How to Spend 36 Hours in Salcombe This Summer

30th May 2023

How to Spend 36 Hours in Salcombe This Summer

Salcombe is the South Hams seaside at its very best. Tucked into an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the harbour town and its coastline attracts keen sailors and adventurous families in equal measure. Here’s our guide to what to do in Salcombe, a place where you can indulge a penchant for fine art in the morning and be kayaking caves and coves come afternoon.



Salcombe is home to beautiful sandy beaches, some of them more secluded than others, but one thing they all share is sheltered waters and golden shores. A walk through town to North Sands is a great way to get a feel for the place, but our favourite spot to dip toes in the sea is South Sands. Catch the small passenger ferry across and you’ll get to appreciate Salcombe from the water on the way.

Another foot ferry will take you to East Portlemouth, from where you can weave a scenic trail along the South West Coast Path to the Gara Rock Hotel for lunch with a spectacular backdrop. If you have the miles left in your legs for a post-lunch walk, the strenuous section from the hotel to Prawle Point rewards your hard work with a beautifully wild and rugged landscape (and a pub stop at the infamously fun Pig’s Nose)

The National Trust has a host of attractions in the South Hams and Overbeck’s Garden at Sharpitor is a highlight. Bursting with exotic plants, this subtropical garden is a hidden paradise and a playground for the green-fingered. The views to Salcombe beyond are truly photo worthy, but don’t forget to put your camera down and take a minute to just enjoy the peace too.

With sailing at its very heart, you mustn’t visit Salcombe without getting out on the water. If you aren’t the captain of your own ship, you can charter a yacht with Devon Sailing Experiences instead. Alternatively, Salcombe Dingy Sailing offers lessons beneath the canvas. The view back towards the town as you meander along the estuary is mesmerising.

If your stay in Salcombe happens to fall over the final weekend in April, the town’s Crabfest must make your agenda. Created to celebrate Salcombe seafood in all its glory, whilst raising money for good causes locally, the event sees some of the UK’s best-known names in food and drink come together for chef demonstrations and pop-up stalls galore. Proud sponsors of the event each year, Marchand Petit can be found keeping the fizz flowing outside the main marquee.  



If you’re packing a picnic and venturing out on the South West Coast Path for the day, Salcombe Deli will keep you fuelled with utterly to-die-for sandwiches and snacks. Toppings are tasty and portions are generous, with as many ingredients as possible sourced locally; its namesake ‘Salcombe Deli’ sandwich will leave you in a state of blissful satisfaction (just add crisps)

It is an unspoken rule that you cannot come to these parts without paying homage to the area’s delectable seafood in one of its many coastal hangouts. The Winking Prawn is a favourite with many; set on North Sands beach, it is famous for its breakfast buffets and summer barbecues.

Also readying the grill is Port Waterhouse. Well-known to the South Hams boating community yet rarely over busy, the boathouse and its balcony with views across the estuary will open as a pop-up bar and barbecue spot between mid-July and early September. Booking is a must!

And finally, if you’re craving something sweet it has to be Cranch’s. Impossible to miss with its pink and white façade, this nostalgic nook will take you right back to the days of penny mixes. It has been serving up sugar rushes since 1986.



Salcombe and gin goes together like buckets and spades or fish and chips. Salcombe Gin and Distillery appeals to fans of the spirit with a lengthy bar menu and the opportunity to blend your own personalised bottle. The experience also includes a tour of the waterside distillery tucked away just off Island Street.

If you favour a more laidback boozer, The Fortescue is a favourite of locals. A good crowd, friendly staff and tasty traditional pub food all add to the ambience.



A recent addition to the Harbour Hotel Group portfolio, the South Sands Beach Club has made waves since its arrival. The glass and cedar-fronted hotel brings a ‘luxe rustic’ vibe to South Sands beach. Despite being open just a year, the hotel is already being touted as the coolest beach club in the UK by those in the know and recently featured in a Sunday Times roundup of ‘the best luxury spas to visit in 2023.’

Set slightly along the coast in East Portlemouth, Gara Rock is another notable name. Lauded not only as an impressive South Hams hotel but also one of the very best in Britain, the clifftop abode lives up to every word of its claim to be ‘a world away from the everyday.

If you're staying in Salcombe this summer, be sure to pop in to our Marchand Petit Salcombe office and say hello!