A fine selection of holiday cottages, hotels, B&Bs, Inns, Lodges, Travelodges, Premier Inns etc across the South Devon AONB. Pictured is Mill Bay Beach on The Kingsbridge Salcombe Estuary.
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South Devon AONB, Visitor & Tourism Guide



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Region: South West England
County: Devon. Nearby counties Cornwall and Dorset
Nearby National Park: Dartmoor. To the north is Exmoor
Nearby AONBs: Tamar Valley, Cornwall, East Devon, Dorset
Select Towns/Villages: Salcombe, Dartmouth, Torcross, Bigbury-on-Sea, Kingsbridge, East Prawle, Totnes, Newton Ferrers, Blackpool, Outer Hope, Thurlestone. Also, visit Plymouth and the towns of The English Riviera

One of the UK's most popular holiday spots
One of the UK's most popular holiday destinations. Blue-green seas and exotic vegetation, steep cliffs and sandy coves, it's classic family holiday territory. We've been researching the area for about three years now and, when the sun's out, South Devon's sublime.

The AONB runs along the south coast of Devon from around Brixham in the east through Dartmouth, Start Point, Salcombe, Bigbury-on-Sea to Plymouth Sound and Plymouth. To the north is The English Riviera.

It extends across the entire coastline of the South Hams and as far north as Totnes. Dartmoor National Park is to the north and west.

Towns and villages
The area contains some amazing towns and villages. In our opinion, for sheer beauty, Salcombe and Dartmouth are up there with the best towns in the UK. Newton Ferrers is gorgeous, Bigbury-on-Sea a must.

We'd recommend visiting Torcross and Thurlestone, too. Plymouth is on the border to the west and Torquay to the north. Check out our 'Top 10 Places To Visit' for more ideas.

Coastline and beaches
Famous for its beaches, we'd point you in the direction of Bantham Beach and Dunes and Bigbury-on-Sea Beach. A little further east are Thurlestone Sands/South Milton Sands (Beach) and Thurlestone Leas Foot Sand (Beach). The walk along the South West Coast Path from Bigbury-on-Sea to Thurlestone has fine, fine views.

On The Salcombe Kingsbridge Estuary, we'd recommend exploring East Portlemouth Beaches (Small's and Fisherman's Coves) and Mill Bay Beach. Along the eastern coastline, we'd suggest you visit Blackpool Sands and Slapton Sands. There a nice coastal pub at Beesands.

Note that the beaches on the southern coastline are mostly sand and those on the eastern coastline mostly shingle and pebble. Beaches north of the AONB, around The English Riviera, are mostly red sand, btw.

Coastal walking
There's also exceptional coastal walking along the South West Coast Path. Try Start Point (with views back to Start Bay), Prawle Point, Bolberry Down around Soar Mill Cove, the River Erme and Estuary and the path around Newton Ferrers.

South Devon attractions
In addition to coastal attractions, there's plenty to do and see. For heritage, we'd suggest Dartmouth Castle and Saltram House and Gardens. On the fringes of the AONB, visit Totnes Castle and Berry Pomeroy Castle. For museums, explore Dartmouth Museum and Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery.

If you have kids, Woodlands Park is a must. We'd also recommend the Plymouth National Marine Aquarium and a trip on the Dartmouth Boat Trips. North, in The English Riviera, try The Golden Hinde (Devon) and Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts and Kents Cavern. Much further away, you might want to spend a day at Devon's Crealy Great Adventure Park, too.

Outside Salcombe, visit Overbeck's Garden and Museum. To the west, drop in on Wembury Marine Centre.

The surrounding area
If you fancy a trip to the city, we'd recommend a couple of days in Plymouth and Exeter. For something a little more wild, head into Dartmoor National Park. Whilst the high moors are a wee way away to the north west of the Park, we'd suggest you walk some of Dartmoor's many wooded valleys and cleaves. Try the Dart Gorge and Lustleigh Cleave.


Top 10 Recommendations

Top 10 Hotels
Selected from the best Hotels in South Devon AONB we've listed our top 10.
Top 10 Places To Visit
Selected from the best Places To Visit in South Devon AONB we've listed our top 10.
Top 10 Things To Do
Selected from the best Things To Do in South Devon AONB we've listed our top 10.
Top 10 Beaches
Selected from the best Beaches in South Devon AONB we've listed our top 10.
Top 10 Towns
Selected from the best Towns in South Devon AONB we've listed our top 10.
Top 10 Villages
Selected from the best Villages in South Devon AONB we've listed our top 10.
Top 10 Views
Selected from the best Views in South Devon AONB we've listed our top 10.
Top 10 Rainy Days Out
Selected from the best Rainy Days Out in South Devon AONB we've listed our top 10.

Local Map

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Local Attractions  [See more Attractions]

Salcombe Festival, Devon

Located in Salcombe, Devon, South West England, England

Less than a mile away.

Boat Racing, Gig Regatta, Music and Street Entertainment over the course of a weekend in Salcombe and on The Salcombe Kingsbridge Estuary. In 2011, Salcombe Festival takes places 10th-12th June, website link provided. Wh...

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East Portlemouth Beaches

Located in East Portlemouth, Devon, South West England, England

Less than a mile away.

Stunning, sandy beaches which run along the East Portlemouth side of The Salcombe Kingsbridge Estuary. A passenger ferry runs between Salcombe and East Portlemouth. We'd recommend spending time at Mill Bay Beach a short...

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Snapes Point, Devon

Located in Salcombe, Devon, South West England, England

Less than a mile away.

A finger of land jutting out into The Salcombe Kingsbridge Estuary to the north east of Salcombe. Known for its views, the beaches that line the estuary by East Portlemouth can be seen across the water. To learn more abo...

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Local Accommodation  [See more Accommodation]

Boatman's Cottage
© Owner
Star Rating

Less than a mile away.

Rates: 289 - 650 Per Week

In a prime location just 3 minutes' level walk from the town's picturesque harbour restaurants and charming shops this quaint little 19th century fisherman's cottage end one of a row has been carefully restor...

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Tides Reach, Salcombe
Star Rating

Approximately 1.0 miles away.

Total Rooms: 35; Rates: 59 - 320 Per Night

Tides Reach Hotel is a pretty seafront hotel with beautiful views and leisure facilities Salcombe is a short walk or ferry ride along the estuary On the doorstep are sandy coves, spectacular coastal walks, safe sea-swimm...

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Hydrangeas
© Owner
Star Rating

Approximately 1.6 miles away.

Rates: 270 - 593 Per Week

In the mild climate of the South Hams this single storey link house enjoys a quiet location just 1½ miles from the popular watersports centre of Salcombe and ½ mile from Malborough's 3 pubs shop/garage tenn...

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