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Best beaches in North Devon – without a doubt!

Thousands of visitors come to Devon every year with one aim in mind – to enjoy the stunning sandy beaches, particularly along the Atlantic facing north coast.
Thousands of visitors come to Devon every year with one aim in mind – to enjoy the stunning sandy beaches, particularly along the Atlantic facing north coast.

Barricane Beach, Woolacombe

This sheltered narrow beach is a sand and shingle beach with plenty of rock pools, shells and space to enjoy this beautiful coastline. It is best known for the beach café that is set up there, offering amazing food and perfect for a visit at sunset. Take a blanket, a bottle of wine and relax as they prepare your meal, then enjoy the perfect evening dining on the beach – and no washing-up!

Combe Martin

A personal favourite, this sandy beach near Ilfracombe has everything kids need for a fun day on the sands, including a shallow stream for damming. It is very easy to reach from the road, and there are no parking restrictions in the off season. Rock pools, a café and car park complete the appeal.

Putsborough Sands

Close to the better-known Croyde Bay, Putsborough is a huge three-mile expanse of perfect sand for digging and building the sandcastle of your dreams. This unspoilt beach is very family-friendly with a café, shop, surf equipment hire, car park and good surf when conditions are right. Best of all, there is always plenty of space for everyone to spread out, especially in the middle of the beach near the black rock.

Lee Bay, near Lynton

This is Exmoor’s only beach and it is in a lovely setting. Drive down the winding lane (or better still enjoy the walk along the coastal path) to the lovely village of Lee and the beach beyond. The setting is idyllic and the sandy beach is sheltered with rock pools and a small car park. Hungry? The charming village pub, , does excellent ploughman’s and there are plenty of tables in the garden for those with sandy feet straight from the beach!

Tunnels Beach

One of the few beaches in North Devon to boast a Blue Flag award for its water quality, Tunnels Beach is also the only one that makes a modest charge for visitors as it is privately owned. The beach is accessed along four hand-carved tunnels and has plenty of amenities including a Victorian seawater swimming pool, the , an indoor soft play area and beach shop. Set within an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and part of a Marine Conservation Area, it has rock pools teeming with marine life. The seawater pool is ideal for three hours before and after low tide and is large enough for dinghies and inflatables.

Westward Ho!

Another long expanse of firm sands, the beach at Westward Ho! Is never overcrowded. Go shrimping in the rock pools, play games or walk the three-mile stretch of sand or play in the nearby swimming pool in the rocks. Enjoy a local Hockings ice cream from the van – a family institution which has been serving generations of visitors to the area or pick up fish and chips from the Sunshine Café. At weekends, sand yachts can be seen racing on the sands – a wonderful sport to spectate.

In fact wherever you stay in North Devon there are some fabulous beaches to enjoy, so take your pick or enjoy them all!

We hope you enjoyed reading about our pick of best beaches in North Devon. In your opinion did we highlight the best beaches in North Devon? If not, please tell us which beach you would nominate.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

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