Enjoying huge expanses of family-friendly sandy beaches, a bustling nightlife, excellent restaurants and picturesque waterways, Exmouth is a great base for an active Devon holiday.
Exmouth’s two miles of golden sandy beaches are perfect for a family day out and there are also lots of different water sports available including kite surfing, kayaking, boating and windsurfing.
Part of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, it is possible to hunt for fossils along the beaches and there are many stunning coastal and country walks available from the town.
The Exe Estuary Trail, following the nearby River Exe, offers walkers and cyclists a wonderful peaceful landscape with an abundance of wildlife, taking you through the pretty East Devon villages of Lympstone and Exton, and the popular town of Topsham, with its wonderful galleries, pubs and antique shops.
Exmouth itself is home to many interesting shops, excellent pubs and restaurants providing delicious locally produced food and drink and freshly caught seafood. Regular events in the town include the annual Exmouth Festival with the very best in local arts and music, Autumn Illuminate Carnival, Kite Festival and a Christmas Day Swim, for those brave enough to test the icy waters in December.
The city of Exeter is only a short drive from Exmouth, with great shopping, theatres, galleries, award-winning museums and the historic Exeter Cathedral. If you are looking for a great family day out, the 14th century underground passages in Exeter provide a guided, eerie glimpse into the past, whilst the Quay Climbing Centre offers indoor fun for all ages and abilities and is home to Europe’s first Clip n’ Climb.
A holiday cottage in Exmouth provides everything you need to enjoy an active holiday right on your doorstep.
Curated by the National Trust, this quirky 18th century, 16 sided house is a fascinating place to explore. Visitors can admire the extraordinary interior décor and collections before taking a walk around the surrounding meadows, home to a brass rubbing trail and garden games area all set against a backdrop of wonderful views across the Exe estuary. Back indoors there is a licensed tea room serving an excellent range of homemade cakes and light meals, and a well-stocked gift shop.
A la Ronde Summer Ln, Exmouth EX8 5BB (T: 01395 278552)
Part of the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths were established in 2006 to manage the core area of this unique wildlife habitat situated close to Exeter. Designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area, it represents one of the most important conservation sites in Europe. Preserving the unique ecosystem in the area, it’s a beautiful place to walk and see the wildlife and landscape. They simply ask that you take care when visiting and respect the natural environment.
Spanning nearly 300 years of horticultural history, Bicton Gardens is Grade 1 listed in Devon’s picturesque Otter Valley. Beautifully landscaped, the park dates back to the 18th century and maintains its sense of grandeur and tranquility, alongside all the modern amenities that make it such a joy to visit. There are historic glasshouses, a countryside museum, the Bicton Woodland Railway train ride, a nature trail, a maze, mini golf, indoor and outdoor children’s play complexes, a restaurant and a shop, so it’s a lovely day out for the whole family. There are seasonal events and activities throughout the summer, so do keep an eye on the website for more information. They are open all year round, but times vary. Adult admission starts at £9.95 and for children aged two to sixteen years it’s £7.95.
The Exmouth branch of this popular local chain of upmarket, family friendly fish restaurants. Located next to the town slipways overlooking the beautiful Exe estuary, this is the place to enjoy super fresh fish and seafood in a wonderful setting.
Rockfish Pier Head, Exmouth EX8 1DU (T: 01395 272100)
Whether you are dropping in for fresh coffee and a lazy breakfast in the morning, a bowl of Exmouth Mussels at lunchtime, or a steak and freshly grilled fish in the evening, all will be enjoyed at this steak and seafood specialist restaurant where the relaxed surroundings are topped off with stunning views of The River Exe.
The Point Pilots Wharf, 14 Pier Head, Exmouth EX8 1XA (T: 01395 227145)
Multi award winning, unique floating café on the River Exe accessed by water taxi or bring your own boat and moor up alongside. A superb dining experience serving tasty locally sourced food and drink against the backdrop of some of the best views in Devon. Great food in a stunning location, what’s not to like? Booking essential.
River Exe Café River Exe, Exmouth (T: 07761 116103)
Exmouth Beach is a bustling two mile stretch of golden sand at the mouth of the Exe Estuary backed by a promenade of shops and restaurants. Old meets new here, with traditional seaside donkey rides, swing boats and crazy golf alongside volley ball courts and a huge selection of modern watersports including jet skis, kite surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and windsurfing.
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet you can find that here too at the far end of the beach, where there are also some rock pools for children to explore. Exmouth is known as the gateway to the Jurassic Coast and its cliffs are teaming with fossils and geological finds. The coastline is also part of the South West Coast Path with the beach and surrounding cliffs providing some excellent long and short walks.
Dogs are welcome all year on parts of the beach and on the main beach from October to the end of April. Dog bins are provided.
A picturesque two mile pebble beach backed partly with cliffs, with plenty of space and lovely clean clear water. Along the esplanade there are beach cafes and a car park and it is only a short wander into the village for toilets, shops and pubs. Care should be taken swimming towards the eastern end of the beach where there can be strong currents due to the River Otter, and there are no lifeguard facilities.
By the seaside town of the same name, Sidmouth Beach is a long stretch of pebbles that stretches from the River Sid at the east of the town, West to Chit Rocks and Jacobs Ladder Beach and beyond. From the town you go over a footbridge and a number of steps down to the beach, however there are also access points along the sea front esplanade. There are a number of car parks close by, most of which are a few minutes’ walk from the beach itself, and it benefits from nearby facilities, cafes, restaurants and shops. Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 1st May to the 30th September, however there is a small area at the East end of the beach where dogs are allowed all year round. It’s a delightful spot for swimming sailing and surfing if the weather permits it, but you do have to take your own equipment.
Nestled into a valley that reaches down to the sea, Branscombe Beach is tucked away on the Jurassic Coast, and is linked to a timeless, magical village of the same name. Surrounded by woodland and farmland, the area is peppered with thatched houses, a working forge and a restored windmill. It’s a National Trust location, with a number of charming walks and trails to follow, one of which leads to the Old Bakery tearooms. The beach itself is a long pebble beach below the village. It has a large car park close by where there are toilets available, as well as a picnic area. The beach is a haven for fossil hunters and adventurous rock-poolers. If you want to catch your supper it’s a wonderful place to fish for Mackerel and Pollack, although there is also a restaurant close by.
A small pebble beach in East Devon, Beer Beach is in a picturesque fishing village that hugs the shoreline. Parking is a little distance away from the beach itself, which is accessed via a sloping road and steps at the east end. There’s one large car park that’s around five minutes away on foot, and another smaller one in the centre of the town. As the beach is such an integral part of the town itself, there are cafes and shops close by, simply by dint of its location. There are toilets above the beach, so it’s got all the makings of a charming day out for the family in the summer, or somewhere to stroll and have a cup of tea if it’s a bit cooler. There aren’t any organized activities on the beach, so if you’re bringing the kids then keep that in mind. Dogs are not allowed on the West part of the beach from 1st May to 30th September.