Come September and the lure of South Devon's stunning coastline and glorious beaches becomes greater than ever and a much more relaxed affair. The throng of tourists subside, the climate remains pleasant and the sea water has warmed nicely over the summer months.
With over 50 beaches in South Devon what separates the best from the rest? The South West boasts the most beaches of any county that have been awarded Blue Flag status, an internationally recognised award considered to be the gold standard for beaches. Although quality of water is one of the criteria (61% of visitors to a beach check this), the Blue Flag is awarded based on a list of 32 criteria. Blue Flag beaches are constantly monitored and if the beach fails to comply the Blue Flag is withdrawn. Visit a Blue Flag beach and you're at one of the best beaches in the country, if not world!
We’re lucky to have an abundance of cosy coves and gorgeous expanses of golden sands in South Devon.
We’ve listed 5 of the lesser known Blue Flag beaches within an hours drive from Long Barn Cottages
, a beautiful base for a self-catering September stay in sunny South Devon.
5 of the Best Blue Flag Beaches in South Devon 2018
1. Blackpool Beach, Blackpool, Dartmouth
1 hour from long Barn Cottages
could quite easily be mistaken for somewhere in the Mediterranean. A privately owned and managed beach with consistently high standards and great facilities. The sheltered shingle beach sits in a crescent to a backdrop of evergreens and pines in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
. RNLI Lifeguards
are on duty from 7 July – 2 September which is hugely comforting if you decide to hire one of the kayaks or and paddleboards
available. Parking is plentiful and the beach is one of only a few with disabled access. The shop is full of everything you could possibly want and food and drink is provided by the award winning Venus Beach Cafe
. This is no ordinary beach hut operation, ingredients are organic and locally sourced with tacos and tapas featuring on the menu next to naughty but so nice homemade cakes. Head down early and set yourself up for the day with one of their famous breakfasts - vegan and gluten free options too. It is also one of a few beaches that have disabled access.
There are even some secret gardens
to explore hidden at the back of the beach. You can climb the landscape to take in spectacular views of Start Bay and admire the work that has gone into restoring the garden. A small entrance fee applies but the flora and fauna and views are worth it. Please note dogs are not permitted.
2. Challaborough Beach, Kingsbridge, Bigbury
Sat Nav: TQ7 4HZ
60 minutes from Long Barn Cottages
Also in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Challaborough Beach
at low tide reveals a rock poolers heaven. More into sandcastles? Then the sand at Challaborough won’t disappoint either. A popular beach with local surfers and bodyboarders due to the onshore swell and occasional breakers and the fact that there’s a small car park. The nearby holiday park makes it popular with families who say they like the sheltered horseshoe shaped cove and picturesque view of the iconic Burgh Island.
Just up the coast from the more lauded beaches of Bigbury-on Sea
, Challaborough perhaps offers a less hectic and secluded feel once you’ve navigated the tight winding Devon lanes to reach it. Reward yourself with an ice-cream or a fish supper from Fryer Tucks
who operate a handy byo alcohol service.
3. Meadfoot Beach, Torquay
20 minutes from Long Barn Cottages
can be found just over the headland from the hustle and bustle of Torquay. Park alongside the road under the cliff by the beach which hosts a launch ramp for boats and a row of pretty beach huts hugging the rocks. The stone and sand beach is overlooked by the friendly Meadfoot Beach Café
. Worth a visit with live music on Friday’s and freshly made pizzas with rave reviews on Wednesdays. Take coffee with cake early doors and catch the beautiful view out to Thatcher Rock, a popular destination with divers. Apart from the south-western end, the beach is dog friendly with good clean facilities. Enjoyed by locals and discovered by tourists Meadfoot is one of the more peaceful and tranquil beaches in South Devon. Just check the tide times
before you go as there is little beach at high tide.
4. Dawlish Warren Beach, Dawlish
35 minutes from Long Barn Cottages
Probably the best equipped beach for families out of the selection and celebrating 20 consecutive years of Blue Flag status in 2018. If you’re looking for great kids entertainment and the traditonal British beach atmosphere then Dawlish Warren
is the beach for you. In contrast, Dawlish Warren also has 500 acres of National Nature Reserve
. September sees the start of over 26,000 wildfowl and wading birds stopping off to feed enroute to their winter migration fields. A gorgeous September stroll will take you through dunes surrounded by an abundance of over 600 types of flowering plants and because of its location, panoramic views out to sea and across the Exe Estuary are exqusite.
5. Breakwater Beach (Shoalstone), Brixham
30 minutes from Long Barn Cottages
wins the accolade for nearest beach to a town. It’s literally minutes from the centre of bustling Brixham which is steeped in maritime heritage and found in the heart of the English Riviera. Combine a meander around the harbourside with some rest and recouperatuon at the beach - deckchairs can be hired. Breakwater Beach, often referred to as Shoalstone which is the surrounding area, is a small intimate beach often frequented by scuba divers and watersports enthusiasts due to its calm sheltered waters. The beach is supervised from 9 – 5 during the summer season and managed in partnership with the Breakwater Bistro
, a restaurant with fabulous views across Torbay and a menu packed with local produce like Bays Brewery
for a refreshing tipple and delicious Devon crab from The Blue Seafood Company
September Breaks in South Devon
are still available close to some of the best Blue Flag beaches in the UK. Long Barn Luxury Holiday Cottages
situated in the heart of South Devon come with their own superb heated indoor swimming pool, towel hire and private use booking system for those days when the beach doesn’t beckon. The cottages also have BBQ and outdoor catering facilities, a games barn and a fabulous outdoor adventure play area for the children.