Five hidden coastal gems in Devon

PUBLISHED: 14:09 20 August 2015 | UPDATED: 14:09 20 August 2015




Devon offers everything you would want for a short break: beautiful clean beaches, preserved wilderness areas and excellent produce. But it’s worth veering away from the well-trodden tourist’s path and stay in one of Devon’s smaller seaside towns, for a more authentic holiday experience

Bigbury Sea TractorBigbury Sea Tractor, the world’s largest search engine for holiday rentals, has selected 5 of Devon’s hidden coastal gems, where you can rent a holiday home just footsteps from beautiful coastline.

1. Brixham

Brixham, part of the English Riviera, is situated on the South Devon coastline. With a long, rich history as a fishing town. Every day, fishermen unload their latest catch of crabs, lobsters, squid, mussels & plaice. Much of the seafood is bought by top-class restaurants around the country, but visitors can get an even fresher taste and one of Brixham’s excellent seafood restaurants. Having a pint and one of Brixham’s many fishermen-filled pubs are a clear sign that you are getting the authentic Devon experience! A must-see is the area of Berry Head, South East of Brixham. Berry Head’s limestone plateau is a National Nature Reserve, which is a hotspot for rare and threatened species who rely on its limestone soils and mild climate. Limestone has been quarried from Berry Head for around 300 years and and was even used in the construction of forts during the Napoleonic Wars.

Weekly prices for a group of 4 to stay in Brixham in August start at £350.

Hartland AbbeyHartland Abbey

2. Bigbury

Bigbury, on the South Devon coast, is a perfect family holiday destination with sandy beaches, coastal walks as well as a wealth of sports activities including windsurfing and canoeing. For golf lovers, midway between Bigbury and Bigbury-on-Sea lies a challenging 18-hole course at Bigbury Gold Club. The town is most famous for Burgh island, overlooking the beach. The island can be reached in times of low tide with a ride on the unusual ‘sea tractor’. Bigbury on Sea beach has also been awarded Blue Flag for its beach’s high standards and its initiative to make the beach accessible to everyone.

Weekly prices for a group of 4 to stay in Bigbury in August start at £350.

Lynmouth HarbourLynmouth Harbour

3. Hartland

The stretch of Hartland Peninsula has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) because of its unique character and biodiversity. For a taste of Devon’s wilder natural side, visit Hartland Quay and see the power of the waves hit the the cliffs and shore. In low tide, visitors can explore the sandy beaches and find numerous unexpected rock pools scattered about. History buffs should pay a visit to Hartland Abbey, built in the 12th century. Its grounds are open from the end of March until October. Visitors can meander down the beautiful valley until they reach a remote cove, which was the setting for the BBC adaptation of ‘Sense and Sensibility’. Hartland is also a great point to explore the rest of North Devon. Not far away is the Docton Mill, which traces back to Saxon times. The working watermill is also accompanied by beautiful gardens and a tea room, an ideal place to taste Devon’s finest cream teas.

Weekly prices for a group of 4 to stay in Hartland in August start at £290.

4. Lynmouth and Lynton (Exmoor national park)

Sidmouth BeachSidmouth Beach

Lynmouth is perched on the coastal end of Exmoor National Park in North Devon. The Exmoor coast is simply spectacular. It boasts the highest coastline in England with rugged cliffs and a long expanse of coastal woodland. Lynmouth is a small picturesque village with its own rocky beach. Further uphill from the coast lies Lymouth’s sister town Lynton with breathtaking views of the sea below. Lynmouth is also a great place to explore the rest of Exmoor park, whether it’s spotting red deer, horse riding or marvelling at the astronomical delights in the sky on a clear night. Craft-lovers can also indulge in some locally made products at Lyn Valley Art and Crafts, where around fifty local traders from Devon and Exmoor sell an extensive collection of ceramics, pottery, jewellery among many other delights.

Weekly prices for a group of 4 to stay in Lynmouth and Lynton in August start at £300.

5. Sidmouth

Poet John Betjeman perfectly captured Sidmouth as one of the most alluring seaside towns in England with the following lines:

“Farewell, seductive Sidmouth by the sea

Older and more exclusive than Torquay, Sidmouth in Devon

you’re the town for me!”

Sidmouth’s beauty lies in its old-fashioned charm; where the rush of modern life seems to come to a halt. It is a perfect town to wander and admire the quaint beach-side homes adorned with summery hanging baskets. The town has two beaches: Sidmouth Town Beach Jacob’s Ladder Beach. Both beaches are mostly pebbled and are an excellent place for young children to paddle.A great activity for kids and adults alike is a visit to the nearby Babbacombe Model Village in Torquay. Visitors will be delighted whilst exploring four acres of award-winning gardens with hundreds of whimsical model scenes, vehicles and people through the decades.

Weekly prices for a group of 4 to stay in Sidmouth in August start at £300.

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