3 of the Best Beaches in North Devon

I was reading a post on Globe Mouse Travels recently about a trip they took to Falmouth and it really made me reminisce about my time spent growing up in North Devon. Since being a young lad my family and I spent practically all of our holiday’s visiting family in Barnstaple, North Devon. When I was 10 we eventually made the move down there and I spent a few years living in the area. During that time and the many visits since we left, I really got to know the beaches of North Devon well and here are a few of what I consider to be the best beaches in North Devon.

Croyde Bay

Why not start with my favourite. Croyde bay is a smaller and slightly less well known beach than its commercial neighbour Woolacombe. Croyde is a firm favourite with surfers but the strong current means that less strong swimmers have to be more aware. It isn’t as big as Woolacombe but I prefer the more intimate atmosphere and the less touristy feel of Croyde. If you get the chance to nip into the village then there are a couple of great surf shops along with one of my favourite Ice cream parlours in the whole of North Devon, the aptly named ‘Croyde’s Ice Cream Parlour’.



As we’ve mentioned Woolacombe is great if you like the touristy feel and are looking for more things to do, especially with the kids. The actual beach is 3 miles long (According to Wikipedia) and spacious. Voted the 2nd best beach in the UK by Trip Advisor in 2013 , Woolacombe boasts not only one of the UK’s cleanest beaches – though it did lose its Blue Flag award along with croyde in 2012 due to water quality issues- but the resort also offers pitch & putt, crazy golf, games arcades, mini go karting for the kids (Well I hope this is still there) and much more including many surf shops, cafes and restaurants. Woolacombe is a fantastic beach but it does get VERY busy in season.



For a more relaxed and chilled out experience be sure to check out Instow beach. Being an estuary Instow beach is obviously not great for surfers but it does offer an alternative destination if you just want a relaxed beach side stroll or a few games on the beach. It’s also easily accessible by bike using the Tarka Trail. There are some lovely beach side shops and like Croyde, a good Ice cream is easy to find. Maybe you’ll go for a clotted cream topping like me?


North Devon is known throughout the UK as being one of the top tourist destinations. If you make the effort to venture away from some of the more touristy areas though then there are many gems to be found. Villages such as Clovelly, Lynton & Lynmouth and towns like Braunton all offer great experiences in their own right and you will come away feeling that you discovered what North Devon is really all about, not just what is to be found in prime resorts like Woolacombe.

Have you been to many beaches in North Devon? What is your favourite?

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