Highly acclaimed as one of Europe’s top ten beaches, Bantham offers a huge array of experiences. This expansive and shallow water is very popular for swimming and body boarding with families. Whilst for the more adventurous there is some fantastic surfing and kiteboarding to be enjoyed in the right conditions. Paddle-boarders also join the waves or paddle gently up the estuary towards Aveton Gifford and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the wildlife and untouched surrounding countryside.
The beach not only has peak season lifeguards on duty but also a fantastic surf school, where you can book lessons and hire extensive array of boards, kayaks and equipment.
There is a beautiful thatched boat house down by the Quay where the sailing club enjoy weekly races on the estuary, in both modern and traditional Bantham built wooden boats. At dawn & sunset, a photographers dream. You can also walk to both Aveton Gifford and on the South West Coast path towards Thurlestone, alongside the golf course and beyond towards Hope Cove.
This fabulous beach has everything for everybody. Great parking facilities with charges from £3.50 per day. Toilets and a grassed seating area outside the well renowned Gastrobus collection which are based on the sand dunes and within easy walking distance from the beach where you can enjoy hot refreshments & delicious food. Just a few minutes up from the beach is The Sloop which is highly regarded with their great food and beverages and also within walking distance is the village shop which provides a good selection of local produce and a smashing little café that does one of the best breakfasts in the area. Bantham beach has everything for the family, thrill seekers and dog lovers alike, with far reaching views across to the famous Burgh Island. Dogs are only permitted on the main beach out of season (Oct – May), but they are welcome everywhere else, year round.
Slightly further along the coast path (5 minins walk), skirting Thurlestone Golf Course is Yarmer Beach. This can also accessed by walking across the Golf Course further up should you be staying in the village. The only downside is no car park nearby, so not ideal for families with lots of kit to lug unless you have a beach trolley! One of our favourite beaches it is lovely and long, with a rocky back drop which creates some harboured spots to sit out of the wind. With a fresh water supply coming off the land, it is great for dogs, who are allowed all year round, to hyrdrate on days out. Not great for surfing (although you’ll see the odd local braving it in the right conditions), but you will see locals kayaking and paddleboarding regularly on summer days.
SOUTH MILTON SANDS
South Milton sands, is a long stretch of beach with the freshwater South Milton Ley running through the beach to the sea. It is an iconic location with views over Thurlestone rock and is a perfect location to watch the sunset over the sea. Nestled just over the dunes is the Beach Café, a perfect location to enjoy an outdoor lunch or seafood dinner, however booking is advisable at peak times.. Adjacent is a car park that National Trust members can use free of charge. The beach is popular with both wind and kite surfers, but in calmer weather is the ideal location for a family day out with glorious views and pleasant swimming. Life guards, patrol the beach in the busy summer months, early July to early September, thus helping to ensure a safe visit. South Milton is a perfect location for a lunchtime stop whilst walking the coast path, and Hope Cove, Thurlestone and Bantham are not too much of an arduous walk away. It’s a beautiful place to explore, relax and enjoy.
Leas foot is a small sandy beach that is owned by Thurlestone golf club. Regular visitors will no doubt have noticed this ever-changing landscape due to cliff erosion, but we feel that this only adds to its charm. Access is a few hundred yards from the golf club and its car park, and dogs are welcome here all year round. Thurlestone village is not far away for a lunchtime stop at either the Village inn or Hotel. Thurlestone village stores are not far either. For the more avid walkers, the Gastro bus in Bantham, or the Beach hut in South Milton are also not a million miles away. It is one of the quieter beaches in the area, as many walk past rather than stop here for the day.
Hope Cove is split into both inner and outer hope. Outer Hope is the home of both the Hope and Anchor pub, and the award winning Cove restaurant and bar. Inner hope is a quieter residential area housing the older part of the village, the Hope Cove lifeboat and old fishing cottages. The car park charges, and is cash only, the price varies depending on the time of year. Dogs are permitted but not from 1st May to 30th September, and in Outer Hope need to be on a lead. Harbour beach bridges the two areas of Hope, nestled behind the rock and Harbour wall, this is a sheltered place to swim, but can be busy with boats and mooring in the peak season. It is an ideal location for paddle boarding or kayaking across the bay. It has spectacular views across Bigbury bay towards Burgh Island, and is a nice place to start or finish a walk to Salcombe. Bolberry down is not to far away housing the wonderful Oceans Restaurant, a great place to break up a walk or stop in for lunch. The more intrepid walkers can also use the cost path to South Milton, Thurlestone or even Bantham.
SOAR MILL COVE
Nestled by cliffs, Soar Mill cove is a hidden gem in the South Hams, and is only accessible by foot. The easiest way to access it is a walk down from the Soar Mill Cove hotel. There is a car park if you wish to make a day of it, or is a nice walk from Bolberry Down or for the more intrepid even Salcombe. The beach is both sand and shingle, and dogs are welcome all year round.
This beach is either accessed by boat, or is a 10-minute walk through the woods from the parking at Mill Bay. Alternatively it is a short walk from the Salcombe to East Portlemouth ferry. Sunny Cove is a sandy beach that, weather permitting, catches the sun throughout the day. It is on the East Portlemouth side of Salcombe Estuary, and is opposite North Sands beach. It has a great view of the ruins of Fort Charles, built to defend the estuary from French and Spanish pirates and buccaneers. It is also a favourite stop for visiting yachts and pleasure craft, and these can often be seen moored in the deep water off the beach.
This is the first beach as you walk along the cliff road out of Salcombe. It has lovely views out to sea, and at low water is quite expansive. It is very popular indeed during the summer due to its location, and is the perfect place for the kids to build sandcastles, or explore to see what little creatures live in the sea. The beach has a fresh water stream running over it, so the sand is wet most of the time, so if planning an extended stay, make sure you take something waterproof to sit on. It is a great place to kayak or paddle board from if you have them. There is a car park that charges all year round on the other side of the road from the beach. The famous Winking Prawn café and restaurant is adjacent to this, and serves all major meals, and also tea coffee and ices. In the summer they do a BBQ in the garden that is both tasty and good value.