Top 10 beaches in North Devon and North Cornwall

This lovely spring sunshine has got us thinking ahead to the warm sunny days of summer and most importantly – which beaches to explore this summer.  

We’re very lucky at Coastal Cabins to have a wide array of beaches, and types of beaches right on our doorstep.  Whether you’re looking for total seclusion and dramatic cliffs, or wide expanses of family friendly sand we’ve got it all.  

Here are our top 10 beaches near Coastal Cabins Glamping:

These are all within the Hartland area…

1: Berry Beach(also known as Blegberry) – We call this our secret beach – shh don’t tell too many people!  Just a few miles up the road this is a firm favourite.  You can be on this beach on the hottest day of the year and you may be the only one there.  However this seclusion comes at a price.  There is no public car park (best to walk there), and it’s not the easiest to get to, but trust me is it worth it.  Think dramatic geology cut with beautiful waterfalls tumbling from the cliffs above. This is mainly a rocky beach, but at low tide there should be a little sand to set up camp. 

2: Hartland Quay– This beach wins every time for it’s absolutely breathtaking views.  The scenery really is like nowhere I’ve ever been (and we’re done our fair share of globetrotting).  Perched on the very edge of the Atlantic Ocean it’s a real wonder of nature.  Imagine cliffs so large (over 600ft to be exact) you’ll hurt your neck from looking up at them in awe of their sheer magnitude.  Most summers there is an area of sandy beach (depending on the severity of the storms that year!).  There is also a traditional Devon pub and plenty of car parking.  

3: Speke’s Mill– This is a stunning spot also in the Hartland area, so not too far to travel. This beach is most famous for its ‘Hanging Valleys’.  These streams run down from the moorland above and fall dramatically to the shore in breathtaking coastal waterfalls.  Add to this the crops of colourful wildflowers at their banks and sightings of kestrels and falcons hunting in the grassland above.  There is little to no sand here, so we wouldn’t recommend it for a day of paddling and sand castle building but it is worth a visit.  Other regular visitors to this beach as professional surfers who take advantage of the powerful waves breaking over the reef. 

…heading North up the A39 from Hartland…

4: Bucks Mills– At the bottom of this picturesque village you’ll find a wide expanse of coastline that’s not to be missed.  Infact the village itself is so quaint I’d advise wandering through it on your way to the coast.  It’s completely cut off from the 21stcentury and is completely uncommercial. You won’t find any pubs or souvenir shops here but that’s the beauty of it.  As you drop down to the beach you’ll see the fishing village of Clovelly to one side, and the red cliffs of Peppercoombe to the other (2 other great places to visit!).  

5: Westward Ho!– This is a very different kind of beach to the others we’ve listed so far. With miles and miles of sand, seaside shops, toilets, cafes, restaurants and more this is a popular family beach destination.  There are also a few amusement arcades dotted around!  But don’t let that put you off – if you’re looking for a stunning beach with all the amenities close to hand then it’s a good choice for a days sunbathing and paddling. 

6: Saunton Sands– At around 45mins from Hartland this beach is a bit further to travel to, but my is it a stunner.  It’s a very long, very straight stretch of sandy beach, backed by the impressive Braunton Burrows – a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  This is a very popular beach (get there early if it’s hot!) but even when packed there’s still plenty of space due to its vast size.  It’s a firm favourite with families and surfers. There are toilets and showers, a relaxed beach café, and a more formal beachside grill restaurant.  Just up the cliff you’ll also find the very nice Saunton Sands Hotel and Source Spa. 

7: Croyde Bay (and Putsborough)– Ok so I’m cheating a bit here because Croyde and Puttsborough are actually 2 different beaches.  But they are so close to each other!  Drive a bit further along the coast from the aforementioned Saunton Sands and you’ll find these two gems.  Croyde is a stunning sandy cove, popular with families.  Croyde village is also worth a visit for it’s nice pubs and a great village shop/café.  Puttsborough is a little further up and here you’ll find yet more stunning sand (it’s actually the far end of the famous Woolacoombe beach).  The Kings Arms pub in Georgeham is a good pit stop after a busy day paddling.  

…heading South down the A39 from Hartland…

8: Sandy Mouth– This is a National Trust beach and is very family friendly.  This is a popular but unspoilt spot with miles of golden sand backed by incredible twisted cliffs.   This lovely beach is right at the tip of North Cornwall in-between Bude and Morwenstow.  With both sand and rocks it is popular with surfer and rock poolers as there’s something for everyone.  There is a lovely National Trust café open in the summer months, toilets and a good car park.

9: Crooklets Beach– Bude is a town in North Cornwall about 25mins drive from us.  It’s blessed with a number of truly lovely beaches. Crooklets is my best pic of the bunch. It is a wide expanse of golden sand, bordered by rocky areas also perfect for rock pooling.  It’s a great surfing beach and has lifeguards throughout the main season.  The facilities are brilliant with a large car park, play area, skate park, beach café, toilets and more nearby. The town itself has a number of good restaurants and shops and is definitely worth a wander. 

10: Widemouth Bay– Travel a little further down the North Cornwall coast and you’ll come across this gem of a beach.  Rated excellent for its water quality this is a very long open bay and very popular with families and surfers.  You’ll find Widemouth 3 miles south of Bude.  It’s a great place to try your hand at surfing or body boarding as there are a few local surf schools based here.  This has full lifeguard cover all through the summer months.