Coastal Devon

Your Guide to the Best Seaside Activities in Devon

Devon and its coast are synonymous with each other. From amazing surf, to prehistoric cliffs, the Devonshire coastline is among the most popular in Britain and is an evergreen family favourite holiday destination. We have hundreds of Devon Coastal Cottages for you to call your own during your jollies, but with so much choice, it can be hard to know where to stay, or where to visit while you’re here. We may be biased, but every single one of our coastal cottages is in a beautiful spot, but our local team have collected this list of their favourite coastal places and activities in Devon to help you plan your trip. 

Woman on a paddleboard

Paddleboarding in Combe Martin

One of our regional imagery manager’s favourite summertime adventures is to go stand up paddleboarding on the north coast at Combe Martin. The family-friendly beach is a small sheltered cove and when the tide goes out it’s brilliant for rock pooling with all sorts of marine life to be found. There is easy access to the beach from the car park so you don’t have to drag your boards too far, and there’s a friendly local shop that hires out SUPs, kayaks and canoes if you don’t have your own. Because the beach has a gentle graduating slope it’s easy to launch yourself into the water, and off you go. The scenery is spectacular with high rock faces, secret beaches and breathtaking views along the coast up towards Lynmouth.  After a paddle, why not enjoy a cool drink at the Focsle Inn?  Situated right on the beachfront, it’s the perfect spot to take in views of lovely Combe Martin. There are so many great spots to paddleboard in North Devon, but this has to be one of the best! 

Putsborough Beach

Surf’s Up in Putsborough

Putsborough Sands is Woolacombe’s lesser-known sister beach and is just a half-hour walk south along the beach. Known for its flat sandy shores, Putsborough Sands tends to be a lot quieter than Woolacombe and has some of the best surf in Devon. If you’re not a seasoned surfer, don’t worry, because you can hire equipment and get lessons at Nick Thorn Surf School. Putsborough Sands Beach Shop also sells bits like bodyboards and wetsuits, as well as more traditional beach fun, such as the old faithful bucket and spade. There is a car park at Putsborough and the shop has a cafe attached selling hot and cold food, ice creams and drinks, so you can easily spend an entire day here. We also have a collection of holiday homes in Putsborough, most of which rest just 0.1 miles from this amazing beach. 

Lundy Island

Wildlife Watch on Lundy Island

Take a trip on MS Oldenburg, Lundy’s very own ferry, to this amazing island just 23 miles off the coast of Ilfracombe. Trips on Oldenburg with the Landmark Trust run 2-3 times a week (weather permitting) from Ilfracombe and Bideford between March and October and are a real treat. The trips typically take around 2 hours to get to the island and around 4-6 hours to explore the island itself. Although the trip seems long, it will surely go quickly as you keep an eagle eye out on deck for dolphins and try to see the puffins on Lundy from a distance. The ship itself also has a buffet cart, shop and bar to keep you entertained. Once you reach the island, you are bound to be impressed by the sheer variety of flora and fauna here: horses, Soay sheep, starlings, blackbirds, butterflies and seals just to name a few. Should it happen to rain on your trip, be sure to hunker down in the Marisco Tavern, Lundy’s only pub. 

Shingle beach with the famous beer stone

Going Underground in Branscombe

Branscombe is famed for its shingle beach and being part of the East Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but it also has a hidden world underneath it. If you’re holidaying in one of our Branscombe or Beer cottages, a trip to Beer Quarry Caves should definitely be on the cards. These ancient tunnels were made to quarry the world-famous Beer stone, which has been used in the building of iconic British buildings such as the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and Hampton Court Palace. The tunnels have been here since the Roman occupation and are truly a marvel. The tunnels are open for tours, where your guide will take you through the vast history of quarrying for Beer Stone and the hardships faced by those who worked here. A truly fascinating experience, a visit to the quarry is also made even easier by the fact that dogs on leads are allowed underground and parking on-site is free. 

Sail boats at Salcombe

Sailing in Salcombe

Located in the South Devon AONB and home to some of our largest Devon Cottages, Salcombe has long been a favoured coastal spot for holidaymakers. A lovely town full of friendly faces and places to eat, drink and shop, Salcombe has a really welcoming feel, as well as beaches that put the Mediterranean to shame. For those who love getting out on the water, Salcombe has a wealth of offshore activities, including sailboat hire, guided boat trips, motorboat hire, paddle boarding, surfing and more.