Beaches In The South West

Plymouth is surrounded by golden sandy beaches recognised for being some of the best in the UK

Explore the South West beaches

Everyone wants something different from a beach, be it peace and quiet, water sports or family fun. Plymouth is surrounded by golden sandy beaches recognised for being some of the best in the UK which are perfect for rockpooling, swimming and surfing.

Plymouth is a short ferry ride from the city, Barn Pool at Mount Edgcumbe, a popular place for families and tourists to visit.

Plymouth’s closest sandy beaches are Bovisands and Wembury, being just a 15 – 20 minute drive away from the city centre.  Wembury is a beautiful beach, owned by the National Trust, which is just as beautiful on a misty winter’s day as it is in the summer heat and is great for rock pooling. Bovisands is a sheltered bay of yellow sand with cliffs either side, this popular beach has a large expanse of flat sand when the tide is out, making it perfect for games.

As areas of outstanding natural beauty, these destinations are very popular with locals and families.

Once a haven for smugglers, the quaint twin Cornish villages – Kingsand and Cawsand are worth the half hour boat trip from the Barbican. You’ll find secluded beaches, delightful walks and a warm welcome in the pubs and cafes.

View some of the stunning beaches surrounding our beautiful coastline below


Bantham beach is one of the best in South Devon and ticks all right the boxes if you want a typical English seaside holiday.

This beach is part of the designated South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s also won awards from the Marine Conservation Society and the coveted Blue Flag, so you know it’s clean. You can see Bigbury Beach and Burgh Island from the beach.

Bantham is shallow and sandy so it’s great for families with young children who want to do a little swimming or paddling, and there are lifeguards on duty from May to September. At low tide, you’ll find loads of rockpools that warm up quickly in the sun and are perfect for crab hunting.

Bantham is also one of the best surfing beaches in South Devon, with mellow waves for beginners while the mouth of the River Avon fires out rips and breaks to test even the seasoned surfer.

The beach is well served with its own facilities, including a beach shop where you can buy all the essentials. While dogs are not allowed on the beach between May and September they are allowed on the Estuary all year round, which you can get to at low tide.

Bigbury on Sea

A 40 minute drive from Dartmouth is the stunning sandy beach of Bigbury on sea, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and joined by causeway to the iconic Burgh Island.

Shallow water for paddling and rock pools for exploring. Bigbury on Sea is a popular family beach and great for windsurfing and kite surfing too. There is a beach shop and cafe close by and on site parking.

Lifeguards are on site May – September.

Visit Burgh Island by unique sea tractor or walk across the causeway at low tide. There is also a Venus cafe serving organic and local food

Wembury Beach

Owned by the National Trust with its own Marine Conservation Centre and guided rock pool rambles, Wembury, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), is not short of ways to keep you entertained. Safe, clean bathing from gently shelving sand and shale, with beautiful cliff walks to Bovisand in the west and Newton Ferrers/Noss Mayo to the east. Overall, a very unusual and interesting beach. Parking is available by the church.

Kingsand Beach

Small east facing beach of sand and shingle, fairly sheltered. There are rock pools to explore at Kingsand and access to both Kingsand beaches are via slopes and a few steps. There is parking in the centre of Kingsand.

Access – Easy


Restaurants and cafe’s are nearby

All year dog friendly beach.

Mothecombe Beach

If you want a beach holiday without the crowds, Mothecombe beach is one of the quieter beaches in South Devon. Large and unspoilt and at low tide Mothecombe comes into its own with fine sand and plenty of opportunity for shallow, sheltered bathing.

There’s a car park which gives you easy access down a narrow path to the sands (not suitable for wheelchairs). If you’re in need of refreshments then there’s a tea house in the car park offering drinks and snacks, with toilets nearby.

If you’ve ever fancied a crack at windsurfing or bodyboarding then conditions at Mothecombe are ideal for beginners. But if you’re a more seasoned water sports enthusiast, you might be better off seeking out other bays along the coast for more challenging conditions. If you prefer to stay dry but still want to get a little exercise, you can access the South West Coast Path from Mothecombe beach and get some spectacular views of the surrounding coast and countryside.

Mothecombe beach may not have much in the way of theme parks and commercial attractions, but it has its own understated sights to see. A little further to the south there is a small, circular stone wall that used to be used as a swimming pool as it fills with water as the tide comes in. Mothecombe has its own, laid-back charm and is great for families who love simple beach holidays.

Dog are not allowed on the beach from 1st May to the 30th September.

Challaborough Beach

A sheltered cove with a fine sandy beach in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Great for building sand castles and exploring rock pools at low tide. The beach experiences swells and shore breaks and is consequently popular with surfers and bodyboarders. The beach is accessible from Bigbury on Sea by walking along a hilly stretch of coastal path. There is a beach shop close by.

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