26th March 2018

South Devon Swimming Beaches

Along the south coast of England there are wonderful beaches to enjoy, including the often overlooked South Devon region. Instead of going somewhere you've been before, or instead of going somewhere crowded, how about taking the stress out of preparing for time on the beach with a stay at The Victoria to enjoy some wonderful swimming beaches in the area?

We’re directly opposite Sidmouth beach, and we are within driving distance of the best swimming beaches in South Devon.

If time in the sea is a must during your stay, plan in these wonderful swimming beaches into your visit...

The Town Beach and Jacob's Ladder Beach


Right on our doorstep, there are two beaches in Sidmouth. Town Beach and Jacob’s Ladder Beach are a mixture of sand and shingle, that are best enjoyed when the tide is out because it becomes pure red sand. And the red cliffs making a stunning backdrop.

Whilst a shingles beach may not initially appeal to all, Sidmouth often has calm seas with little waves, thanks to groynes along the shoreline. This means that when the weather calls for it a gentle dip in the sea is a must do relaxing experience.

Either leave your shoes on land and wade knee deep in the water, or go all out and have a proper swim, you won’t be bothered by big waves and surfers.

Then it’s back to The Victoria hotel to get the sand from between your toes.  

Blackpool Sands

Near Dartmouth

Blackpool Sands is a beautiful pebble beach that is very popular with families. It’s a Blue Flag Award-winning beach, wonderfully backed by evergreens and scented pines, which give it a Mediterranean feel. It’s also privately managed to a very high standard, making it one of the most popular family beaches in the region.

The facilities are fantastic and access from the car park to the beach is easy to manage. There is a café, shop and toilets near the entrance to the beach and there are lifeguards on duty in the summer months.

Being a Blue Flag beach, water quality here is to the highest of standards. We recommend hiring a snorkel or wetsuit through the shop, to truly emerge yourself under the clear waves.

Hollicombe Beach

Between Paignton and Torquay

Nested between Paignton and Torquay, Hollicombe Beach is a stretch of beautiful, red sand coastline in a sheltered spot, making it great for swimmers and sunbathers.

The nearest toilets are ten minutes down the coastal path in nearby Paignton and the beach is a fair walk from the car park, but this really is a worthwhile beach to visit, not least because of its beautiful vista and warm waters.

Plus, think of the views you’ll enjoy when strolling to and from the sand in the heart of the English Riviera!

Thurlestone Beach

Near Salcombe

The north end of Thurlestone Beach holds five stars for water quality, and is an excellent choice for swimmers and bathers. Offshore you will find a host of water sports enthusiasts, from swimmers to surfers to divers.

Technically two beaches, whichever spot you pick the facilities are very good and there is also disabled access down to the sand. There is a café and a shop, as well as easy-access toilets.

Thurlestone Beach has several rock pools, which are ideal for crabbing, and the golden sandy beach is great for sunbathers and for building sandcastles between splashing in the sea.

Ness Cove

Near Teignmouth

Another must add to the best swimming beaches in South Devon list is the hugely popular Ness Cover for avid sea swimmers. It provides superb water quality plus shallow waters for paddlers.

Originally popular with smugglers bringing in contraband, the bay is accessed by the intriguing Smuggler’s Tunnel. A slight word of warning; be careful with your footing, as the steps down to the beach can be slippery.

Although there is no lifeguard service, the waters are clearly marked with buoys so that safe zones are available to swimmers. At high tide most of the beach will be submerged - ideal for diving straight in and avoiding longer walks to reach the water.

This beach is a great choice for a sunny day, and less busy than nearby Teignmouth. For convenience, there is a café with toilets and also deckchair hire.

Bovisand Bay

Near Plymouth

Not far from the busy city of Plymouth, about an hours drive from The Victoria, Bovisand is a sheltered bay with golden sands that span a large area. Thanks to low rise cliffs around the bay, the beach enjoys all-day sunshine. Warm waters come up the shore as the gentle slope into the sea is shallow and ideal for swimmers of all ages.

The car park is about a five minute walk from the beach, but a steep descent might make getting to the beach less than ideal for those with mobility issues. There’s a cafe too, with toilets.

With a scenic view, shallow waters and delightful picnic spots, this is a beach that is ideal for swimmers. Plus, the surrounding area is a lovely place to explore on foot and walk yourself dry.

These six locations make up our list of the best swimming beaches in South Devon, but we’re sure you have your own?

Tell us which South Devon beaches you love to swim in through The Victoria Facebook and Twitter pages.