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8 great places to explore by kayak in Devon holiday cottages

8 great places to explore by kayak in Devon

Jemima Kirkwood 01 March 2021

Take to the water and explore some of Devon’s finest coastal regions by kayak; it is, after all, one of the loveliest ways to spend time outdoors. You can discover much more when exploring by kayak, and the world of craggy rocks, tranquil pools, hidden coves and secret caves is instantly opened up to you.

Kayaking is a great sport for both those who want to spend time in solitude and those who want to explore as a group. It is a fantastic water sport for families and friends who want to delve into the marine world to spot wildlife and sea creatures. All sorts of marine life can be spotted off the Devon coast, from porpoises to whales, and what better way to experience that than from a kayak bobbing on the ocean’s surface? 

Here are the 8 best places to kayak in Devon – you are going to love them! Keep our Devon coastal cottages in mind for when you decide to visit. 

Places to kayak in North Devon

Lee Bay Beach

Set 2 miles west of Ilfracombe, this beautiful cove offers up crystal-clear waters, a quaint sandy beach and stunning views – all elements that make for perfect kayaking in North Devon. Lee Bay's rocky borders are perfect for lengthy adventures discovering rock pools, marine life and seabirds who come to rest and feed here. Its sheltered position means the water is often still, making it easy to see the fish and seaweed that thrives underneath. Tucked away, the bay is often referred to as ‘the jewel in the crown of Lee.’ This is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a day here will help you understand why. For ideas on where to stay, view our collection of Ilfracombe cottages.

Watermouth Cove

This kayakig spot is found in a pretty cove in North Devon. The secluded harbour offers a peaceful place to take your kayak and explore the waters at your own pace, and Watermouth Cove is also home to a whole ecosystem of marine species which are perfectly used to regular visitors! There are lots of boats to paddle around which some will find really interesting and there is a shingly beach to rest on and refuel. Perhaps a picnic could be in order with views out to the ocean, and also of the Watermouth Castle which overlooks the bay.

Combe Martin

This is an idyllic bay where you can spend hours adventuring on blue waters discovering rock pools, coves and marine nature. Combe Martin is a great spot for a coastal holiday, especially if you are into your water sports, and there are a couple of great businesses who will hire you out a kayak or take you on a tour. The village itself looks out over the bay and creates a cosy cove in which you can spend a day soaking up the sun and fresh sea air. It is said to have some of the best rock pools in Devon! Stay in our Combe Martin cottages and make the most of it.


Places to kayak in South Devon

Hope Cove Beach

Hope Cove is made up of two sandy bays which you will find near Salcombe in South Devon. Both are easy to get to from the car park if you are carrying your own kayak, and you can explore them both with ease throughout the day. Bob between Mouthwell Sands and the harbour beach discovering all the rocky cliffs and crystal-clear pools. Hope Cove is a great destination for families with these friendly beaches being great for beach games, sandcastles and sunbathing. The village is within easy reach for ice cream trips too!

Salcombe South Sands Beach

Huddled in the mouth of the estuary, this beach is a popular place to spend the day especially as it is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – you are promised an epic day out. Being in a cove, you are sheltered from sea winds and, when the sun is shining, Salcombe South Cove is the perfect sun trap for hot days on the sea. Kayaking is popular here, as the coves and rock pools are great to explore, and you will be able to hire watercraft one easily if you don’t have one of your own. Salcombe has a great range of restaurants, bars and cafes too which all celebrate local produce and provide you with great food and refreshments. View our Salcombe cottages for ideas on where to stay.

Blackpool Sands

Here you will find clear waters and a large shingle beached backed by a pretty area of evergreens and pine trees. Blackpool Sands is a peaceful destination for those looking to spend a relaxing day on the coast. You can hire kayaks, paddleboards, and wetsuits here which makes it easier for families with children, as kit can take up a lot of space. Time can be spent paddling along the coast taking in all the sights and nature along the way. This is a lovely place to sea kayak in Dartmouth, and if you’re lucky you may bump into a seal or a happy dolphin!

Bantham Beach

This is a wide, open beach which has won awards from the Marine Conservation Society for its cleanliness! From the beach you can see Bigbury Bay and Burgh Island, which make for nice views when out adventuring on your kayak. You'll want to come to Bantham beach on a day where there is little wind, as it isn’t as sheltered as some of the other coves in Devon, but it offers a great beach and patch of ocean for practising your kayak skills as the water is fairly shallow. 

The Jurassic Coast

This is an impressive World Heritage Site and runs along the English Channel coast. Stretching from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, it is a coastline of incredible scenery, fascinating history and endless wildlife. If you are real adventurers and have lots of time, kayaking the whole stretch would be a trip of a lifetime, taking in all the sights and experiencing hundreds of bays, coves and caves! The Jurassic Coast is famous for its marine habitats and prehistoric dinosaurs, parts of which you can discover in the fossils – if you are lucky enough to come across one. It is also a tremendous coastline for kayak fishing in Devon.



Kayak hire and kayaking lessons in Devon

Want to try kayaking but not sure where to start? There are some really good companies offering kayak courses in Devon where you can be taught the basics and get taken out with an instructor. For the less confident holidaymakers, this is a lovely option as it takes some of the pressure off and lets you enjoy a day on the sea feeling comfortable and happy. These companies also offer tours where you can join a group and be taken to some of the most magical spots. This is a great way to explore an area in depth without having to worry about getting lost! Here are a few companies to keep in mind:

Here are some wildlife species you can see from your kayak in Devon:

  • Grey seal
  • Common seal
  • Bottlenose dolphin
  • Harbour porpoises
  • Orca (killer whale)
  • Humpback whale
  • Minke whale
  • Seahorses
  • Blennies (clownfish)
  • Sunfish
  • Basking shark
  • Blue shark

Want to try other water sports? Check out these helpful guides:


For ideas on where to stay whilst kayaking in Devon, look through some of our loveliest coastal cottages that give you views of the sea all day long. They offer amazing bases to get out and explore from, and a snuggly place to return to after long days out on the sea. View the full collection today!


Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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