07/08/2020
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The 7 best Devon beaches to visit in your motorhome or caravan

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Devon is a vast county of gorgeous countryside and miles of stunning coastline. There's so much to see and do here to occupy your time on a motorhome, campervan or caravan holiday, including our pick of the seven wonderful Devon beaches you won't want to miss...

North Devon offers gently undulating countryside leading down to craggy coves, while unspoilt, sandy beaches border pretty seaside towns.

The east of the county boasts part of the Jurassic coastline, a UNESCO World Heritage site and not one but two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. East Devon’s coast is blessed with secluded coves and vast stretches of beach with The South West Coast Path winding its way through.

Part of the south Devon coastline is dubbed the English Riviera and the region is characterised by lovely coastal towns, dramatic cliffs, and family resorts. Here you can uncover sandy beaches edged by rocky outcrops and sheltered by rugged cliffs.

Things to do in Devon

Tarka Trail 

A 180-mile walking and cycling route through North Devon and Exmoor. There’s a 32-mile section leading from Braunton to Meeth and is so-named as it follows the journey of Tarka the otter in the classic tale by Henry Williamson. Visit tarkatrail.org.uk 

Dartmoor National Park 

The ultimate outdoor lover’s paradise. Wild open moorland with a rich history and rare wildlife. The area is dotted with pretty villages too, and don’t forget the roaming Dartmoor ponies! Call 01822 890414 or visit dartmoor.gov.uk 

Watersmeet

Watermeet Road, Lynmouth, Devon EX35 6NT 

This is the meeting place of the East Lyn river and Hoar Oak Water. There’s 2,000 acres to explore, along with woodlands, and why not take a stroll along the riverside at Lynmouth? Call 01598 753348 or visit nationaltrust.org.uk 

The top 7 beaches in Devon

Photo: AdobeStock

BANTHAM

Part of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this is a top-quality beach. It has won awards from the Marine Conservation Society and the coveted Blue Flag. There are great views from the beach to Bigbury Bay and Burgh Island.

Bantham is shallow and sandy so it’s ideal for families as children can do a little swimming or paddling and lifeguards are on duty from May to September.

The waves here are also ideal for surfers of all levels. The beach has mellow waves for beginners and then the mouth of the River Avon has more hefty waves. There’s a surf academy here for anyone who fancies some lessons. The beach has a shop and a large car park with plenty of space.

How to find Bantham beach

From Kingsbridge: Take the A379 towards Dartmouth. A Bantham Cross roundabout continue straight on to Bantham. Follow the road through the village and you will come to Bantham Beach Car Park (TQ7 3AN). 

Where to eat near Bantham beach

The Sloop Inn, Bantham, Kingsbridge, Devon TQ7 3AJ 

An award-winning 14th century inn at Bantham, just a short walk from the beach. Children and dogs are welcome and the inn serves lunchtime and evening meals. 

 

Photo: PixaBay

SAUNTON SANDS

Saunton is a unique beach in several ways. It is a long, straight, sandy beach, backed by the Braunton Burrows UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This dune system is one of the most unique and impressive in the country.

The beach is also the only beach in north Devon to have a Landeez all-terrain wheelchair which allows less abled and disabled people to have full enjoyment of the beach, from the sands to the sea.

The beach is popular with surfers and families due to the long stretch of water. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round. There is a large car park, a couple of shops and places to eat right by the beach. Surf lessons are available and deckchairs and beach huts can be hired.

How to find Saunton Sands beach

The car park right on the beach is Saunton Sands Car Park EX33 2NU. Leave Barnstaple on the A361 to Braunton and then take the B3231 to Saunton. The car park and beach are clearly signed off the B3231 to the left

Where to eat near Saunton Sands beach

Beachside Grill, Saunton Beach, Braunton EX33 1LQ 01271 891288

Overlooking the beach, the Beachside Grill offers a chilled indoor/outdoor space to enjoy tempting dishes made with quality local ingredients. With floor to ceiling windows this is a light and airy space to enjoy the coastal views and the balcony area also welcomes dogs.

 

Photo: AdobeStock

BLACKPOOL SANDS

This is a sheltered bay close to Dartmouth with a Blue Flag award and privately managed. The beach is backed by evergreens and scented pines giving a Mediterranean feel and is a fine shingle beach. Children can still build sandcastles though thanks to the two large sandpits provided.

For those who enjoy walking, the beach is on the South West Coast Path too.

The beach has plenty of facilities including toilets and showers, a shop, a café and lifeguards from July to September. For those who fancy an adrenaline fix you can hire wetsuits, kayaks and paddleboards. Dogs are not allowed on the beach or in the car park from March to the end of October.

How to find Blackpool Sands beach

Leave Dartmouth on the A379, signed for Kingsbridge and Totnes. Follow the A379 all the way to Stoke Fleming, following signs for Kingsbridge. Car park is on the left in around a mile. 

Where to eat near Blackpool Sands beach

The Venus Café, Blackpool, Dartmouth, Devon TRQ 0RG

A licensed café right on the beach, open for breakfast, lunches and evening meals. The owners have a mission of being the greenest beach café, and strive to provide tasty food with an ethical philosophy.

 

Photo: AdobeStock

COMBE MARTIN

Combe Martin is a small resort town located at the western edge of the Exmoor National Park with a large area of sand and rock. There are shops and food establishments close to the beach and dogs are welcome from October to April.

The beach is mainly shingle and pebbles towards the top end, but low tide reveals plenty of golden sand and rock pools. There are also caves that become exposed in the high sea cliffs. Due to the beach being quite narrow it has a sheltered position that keeps the sea protected from strong currents and waves.

How to find Combe Martin beach

Kiln Car Park (EX34 0DN) overlooks the beach with a short path down to the sands. The car park is signed from the main A399 that runs through Combe Martin. 

Where to eat near Combe Martin beach

The Harbour Deli, 3 Borough Road, Combe Martin, Ilfracombe EX34 0AN

In a change to the usual seaside fayre, this deli and coffee house offers pastries, filled rolls, salads and drinks to either eat in or take away.

 

Photo: AdobeStock

BIGBURY ON SEA

With a vast sandy beach and lapped by shallow waters, Bigbury Beach is particularly safe for families with young children and the beach is dotted with rockpools. A selection of watersports are available including the adrenaline-filled kite surfing.

The beach has good facilities including a café that specialises in selling organic and local food.

Bigbury’s most famous landmark is Burgh Island. Accessible at low tide, when the waters reveal a causeway that link it to the beach, the island overlooks Bigbury itself. When the tide is in you can still reach the island by taking a ride on the ‘sea tractor’. The island has a hotel with upmarket restaurant and an inn that is over 700 years old.

How to find Bigbury on Sea beach

There’s a large car park by the beach (TQ7 4AS). From the A379 just south of Modbury, turn onto the B3392 (signed Bigbury) at Harraton Cross. This road leads to Bigbury and the beach car park which is signed on the left.

Where to eat near Bigbury on Sea beach

The Pilchard Inn, Burgh Island, Bigbury-on-Sea, Kingsbridge TQ7 4BG

Built in 1335 this inn first served fishermen who lived on the island over 700 years ago. Come sit in front of a roaring fire in winter and watch the tides meet to cover the causeway, while enjoying tasty food and drink.

 

Photo: PixaBay

WOOLACOMBE BAY

One of the finest beaches in the West Country, having won numerous awards, including one of TripAdvisor’s top five beaches in Europe.

A big favourite with families and surfers, this three-mile stretch of golden sand backed by dunes has plenty of space for all. The sheer length of the beach means that even in the height of summer you can still find quieter spaces away from the crowds.

The beach has easy access and three large car parks to choose from with space for 2,000 cars. The beach has lifeuards on duty from Easter to September and there are toilet facilities and a café. Dogs are welcome on the beach but there are some restrictions from April to November.

How to find Woolacombe Bay beach

From Ilfracombe: Take the A361 south towards Mullacott. At the roundabout turn right onto the B3343 and follow this road all the way into Woolacombe until Esplanade car park on the right (EX34 7DJ).

Where to eat near Woolacombe Bay beach

Captain’s Table, 7 West Road, Woolacombe, Devon EX34 7BW

A licensed restaurant serving breakfasts, lunches, afternoon teas and evening meals. Open from early ’til late it is just a five-minute walk from the beach.

 

Photo: AdobeStock

HOPE COVE

There are two sandy beaches at Hope Cove in south Devon. The one to the north, Mouthwell Sands, is the nearest beach to the car park and the longer Harbour Beach is to the south. The latter has a small harbour at the back, as the name suggests.

Both beaches are a mix of sand and rocky areas. Mouthwell Sands is the more popular beach and is particularly good for sandcastles, sunbathing and exploring the rockpools. There is a seasonal lifeguard service for this beach.

There is a seasonal dog ban on Mouthwell Beach and dogs are allowed on Harbour Beach all year round as long as they are on leads.

How to find Hope Cove beach

Leave the A381 at Marlborough at Townsend Cross, signed Hope Cove and follow signs for the cove, heading through Galmpton. On entering Hope. Cove you will come to Outer Hope Car Park on the left (TQ7 3HJ).

Where to eat near Hope Cove beach

Lobster Pod Bistro, Hope Cove, Kingsbridge TQ7 3HJ

A trendy seafood-based bistro overlooking the harbour and beach with views across the bay. With both indoor and outdoor seating the grounds have unique heated enclosed pods with seating and tables, four or which can be booked for private use. 

 

Looking for more UK beaches to visit on your motorhome, caravan or campervan holidays? Check out our guide to the top 6 beaches in Cornwall here. And you can find the perfect campsite for your Devon holiday using our Campsite Finder.

 

This feature is brought to you in association with Bailey, the Bristol-based motorhome and caravan manufacturer. Find out more about Bailey — and their range of motorhomes and caravans — on their website, or join them on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

 

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