South Devon is a sailor’s haven and the estuary village of Salcombe is no different. A sand-less seaside village with busy crabbing quay and multiple foot ferries across to sandy bays from where to make the most of sunny days.
Fore Street is the centre of the action. Stretching from the bottom of town to the top, past the yacht club and off along a coastal road to North Sands – a lovely early morning hike or post lunch meander. Salcombe was the birthplace of Quba & Co, Jack Wills and Crew Clothing, so happy shopping. From Whitestrand Quay hire a boat for day trips to discover the Estuary’s bays or call the Water Taxi – it’s the cheapest cab in the land.
Heading in the other direction you’ll find artisan bakeries in multiple, a fresh from the ocean fishmongers (and crabbing bait supplier), Roly’s (remarkable) fudge and Cranch’s pantry and traditional sweet shop (yay!). The wine (and gin) shop steers you round the corner to the Fortescue Arms and Victoria Quay – the home of crabbing in Salcombe.
Island Street is the heart of the ‘marine quarter’. A hive of activity amongst boat builders, brokers and suppliers alongside holiday rental companies, a stunning art gallery and the unmissable gin distillery.
There are family friendly and dog friendly pubs (Victoria Arms, King’s Arms and Fortescue Inn) serving decent and often delicious food. There are fewer places in the world serving scallops as expertly as they do at the must-book Boatswains Brasserie. Cooked breakfast options start with a deliciously fresh (and helpfully vegan) plate at the Kids & Co cafe and soft play on Island Street. You’ll find fry-ups at The Salcombe Coffee Company (their beans and grind provide the other great fix of the morning) and Captain Morgan’s (if your tactics require greasy spoon recovery). At the top of the hill meet Sailor V (we’ll leave you to work out the pun) where breakfast, brunch and lunch options are scattered with self-deprecating smoothies and coercing coffee.
Around and about via foot or car to North Sands for tide-out beach time or a first-come-first-served lunch at the renowned Winking Prawn. Take the tractor ferry from town and back to South Sands for sea kayaking and relative peace from town. The National Trust property Overbecks proffers epic views, beautiful compact grounds and a fascinating house with a mysteriously short door.
You’ll have to be quick to secure a central Salcombe holiday cottage. Peaceful Malborough is a couple of miles from Salcombe and South Sands for a more low-key option, or there’s Kingsbridge about 4 miles away (or up the estuary if you’re with boat). For those choosing to stay on the other side of the estuary near Mill Bay and East Portlemouth, Salcombe is accessible by the foot ferry, and the tranquillity of East Prawle is just over the hill.