9 of the best beaches to visit in Devon

Bigbury Sands beach in Devon with Burgh Island on the horizon.

There are great views of Burgh Island from Bigbury Sands - Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon

With two separate stretches of glorious coastline, nowhere beats the West Country for beaches – here are just a few of my favourites.

Bigbury Sands – Worth it for the view of the iconic Burgh Island alone, Bigbury also offers superb variety for all kinds of beachgoers – golden sands, sporting surf, sheltered rock pools and wonderful dining options both adjacent to the beach and in the nearby coastal villages.  

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Blackpool Sands in South Devon.

Blackpool Sands is a popular family beach - Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon

Blackpool Sands – At first glance this beautiful beach seems to be made up of golden sands but look closer and it is actually millions of tiny pebbles, which only adds to the breathtaking sounds when the waves crash onto the shore. And if you want sand to play in the owners have helpfully created large ‘sandpits’ in raised beds...ideal for castle-making.  

Branscombe beach , East Devon.

Branscombe beach is made up of shingle in the main - Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon

Branscombe – Framed by dramatic cliffs, Branscombe is a spectacular setting for a day out at the beach. The rocky shores give way to small amounts of sand at low tide, but it’s great for swimming at all times if you stick to the lifeguarded zones. Perch yourself on one of the many ridges set into the stones and watch the world go by.  

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The shingle beach at Budleigh Salterton in Devon

Budleigh Salterton is a genteel, quiet resort - Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon

Budleigh Salterton – Gentle, peaceful Budleigh is a mecca for families and no wonder with its expansive stretches of pebbles, inviting waves and lovely cliffside path to amble along. There’s plenty of parking adjacent to the beach and the nearby River Otter, making this a popular spot for SUP enthusiasts and kayakers.  

Croyde beach, North Devon

Croyde beach is popular all-year-round - Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon

Croyde – The surfing haven of Croyde is a busy, bustling gathering of families and boarders in summer and a more wild and rugged expanse of sand out of season, although the more hardcore fraternity can be found out in the water in all seasons. Croyde village is but a five-minute walk from the beach, making this an ideal spot for a long family day out on the sands.

Exmouth beach, East Devon

New developments are going to make Exmouth beach even more popular - Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon


Exmouth – Having undergone major developments in the past six months, Exmouth is gearing up to welcome its usual mix of watersports enthusiasts, families, walkers and boating day-trippers to its shores. The opening of the multi-million Sideshore leisure and dining out complex will only increase the popularity of this broad expanse of sand.  

A view of Putsborough beach, North Devon

Putsborough beach can be found at the far end of Woolacombe Sands - Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon

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Putsborough – Many holidaymakers flock to Woolacombe Beach (and why not, because it is lovely) but at the other end of the sands sits pretty Putsborough, offering a quieter experience for beachgoers but still with plenty of surf to enjoy, a fabulous café perched high on the hill and dozens of rock pools to spend hours exploring.  

A view of Sidmouth, Devon, from the beach.

Regency Sidmouth is framed by dramatic cliffs - Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon

Sidmouth – Regency Sidmouth changes very little in terms of the outlook over the years...and why should it? The ubiquitous red cliffs lead to a wonderfully unspoilt beach, with adventures aplenty on offer, including a climb up Jacob's Ladder to marvel at the views across the bay.  

Saunton Sands beach, North Devon

Saunton Sands offers plenty of space to relax and enjoy the sands - Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon

Saunton Sands – Worth a trip just for the spectacular views across the stretch of golden sands as you drive down to the car park. There you’ll find a busy and popular selection of eateries, great facilities and surf schools and surf life-saving clubs aplenty...and that’s before you make your way onto the golden sands. As well as time on the beach, take time to explore the amazing dunes too. 

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