CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Stepping out in Salcombe, Devon

PUBLISHED: 11:53 05 January 2011 | UPDATED: 17:10 20 February 2013

Stepping out in Salcombe, Devon

Stepping out in Salcombe, Devon

Although not quite offshore, Salcombe in Devon has the feel of an island and is the perfect place to escape to at this time of year, writes Trudy Turrell Pictures by Martyn Norsworthy

Candy-coloured cottages climb up from the waters edge and the town looks as though it almost floats on the turquoise waters of the Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary. A popular yachtsmans port of call, in summer it can attract as many boats as its 1,500 residents! The sparkling waters and ample opportunities to get afloat will easily tempt you to see it from the water too.



Once crammed with shipyards which built fast and elegant fruit schooners, the narrow main street is now full of chic yachty clothes stores, food, craft and enticing coffee shops, where you can linger over a latte and gaze out at the ever-changing water with boats moving against a fabulous backdrop of beaches and rolling hills.




Get off to a good start



By car or by bus from Kingsbridge or Plymouth, the A381 runs through high-banked hedgerows, frothy with Queen Annes lace and decorated with pink campions. As you sweep down the steep hill into town, the panorama of Salcombe opens up, edged with its sparkling estuary waters and beaches and green hills beyond.




Why visit now?



In June you can enjoy Salcombes summer sunshine without the crowds! Boats are shipshape and newly painted for summer sailing, restaurants and coffee shops welcome you with space to relax, and the local gardens in this sunny corner of Devon are full of flowers.



Catch Salcombe Festival too, which is a celebration of Salcombe in music and sail. Jazz, rocknroll, gospel, folk street entertainers and classic boats are a winning combination. As one of the sunniest parts of the county, Salcombes sheltered estuary beaches offer the chance to soak up some early summer sun. Sample a sailing lesson, snap up some summer togs with nautical flair in the many chic casual clothes shops, and stroll through clifftop meadows. Youll feel as though you have been away on holiday without the air miles!


Dont miss



Getting afloat: take the magical short trip from the centre of town to South Sands on the ferry, or simply cross the estuary to East Portlemouth for the best sandy beaches with to-die-for views. Get a taste of sailing a Hobie Cat, kayaking or the latest craze, stand-up paddling, at South Sands Sailing, where there are two-hour taster sessions on offer. If you really wish to know the ropes you can learn whilst you live in the middle of the estuary on the Island Cruising Clubs converted Mersey ferry, Egremont.



Indulge: in Salcombe Dairy ice cream, made just up the road, from its Fore Street shop. Most popular is their honeycomb, closely followed by choc and cookies Salcombe mud! Give the children a few pennies to spend ages choosing sweets in the pink-and-white striped Cranchs Sweet Shop. Crammed with jars guaranteed to bring on nostalgia, Cranchs have been satisfying sweet tooths for 140 years.



Eat and drink: a frothy cappuccino or Ghirardellis hot chocolate in the Salcombe Coffee Company in Fore Street will warm you up after being on the water. Find the secret garden, complete with playground and friendly chickens, behind the Victoria Inn a few doors up. Nearby North Sands has the best beach caf an oversized pink beach hut where you can sit outside and watch the waves. At night the indoor menu offers delicious local seafood and regular barbeques.



Hot summer colour: red salvias, blue agapanthus, crinodendron hookenanium, with its bright lantern blooms, and the blue yucca Beschromeria yuccoides star in the National Trusts lush Overbecks Gardens, near the estuarys mouth. The home of an Edwardian eccentric, the house is full of treasures, toys and curiosities.



Take the plunge: if it rains or you fancy a little luxury, head for the pool, jacuzzi and steam room of the newly reopened Salcombe Harbour Hotel. Their large pool looks out across the estuary waters and day visitors are welcomed. Or for outdoor swimming (with socking views) why not head for the outdoor pool in Onslow Road.




Go Green



Step out in any direction for a fabulous walk beside the water. Simply follow the waters edge from the town to the sea, past North and South Sands, then up to Overbecks Gardens and the South West Coast Path. Pass through an enchanted landscape of rocky spires and pinnacles to Starehole Bay, site of a Viking wreck and bracing Bolt Head.



Cross the water to East Portlemouths beaches and follow the coast path around to Gara Rock for clifftop meadows speckled with flowers, a hidden beach and patterns of Bronze Age fields. These and other walks are all described at www.southdevonaonb.org.





Enjoy the View



Cross the water for a fabulous perspective of Salcombe. Its hotels, cottages and fine villas behind provide a colourful backdrop to the endless activity of craft on the water. Take the open ferry to East Portlemouth and watch whilst you imbibe a cuppa at the Venus Caf above the beach. Or wander along the low tide line to Mill Bay beach for a panorama from town to sea through the estuarys mouth.



Getting there...


By road: the A379 from Plymouth and A381 from Totnes both meet at Kingsbridge. The A381 continues south to Salcombe


By bus: regular bus services from Totnes and Plymouth city centre to Kingsbridge. From Kingsbridge there are buses to Salcombe


By train: Totnes station 16 miles, Plymouth 24 miles


Sat"Nav "Ref: TQ8 8DE


0 comments

More from Out & About

Tue, 11:06

Wild camping can be one of the best ways to escape the crowds for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape - SOPHIE PAVELLE chooses her five favourite places to ‘wild-life’ camp in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Take our quiz to find out how well you really know Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As the weather starts to warm up and the Devon countryside beckons, LIZZIE JANE of the National Trust in the South West offers plenty of walk ideas for you to try. Whether you want a relaxed Sunday stroll or a more strenuous hike, here are 10 walks across Devon (and beyond) to help you escape the crowds and head off the beaten track

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The South West Coast Path is celebrating 40 years by calling on people to help raise £40,000. To show their support, teams from Devon’s top tourist attractions are preparing to take to the trail. CHRISSY HARRIS finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Away from the hustle of places like Woolacombe and Ilfracombe, North Devon is peppered with tiny coves, empty beaches and wooded walks leading to secluded bays that feel a million miles away from the tourist trail. BECKY DICKINSON reveals her pick of the best kept secrets on the North Devon coast

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

As part of her regular series where she visits Devon’s best places for 24 hours, Lydia Tewkesbury has this time been to Sidmouth

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ranging from rocky and windy walkways along the South West Coast Path to the sandy beaches on the picturesque coastline, the district of North Devon is one of the prettiest coastal areas in the South West of England. In no particular order, here are 10 of the prettiest villages in the district of North Devon

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In Devon’s towns and cities there’s an awful lot you can do in just 24 hours. For her regular feature, Lydia Tewkesbury travels to see what you can do in a day in Kingsbridge

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Villages in Devon are some of the prettiest in the South West. From beautiful little hamlets on the outskirts of the moors to seaside communities, we pick 10 villages in Devon you need to visit

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Dust off your walking shoes and head to South Devon – here are 6 reasons why the area is so good for a stroll writes Victoria Rogers

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

There is something quite life-enriching about being by the water and in Devon there are plenty of ways to enjoy it, writes Fran McElhone. Including surfing, wild swimming, water skiing and more, here are 10 great ways to enjoy Devon’s water

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Encompassing large swathes of Dartmoor and plenty of the county’s most distinctive sections of coastline, it’s no wonder that the South Hams district is home to some of Devon’s prettiest places. We pick out 10 of the best towns and villages the area has to offer

Read more
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Devon is as beautiful underwater as it is above. Chrissy Harris highlights the best places to discover our county’s hidden depths… Here are 6 great places for crabbing, rockpooling and diving

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search