Devon in South West England is a county that's lined with beautiful beaches to visit. Famous for its picturesque coastlines and cups of the delicious cream tea, a vacation in Devon will help ease you away from the stresses of the city.

    In this list, we’ll tell you where to trade your shopping sprees for a memorable beachside vacation. From adventurous surfing spots to relaxing hidden gems, you’ll discover them all in this collection of the best beaches in Devon.

    1

    Barricane Beach

    A hidden gem for adrenaline seekers

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    Barricane Beach is a small cove located just 10 minutes away on foot from the popular Woolacombe Beach. It’s best known for its calm waters and pebbled shores, all of which is wrapped within its towering cliffs. This also makes Barricane Beach a favourite among cliff jumpers.

    Watch out for jellyfishes in the summer, as there are no immediate first-aid services on the beach. At dusk, you’ll often see couples making their way to Barricane Beach as it transforms into one of the top sunset spots in North Devon.

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    2

    Broadsands Beach

    Enjoy the azure waters of this secret beach

    Broadsands Beach is a hidden cove featuring clear turquoise waters by Ilfracombe of North Devon. Not to be confused with the larger beach of the same name in South Devon, this beach is less of a soft-sanded beach but rather a gravelly cove that isn’t ideal for families.

    In fact, most tourists may even skip this spot as you’ll have to climb down a set of steep stairs to reach it. Thanks to its secrecy, you’ll be able to swim in its calm waters uninterrupted or even climb up its island lookout to enjoy a picturesque view of this unspoilt cove.

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    3

    Bigbury-on-Sea Beach

    Enjoy a family day out on South Devon’s largest beach

    Bigbury-on-Sea Beach is South Devon’s largest beachside escape. Stretching across miles of soft sands, the beach is a family favourite thanks to shallow waters that are great for both swimming and kitesurfing. Parents would also be able to rest easy as lifeguards patrol the beach between May and September.

    At low tide, you can walk over to Burgh Island where you can see the remains of a former chapel and ride the unique “sea tractor” back at high tide. There’s even a beachside café specialising in local treats if you’re feeling peckish after a day out in the sun.

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    4

    Ladram Bay

    An unspoilt bay sheltered by Devon’s signature red sandstone cliffs

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    Ladram Bay is a small and secluded bay area located on the south coast of Devon. It’s mostly sheltered by signature red sandstone cliffs, making the area popular among those looking for a calm holiday as they relax on this pebbled beach. If you’re lucky, you’ll also be able to see sandstone pancakes rocks forming just below the low tide mark – an exclusive phenomenon that only happens in the area.

    While swimming and kayaking are famous among holidaymakers in Ladram Bay, it’s important to note that there are no lifeguards around so do enjoy with caution.

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    5

    Crow Point

    Enjoy Braunton’s hidden beach getaway

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    Crow Point is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve within Braunton Burrows. It’s a popular spot among fishermen and birdwatchers. Occasionally, you’ll even find camping enthusiasts pitching a tent on this secluded beach. Water sports such as kayaking and jet-skiing are common here, though you won’t find that many tourists roaming Crow Point. This creates the illusion of a private beach atmosphere, excellent for anyone looking to hide away from regular tourist environments.

    Unfortunately, there are no facilities available at Crow Point but a quick cycle will take you to Braunton Village in just 15 minutes, where you can refuel and stay the night.

    Location: Braunton EX33 2NX, UK

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 10 pm

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    6

    Woolacombe Beach

    North Devon’s family favourite beach

    Woolacombe Beach is a 3-mile long sandy beach set in North Devon. It’s mostly frequented by avid surfers and families looking for a quick escape from the city. To make the most of your holiday, you could always rent any of the colourful huts that line the beachside.

    Barbecues are allowed on the beach, while complimentary deck chairs make it easy for relaxing and suntanning. To keep children entertained, there's a bouncy castle and a large boat-swing set at the heart of Woolacombe Beach.

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    7

    Westward Ho! Beach

    A family beach on Devon's north coast

    The Westward Ho! Beach near Bideford features a mix of pebbled paths and soft golden sand, making it ideal for families with young children to visit. Thanks to the windy environment and calm waters, it’s also a surfer's haven. For novices, several surfing schools will help get you on board.

    Facilities such as toilets, cafes, and parking are widely available at Westward Ho!, while lifeguards can be seen patrolling the beach more often during holiday seasons.

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    8

    Beer Beach

    Lay back on the beach and watch the fishing boats go by

    Beer Beach is a shingle beach belonging to the picturesque village of Beer in East Devon. It’s enveloped in limestone cliffs, providing shady spots on the beach if you don’t wish to stay out in the sun. Swimming is only recommended for confident swimmers as waters can get choppy at high tide and no lifeguards patrol this area.

    Instead, beachgoers often lay back to watch the colourful fishing boats float by, bringing in fresh catches of the day. If you’re into fishing, you could book out a fishing boat to take a trip to catch mackerel and wrass.

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    9

    Croyde Bay Beach

    One of the best surfing spots in North Devon

    Croyde Bay is a large sandy beach sandwiched between Woolacombe Beach and Saunton Bay. Crowned as one of the best surfing beaches in England, it’s a favourite for families looking to spend the day swimming safely in the sea. If the kids aren’t too keen with the soft sands, there’s a hidden playground at the far end of Croyde Beach.

    Facilities at Croyde Bay Beach are aplenty, including lifeguard services and seasonal cafes. At the end of the beach, you’ll come across an old slipway that takes you toward a large stone wall that looks across the North Devon coastline. 

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    10

    Fishcombe Cove

    A secluded spot to hide away from crowds

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    Fishcombe Cove is a shingle beach close to the town of Brixham. It’s well-hidden by tall, red cliffs, making it an ideal escape for visitors looking to avoid the crowds. Fishcombe Cove is popular for anyone looking to kayak or bathe in the sea, especially as it features pristine and calm waters. With luck, you may even spot a seal or 2 while swimming.

    Unfortunately, reaching Fishcombe Cove is no easy feat as you'll have to walk down a steep path from the parking lots. The beach is also accessible via a stairway from Battery Gardens, though some people may struggle with the steep steps and may not be able to make their way down to the beach.

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    photo by Janine Forbes (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    Elie Lam | Contributing Writer

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