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South Devon Beaches

We’re all guilty of it. It’s so easy to forget what’s on your doorstep. We all get so obsessed with travelling overseas to explore the exotic that we often don’t appreciate what’s right in front of us. It might not be Greece or Croatia but luckily for me I’m surrounded by beauty spots. So I’ve chosen some of my favourite South Devon beaches to share with you.

Dawlish Warren

Dawlish Warren is very much a holiday destination. The town of Dawlish is located about a mile and a half down the coast, but it’s the ‘Warren’ part that’s truly stunning.

What I love most about Dawlish Warren is the train track that runs parallel to the coast. You can walk right next to the track and enjoy the sea breeze. The enormous red cliffs that frame the sea are made of very porous rock, meaning the sea has eroded little caves and windows. If you’re willing to do a little climbing (be warned – the photo below really doesn’t show how steep it was) then you can get on top of Langstone rock for a gorgeous view of the whole bay.

The only down side to Dawlish Warren is that with so many holiday apartments the beach can get very busy in peak season. However, if you’re willing to walk a little further then you’re sure to find a quieter space further on.


I used to visit Paignton every year as a child and it really is a beautiful spot. That’s why I’ve included it as one of the best of the South Devon beaches. Paignton has a rich dark sand to match the cliffs. At one end there is an old and picturesque harbour to explore. Paignton is also home to one of the best piers along this stretch of coast. Complete with rides and arcade games the pier has a lot going on. Plus there’s a fantastic Pirate Crazy Golf set back on the grass. Plenty for the whole family to enjoy!

Paignton beach is a great seaside walk as well. Walk the length of the esplanade, or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, go past the harbour and over the hill through the park and down the steps to Goodrington. Here there’s another beach and also a waterpark and boating lake.


Exmouth is blessed with one of the longest esplanades on the South Devon coast. My favourite thing is to park at Orcombe Point and walk to The Point Bar and Grill for a spot of lunch or a coffee in the afternoon sun. Alternatively head along the South West Coast path in the direction of Budleigh Salterton and admire the views at Sandy Bay. This is a truly beautiful beach.

Exmouth has a lot going for it, including watersports if that’s your thing. Rent jet skis or have a go at wind surfing. There’s always plenty of them out there, or grab a glass or wine or cappuccino and portion of chips if you’re more of a people-watcher like me.

Budleigh Salterton

Budleigh Salterton is my favourite pebble beach in South Devon. I’ll admit I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to pebble beaches. The various shades of grey, blue and purple make for stunning scenery but no one can argue they are very practical. They hurt to walk or lie on for very long and there’s a definite slipping hazard. However, this seaside town is stunning. It is another one blessed with the dramatic red sandstone cliffs the Jurassic Coast is known for. It’s a beautiful stretch of coast…I might just stick to walking along the pavemented part. But that’s just me.

South Devon beaches: Budleigh Salterton


If you’re looking for South Devon beaches then the red cliffs of Sidmouth need to be at the top of your list. Sidmouth on a sunny day is cute and quirky. With lots of small independent businesses in the high street and a long stretch of beach, what’s not to love?

Make sure to visit the Clock Tower cafe up the hill near Jacob’s Ladder. The carrot cake in particular is to die for. Or if you’re visiting Sidmouth late in the evening then make sure to hang around for sunset. The sun sets just behind the cliffs and on a clear day it truly spectacular.

Visiting South Devon Beaches

Looking for some inspiration of beaches in South Devon worth a visit? Check out some of the destinations above, and if you do, make sure to let me know what you think! 2020 looks like the staycation is coming back with a bang and what’s more sustainable than travelling within the UK?

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South Devon Beaches

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