The Atlantic Ocean swells unfurl into waves that form and reform North Devon's beautiful sandy beaches on a daily basis. Surfers head down from their holiday cottages to ride the briny rollers from sunrise to sunset; children compete to build the ultimate sand castle and to splash in the shallows with grandad; mums relax in the bright light, and dads demolish their ice cream cones before they melt into a sticky puddle, the hound hares around in the sand dunes looking for bunnies. 'This is the life,' as they say, Heaven-on-Sea.
North Devon is home to the wild Saunton Burrows, the kite surfers’ nirvana Northam Burrows, the golden expanse of Woolacombe Beach with distant views of Lundy, and the surfers' paradise Croyde. Why not stay in a North Devon holiday cottage by the beach on your next trip the South West?
Westward Ho! beach is a beautiful stretch of golden sand which is adored by locals and visitors alike. At low tide, this would seem to be a beach without end, as the sea withdraws to about 0.25 miles. It's a great place to learn how to surf because the beach is flat-bottomed, so the water doesn't get too deep too early. On the right day, the sea can produce a sturdy set of waves ripe for the riding.
The beach is backed by Northam Burrows Country Park, home to a shingle bank, wild ponies, a visitor centre, circular footpaths and England's longest running and oldest golf course.
The beach is very close to the heart of the village with its daytime take-aways, amusement arcades and ice cream vans.
Stay in Potbelly during your holiday in Westward Ho!
Saunton Sands is seriously and beautifully wild. Meeting the brunt of the Atlantic Ocean, it is home to one of the largest dune systems in the UK. The beach and dunes are teeming with wildlife and birdlife making it a true retreat for those looking for a natural escape. Starting at the north end, there is a cafe, bar and a surf school. It's as you follow the wide sand strand in a southerly direction that it becomes wild and more beautiful. The waves here are tamer than at other local beaches making it a consistent and safer bet for surfing novices. There's no need to leave your furry friends at home either as they are allowed to play along most of the beach too. There are lots of paths in the dunes and throughout the Burrows for you to explore on your trip and there's room for everybody to do their thing.
Stay in Heanton Cottages during your holiday in Saunton Sands.
One of the closest surf beaches to London, this brilliant surf beach has been drawing board riders down from the cities for decades. There's more to Croyde than its reputation as a surfing hotspot, it's also a great family-friendly beach with superb amenities and things to do close by. Children love the rock pools that form an intriguing maze and are home to a million and one shellfish and marine creatures - they also play in the shallow River Cridda that cuts across the beach spilling into the waves at the southerly end.
The beach is at the head of the valley and flanked by two big hills that are great for walking along. Follow the South West Coast Path south to Saunton Sands and over Baggy Point to Putsborough and Woolacombe Beach. The village is home to some fine-dining options and gastropubs like the famous Thatch, perfect for a few welcome pints at the end of night out.
Stay in The Pine Cabin on your holiday to Croyde.
This stretch of golden sands and beautiful landscapes is another award-winning coastal location. The town is abuzz during the summer months and is popular with families and surfers. The area offers delicious eateries and charming shops to peruse, and if you explore a little further, you’ll find the two smaller beaches of Putsborough, Barricane and Combesgate nearby. Go for a spa treatment in the Woolacombe Bay Hotel or see a film in its deluxe cinema. Play frisbee and other fun family games to your heart's content - Woolacombe has space for everybody.
Stay in Breakers on your holiday to Woolacombe.
There are plenty of stunning beaches and tranquil coastal spots to enjoy on a visit to the region. Explore the top beaches in North Devon and discover the perfect complement to your summer holiday.