With its sparkling estuary views and golden sandy beaches, it’s easy to see why the historic sailing town of Salcombe continues to beguile all those who come to explore its quiet coves and winding streets.
In fact, ‘Salcombe’ is now regularly ranked amongst the UK’s top holiday resorts and has built a reputation as a ‘hangout’ for the rich and famous. This air of desirability has of course led to some of Toad Hall Cottages’ most spectacular property listings. That said, there are still some brilliant offers to be had and some great opportunities to visit out of season.
If you like the idea of a short break or weekend getaway in the pretty harbour town of Salcombe in the heart of the South Hams, why not have a gander at Mr Toad’s suggested three-day itinerary for some helpful advice on where to go and what to see…
Day One: It’s time to explore Salcombe and its glorious surroundings…
Anyone who has booked one of our Salcombe holiday cottages is in for a real treat. With so much to see and do it’s a job to know where to begin! In my experience, the best way to start any day of leisure and exploration is with a hearty breakfast, and that’s why we’re headed for The Winking Prawn at North Sands beach, only a short walk out of Salcombe, set behind the ruins of Salcombe Castle and with fabulous views towards Bolt Head. You’ll love this ‘shabby chic’ beach-house-style diner with its impressive menu and laid-back feel.
From here you can pick up the South West Coast Path and enjoy an exhilarating walk to Bolt Head with its breathtaking estuary views of Starehole Bay and beyond. This “enchanting” landscape, full of craggy knolls and rocky coves, will invigorate the senses and give you a healthy dose of fresh sea air. Bolt Head is also the glorious setting for the subtropical gardens at Overbeck’s which are open to the public and never fails to capture the splendour of the seasons.
If you’re feeling adventurous and are partial to a splash of watersports, why not book a session at Sea Kayak Salcombe, the adventure paddling company on South Sands beach, exploring the hidden caves and secret inlets of this dramatic stretch of coastline by paddle.
It’s time to test your sea legs, this time aboard The Salcombe Ferry which will gently chug you back to Whitestrand Pontoon, the heart of Salcombe town, and runs from early April until late October along with the iconic Salcombe Sea Tractor.
There’s still time to enjoy a mooch around the charming streets of Salcombe with its artisan workshops and stylish boutiques. If you’re not in the mood for rustling up dinner at home, there are any number of pubs and restaurants in Salcombe that will offer you light bites or a sit down supper. Why not celebrate your first night in town with a table at No. 55, a fabulous restaurant on Salcombe’s Fore Street with a wonderfully cosmopolitan menu and cultured wine list… Cheers!
Day Two: Discovering The South Hams Coast…
After a quiet and blissful night’s sleep in your characterful Salcombe holiday cottage, it’s time to venture a bit further afield. I’ve picked out a handful of stunning beaches and gorgeous fishing villages only a few miles from Salcombe and scattered along the sparkling waters of Bigbury Bay…
The pretty seaside village of Hope Cove is sheltered by the dramatic headland of Bolt Tail and is the setting for two gorgeous sandy beaches. With its thatched fisherman’s cottages and old sea walls, historic Hope Cove still maintains much of its unassuming heritage and remains a delightful place to visit with views that will take your breath away. Here, you’ll find ‘The Cove’ Café Bar, an award-winning beachside bistro, and The Hope & Anchor, a family-friendly pub with plenty of real ales tapped in the cellar and a sumptuous menu.
Here’s a list of our many splendid holiday cottages in Hope Cove…
Further along the coast, just past the rugged jut at Warren Point, is the picturesque village of Thurlestone. The village is named after the iconic Thurlestone Rock, the “thirled stone”, which stands just off-shore from the golden sands and glinting waters of Thurlestone Bay.
Surrounded by acres of beautiful South Hams countryside, the village maintains its long association with farming; its oldest cottages originally occupied by farm labourers. Much of ‘old Thurlestone’ – its gardens, courts, orchards and granary – still remains, in fact, timbers salvaged from boats wrecked during the Spanish Armada are still visible in the local pub, The Village Inn.
Toad Hall Cottages has a fabulous melangé of holiday cottages in Thurlestone ideal for family breaks, gatherings or reunions, couple’s retreats, or solo escapes.
And if you’re feeling sporty…
Running along this breathtaking stretch of coastline, with its magnificent bay views that sweep from Thurlestone Rock to the famous Burgh Island, are the glorious greens of Thurlestone Golf Club. Formed in 1897, this fabulous links course is known for its generous fairways and sometimes blustery winds. Visitors will receive a friendly welcome and can expect to enjoy a fabulous day’s golfing from the club house to the 18th pin.
Thurlestone Tennis Club has 12 tennis courts, 10 of them grass and two of them hard. Here, you can enjoy both a traditional game of lawn tennis and the fabulous sea air. Visitor and temporary memberships are available via the Thurlestone Golf Club.
It’s time to spruce up, slip on that special number, and don’t be late, because we’ve got a table booked at the hottest venue in town (well just slightly ‘outta’ town if I’m being honest). We’re headed to the recently opened Oceans Restaurant & Bar, spectacularly situated on the cliffs at Bolberry Down, perfect for a romantic evening and maybe a spot of stargazing too….my work is done here!
Spend the morning enjoying the freedom of your holiday cottage; coffee in the sun lounge or maybe yoga on the decking? Head into Salcombe and embrace the history of this ancient port by paying a visit to the maritime museum, and if you feel inspired by the town’s sailing spirit, climb the iconic steps to Cliff House, home of Salcombe Yacht Club; hub of all things sailing in Salcombe.
A wandering we go, this time headed for Snapes Point, past the estuary mud flats and the tranquil waters of Batson Creek; a lovely four mile walk along ancient tracks and field footpaths accompanied by exquisite views of the Kingsbridge and Salcombe estuary.
You’ll have earned a pub lunch after all that hill walking, so head for The Ferry Inn, one of Salcombe’s oldest hostelries, and some say its most famous. Tuck into a Sunday roast or dabble in some scrummy seafood, washed down with a pint of Salcombe Brewery’s finest. You might also want to venture over to The Boat House on Island Street, home of Salcombe Gin; an award-winning distillery that also runs its own distillery school – a must for all you ‘ginsters’.
Three miles out of Salcombe, following the breathtaking peninsular around the shores of Bigbury Bay, and you’ll find one of the region’s most magnificent sandy beaches. Bantham Beach lies at the mouth of the River Avon and is a popular South Devon surf spot. With sweeping views of Bigbury Bay, including the famous Burgh Island, Bantham has a unique system of sand dunes running along the Bantham Ham and several secluded coves nearer the estuary waters. If you’re feeling peckish after your stroll along the beach, check out the The Gastrobus for a few taste sensations. You’ll also be able to pick up the Avon Estuary Walk which takes in two gorgeous and characterful pubs; the 14th century Sloop Inn in Bantham, with its award-winning seafood menu, and The Fishermen’s Rest in Aveton Gifford, set on the banks of a stream and surrounded by green acres.
For your last night in Salcombe, I thought it best you hunker down and really enjoy the cosy delights of your holiday cottage. So, the plan is to grab some good old traditional fish ‘n’ chips from Salcombe’s The Plaice Take Away, ‘perched’ conveniently on Fore Street. Right then, if you’ll allow me to pop the cork on that cheeky bottle of Merlot and unlid your mushy peas, I’ll leave you in peace…
Cheers to a memorable weekend in Salcombe,
Wish you were here?
Your humble and hop-along tour guide,