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What to do on a trip to Salcombe, south Devon’s hottest ticket

What to do on a trip to Salcombe, south Devon’s hottest ticket

“It’d better be good,” said my husband, somewhat ominously, as we drove down narrow, potholed lanes to our accommodation for the night in Salcombe, South Devon.

But as the rain relented, allowing us to finally appreciate the sublime coastal views over the Kingsbridge Estuary, we forgot the roads and began to understand why, in a recent Halifax survey, this picturesque place was named the most expensive seaside town for property in the UK.

The average price for a home here currently stands at £1.25m, marking an increase of 123 per cent since 2012. In part, it’s surely that Salcombe appeals to many different tastes: watersports enthusiasts, boat owners and walkers all flock here thanks to its position on the Southwest Coastal Path. Meanwhile, upmarket boutique shops on the attractive main street cater for sophisticated tastes, selling clothes, sports equipment, antiques and locally made ice cream. It eventually leads into Island Street, dotted with small businesses set up in converted boat sheds.

(Lucy Daltroff)

Boating is an important part of Salcombe’s character, and it’s possible to either rent your own boat or hire a private cruise. Alternatively, two lovely days out can be spent using the ferries that operate from the centre of town: one to East Portlemouth and the other to South Sands Beach. For South Sands, you can go one way and later walk back, but East Portlemouth is a return as it’s on the opposite side of the estuary (so it’s important to know the timetable for the way back). The sandy beach is excellent, and both trips have the added bonus of getting a real view of some of the stunning homes along the water; they almost seem as if they’ve been incorporated into the rock face.

We took a scenic walk along the main Cliff Road to the inlet of North Sands, children running in front of us all the while and swinging their buckets and spades in joyful anticipation of the sandy beach. This lovely bay provides a safe area for swimming and, as an added plus, is topped with a magnificent view of a ruined castle. Local café the Winking Prawn is perhaps best known for its Mediterranean-style dishes and seafood platter, with scallops, crab, prawns and mussels, while we ate at the atmospheric Victoria Inn, a cosy pub frequented by locals overlooking the estuary. In winter it’s known for its roaring fires.


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