Ever so slightly further away, on the coast, you will find Bigbury-on-Sea and the renowned Burgh Island, with its art deco hotel and Agatha Christie/Poirot connections, along with its 14th century pub and former smugglers' haunt, The Pilchard Inn perched on the cliff. This wonderful, unspoilt little island has been featured in many films, is a natural bird sanctuary, and can be reached on foot at low tide, or by the famous Burgh Island sea tractor at high tide.
Bigbury beach is all you could wish for in a beach, with miles of golden sand, excellent for castle building, (and burying the relatives!) cricket, volley-ball, surfing, windsurfing and kite-surfing. It is also a wonderful spot for dogs in the low season, as they can race along the beach, yet remain in view of their owners! In high season, there is still access for dogs, just slightly restricted,.
Bantham beach lies on the other side of the Avon estuary and is well-loved by surfers, families, couples and dog owners (although restrictions apply in high season). It is a glorious beach in a fabulous setting, with acres of golden sand, fascinating rock pools and windswept sand dunes. The nearby village pub, The Sloop Inn, serves hearty meals and real ales, and is particularly welcoming in winter with its cosy log fires.
A holiday cottage in Ringmore is perfect for those looking to be close to this spectacular stretch of South Devon coastline and numerous outstanding local beaches.
Based at Bigbury-on-Sea and Challaborough Bay, Discovery Surf is a fun, friendly and professional environment where the team always have a smile and a word of encouragement to go with their expert tuition. Providing the opportunity to quite literally interact with South Devon’s primary asset - the environment - they offer lessons, courses and equipment hire, as well as Stand Up Paddleboarding and Kayaking. Prices start at £20 an hour, just make sure you take a towel and swimming cossies with you and arrive 20 minutes before your lesson.
Had a great lesson with Discovery Surf. Two hours on the Sedgewell side of Bigbury Beach. All equipment provided, the guys really knew their stuff and we were on our feet in no time. Such a buzz, definitely recommend trying it out if you've not surfed before or want to build up your confidence in the sea.
Excellent lesson in tough conditions on a windy down a Bigbury, really clear instruction, great place to srat and get in to surfing
A friendly cliff top golf course close to Kingsbridge, Bigbury Golf Club is a links course with spectacular views of the South Devon coast. It is an 18-hole course where you can play as an individual or as part of a group. It’s 6,035 yards for men, 5,544 for ladies and par is 70 and 73 respectively. There’s a clubhouse with a restaurant and bar, but remember that dress should be smart/casual at all times, and in the clubhouse they ask that you don’t wear golf shoes, hats, untailored shorts, general beach wear, collarless tee shirts and non-golf sportswear like tracksuits and rugby shirts. The club offers rates for groups of 6-14 and society golf days for numbers over 14. Green fees are seasonal and depend on the time of day that you’re visiting so keep an eye on the website for full details.
Operating from the car park at postcard perfect surfer’s paradise Bantham Beach, Bantham Surfing Academy is run by experienced SurfingGB qualified instructors who offer tuition and coaching for all levels, including beginners, as well as supervised surfing sessions and a Kids Club. In addition to surfing lessons, the team offer Stand Up Paddle Boarding lessons, hire and tours around Burgh Island and the River Avon, and lifeguard and surf instructor tuition and qualifications. Prices start at £35 for a two-hour beginner lesson and equipment is available but remember to bring a towel, a swimming costume, and change for the car park which has charges in operation through the peak seasons.
On the coast with spectacular views of the sea, Thurlestone Golf Club can be seen from the beach and is fortunate enough to be on a beautiful section of the South West Coast Path. The 18-hole course is a mix of links and cliff top terrain and aims to cater to all ages and abilities with a variety of tees. All visitors are welcome and will be pleased to know that there are two bars on site as well as a separate dining room. Green fees vary according to the season but start at £36 per person in the low season. As with most golf courses, there is a dress code so golf shoes must be worn and denim isn’t allowed, but a full list or restrictions are listed on their main website.
When in South Devon get out onto the water – or at least, that seems to be the unwritten mantra. So what you will need is the right equipment and for that you need to go to Triocean Surf Shop. South Devon's largest surf and water-sports shop located just two miles from Bantham Beach, well known as one of the premier surf spots in Devon and where, as we have mentioned, you will find some excellent tutors to get you riding waves like a pro. This is the place to buy wetsuits, surfboards, surfboard shapers, kayaks, body boards and paddle boards. See you on the water!
Bought a wetsuit from here for the summer and the guys were so helpful. Price matched a website I'd seen the suit on and gave me loads of good advice about the local beaches. Bantham is great but mind the rip!
Great place to hire equipment, they even provide soft racks if you don't have one
A good combination of friendly village local and destination food pub with plenty of space including a large beer garden for summer and cosy open fires in winter. The chef draws on his travels to create high quality British and Thai cuisine along with tempting deserts and healthy kid’s options.
Our favourite pub, ever, in the world (and we've been around a bit!) We return again and again and again! The noodle dishes are amazing; I always promise myself I'll try something different but still keep gorging on noodles! Very excited to actually be staying in Ringmore this time round (usually we are in Bigbury on Sea) so plan lots of meals here! The beer battered cod was great too and nearly defeated a ravenous young chap - no mean feat! The building itself is brilliant with lots of little rooms and a great atmosphere. When we were there last they were setting up a pizza oven in the garden...can't wait to go back and try it! Yum yum!
Fabulous country pub excellent food, service and ale a wonderful experience chef here is exceptional
Great value and good pizzas. We were surprised to find an Italian themed pub in the middle of nowhere but it works!
Have visited every year since it re opened as an Italian, for the pizza which is our boy's favourite!! Sadly found that the food on the last visit was dissappointing....pizzas very greasy/oily.The service was rather lacklustre and laid back even though we were the only customers. When we mentioned this we were met with some indifference; we won't be returning this year. This was at lunchtime so maybe evening service is better?
Used this pub for a meal whilst on holiday. The food was absolutely beautiful. The pizza I had was as good as the ones I was served italy! Nice ambience, very relaxed, and the best thing was that they were dog friendly. They have a lovely big area for those with pets. So refreshing, as most holiday accommodations won't allow to leave your dog home, even for short periods and that can be restrictive if it's too warm to leave your dog in the car. Just wish this pub was my local!
Welcoming and friendly, this branch of the Venus Café has lots of delicious options for children and adults alike. Homemade Devon burgers, breakfast baps, cakes, coffee’s and ice creams are available either to eat on the terrace or take away.
Reached either by foot across the beach or at high tide by sea tractor, this 700 year old pub once popular with fishermen and smugglers, has wonderful views and is an atmospheric spot to stop for a pint of Pilchard Ale and a baguette. Owned by the Burgh Island hotel, one bar is for hotel guests only and one public.
Proper smugglers' tavern in a brilliant location. We sat outside in the sun while the kids played down on the beach. Perfect! Didn't try the food.
Very atmospheric tho the food is limited with sandwiches being brought down from the hotel so you can't ask, for example, for cheese and chutney without the chutney for fussy children! Having spent many holidays in Bigbury on Sea no visit is complete without a wander over to The Pilchard at low tide. Parents can sit above the beach and watch the small ones rockpooling in safety. Its magic!
Lovely old pub over looking the beach and water but service inefficient
Overpriced food, felt very unwelcome as only as small section of the pub is available to non-residents, so you are made to feel like second class citizens.
Roughly one kilometre (20 minutes depending on your pace) from the National Trust car park at Ringmore, and with a selection of footpaths to get to it, Ayrmer Cove is a quiet secluded beach on the South West Coast Path.
For anyone on holiday in South Devon it’s a peaceful place to sit and contemplate the natural scenery amongst the shingle, pebbles and rock pools, admiring the cliffs. It makes for a beautiful destination to walk to from Ringmore itself, which is a small village (population 230) with views towards the cove itself as well as Bigbury Bay – it makes for a wonderful holiday cottage destination in South Devon as well as a place to visit as part of your day.
Walking to the beach allows you to discover the surrounding woodland, wildlife and history of the area – taking in old smugglers’ routes and hedgerows that have been in situ since the 1800s.
It is a little tricky to get to so it’s not ideal for wheelchairs, and there aren’t any toilets or facilities at the beach itself so if you want to stay for a little while don’t forget to take snacks or a picnic if the weather is right. This is all about enjoying the environment that’s such a proud part of the National Trust – it’s everything a holiday in Devon is about, and yes, dogs are permitted all year round and will very much enjoy the walk!
Close to Kingsbridge, Challaborough Bay is a sandy beach in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that’s perfect for enjoying all the seaside activities nature can afford.
At low tide the beach is ideal for visiting families to build sandcastles and explore the rock pools, while the swells and shore breaks also attract surfers and bodyboarders. There are some beautiful walks along the coast path that surrounds it, heading towards Bigbury on Sea in particular.
Making it an ideal spot to spend the day, the beach has toilets, a café and a beach shop close by, although access is via steps and small paths so accessibility isn’t wheelchair friendly. There is a car park but it’s rather small, so it’s good to know that a 15-minute walk to Bigbury will see ample parking available – seasonal charges apply so remember to bring cash with you.
While four legged friends are welcome in the winter, they are not allowed on the beach between May and September, so do plan their walks with that in mind. It’s a lovely spot along the coast path to bring them to, you can even beach hop from one to the next!
At the mouth of the Avon River, Bantham beach is easy to reach from Salcombe, Kingsbridge and our other favourite holiday home locations, as well as being a beautiful area to stay in its own right.
The beach looks out over Bigbury Bay and offers a wonderful view of Burgh Island, which is famous for its art deco hotel of the same name that has hosted Agatha Christie and Noel Coward amongst its illustrious guests an can reach by sea tractor.
Bantham beach has a popular reputation amongst both novice and advanced surfers, and as such there are lessons available from the Bantham Surfing Academy, which operates from the beach. They also offer other water sports including paddle boarding, and a day pottering up the Avon River on one of those when the tide is right, is a day well spent.
When the tide is out at Bantham the sandy beach reveals rock pools and great swathes of space so you can happily set up a picnic and stay there for the whole day. If the mood strikes, why not walk along the coast path towards Thurlestone around the corner, and South Milton Sands beyond that, particularly as it’s also a popular beach for dog owners? Just keep in mind that from 1st May until 30th September restrictions apply, so look out for signposts with more information.
If you’re spending the whole day on the beach it’s worth popping to the Gastrobus which is open seasonally in the car park, offering everything from freshly made baps to coffees, teas and cakes, or for a larger meal head the short walking distance to The Sloop Inn gastropub.
There is plenty of parking available by Bantham, with charges from £3.50 per day, so make sure you have change on you as it’s a bit tricky to find parking otherwise. There are toilets in the car park, and from May to October from 10am until 6pm there is also lifeguard cover on the beach. All in, Bantham has something to offer everyone throughout the year and is one of many beautiful locations to spend time while you’re in South Devon.
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has visited that Bigbury on Sea is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Perfect for sand castles and rock pooling as well as tucking into lengthy summer picnics, it is an unusual beach to visit because the tide comes in from both sides. As a result, it is an endless source of fascination for children, not least for its sea tractor which provides transport from one end of the beach to the other in order to reach Burgh Island.
Burgh Island is connected to mainland England by the beach alone, it’s home to the famous art deco Burgh Island Hotel which has hosted Agatha Christie and Noel Coward since its incarnation in 1929, and has even made an appearance in the TV adaptation of Christie’s Poirot.
On a practical note there is on-site parking available close to the beach with daily charges from £3.50. Toilets and shower facilities with disabled access are also nearby, and lifeguards are present from May to September. The Venus café offers teas, coffees and other refreshments including the ice creams that are of such fundamental importance for a day at the beach. Meanwhile, dog lovers will be pleased to know that four legged friends are welcome at Bigbury on Sea, but restrictions apply from 1st May until 30th September.
Ultimately, Bigbury on Sea is a supremely beautiful location and fun family day out with abundant wildlife to enjoy and coastal footpaths to explore as well, making it a wonderful destination to visit on holiday in Devon, no matter what time of the year it is.
Fantastic unique place with sea both sides of the beach when the tide is out and Burgh Island to walk to with a lovely old pub but inefficient service.
Rather run down and disappointing that visitors are made to feel rather unwanted with only a small section of the pub open to non-residents and the hotel off limits completely to non-residents. View from the top lovely, but I wouldn't drive miles and miles to visit. What attracted me was the parting of the sea and that was a lovely view
In an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Wonwell is a sandy beach on the east shore of the Erme river which joins Mothecombe at low tide. It affords visitors a large expanse to explore and is accessed via a woodland path from the road which takes about 10 minutes.
Alternatively, there is a slipway from the road to the shore of the river and at low tide you can walk along the edge to the beach itself, so make sure you get your timings right to make the most of this one.
Parking is limited at Wonwell Beach so keep that in mind when you’re heading over. Road parking allows for around 20 cars depending on their size and there aren’t really any facilities around, although there are toilets nearby. This does mean you need to be prepared if you’re heading there for the best part of the day, but also makes for a very peaceful experience whether it’s lounging about on the sand with a picnic in the summer, or a stroll in the cooler months, simply taking in the atmosphere.
Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round so it’s the perfect place to take them for a run around. Something to be careful of – do keep an eye on the tide to avoid getting cut off when it comes in and getting very wet en route back to dry land!