey, first alongside the River Dart and then by the sea, to the traditional holiday destination of Paignton.
East Soar Outdoor Experience is a National Trust farm situated on the headland above picturesque Salcombe. The location is perfectly suited for rangers, in need of breathtaking views and challenging walks, or to provide young children with an outdoor educational experience.
East Soar Walkers Hut or The Tea Barn
East Farm East Soar Salcombe, Soar, Kingsbridge TQ7 3DR
A five-mile drive from Hope Cove you’ll find the picturesque harbour town of Salcombe. Explore a unique mix of galleries, shops, delis, pubs and restaurants, or visit one of it’s golden sandy beaches. You’ll also find the luxurious Harbour Hotel spa and a soft-play café, ideal for entertaining children on a rainy day, whilst you enjoy a well-deserved coffee.
Salcombe TQ8 8ES
The special Farmers Markets on the first and third Saturday of every month (9am to 1pm) are certainly not to be missed. Selling everything from locally caught fish, fresh meats served by the farmer who tended their livestock, to freshly baked bread and pastries still warm from the oven.
Kingsbridge Information Centre
The Quay, 1 Fore St, Kingsbridge TQ7 1PG
The former home of Dame Agatha Christie, Greenway was described by the author as ‘the loveliest place on earth.’ Tour the beautifully maintained interior of the house, learn more about Dame Agatha, explore the gardens, enjoy lunch in the café, and appreciate the stunning riverside views.
South Milton Sands sits at the southern end of the beautiful Thurlestone Bay and looks out over the iconic Thurlestone Rock. Kayakers love paddling out to see this unusual rock formation close up and can hire sit-on-top kayaks and stand-up paddlerboards from Surfin’ Sam. You’ll find Surfin’ Sam in the National Trust car park just behind the beach.
After a few fun-packed hours in the great outdoors, Kidz & Co is the perfect place to recuperate while the little ones carry on letting off steam. The café is much more than a waiting room for grown-ups: enjoy Cool Beans coffee, Tea Pigs tea or a local juice, along with a homemade bite to eat.
Standing tall over South Sands, Overbeck’s House is a National Trust property once owned by the eccentric scientist and inventor, Otto Overbeck. Explore unique natural history and art collections, wander through the unique gardens, enjoy stunning elevated views and take the load off at the café.
Kids can get creative and have fun at this welcoming art space, where they can use crayons, watercolour paint, coloured pens and glitter to decorate papier mâché boxes, animal shapes and greeting cards. Booking is advisable on rainy days in the holiday season.
This animal attraction near Buckfastleigh is ideal for families with young children. With enough activities and adorable animals to amuse little ones without overwhelming them, Pennywell Farm offers numerous opportunities to pet, stroke and cuddle a range of friendly critters.
The rockpools, which are numerous at Harbour Beach in Hope Cove, make this beach a good spot for scouring the shoreline for creepie-crawlies with the kids. On your summer holiday, you could be exploring the rockpools in Hope Cove with your little ones, trying your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or building sandcastles – the list goes on.
Kingsbridge TQ7 3HW
Led by friendly and experienced instructors, Ross and Zoe Crook, Salcombe Dinghy Sailing provides all-year-round expert tuition for learners of all levels, as well as sailing boat hire for those with sufficient skills.
See the wooded banks and sparkling waters of the River Dart and its pretty creeks from the best angle possible, by heading out on a kayaking expedition with Sea Kayak Devon, based in Dartmouth. You can arrange both guided tours and structured courses with their experienced instructors.
From coasteering to cruises up the Salcombe Estuary, Sea N Shore offers an extensive range of fun waterborne activities under specialist guidance. Learn to pilot a powerboat, take a slow or speedy rib ride, or how about waterskiing or wakeboarding? The choice is yours!
Sharpham has won numerous awards for its fruity wines, made from grapes raised on the south-facing slopes of the River Dart near Ashprington. Take a tasting tour, sit down for a meal in the Vineyard Kitchen and don’t forget to stock up on a few bottles to take home!
Salcombe boasts dozens of boutique clothes shops, an array of unique art galleries, gift shops, delis and more. Get the ‘Salcombe look’, take home a unique painting or just pick up some homemade treats, from clotted cream fudge to crab sandwiches, our most celebrated local delicacy.
When viewed from above the unusual layout of the Slapton Ley Nature Reserve is truly impressive. The largest natural lake in south-west England, an amazingly narrow bar separates the fresh water from the salty sea. Housing an impressive array of wildlife, this unique and precious habitat is well worth a visit.
Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve
Slapton Ley Field Centre, Sands Rd, Kingsbridge TQ7 2QP
Make the short trip out to Stokeley Farm shop, begin your day with a hearty ‘farmer’s breakfast’ in the onsite café, then browse the locally-sourced offerings of the garden centre. With an onsite deli, butchers and country farm shop, why not stock up on some locally produced delicacies and enjoy indulging in a taste of the South West during your stay?
Stokeley Farm Shop
Stokeley Barton Farm, Kingsbridge TQ7 2SE
Kingsbridge is home to the Art Café, where kids can paint a selection of ceramics that will be fired and made available to pick up later. Centrally located, this is great for children and adults alike. Enjoy getting creative with your friends or family while you enjoy a snack or a coffee.
The Art Cafe
33 Fore St, Kingsbridge TQ7 1PG
The Kingswear Castle Paddle Steamer is one of many vessels providing scenic cruises from Dartmouth. Discover the River Dart on the oldest coal-fired vessel of its kind still operational in the UK, appreciating a succession of stunning views all the way to the medieval town of Totnes.
The South Devon Chilli Farm in Loddiswell is the region’s hottest attraction, ideal for those looking to spice up their holiday with a show tunnel chilli tour, a few items from the gift shop, or a spicy bite at the colourful café.
Dartmouth is great for both intrepid hikers and those who prefer a gentle stroll to a nice pub. Walk to Blackpool Sands, along the Dart to Greenway, or start from Kingswear and trek to Brixham. Look out for marine wildlife such as seals, porpoises, dolphins and even occasionally whales!
Directly located on the South West Coast Path, Hope Cove is the ideal starting point for a leisurely stroll to nearby South Milton Sands, or a more adventurous hike to take in the spectacular views from the stunning rugged coastline that the area has to offer.
S W Coast Path
Kingsbridge TQ7 3HP
Hit The Fairways at Thurlestone Golf Club. Golfers are in for a treat at Thurlestone Golf Club that runs along the cliffs and offers a great game to novices and pros alike. The views are simply amazing, but keep your eye on the ball or it may end up in the sea! If golf isn’t your thing, the club also offers 12 tennis courts for you to enjoy.
Thurlestone Golf Course
Kingsbridge TQ7 3NZ
Besides taking in the fresh sea air, sweeping views and rewarding walks, another way to relax in Thurlestone is to book some time at the luxury Thurlestone Voyage Spa. A great way to balance activity and relaxation any time of the year.
Thurlestone, Kingsbridge TQ7 3NN
Whether you’re looking for an activity for all the family, as a couple, or with friends, stand-up paddleboarding is accessible for all. Triocean Surf is the largest retailer of stand-up paddle boards (SUP’s) in South Devon, located two miles from Bantham Beach, one of Devon’s premier surf spots with the picturesque Kingsbridge-Salcombe Estuary close by.
Churchstow, Kingsbridge TQ7 3QH
Woodlands near Dartmouth is Devon’s largest family theme park, with extensive indoor and outdoor areas making it suitable for all weathers. During the holidays, there are extra activities and performances to amuse the kids, from jugglers to song-and-dance troupes.
Bantham Beach is Devon’s top surfing spot, but its wide expanse of sand, the great food at the Gastro Bus and stunning views of Burgh Island mean it’s not only beloved by surfers. You’re sure to love Bantham beach whether you want to swim, surf, sunbathe or build sandcastles with the kids.
The traditional seaside fishing village of Beesands is home to a 1.5 mile fine shingle beach, beloved by dog walkers, anglers and other beachgoers. South of Slapton Sands in Start Bay, Beesands is an ideal place to stop on the coast path for a hearty bite at Britannia @ The Beach or the Cricket Inn.
Across the River Avon from Bantham Beach is Bigbury-On-Sea, another fantastic sandy beach, which is linked via a tidal land bridge to Burgh Island. Home to a Venus Café & Takeaway plus Discovery Surf School offering tuition and board hire, Bigbury-On-Sea rivals Bantham as a top surfing location.
This Blue Flag-awarded fine shingle beach, just four miles from Dartmouth, offers stunning views, a pristine environment and fantastic facilities. These include the excellent beachside Venus Café, watersports equipment hire, children’s sandpits and outdoor showers for washing wetsuits.
Next to Dartmouth Castle are two little beaches, ideal for rockpooling, beachcombing or taking a break from your walk along the South West Coast Path. Another ‘secret’ beach, Compass Cove, is just half a mile further on foot.
Hop over on the tiny passenger ferry from Salcombe to East Portlemouth Jetty for a relaxed day at this peaceful sandy beach (where your dog is welcome too!) The Venus Takeaway at East Portlemouth beach and Lollapalooza van at nearby Mill Bay both offer delicious snacks and drinks.
This hidden and secluded spot is a much-loved ͚secret͛ amongst Salcombe residents and visitors. With limited parking available, Gara Rock is accessible by walking just under two miles along the South West Coast Path from East Portlemouth.
Gara Rock beach UK, East Portlemouth, Salcombe TQ8 8PJ
Just over a mile from Start Point Lighthouse Little Hallsands beach is famous for the haunting history of the lost village that once stood alongside it. Although there are no facilities nearby, this unspoilt beach is well worth visiting for excellent dog-friendly walks and beautiful views.
The second of Hope Cove’s two sandy beaches, Harbour beach is great for rockpooling, especially in the busier periods where other better-known beaches fill up. In addition, the kids love to race against the stream to build dams.
Kingsbridge TQ7 3HW
Walk across the wide stretch of beach at East Portlemouth and through woodland paths that reveal charming quiet sandy coves, Smalls and Mill Bay. Mill Bay is the larger of the two coves where you can grab a tasty ice cream from the Lollapalooza van nestled under the trees at the back of the beach. Being tucked behind trees and woodland makes it feel as though you’re on a deserted island.
2 Devon Rd, Salcombe TQ8 8PU
One of Hope Cove’s two beautiful beaches, both popular with visitors. 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. The mix of sand and rocky areas means that Mouthwell Sands in particular is great for sandcastles and sunbathing as well as exploring the rockpools for sea life.
Outer Hope, Hope Cove, Kingsbridge TQ7 3HQ
This unspoilt sandy cove is just a mile’s walk from the centre of Salcombe. Sheltered by the Salcombe Estuary, its calm waters are ideal for young families, and just a stone’s throw away is the stylish Winking Prawn café. North Sands is dog-friendly, so your four-legged friend can join in the fun!
A mile from Blackpool Sands, this three-mile shingle beach is a must visit, particularly for dog owners since four-legged friends are welcome all year. Right by the beach is the Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve, a haven for birdwatchers, a popular pub-restaurant and two enticing cafés.
Only accessible by foot, Soar Mill Cove beach makes a fantastic spot on the South West Coast Path for a picnic, a few hours of paddling or sunbathing, or perhaps just a quick rest on your hike between Salcombe and Hope Cove. What it lacks in facilities it more than makes up in breathtaking natural scenery, unique geology and glorious seclusion.
Soar Mill Cove
Malborough TQ7 3DU
You’ll find South Milton Sands at the southern end of Thurlestone Sands, looking out over the unmistakable arch formation of Thurlestone Rock. This end of the bay is the place to head for excellent facilities, including the popular Beachhouse Café, with its rustic styling and breathtaking views of the bay.
Half a mile from North Sands, South Sands is a similarly picturesque sandy beach. Why not take the colourful South Sands Passenger Ferry to or from Salcombe? South Sands is a beach for all occasions, popular with sunbathers, picnickers, swimmers, kayakers and Stand-Up Paddleboarders alike.
Thurlestone Sands and the conjoining beach, South Milton Sands, look out over a unique arch formation known as Thurlestone Rock. Relax at the Beach House restaurant or with something fresh from the Thurlestone Gastro Bus, as you enjoy glorious views from this dog-friendly bay.
Renowned for its stunning panoramic views over South Milton Sands and the iconic Thurlestone Rock. You can order snacks and drinks to take away or enjoy a full meal in their restaurant, which has an excellent reputation for high-quality, locally-sourced food.
Kingsbridge TQ7 3JY
Café Asia is one of the most popular restaurants in South Devon; whether you eat in or take-away. It is set to tickle the taste buds with its range of pan-Asian dishes using local produce and imported spices. Sit in the tranquil restaurant in a curved booth or take-away to eat in the comfort of your holiday home.
10 Mill St, Kingsbridge TQ7 1ED
The estuary views from this waterside restaurant are hard to beat. The same is true of the cuisine at Dick & Wills, which is ideal for a romantic meal or special occasion. The food is locally sourced but globally inspired – with strong Mediterranean, Asian, North African and Thai influences.
Found in the centre of Outer Hope, the Hope & Anchor serves traditional hearty ‘pub grub’ as well as excellent breakfasts for early-rising visitors. With plenty of seating both inside and out, watch stunning sunsets whilst enjoying a delicious dinner by the sea.
Hope & Anchor
Hope Cove, Kingsbridge TQ7 3HQ
For a lively evening out, the Island Street Bar and Grill is the place to go in Salcombe. With a stylish interior, waterside terrace and varied menu, it’s perfect for a casual dinner with family or friends. There’s twice-weekly live music in the summer, so it’s perfect for after-dinner drinks too.
This south-facing restaurant and bar optimises the amazing views across Bolberry Down towards the sea from inside or out. The locally-sourced food is cooked and presented to the highest of standards. Admire the breathtaking cliff top views from inside the glass fronted restaurant or on a sunny day, bask in the sun with the sea views as a backdrop to your sumptuous lunch or dinner.
Headquartered at Wash Farm near Totnes, Riverford Organic Farms has grown from an almost one-man operation to become a nationwide provider of renowned organic produce. The seasonal dishes at Riverford Field Kitchen, also based on Wash Farm, are sourced from the very fields that surround it.
Another of Mitch Tonks’ restaurants, Rockfish is a casual eatery perhaps best known for its delicious take on fish and chips. While battered cod and all-you-can-eat chips has pride of place on the menu, you’ll find a wide variety of tasty seafood options, all sourced with sustainability in mind.
For a daytime bite, the authentic French coffee shop and bakery, Saveurs is hard to beat. From luxurious vanilla-infused hot chocolates to creamy Croque Madams, the quality of the food and drink will have you coming back time and again.
Take a short drive past Kingsbridge and visit the South Devon Chilli Farm. After featuring on Country File, Gardner’s World and being Jamie Oliver’s chilli grower of choice, this chilli farm has shot to national fame. The farm has a shop and café where you can sample the variety of sauces, preserves and their infamous chilli chocolate and then buy some chilli plants at the shop to take home as a unique memento of your holiday in a Thurlestone cottage.
South Devon Chilli Farm
Wigford Cross, Loddiswell, Kingsbridge TQ7 4DX
Options for hearty English breakfasts and delicious cream teas abound in South Devon, but one of our favourites is Stokeley Café, close to Start Bay in Stokeley Barton. This farm shop café is always a good choice for a spot of daytime indulgence.
Serving sumptuous dishes, this beach-style café-bar by the beach is a great spot for an evening meal with loved ones. The Cove has a bar, lounge and outside space for basking in the sun. In the evenings, there’s often live local bands, solo artists and DJ’s – soak up the atmosphere whilst enjoying some heart-warming food.
Harbour Lights, Hope Cove, Kingsbridge TQ7 3HQ
With atmospheric views, the Crab Shed is a place you could sit and soak up the views all day. On the water’s edge near the Fish Quay in Salcombe, the Crab Shed sources much of its food from its own nearby crab factory.
The Crab Shed
Gould Rd, Salcombe TQ8 8DU
For those taking to the water in search of their supper, why not paddleboard or sail up the creek to a pub that’s a hit with locals and visitors? Spend the evening on the south facing deck eating wood fired pizzas and pub grub whilst watching the world go by.
The Crabshell Inn
The Quay, Embankment Rd, Kingsbridge TQ7 1JZ
On the seafront at Beesands in Start Bay, the Cricket Inn offers enticing interpretations of many pub classics, and has recently added a range of chargrilled options with the installation of a new Josper oven. The Cricket Inn holds an AA Rosette award.
The Fat Monkey is the new kid on the block in Kingsbridge. This spacious and quirky restaurant provides an excellent experience with quality food and a good atmosphere. From smashed avocado breakfast to tapas on a Tuesday evening, they have food and drink for every occasion.
The Fat Monkey
66-70 Fore St, Kingsbridge TQ7 1PU
Serving homemade pub favourites and offering unbeatable views from their waterside beer garden, The Ferry Inn couldn͛t be easier to access from East Portlemouth, you don͛t even need to climb the steps when you depart the Ferry, you͛re already there!
The Ferry Inn Fore St, Salcombe TQ8 8ET
One of Dartmouth’s most popular pubs, the Floating Bridge by the Higher Ferry is ideal for hearty family dinners, with a separate restaurant area, a kids’ menu and other helpful touches like crayons and colouring books on hand.
In a 19th century former school building, the Laughing Monk is a casual yet refined restaurant in Strete, a few steps from the South West Coast Path. Fresh seafood from Start Bay and other locally-sourced dishes are the order of the day at this renowned local restaurant.
In the picturesque village of South Pool, the multi-award-winning Millbrook Inn is a cosy countryside gastro-pub, where traditional English food meets the best French cuisine, overseen by Head Chef Jean-Phillippe Bidart.
For something a bit more exotic, try The Old Bakery. This quirky restaurant serves some stunning Mediterranean tapas and is the place to go for an informal occasion. From Frito Mistoto to Patatas Bravas, a visit to this wonderful restaurant is sure to be enjoyable.
The Old Bakery
Promenade, Kingsbridge TQ7 1JD
The Old Inn is located in the quaint Devon village of Malborough, set between the popular market town of Kingsbridge and the sailing town of Salcombe. The recent makeover has made it the hub of the village, now famed for its sumptuous pizzas and good quality food and beverages served by welcoming staff.
The Old Inn
Higher Town, Malborough, Kingsbridge TQ7 3RL
The Spice Bazaar in St Saviour’s Square is well-known as an excellent Indian restaurant amongst locals, but not always noticed by visitors due to its tucked-away location. Shahar Lashkor’s award-winning restaurant also serves as a takeaway if you’d rather relax in the comfort of your holiday home.
The award-winning Start Bay Inn is arguably one of the most popular pubs in South Devon. Run by the same family since 1977, it has a cosy traditional feel, complete with a thatched roof, low ceilings and exposed wooden beams. Their menu is both varied and reasonably priced and has an emphasis on local seafood.
The Start Bay Inn
Torcross, Kingsbridge TQ7 2TQ
The local village pub at Thurlestone is multi award-winning, famed for its signature menu, great quality real ales and friendly staff. The Village Inn is in the heart of the village boasting live entertainment all year round. From summer afternoons outside, to cosy winter evenings by the fire, there is always something to look forward to. Children and dogs are very welcome.
Thurlestone, Kingsbridge TQ7 3NN
With more than a dozen pubs, cafés and restaurants in the centre of Salcombe, you’ll be spoilt for choice within a few steps’ radius. But for a tasty beachside bite, how about the Winking Prawn by North Sands? Popular options are the breakfast buffets and summer evening barbecues.
Venus café is not a typical ‘chips-in-a-cone’ style beachside kiosk. Looking straight out over the beautiful fine shingle and turquoise waters of Blackpool Sands, you can enjoy organic and Fairtrade coffee as well as organic meats, a fine range of salads and some enticing seafood options.
The Venus Cafe
Blackpool Sands, Blackpool, Dartmouth TQ6 0QR
You may recognise celebrity chef Mitch Tonks from his numerous television appearances on the BBC and Channel 4, with his best-known show being the 10-part series ‘Big Fish!’ with Matt Dawson for UKTV Food. Mitch’s flagship restaurant, The Seahorse is the place to go for exquisite seafood dishes.