Childhood memories tend to be filled with happy days spent on sandy beaches, and South Devon has some of the best in the UK. From East to West we highlight a selection of hidden gems and family favourites.
Sheltered beneath the chalk cliffs of Lyme Bay, Beer is a 200-yard long pebble beach that is a real suntrap. Part of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, watch fishing boats being winched up the beach and pick your way between lobster pots and piles of nets. Bay cruises and walks on the Coastal Path to Seaton add to the appeal of this pretty village.
Dominated by the red sandstone stacks sitting offshore, Ladram Bay is quieter than the neighbouring cobbled beach at Budleigh. Car parking is limited, so consider walking northwest from Budleigh along the South West Coast Path to reach Ladram Bay, enjoying the fine views across the bay to Sidmouth.
Ever popular with generations of families, Dawlish Warren has two miles of sand and shingle beach with a large car park. Ice cream parlours, amusement arcades and cafés offer all you need for a full day's entertainment.
Right off the beaten track, and accessed via a tunnel from Shaldon, Ness Beach is another sheltered suntrap, thanks to the high cliffs and headland. Watch boats navigating the mouth of the River Teign and enjoy this peaceful spot.
Ranging from the delights of Torre Abbey Sands past Paignton and Goodrington Sands to Brixham, Torbay has long stretches of beautiful sands, particularly in Torquay. The sweeping bay has deservedly earning the moniker “the English Riviera”.
Blackpool Sands has to be one of the most idyllic beaches in South Devon, set in a sheltered bay and backed by pine trees. Golden sand and clear blue waters are enhanced by beach chair hire, a superb restaurant and disabled access.
Separated from the nature reserve and lagoon of Slapton Ley by the narrow causeway and coastal road, Torcross is at the southern end of Slapton Sands. The long spit of shingle beach and unspoilt coastline make this a perfect beach for long walks amidst this designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Also known as South Milton Sands, you need a local map to navigate the maze of lanes leading to Thurlestone Beach. However, it is well worth the effort and there is a lifeguard on duty in season. It is also a dog-friendly beach all year round.
Bantham Beach sits at the mouth of the River Avon in the scenic South Hams. This beach has plenty of car parking and is backed by sand dunes. When sea conditions are good, it is a popular surfing beach and is monitored by the Surf Life Saving Club.
Bigbury Beach is a long sandy beach with ample car parking, known for its watersports. Swimming, surfing and windsurfing can be enjoyed in the clear waters which are Blue Flag Award standard. Services include toilets, food stands and a RNLI Lifeguard Service in the summer. A causeway at low tide links the beach to Burgh Island, famous for its Art Deco Hotel where Agatha Christie loved to stay, and the Pilchard Inn.