Who can build the biggest sandcastle? Our guide to the hottest beaches in South Devon

26 May 2018

The sun has started to sizzle and blue skies are in abundance. We’ve dusted off our barbeques and the flip flops are out the cupboard… it can only mean one thing; the British Summertime is almost upon us! But before you dash out of the door, see our guide to the best of South Devon beaches!

Although we love that we can walk through Eastdon Woods down to Dawlish Warren beach, we’ve come up with a list of alternative beaches should you wish to get out and explore the stunning coastline this glorious corner has to offer.

We’ve provided distances and directions, both for driving and public transport. Cofton reception has up to date bus timetables to help you plan your day out.

Dawlish Warren Beach

You’ll be pleased to hear that Dawlish Warren Beach has been awarded a Blue Flag for the 20th – yep you read that correctly – TWENTIETH consecutive year!

The blue flag reassures all visitors that our best loved beaches are maintaining high standards of cleanliness and safety! You may have seen that Dawlish Warren Beach recently underwent a multi-million pound management project – designed to protect the beach and keep it sandy for all to enjoy for years to come!

This isn’t just a sandy haven, it backs onto a Wildlife Reserve brimming with amazing plants, birds and bugs! Dawlish Warren stretches right up to the mouth of the River Exe and you’re in for a treat if you walk the distance.

Distance from Cofton: 2 miles (10 minute drive) or (35 minutes walk from Cofton Reception)

Beach Rd, Dawlish, EX7 0NF

Dawlish Town Beach

Park up next to the train station or hop on the train at Starcross and you’ll be here in no time! Arrive, pan across to the stunning red cliffs and soak up the views! Be sure to pop into Gaye’s Creamery on the way – the delightful ice cream is one of Dawlish’s best kept secrets – thank us later! If you ponder down towards Boat Cove and can muster enough breath to scale Lee Mount, you’ll be rewarded with epic views back across the town and shoreline.

Distance from Cofton: 2.8 miles (8 minute drive) or (Get the Number 2 Bus from Cofton)

Dawlish, EX8 5BT

Dawlish Days Out Devon
Iconic flavours and views.. can you spot the famous Black Swans of Dawlish?
South Devon Beaches
Row Row Row Your Boat… and relax in this sandy retreat

Coryton Cove

A 10 minute walk from Dawlish Town Beach by following the coast path, this is truly one of South Devon’s secluded little treasures. With rock pools to explore, not to mention the occasional Dolphin sighting! This little sandy hideaway also received the Seaside Award!

Distance from Cofton: 2.8 miles (8 minute drive + 10 minute walk) or (Get the Number 2 Bus from Cofton)

Dawlish, EX8 5BT

Holcombe Beach

A small cove situated at the base of the cliffs between Teignmouth and Dawlish. Located down the long and winding Smugglers Lane, you’ll feel like an intrepid explorer when you finally make it to the beach – but boy is it worth it. Surrounded by the striking red rocks and a seemingly endless coastline, it’s very easy to wile away the day here. With almost zero parking however, perhaps this beach is best when it follows a refreshing drink at the Smuggler’s Inn.

Distance from Cofton: 4.2 miles (10 minute drive although parking is severely limited) or (Get the Number 2 Bus from Cofton)

Smugglers Lane, Holcombe, Dawlish, EX7 0JL

Teignmouth Main Beach

The beach itself is a long one so you don’t need to worry about the crowds, even during the summer. It stretches down from the mouth of the River Teign and is overlooked by an impressive Victorian Pier. Teignmouth beach is one of those beaches that will take you back to your childhood: you’ve got local fishermen mending their nets, a parade full of amusements and old-school activities like catching sand eels and exploring rock pools. Another recipient of the Seaside Award for excellent cleanliness and safe access! Make sure you’ve packed a purse full of change – the nostalgic Pier has all the arcade games and amusements you need for the classic seaside experience.

Distance from Cofton: 5.7 miles (15 minute drive) or (Get the Number 2 Bus from Cofton)

Teignmouth Town Beach, Beach Street, Teignmouth, TQ14 8SY

Teignmouth Days Out Devon Beaches
Catch of the day… try some of the local seafood, fresh out the net!

Teignmouth Back Beach

Located on the estuary side of town, this charming beach takes you back to days bygone. Local fishermen mend nets, sand eels are caught, boats bob up and down with the tide and children splash and play. Watch the sun set magnificently over the River Teign and just watch the world go by. The views of the Upper Teign estuary looking towards Dartmoor are particularly spectacular as the sun sets and rises. Ever tried crabbing? There’s no better place to give it a go! Or jump aboard the passenger ferry to Shaldon Beach!

Distance from Cofton: 6.2 miles (20 minute drive) or (Get the Number 2 Bus from Cofton)

Teignmouth Back Beach, Teign View Place, Teignmouth, TQ14 8XZ

Shaldon Beach

Shaldon beach is located at the mouth if the River Teign and is a gently sloping mix of sand and shingle that levels out at the river estuary. It’s a popular beach during the summer, but if you fancy a quieter time its sheltered position makes it a great destination during the off-peak season too. Shaldon beach is where you’ll find some of the most spectacular coastline in South Devon. Because of its location and the way the sands have formed, it’s perfect for a number of water sports including sailing, fishing, swimming, canoeing and rowing, but bear in mind that Shaldon beach is not patrolled by lifeguards. With limited parking in Shaldon, you can park up in Teignmouth and grab a ferry across!

Distance from Cofton: 7.3 miles (25 minute drive) or by bus (Number 2 from Cofton to Teignmouth and Number 22 from Teignmouth to Shaldon)

Ness Cove

The Ness beach is accessed via an original Smugglers tunnel, that comprises of both a sloping path and some steps. One of the most secluded and picturesque beaches, completely enclosed by the shelter of the cliffs above. Although it’s mainly shingle, the graduation of beach towards the sea provides a great swimming area. Can you catch some shrimp lurking in the rock pools? Or maybe even try fishing from the beach…

Distance from Cofton: 7.8 miles (25 minute drive) or by bus (Number 2 from Cofton to Teignmouth and Number 22 from Teignmouth to Shaldon)

Ness Cove Beach, Shaldon, Teignmouth, TQ14 0HP

Exmouth Beach

Exmouth Beach is well celebrated for its two miles of golden sand, rare on this coast and fascinating rock pools it’s a paradise for children and adults alike. Exmouth Beach is the ideal place to try your hand at watersports – be it Kite Surfing, Kayaking, standup paddleboarding or windsurfing. Exmouth is quite a drive from Cofton, but with this sandy expanse laying just across the Exe Estuary you can hop on the Starcross Ferry for a quick ride across!

Distance from Cofton: 18 miles (40 minute drive) or 1.5 miles to Starcross and ferry to Exmouth – the ferry terminal is located behind Starcross Train Station

Exmouth Beach, Exmouth, EX8 2AZ

Budleigh Salterton

Budleigh Salterton coastline forms the western most section of Jurassic coast, and the cliffs on either side of the town are the unique Red Devonian Sandstone. This is a breathtaking bay within the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natuaral Beauty. Budleigh Salterton beach is formed of large pebbles, and extends for 2.5 miles, from Littleham Cove to the west, to Otterhead in the east, where the River Otter meets the sea. Bathing is safe and the water clear, families can relax here, with the beach side cafes, beach huts (which are available for hire by the day or week from the TIC) and the rocks at Ottermouth giving parents and children plenty to explore.

Distance from Cofton: 20.4 miles (45 minute drive) or 1.5 miles to Starcross and ferry to Exmouth – the ferry terminal is located behind Starcross Train Station and number 357 bus from Exmouth High Street

Budleigh Salterton Beach, Lime Kiln Car Park, Granary Ln, Budleigh Salterton, EX9 6JD

Summer Holidays Devon Beaches
The Pebble Beaches at Budleigh are a little more than a stones throw away

Torre Abbey Beach, Torquay

On a beautiful summers day it’s easy to see why Torquay is nicknamed the English Riviera. With hundreds of boats, yachts and vessels bobbing up and down in the Quay, fresh seafood and palm trees! Once you’re done admiring the boats head to Torre Abbey beach and soak it all up from a distance. Torquay is a short drive or ride from Cofton but we recommend making a day of, Living Coasts is right next to the Quay and there are numerous attractions including the Model Village in nearby Babbacombe.

Distance from Cofton: 20 miles (35 minute drive) or by bus (Number 2 from Cofton to Teignmouth and Number 22 from Teignmouth to Torquay)

Torquay, Devon, TQ2 5JE

Goodrington Sands, Paignton

The long stretch of golden sands is perfect for swimming, watersports and or just chilling. Quay West water park is nearby, so why not make a day of it? At low-tide you can explore the rock pools, but make sure you visit the Seashore Centre first.

Distance from Cofton: 23 miles (40 minute drive) 

Paignton, Devon, TQ4 6LN

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