Ten beaches you wouldn't believe are in Devon

Posted by Emma on 4th June 2018


Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

Putsborough beach in North Devon

Please be mindful that it is always necessary to plan your trip carefully. Whilst accurate at the time of writing, please be aware that the availability of amenities such as lifeguard cover, shops, cafes, toilets and car parks at UK beaches may vary from time to time, especially in current circumstances. Make sure you check carefully before leaving home to avoid disappointment. For an up-to-date list of beaches which are lifeguarded, visit the RNLI lifeguard patrol website before making your journey.

Check out these beautiful Devon beaches, you will be surprised to find out just where they are! Grab your bucket and spade, swimming costume, towel, and sun lotion and come and have a fabulous beach hopping holiday in Devon!

Ladram Bay

Ladram Bay beach near Sidmouth in south Devon

Fancy a swim on Mars? Surrounded by red rock cliffs and rock formations protruding from the sea, you will feel like you are somewhere very special at Ladram Bay, found in East Devon, near Sidmouth. Thankfully this beach is a little closer to home and you only have to travel to Devon. Close by is Otterton village, with lanes lined with traditional thatched cottages, this quaint traditional village has been occupied since the Stone Age.

Dogs: Banned all year round.

Lifeguard: No

Local information: Pebbles Restaurant and Seaview Shack overlook the beach, the next nearest eatery is the Kings Arms in Otterton, which serves a varied, locally-sourced menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sidmouth (4.4 miles) is bursting with cafés, restaurants, pubs and shops.

Stay nearby: The Old Reservoir, Sidmouth (sleeps 4)

For more properties around Ladram Bay, have a look at our collection cottages in Sidmouth.


Salcombe beach in South Devon

With its blue lagoon-like water, it must be the Mediterranean right? It’s much closer and no planes are involved - it’s in Salcombe in South Devon. Not only does it boast one of the best beaches in Devon, the town itself also has some lovely local shops, butchers, and restaurants where you can shade from the midday sun while eating local delicacies.

Dogs: Dogs are allowed on South Sands beach from October to April. They are welcome all year round on North Sands beach. 

Lifeguard: No, on neither of Salcombe's beaches.

Access: North Sands is a short stroll from the centre of Salcombe where there is plenty of pay and display parking, it also has a car park of its own if you want to save some energy for your day at the beach. Limited parking at South Sands means that the best way to get there is by seasonal ferry from Whitestrand Quay in Salcombe. 

Stay nearby: Ferndale Orchard View, South Allington (sleeps 3 and 2 dogs)

For more properties near Salcombe Beach, have a look at our collection of cottages in Salcombe.

Soar Mill Cove

Soar Mill Cove beach in South Devon

You will (most likely) have this South Devon beach to yourself so lay back and let your legs get some sun. One of the best Devon beaches for solitude, Soar Mill Cove Beach is accessible only by walking along the West Coast Path or hopping in a kayak and paddling your way round. Close to Salcombe town, you can stock up on supplies before hitting this secret gem.

Dogs: Allowed all year round. 

Lifeguard: No 

Local information: The closest parking is available at the National Trust's East Soar Car Park which is about a mile away - the walk is steep in places. Head into Salcombe for a wide choice of eateries. The Winking Prawn at North Sands is a favourite with locals and visitors alike.

Stay nearby: Charnwood Cottage, Hope Cove (sleeps 4 and 2 dogs)

For more properties near Soar Mill Cove, have a look through our cottages in Hope Cove.

Gara Rock Beach

Gara Rock Beach in South Devon

If it's secluded sandy beaches you're looking for, go traditional and pack some cucumber sarnies for a walk along the South West Coast Path to Gara Rock Beach. There are three other nice beaches nestled close by - East Portlemouth, Mill Bay, and Elender Cove - so you can plan a route and enjoy all that Devon's South Hams has to offer you.

Dogs: Allowed all year round. 

Lifeguard: No

Local information: Gara Rock beach can also be reached by passenger ferry, or by parking at Mill Bay or close to the Gara Rock Hotel and Café and walking. East Portlemouth is reached by all-year-round ferry. Mill Bay has a car park, or you can reach it by ferry from Salcombe.

Stay nearby: Ferndale Treetops View, South Allington (sleeps 4 and 2 dogs) - second-floor apartment

If you are looking for a bigger selection of properties near Gara Rock, check out our collection of cottages in the South Hams.

Babbacombe Beach

Babbacombe Beach near Torquay in South Devon

There are several secluded coves in Devon and this used to be (a very, very long time ago) the place to smuggle, murder, and fish. Thankfully now it’s just fishing and building sandcastles. This intriguing cove is in Babbacombe, the northern part of Torquay, and is a great alternative if you are looking something different from the main tourist spots.

Dogs: Allowed all year round.

Lifeguard: No

Local information: There is roadside parking up on the Babbacombe Downs and limited pay and display spaces down a very steep hill next to The Cary Arms restaurant, which incidentally is one of our top recommendations for places to enjoy a drink or meal and the stunning views. 

Stay nearby: The Cliffs At Babbacombe Torquay, Torquay (sleeps 4) 

For more properties near to the spectacular Babbacombe Beach, have a look at our cottages in Torquay.

Westward Ho!

Westward Ho beach in North Devon

Westward Ho!: Pebble ridge + miles of sandy beach + lifeguards + surfers + ice cream = perfect beach experience. This treasure on the North Devon coast has plenty to do - you can learn to ride the waves, walk the dog, arcade games, explore the neighbouring Northam Burrows Country Park, or just treat yourself to a delicious local ice cream.

Dogs: Dogs are allowed on the whole beach from 1 October - 30 April. The rest of the year, dogs are banned on the section from the town end to the pebble ridge bridge half way along the beach. They are welcome all year round on the end of the beach north of the pebble ridge bridge.

Lifeguard: Daily from May to September. See the RNLI website for exact dates.

Local information: There are several pay and display car parks to choose from in Westward Ho! and some free on-road parking which is a short walk from the seaside green. Off-peak free parking is available behind the pebble ridge on Northam Burrows, daily rates apply during the summer season. Public toilets are available in the car park just next to the slipway and by the bus stop at the top of the green, close to the Co-op.

Stay nearby: Cloud 9, Westward Ho! (sleeps 4) 

We have a huge selection of properties near this vast expanse of beach - take a look at our cottages in Westward Ho! to see the full collection.


Putsborough beach in North Devon

A quieter beach than its neighbours Croyde and Woolacombe, Putsborough is a lovely North Devon beach perfect for families, with rock pools to explore and a long stretch of sand to play on. The rolling waves of the Atlantic also make Putsborough a paradise for surfers. With plenty of parking, a café and toilets, Putsborough offers a brilliant day out, with far-reaching views out to sea and the surrounding clifftops.

Dogs: Banned on the beach below the shop from April to October. North of the shop, dogs are allowed all year.

Lifeguard: No

Local information: Parking in the beach car park is £9 in high season (at the time of writing). There is no alternative parking without a walk. Have a bite to eat in the beach café while watching the crashing waves, or head for nearby Croyde where there are several pubs and eateries to choose from. 

Stay nearby: Dunes at West Croyde, Croyde (sleeps 8 and 2 dogs) 

Nearby Croyde not only has more gorgeous sands but also many more cottages to stay in. Take a look at all of our cottages in Croyde.

Saunton Sands

Saunton Sands beach in North Devon

A never-ending sandy beach and dunes (actually it’s 3.5 miles long) beautiful in all weather, great waves and dogs are allowed all year round. Saunton Sands, on the north coast of Devon near Croyde, provides a day out in itself, you can spend hours walking the sand and dunes, there are local beach shops, showers, hire of boards and beach buggies, and a restaurant that serves a very satisfying cream tea, Devon style of course.

Dogs: Welcome all year on certain parts of the beach.

Lifeguard: No

Local information: There is a pay and display beach car park, which is free outside of chargeable hours. There are a handful of free parking spaces along the road past the Saunton Sands Hotel, but access to the beach is a bit tricky through the field and along the busy road. 

Stay nearby: Ocean Point, Saunton (sleeps 4)

For more properties near this beautiful beach, have a peek of our collection of Saunton Sands cottages.

Slapton Sands

Slapton Sands in South Devon

The Caribbean in the UK - splash through the sea hand in hand down this beautiful south Devon beach. Slapton Sands is on the south coast of Devon in the South Hams, a short distance from Dartmouth, and really feels like a tropical beach when the sun is shining down. This is a great choice for families in the summer; there are lifeguards, flags showing the safest swimming areas, plenty of space, beach cafes and ice cream vans.

Dogs: Allowed all year round. 

Lifeguard: No

Local information: Slapton Sands is the site of the famous Operation Tiger, a training mission during which 750 American Soldiers lost their lives. There are several pay-and-display car parks situated along the beach - Torcross Car Park, Slapton Sands Memorial Car Park, Strete Gate Car Park and some parking bays on the road through Torcross. 

Stay nearby: Cliff House, Torcross, near Slapton (sleeps 10 and 3 dogs)

Slapton Sands is also home to many more holiday homes for you to discover, have a look at our collection of Slapton cottages.


Woolacombe beach in North Devon

There’s no joking about this North Devon beach, one of Britain’s best, this 5 star 3-mile long beach is the ultimate destination for a UK beach holiday. Woolacombe beach lies between Baggy Point and Morte Point, the town itself has a laid back atmosphere and is family friendly. This is a holiday destination that will be on your list of places to keep coming back to.

Dogs: Zonal restrictions between 1st April and the first Monday in November. South of Mill Rock dogs are welcome all year round. From the stream to Mill Rock dogs must be kept on a lead. Dogs are banned from the rocks (on the right as you look out to sea) to the stream.

Lifeguard: During holiday season, see the RNLI website for dates.

Local information: There is a large pay-and-display car park by the beach, with public toilets just off the beach as well as over the road from the car park. You're never far from a hearty meal in Woolacombe, with several pubs and restaurants to choose from. 

Stay nearby: Morte View, Woolacombe (sleeps 2 and 2 dogs)

For more gorgeous holiday cottages in Woolacombe, check out our collection of cottages in Woolacombe.

Beach holidays in Devon

If you're looking to enjoy a beach holiday in the UK this year, we hope we've proved to you that Devon is the ultimate destination for one. Stay on the doorstep of one of these gorgeous sandy beaches with our selection of coastal cottages in Devon - start planning your perfect break today.


Ladram Bay