Devon is the only county in the UK with two separate coastlines, making it a great unique place to explore on the water. Both coasts vary in character which means it has so much to offer as an all year round destination. An abundance of beautiful beaches, hidden coves and a rich maritime history make it the perfect place to visit for a summer break.
We’ve found some great ideas for sailing in Devon – from the best secluded swim spots, to places to anchor up and explore the cultural history of the county and beyond.
Off the beaten track, peaceful Devon beaches by boat
Explore the hidden gems of Devon without the worry of a steep cliff climb down to the beach….
If you find yourself on the rugged North coast, tucked away is the little known Broad Sands cove, cited as one of the best swimming spots on this coast, it's definitely worth packing some swimwear!
Landcombe Cove is another great option to escape the summer crowds as it is best accessed by boat.
You can also drop the anchor at Gammon Heads Beach which provides lots of shelter with its high cliffs.
Best waterside places to eat and drink in Devon
The 22 mile stretch of outstanding coastline in South Devon is referred to as the ‘English Riviera’, thanks to visitors comparing it to the French Riviera for its great views and warm climate. With its scenic waterfronts it's no surprise there’s an array of places to enjoy a great meal or a refreshing cold beverage.
Famous for its waterside terrace you’ll find The Ferry Inn in Salcombe, it’s a family favourite dating right back to 1739. Just along from this historical pub, Dick and Wills Waterside Grill offers a romantic waterfront vista where you can try the best of local produce.
Further up the Salcombe estuary enjoy lunch at The Winky Prawn, a shabby chic beach restaurant with plenty of fresh seafood.
Cruise through the Cultural Heritage of Devon
The Stretch of coast along Torquay has a rich maritime and cultural heritage. If you are a Poirot fan, lots of the scenery was an inspiration for many of Agatha Christie's novels.
Why not visit the peacefully picturesque Elberry Cove just outside of Paignton, one of Agatha Christie's favourite bathing spots, framed by wooded hillsides and crystal waters.
Nestled between Torquay and Babbacombe is Anstey’s Cove, first recorded in 1795 the cove takes its name from the old English word ánstíg meaning 'steep track'. A quiet spot surrounded by stunning woodlands. Just a few miles north you’ll find Maidencombe beach, another little secluded gem.
Other great places to visit in the area is Sutton Harbour - Plymouth's oldest harbour and where many great explorers landed. With 5 marinas it's a great place to moor your boat and explore the cobbled streets with the many shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants.
If our ideas for cruising destinations in Devon have inspired you, why not start creating some plans with our Route Assist tool?
Include your start point and final destination and we’ll provide you with everything you need for a relaxing sail, from moorings to fuel, chandlers and trip ideas along the way.
If you don’t have your own boat, our main search facility will help you find charters in Devon, so you can start to plan your memorable holiday on the water.