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Bigbury-on-Sea beach

The village of Bigbury-on-Sea is situated on South Devon’s west coast, overlooking Bigbury Bay, South Devon’s largest sandy beach, and the iconic Burgh Island.

What was once a sleepy fishing village consisting of just a few fisherman’s cottages is now a much-loved retreat for families, outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs and foodies alike.

Bigbury-on-sea Guide

Looking for specific information about Bigbury-on-Sea? Use our quick links below:

Bigbury Beach

Bigbury beach

Located in the heart of South Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, nestled between the beaches of Bantham and Challaborough, Bigbury Beach is one of the region’s most loved coastal boltholes.

The large sandy expanse is joined by a causeway to the iconic Burgh Island and is backed by rocky cliffs and rolling South Devon countryside.

Reputed as being extremely family friendly, the facilities are second to none. Including:

  • A sea tractor passenger ferry to Burgh Island
  • Disabled access to the beach
  • Well-managed toilets and showers
  • A first aid room
  • Seasonal lifeguards
  • Thriving beach café
  • A year-round surf school
  • Well-stocked beach shop

Its spacious sandy shores and shallow waters provide the perfect playground for eager explorers. And what’s more, the beach is peppered with rock pools that are teeming with wildlife which budding marine biologists of every age love to investigate!

Things to do in Bigbury-on-Sea

bigbury-on-sea things to do

Bigbury Beach is the ultimate natural playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Not only is it a mecca for watersports, such as surfing, kayaking and stand up paddle-boarding, but the area is also a paradise for walkers too. Providing direct access to the South West Coast Path.

Burgh Island not only attracts swimmers and surfers, but also nature-spotters, history buffs, artists, and Agatha Christie fans. One of South Devon’s most loved places to spend the day, you certainly won’t find yourself short of things to do in Bigbury-on-Sea…

Discovery Surf School

Discover surf school at bigbury

Discovery Surf School is a popular, established family run operation offering a variety of water based lessons in surfing, stand-up paddle-boarding and kayaking.

Operating from the two beachside locations of Bigbury and Challaborough Beach (in the peak summer months), you can also rent equipment such as surfboards, bodyboards, wetsuits, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards should you want to navigate your own adventure.

Visit the Discovery Surf School website to find out more, and book your lesson.

Watersports at Bigbury Beach

Popular in both summer and winter, Bigbury Beach is a haven for those after an injection of adrenaline. The wide range of watersports available make this beach a great spot for an adventure, regardless of age or ability!

For surfers, the unique geography of the bay provides ideal wave conditions for beginners, and the neighbouring bays, angled slightly differently, present perfect back up waves for when the swell is a bit bigger. Surfing aside, windsurfing and kitesurfing are also popular pastimes, particularly when the onshore wind is prevailing.

On calmer days, stand up paddle-boarding and kayaking are both popular activities. And if you’re up for the challenge, why not circumnavigate Burgh Island. Regardless of what you choose to do, you can launch your vessel straight from the beach into crystal clear waters. Don’t forget to bring your snorkel and mask!

Burgh Island

Burgh Island - view from Bigbury-on-sea

An iconic tidal island, Burgh Island sits around 250 metres from the sandy shores of Bigbury Beach.

The island has an abundance of interesting flora and fauna and is home to thousands of seabirds. Be sure to tread the myriad of footpaths that lead around the island. Keeping your eyes peeled for butterflies, foxes, rabbits, badgers and hedgehogs.

It also hosts the famous art deco Burgh Island Hotel, the popular public house of The Pilchard Inn, and three private houses.

Burgh Island sea tractor

Burgh Island to Bigbury-on-Sea sea tractor

Although accessible to walk to Burgh Island by foot at low tide. When the tide is in, the sandy causeway disappears and the only way to access the island is via the ever-popular sea tractor. An adventure that everyone enjoys, regardless of age!

Read our comprehensive Burgh Island guide for even more information

Bigbury-on-Sea walking routes

Bigbury-on-Sea is well regarded amongst keen ramblers, and enjoys a breadth of walking routes that navigate coast paths, countryside and estuaries. Situated on the South West Coast Path, the village enjoys walking routes in both directions.

One of our favourite routes heads west and passes Challaborough BeachAyrmer Cove and also the remote and ruggedly beautiful Westcombe Beach. We also love walking in the opposite direction, across the Avon Estuary towards the beaches of Bantham and South Milton.

For something a little less strenuous, but equally as rewarding, why not loop around Burgh Island, which is accessible by foot at low tide, and aided by the famous hydraulic Burgh Island sea tractor at high tide.

Places to eat and drink at Bigbury-on-Sea

The Pilchard Inn Bigbury

The Pilcahrd Inn

The Pilchard Inn resides on Burgh Island, and is one of the oldest pubs in England with a history dating back to 1336!

The inn’s patrons were once fishermen who lived on the island. The smugglers and wreckers who lured ships onto the Western rocks. Now you’ll see hotel guests and the public enjoying the Pilchard Inn.

As you can imagine, the inn is steeped in tales. There is nowhere better to sit in front of a roaring fire and watch the tides ‘meet’ and ‘part’ while nursing a beverage and tucking into a sumptuous fresh crab baguette.

Venus Cafe Bigbury

Bigbury beach

Situated directly on the beachside and taking in panoramic ocean views, the Venus Café Bigbury offers a variety of food and drink options. Including sumptuous ice creams for hot summer days.

If you are desperate to get in on the action ahead of your visit, then take a look at the Venus Cafe Bigbury-on-Sea webcam to view the beach.

Is Bigbury-on-Sea dog friendly?

Bigbury-on-Sea operates a seasonal dog ban, and as such, dogs are permitted on the main beach from October to the end of May. However, dogs are allowed on the smaller beach to the west of the causeway all year round.

For the full lowdown on exploring South Devon’s dog-friendly beaches with your canine companion, read our guide to dog-friendly beaches in South Devon.

Beaches near Bigbury

Bantham beach sand dunes near Bigbury

South Devon’s coastline is peppered with beautiful beaches, from long sandy stretches to small, secluded coves and shingle bays.

Should you want to explore a little further, Bantham Beach is situated next door to Bigbury Beach, and when standing on it’s golden shores you can clearly spot Burgh Island across the water. This expansive beach boasts shallow waters and excellent surfing conditions, and you can usually spot people enjoying a mellow wave.

Another beach just a short walk from Bigbury, along the South West Coast Path is the sandy cove of Challaborough.

South Milton Sands is similarly popular with surfers and other water sports enthusiasts. Owned by the National Trust, the beach is well known for its pristine waters that attract regular visits from seals and even dolphins.

The facilities are excellent, and include the thriving Beachhouse Cafe, perfect for enjoying a sumptuous hot chocolate or well earned sundowner beverage.

Where is Bigbury-on-sea?

Bigbury-on-Sea postcode

For sat nav users, use the postcode TQ7 4AZ. Alternatively, should you wish to travel by bus, there is a service that runs between Plymouth and Bigbury-on-Sea. Click here for the Traveline South West bus times.

Bigbury-on-sea parking

There is ample parking at Bigbury-on-Sea. The long stay council run car park is situated at the edge of Bigbury Beach. Parking costs before 6pm are £1.50 an hour, with flexible options thereafter (for a maximum duration of 24 hours).

For more information, check out the Bigbury Beach car park details on the South Hams District Council website.

Additionally, throughout the peak season there is also an economy car park a short walk away. You can leave your car for just £2 – £3 for the whole day.

Bigbury-on-Sea holiday cottages

Seaspray - bigbury on sea holiday home devon

Coast & Country Cottages have a fantastic selection of Bigbury-on-Sea holiday cottages. Ranging from coastal cottages to country escapes, and properties with sea views, not to mention dog-friendly holiday homes too!

Book your Bigbury-on-Sea holiday cottage today

Honeysuckle Cottage

Also sleeping up to four guests, Honeysuckle Cottage is every inch as idyllic as the name suggests.

Nestled within the picture postcard village of Bigbury, the charming barn conversion enjoys outstanding countryside views, and is within easy reach of the sandy shores of Bigbury Beach.

Also pet friendly, this is a great spot for those travelling with their canine companions!

Book your stay at Honeysuckle Cottage today