September and beyond is the ideal time to visit Salcombe, a pretty South Devon seaside town which bursts at the seams in the summer.

You can see why it’s so popular: a magnificent coastal setting, sheltered harbour, beaches you can walk to, excellent range of restaurants and pubs, loads to do on and off the water.

Generations of holidaymakers flock here by land and sea because Salcombe has everything you could possibly want for a staycation.

The locals are well-used to the influx, the narrow roads jammed with lost 4x4s, car parks full by 10am and slim chances of a table reservation anywhere.

Come the autumn, things settle down and the town feels more lived in than simply holidayed in.

Boatbuilding is part of the enviable daily grind here and you can still see traditional craftsmen at work in and around Salcombe. It’s thought boats have been built locally for centuries and the town developed in a significant shipbuilding and ship-owning centre in the 1790s.

Like any good Devon town worth its sea salt, Salcombe has also been associated with smuggling. This was as especially profitable around 1740 and in the early 1780s when duties on imports, such as tea, tobacco, wine or spirits were at their highest.

Great British Life: An aerial view of Salcombe. Photo: Getty ImagesAn aerial view of Salcombe. Photo: Getty Images

Today, Salcombe is still an important fishing port, with a small fleet of around 20 commercial vessels that focus primarily on shellfish, supplied to local restaurants and beyond.

A huge celebration of its finest catch – brown crab - takes place every spring. Salcombe Crabfest is a chance for seafood fans to get together, crack a few crustaceans and raise money for charity.

You can’t talk about Salcombe without mentioning its other prime catch– the housing stock. The property here is something else and heavily in demand. Salcombe was recently named as the most expensive seaside town in the UK (overtaking Sandbanks in Dorset) with the average house price of more than £1.2 million in 2022, according to a study by banking group Halifax.

It makes setting up here difficult for the locals and there are plans to ban to limit new second homes being built in the area.

An off-season day or two is a much more affordable and sustainable way to enjoy this picturesque place that’s almost too lovely for its own good.

Great British Life: Enjoy a taste of local produce at The Crab Shed (pic credit: Crab Shed Salcombe)Enjoy a taste of local produce at The Crab Shed (pic credit: Crab Shed Salcombe)


Salcombe is sorted for great cafes and restaurants, many of which make the most of the bounty of seafood available on the doorstep.

There’s even a food and drink trail, available from the tourist information centre.

The Crab Shed (Gould Road) is a Salcombe institution, serving seafood on the quayside. The speciality, as you’d expect, is hand-picked local crab meat.

Dick and Wills (Fore Street) is a well-established waterside grill and brasserie.

Pubs are a good balance of foodie and wholesome here. The Kings Arms (Fore Street) serves pints and local seafood, The Victoria Inn (Fore Street) is good grub just a stone’s throw from the water. The Ferry Inn (Fore Street) is the town’s oldest pub, dating back to 1739.

All your picnic needs are catered for too, with a selection of lunch-envy inducing artisan delis, including The Salcombe Delicatessen (Fore Street) and Seamonkey Deli and Tapas Bar (Island Street).

Great British Life: Leigh Hill is available through Toad Hall Cottages (pic credit: Toad Hall Cottages)Leigh Hill is available through Toad Hall Cottages (pic credit: Toad Hall Cottages)


Live in luxury and enjoy the views from the Salcombe Harbour Hotel and spa (Cliff Road). The Gara Rock Hotel on the cliffs at East Portlemouth has been described as Devon’s coolest coastal hotel.

Pretend you live in Salcombe in one of the plentiful stylish cottages and houses available throughout the area. Leigh Hill is a light and spacious modern home at the top of town, which sleeps 10. Available through Toad Hall Cottages.

The Fortescue Inn has rooms and Whinfield B&B (Herbert Road) has three spacious, stylish bedrooms, just 10-minutes’ walk from town.

Happy campers can choose from a range of options. Salcombe Shepherd Huts at Ilton Farm in nearby Malborough offers a unique glamping experience and the chance to escape the hustle and bustle. Alston Farm is a camping and caravanning site that has pitches with a view.

Great British Life: Spend time in Salcombe Maritime Museum (pic credit: Salcombe Maritime Museum)Spend time in Salcombe Maritime Museum (pic credit: Salcombe Maritime Museum)


SALCOMBE MARITIME MUSEUM: This is a treasure trove of models, paintings, photographs and artefacts that tell the story of Salcombe’s links with ships and the sea from ancient times to the Second World War. Entry is free.

HOO-RIA: When is an estuary not really an estuary? When it’s a ria. Salcombe sits at the southern end of a landlocked, saltwater inlet, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Marine Local Nature Reserve.

FERRY NICE: There’ s a daily ferry service across the estuary (or ria) to East Portlemouth – well worth a visit. More coastal paths, coves and sandy beaches await.