A visitor’s guide to Modbury in South Devon

April 26th, 2017 | By Ross Purdy

Welcome to our guide to Modbury in South Devon.

Modbury from the top of the hill

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At a glance

Modbury is a pretty market town with a population of just 1,677 at the last Census. This makes it the smallest town in the South Hams, so you might be surprised when you visit at the number of independent shops on Modbury’s bustling high street. There’s barely a chain store in sight, except for the handy Co-operative at the foot of the hill, so it’s the perfect place for day trip if you enjoy browsing for unique gifts, works of art, or perhaps something tasty from Aune Valley Butchers.

There are also plenty of places to take the load off your feet, including three pubs, a bistro and a café that’s locally famous for delicious homemade cakes.

Modbury from the foot of Church Street

Modbury’s location close to several fantastic beaches means it’s a convenient place to spend half a day before or after a spot of sunbathing, swimming or exploring the Coast Path.

While Modbury has a very traditional feel to it, the town also has a reputation for being forward-thinking: in 2007 it became the first English town to turn its back on disposable plastic bags, long before the legal ban was introduced across the country in 2015.

Directions to Modbury

Sat nav users can enter the postcode PL21 0QJ for Poundwell Meadow Car Park, which is a few steps from the centre of Modbury.

From Dartmouth

Modbury is around 16 miles from Dartmouth.

  1. Leave Dartmouth on the A3122 and continue on this road for seven miles until you reach a junction at Totnes Cross (by a petrol station and garage)
  2. Turn left onto the A381 and continue for half a mile
  3. Turn right (signposted for Modbury)
  4. Follow this road through the village of Moreleigh. Cross the humpback bridge and follow the road right.
  5. You’ll come to California Cross. Turn left at the crossroads
  6. Follow this road, which will take you into Modbury.

Alternatively, you can reach Modbury via the A379.

To take this route:

  1. Continue on the A381 instead of following step (3) above.
  2. Stay on the A381 until you reach a roundabout just past Churchstow.
  3. Turn right to join the A379 and follow this road through Aveton Gifford into Modbury.

From Salcombe

Modbury is about 12 miles from Salcombe.

  1. Leave Salcombe on the A381.
  2. After four miles turn left to stay on the A381.
  3. Go straight on at the roundabout, joining the A379.
  4. Stay on this road for a little over five miles, which will take you into Modbury.


There is a council-run long stay car park close to the town centre with around 80 spaces and an adjacent, smaller short-stay car park. You’ll find this on Poundwell Street (PL21 0QJ) just off Church Street (Modbury’s main high street).

There is also plenty of unrestricted on-road parking in Modbury, although these spaces can fill up quickly, especially during the summer.


As a traditional rural market town, Modbury provides the perfect backdrop for a relaxed pint, pub lunch or cosy dinner.

There are three pubs in Modbury to choose from, which are:

The Exeter Inn

Church Street

The Exeter Inn on Church Street

This cosy 14th century pub has everything you’d hope to find inside – uneven wooden beams, a roaring fire in the winter and even a resident cat to complete the homely feel! There’s regular live music and other events you can stay up-to-date with on the Exeter Inn’s Facebook page.

The Modbury Inn

Brownston Street

The Modbury Inn

A short walk from the shops on Brownston Street, the Modbury Inn is a family-friendly pub with a separate restaurant area and a nice beer garden to make the most of sunny days and evenings. There are quizzes every Sunday evening and a curry night every Friday. Find out more at: http://www.themodburyinn.com/.

The White Hart

Church Street

The White Hart (Modbury, South Devon)

The White Hart is a contemporary gastro-pub with an excellent reputation for serving high-quality food at reasonable prices. Children are welcome and high chairs can be provided, and it’s dog-friendly too.

Other highlights

St George’s Church

Modbury’s Grade I-listed church is the town’s outstanding landmark. Towards the top of Church Lane, this 14th century place of worship has an interesting history detailed on this Modbury heritage website.

The Lazy Cow Coffee Shop

The Lazy Cow coffee shop, by the car park off Church Street at the foot of the hill, grew out of a home-based business, whereby owner Emily originally supplied the local shop with delicious cakes. A café was created due to popular demand and now you can even order Lazy Cakes through the post.

This is just a flavour of what’s on offer in Modbury. Other food options include the Royal Spice Indian restaurant and Bistro 35, both of which are on Church Street.

Modbury May Fair

Modbury’s annual fair, featuring a host of activities and live entertainment followed by a big final parade, will take place between Saturday 29th April and Saturday 6th May this year. Stay up to date with what’s happening in 2017’s festival on this Facebook page.

If you’re interested in other events happening locally, check out our guide to what’s on in South Devon this year, or browse our comprehensive events listing.

What’s nearby?

Bantham Sunset - Family Beach Holidays

Modbury is 5-6 miles from some of the best beaches in South Devon, not to mention the rest of the UK. These include:

  • Bigbury-On-Sea, a stunning beach famous for the tidal land bridge connecting it to iconic Burgh Island
  • Bantham Beach, an expansive sandy bay known as one of the country’s premier surfing spots
  • Ayrmer Cove and Westcombe Beach, two gloriously secluded beaches along the South West Coast Path.

Modbury is also less than 20 minutes drive away from Dartmoor and its spectacular scenery, fascinating history and array of picturesque towns and villages to explore.

Holidays near Modbury

Coast & Country Cottages offers around 400 luxury holiday homes within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From apartments and cottages in nearby Bigbury-On-Sea to a wide choice of holiday homes in Salcombe and Dartmouth, we have the ideal property to match your requirements.

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South Hams coast and countryside