22 of the best South Devon pubs with views of the coast

The Pilchard Inn, Burgh Island (c) Matthew Hartley, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Pilchard Inn, Burgh Island (c) Matthew Hartley, Flickr (CC BY 2.0) - Credit: Archant

When two of the best things about Devon - our county’s coast and our pubs - come together you get something truly special. Here are 22 great South Devon pubs that have views of the coast

1) Anchor Inn, Beer

If you're looking for a beer in Beer with views of Beer beach and bay then look no further than this pub on Fore Street.

Once you've got your beer, head out over the road from the main pub building where you'll find the small but charming beer garden looking out into the beautifully blue waters and shingle beach just below.

2) The Grove, Exmouth

Set just back from Exmouth's famous esplanade, The Grove has both a beer garden and a balcony that offer views of the River Exe as it flows into the sea.

The pub is also dog-friendly so you can take the pooch out for a nice long coastal walk to Orcombe Point before heading back for a couple of beers and something to eat.

3) The Turf, near Powderham

Head up the River Exe from Exmouth and you'll come across this pub whose garden is on an envious piece of land with water on either side.

The view from here is quite possibly one of the best you'll find in the county with boats serenely floating their way down towards the sea.

4) The Marine Tavern, Dawlish

From the outside areas of this pub you'll not only get views of the sea and nearby cliffs but you may be also able to enjoy a vintage Great Western Railway steam engine powering through just metres away.

With the South West Coast Path right outside, you can head one way to walk the cliffs or the other for an extended ramble to Dawlish Warren beach and the nature reserve.

5) The Smugglers Inn, Dawlish

As this pub is set slightly back from the sea and in a nicely elevated countryside position, it benefits from views of both the sea and the rolling green hills popular with ramblers and farm animals alike.

Again the South West Coast Path runs nearby and we would recommend trying the pub's popular carvery - served seven days a week - after your walk on the path.

6) Ferry Boat Inn, Shaldon

Look straight across from the Ferry Boat's small terrace and you'll have a beautiful view of Teignmouth Back Beach. Look more to your right and you'll see the River Teign run into Babbacombe Bay.

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There are many spots for a drink and a bite to eat along the Strand road but the Ferry Boat - which will be spotted easily by the distinctive red text on its sign - will be a great option after disembarking the Teignmouth-Shaldon ferry.

7) The Ship Inn, Teignmouth

Travel from one side of the Teign to the other and we arrive at The Ship Inn, a location where you'll be able to see the above Ferry Boat Inn - as long as you bring a pair of binoculars that is.

Patrons spill out onto the small beach in front of the pub with their pints and it's not uncommon to see a yacht or small vessel moor up to pay a visit.

8) Cary Arms, Babbacombe

While every location on this list enjoys picturesque views, it's hard to argue that any of them match what this historic spot looks out to.

Even though the inn has changed considerably since its establishment - it's now a hotel, spa and restaurant with some extra rental cottages - its views of Babbacombe Beach have remained just as breathtaking as it was when the Cary family first came to the area in the 17th century.

9) The Buccaneer Inn, Babbacombe

Head up the Beach Road from The Cary Arms onto Babbacombe's cliffs and you'll come across the family-run pub with a decked patio looking right across Lyme Bay.

The Buccaneer has an extensive menu that has been deliberately devised to be enjoyed on the patio including simple yet delicious dishes like BBQ chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, nachos and a wide range of sandwiches and lunch options.

10) Offshore, Torquay Harbour

Set right on Torquay's harbour, you can take a perch on Offshore's terrace to watch the hustle and bustle on the water and back on dry land.

Food is served seven days a week and your meal can be accompanied by a range of different local drinks whether you fancy a Salcombe Gin, a Devon Rum or a Devon Rock craft lager.

11) Harbour Inn, Paignton

Wedged in between Paignton Pier and Fairy Cove, the Harbour Inn - as the name would suggest - overlooks Paignton's pretty 18th century harbour.

From the pub's elevated terrace you have stunning views stretching all the way back to the other side of Torquay while just metres away you'll have close views of the period properties looking out to Tor Bay's beautifully blue waters.

12) The Prince William, Brixham

Once you've spent a few hours exploring the streets immediately off Brixham's inner harbour take the short stroll out to this pub which has views looking back to the area you've just visited.

For food, there is a selection of pizzas and a large menu featuring mussels caught right in Brixham, fish and chips, heaped burgers and more.

13) Ship Inn, Kingswear

Nestled in right next to the Church of St Thomas of Canterbury, the Ship Inn's terrace certainly isn't large but the view of the River Dart it provides more than makes up for that.

From here you'll be able to see the steady flow of vessels up and down the river and all the way over to Dartmouth with its array of colourful cottages. As the Ship is also right next to the Dartmouth Ferry, you're handily placed to get to the next pub on this list.

14) Floating Bridge Inn, Dartmouth

After taking the lower ferry over from Kingswear following your drink at the Ship Inn, enjoy an easy stroll along the river up to this pub just beyond Coronation Park. It's also right next to the higher ferry if you want to head over to the Kingswear side again later on.

For outside seating at the Floating Bridge you have a couple of options: you can either cross the road to the seating area right next to the river or you can head up onto the roof terrace for a slightly elevated view of the water.

15) The Kings Arms, Strete

As you take the A379 away from Dartmouth and past spots like beautiful Blackpool Sands you'll be treated to stretching views of the sea, often in combination with the hills and rolling farmland in the foreground.

When you first roll up to this small village pub you probably wouldn't expect it to enjoy those same views but that's precisely what you get at the rear of the property.

16) Start Bay Inn, Torcross

Since the 14th century this inn has been providing patrons with beer and views of this small yet well-known coastal village that separates two different bodies of water.

On sunny days drinkers love nipping outside on the beach side with a pint of local real ale to watch the waters of Start Bay gently roll onto the shingle. Food is also well worth a try as much of the seafood comes from mere metres from sea to kitchen.

17) Ferry Inn, Salcombe

Proudly describing itself as "Salcombe's most famous inn", the Ferry was first built in the 18th century and has been popular ever since, not least because of its exceptional position by the Salcombe Ferry.

The waters of Salcombe Harbour quite literally wash up against the walls of the pub's stone outside area, getting you as close as possible to actually being out on the water without having to step on a boat.

18) Hope & Anchor, Hope Cove

Hope Cove is a small village halfway between Salcombe and Bigbury-on-Sea that is perfectly placed to visit a number of attractions in and around the South Devon AONB including South Milton Sands and Bolt Tail.

The Hope & Anchor is - along with the Lobster Pod Bistro - one of the few places to eat in Hope Cove and its views of the rocks and the small beach below are unmatched. For views the opposite way looking back at Hope Cove, walk the popular trail out to Bolt Tail.

19) The Pilchard Inn, Bigbury-on-Sea

Established over 700 years ago, the history of this pub on Burgh Island is closely connected to the smuggling and fishing heritage that has helped shape what defines the area today.

When the tide's in you'll have to take the sea tractor over to the island from Bigbury and once you've reached the pub settle in on one of their benches and watch the rapidly-changing landscape of Bigbury Beach.

20) The Eddystone Inn, Heybrook Bay

Take the 25-minute drive out of Britain's Ocean City and you'll reach Heybrook Bay, a small village of holiday homes and The Eddystone Inn, a lovely gastro pub specialising in seafood from right here in Devon.

This food can be enjoyed al fresco from their raised terrace that gazes directly down upon the rocks at the foot of the village. If you take a walk along the coast back towards Plymouth you'll soon reach Fort Bovisand and Bovisand Bay, one of the county's best beaches.

21) The Ship, Plymouth Harbour

Located in the Barbican area of the city and right on the harbour, The Ship is perfectly placed for evening drinks and a meal after a long day out exploring everything that Plymouth has to offer.

On long summer evenings the terrace will be buzzing with all the sounds of a typical night out in the city, creating a wonderful atmosphere whether you're just in for a quick drink or a full meal with the whole family.

22) The Waterfront, Plymouth

We conclude our tour of South Devon's best coastal pubs at The Waterfront, a contemporary bar on the Grand Parade that was formerly the home of the Royal Western Yacht Club.

While sat on the decked area you'll be able to admire some of the best sights in Devon: to your left you can see the Hoe - the site where Sir Francis Drake played a game of bowls before engaging the Spanish Armada - while directly ahead you can see Plymouth Sound, Drake's Island, Mount Batten Tower and more.

This article was first published in July 2020 and updated in June 2022