If you’re planning a summer holiday in South Devon this year, you can probably already picture the scenic clifftop walks, blissful days at the beach, and relaxing evenings in a smugglers’ inn with a stunning sea view.
Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family break – filled with amazing adventures or simple pleasures – we’ve compiled our South Devon Bucket List to make your South Devon summer holiday memorable.
Here’s our round up of the 10 best things to do in South Devon this summer…
1. Hire a Board or Kayak and get on the Water
With miles and miles of stunning coastline, the best way to explore South Devon is on the water. Whether you fancy a spot of paddle boarding, kayaking or surfing, Triocean Surf near Bantham have all the equipment you need for some amazing adventures on the water. Available to hire or buy, they offer a huge range of wetsuits, boards, paddles and anything else you might need, plus lots of friendly local advice on where to find the best spots. Tuition also available.
2. Go Coasteering
For an adrenaline-fuelled activity in truly stunning surroundings, try coasteering along the South Devon coast. Salcombe Sea N Shore offer exciting rib rides along the beautiful coastline, taking you to the best rugged rocks for you to climb up and jump off! If you’re lucky you might also have some special sightings of marine wildlife – seals and pods of dolphins are often spotted in the area.
3. Stay at the Beach until Sunset
Even if you’re on holiday with the family, with no work or school in the morning you can treat them to a late night, take your dinner to the beach to watch the sun go down. It’s usually quieter at this time of day, with a special laid-back atmosphere. An hour or two paddling, surfing, swimming, or rock pooling followed by a picnic supper admiring the vibrant reds, pinks and oranges streaking the sky – the perfect end to a day!
4. Learn to Surf
If you’ve always wanted to learn to surf, now’s your chance. South Devon boasts two excellent surf schools with tuition for all ages and abilities. Choose from Discovery Surf School at Bigbury-on-Sea or Bantham Surfing Academy and you’ll be standing up, riding the waves in no time!
5. Discover a Secret Cove
For a day at the beach away from the crowds, pack the rucksacks and hit the coast path to find your own secret cove! If you like straying off the beaten track, there are lots of beautiful beaches and coves with no nearby parking and no facilities, so you may have it all to yourselves. Exploring the South West Coast Path is one of the easiest ways to find your own hidden cove, alternatively you can hire a boat or kayak and discover it as you explore the nooks and crannies of the coastline.
6. Go Crabbing
This classic seaside activity never gets old. Grab a bucket, crabbing line and some bait and see how many crabs you can catch. Remember to be kind and let them out before the bucket gets too crowded. Hot crabbing spots include Kingsbridge estuary, Dittisham pontoon, and Dartmouth and Salcombe harbours.
7. Take a Trip Back in Time on a Steam Train
For a touch of nostalgia on holiday, travel along the 7-mile stretch of picturesque valley of the River Dart on a South Devon Railway steam train from Totnes to Buckfastleigh. There’s also the Rare Breeds Farm at Totnes and Otters & Butterflies at Buckfastleigh – available as a multi attraction ticket – if you’d like to extend your day. Or travel up and down the line as many times as you like with the all-day pass.
8. Tuck into Fish & Chips
When you’re on holiday by the seaside, fish and chips just has to be on the menu! One of our favourite places is Britannia @ The Beach in Beesands for freshly caught, perfectly cooked fish and chips with a view of Start Bay with the lighthouse in the distance.
9. Indulge in a Devon Cream Tea
No trip to Devon is complete without at least one portion of scones – as long as you remember the correct etiquette here is cream first, then jam! One of our favourite spots to indulge is the café at Overbecks National Trust in Salcombe, especially if it’s the kind of day you can sit outside to enjoy your mouth watering scones whilst soaking up the amazing views of Salcombe harbour afforded from this picturesque vantage point.
10. Cross Over to Burgh Island
Separated from the mainland by a tidal beach, Burgh Island is an iconic landmark on the South Devon coastline. You can cross on foot at low tide, but when tide is high the only way back is via a rickety old sea tractor! A walk round the island rewards you with magnificent views along the coast and out to sea, and the opportunity to see lots of natural wildlife en route. The art deco Burgh Island hotel is only open to residents, but former smugglers’ haunt, the Pilchard Inn, is an atmospheric place to enjoy a pint and a crab sandwich whilst watching the tides meet and part.
Find your perfect holiday cottage in South Devon this summer