Salcombe is a popular choice for holidays in the UK; spend a bit of time in this little Devon town and it’s easy to see why. The setting is picture perfect, right on the Kingsbridge estuary with little boats bobbing gently up and down in the harbour, good beaches and far reaching views across the waters to the glorious rolling hills of the South Hams. There’s something about it, a certain air that evokes memories of idyllic childhood holidays – days on the sands with buckets and spades, the waves quietly lapping the shore, exploring the rockpools at low tide…
The narrow streets of Salcombe climb the hillside, but not too steeply, so it’s nice to have a little wander and browse the mostly independent shops, to stop by for something to eat. Perhaps the best spot is down by the waters edge, at The Crab Shed or Dick and Wills, but if all the best seats are taken go to The Victoria Inn in town for award winning food.
Being popular means busy, and Salcombe does get busy, especially in the summer months when there are festivals and regattas upping the lively vibe. If you don’t like busy get the passenger ferry across the estuary to East Portlemouth and set yourselves up at one of the little coves there – Smalls Cove and Sunny Cove tend to be quieter because they don’t have car parks and can only be accessed via a short walk down the cliffs or at low tide, along the shore.
For those who like watersports, Salcombe is the place to be; you can hire kayaks and paddle boards and take to the aquiline waters of the estuary, or hire a self drive boat and see the sights at your own pace. If you’re not entirely comfortable with taking the wheel yourself, take a cruise around the creeks, or try your angling skills on a fishing trip – you might even come back with your supper! Crabbing is a must – you don’t need much gear and it’s a great way to spend time as a family, in the sunshine, dangling your lines over the harbour wall, waiting to see who gets a pull first.
If there’s a group of you, book up for a tasting experience at Salcombe Distilling Company and try the artisan gins made there, or try a Rum Cocktail Masterclass at Devon Rum Co. Immerse yourself in the displays at Salcombe Maritime Museum and see the booty recovered from the shipwrecks in the area. If you walk up to Overbeck’s Gardens you’ll be astounded not just by the coastal views, but by the sub-tropical paradise that’s there. Bananas growing in the UK! Who’d a thought it!
Sometimes the simple things are the best and on a balmy summers night what’s hard to beat is to find a spot on the beach, at the harbour, or up on the clifftop where you can sit and watch the sun set over the estuary. Perfect.
All information correct at the time of writing