Best Coastal Places to Live & Visit in South Devon

16th November 2023

Best Coastal Places to Live & Visit in South Devon

Devon is home to some of the most diverse villages and towns in the UK.

From watersports to coastal walks, you can’t help but take part in the fun – whether you’re a visitor or resident in South Devon.

The beauty of South Hams is sure to get your attention, for almost every aspect of its coastal landscape is officially classed as an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Imagine waking up in an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ every day.

Choosing between the many unique South Devon coastal locations can be difficult, so why not look at some of our suggestions?

TotnesMedieval town nestled by the River Dart

Totnes has amassed a name for itself as a laid-back community with some of the best places to eat and shop, with an emphasis on handmade local crafts. 

Totnes on the river

There are tonnes of attractions to visit to learn about the town’s unique history, such as the tale of the Brutus Stone. There are also many walks you can do in Totnes, along the River Dart and around its breathtaking local countryside.

Walk from Totnes to Dartington Estate

Enjoy a two-mile walk alongside the River Dart on the scenic path from Totnes to the grand Dartington Hall Estate. Accessible to everyone, including cyclists, the path offers magnificent views of the local area and scenery.  At the end of your walk,  you can even discover the glorious gardens and medieval Great Hall at Dartington Estate. With plenty to see and do, this refreshing walk is your direct route to the Estate from Totnes.

Totnes Castle

One of the oldest and most popular attractions in Totnes is Totnes Castle: a stone keep that long ago saw the likes of the Normans and even has a WW2 history. If you are interested in learning the local history and walks, this is the place for you! A local heritage site perfect for families and hosting regular picnics.

Events to look out for in Totnes

Totnes Market

(Every Friday and Saturday 9 – 4 pm, Sunday Food and Craft Market every third Sunday 10 am – 3 pm)

Nearby Dartmouth Food Festival

(Starting 25th – 27th Of October 2024; every autumn)

IvybridgeBeautiful town of Moors

This town is a little more tucked away in the country than other nearby coastal towns.

Surrounded by woodland and moors, the town has plenty of nearby hiking trails to explore.



Not only is Ivybridge a great place for outdoor pursuits but also for workers. Ivybridge has a reputation as a ‘working town’ due to its close vicinity to the city of Plymouth.  Its close-by city location makes it an ideal place for families wishing to balance their work schedule in a picturesque and friendly community.

The town is also a perfect bridge to the South Devon coastline and a great stopover for travellers heading to the South Hams district.


If you are looking for a relaxing activity and some quiet time, the best activity to do in Ivybridge is a bit of local fishing. Why not try getting a fresh catch with family or friends and start competing for the best catch of the day?


There are many interesting woodland pathways and walks to explore around Ivybridge; from short to longer hikes suited for families as well as experienced hikers.

The South West Coast Path is only a short twenty-minute drive away from Ivybridge.

For the more advanced explorers, the Two Moors Way is by far the best challenge for hikers going through Ivybridge; it ranges in difficulty, going all the way from Plymouth to Lynmouth.

Events to look out for in Ivybridge

Ivybridge Artisan Market  (1st Saturday of January 2024; 9:30 am – 1 pm)

SalcombeHoliday town with the best estuary views

Salcombe’s harbour has encapsulated the hearts of tourists and residents alike for centuries. With its traditional architecture, countryside charm, and stunning seaside views, what’s not to like?

Salcombe is a place that is home to some magnificent estuary views and offers some fantastic coastal pathways and days out to keep you occupied. Learn to live it locally, get insight into the hidden parts of Salcombe and learn to guide your way through Salcombe Harbour

Sailing and watersports

Go sailing for the day or get active with watersports – you can do this and more at Salcombe!

In South Devon, there is always a range of activities to do out on the water, and water sports training for all levels is offered to those who want to try new things.

Visit Salcombe North Sands Beach

Here be rockpools thriving with local sea life galore! North Sands has safe swimming spots for beginner and advanced swimmers alike. You can walk down from Salcombe town road and be on the beach in as little as fifteen minutes – even quicker by car.

Visit Salcombe South Sands Beach

Salcombe South Sands beach is tucked in a safe wind-protected cove, meaning it’s perfect for family days out and quick-stop picnics without the need for windbreakers. With nearby car parks for easy access, you can always bring the whole family and enjoy a day at the beach.

Events to look out for in Salcombe

Nearby Dartmouth Food Festival (Starting 25th – 27th Of October 2024; every autumn)

Kingsbridge –  Picturesque town full of natural beauty and markets

Kingsbridge is both a local haven for residents and renowned by tourists for its astounding natural beauty and historic buildings. If you are looking for somewhere to let your curiosity run wild, this town is full of interesting attractions. Kingsbridge’s wide selection of markets has everything you could possibly need for your home: much of it is sourced in the local area!

Kingsbridge’s market square is full of character and its surrounding historic buildings add to the traditional country architecture of this picturesque town. The town’s closeness to the South Devon coast also makes it the ideal location for doing a variety of activities.

Cookworthy Museum

One of the most popular attractions to visit within Kingsbridge is the Cookworthy Museum. Inside, there are exhibitions of Kingsbridge’s most interesting artefacts throughout history, galleries, as well as historical costumes for children to try for size.

Visit South Milton Sands

Come see the iconic Thurtlestone Rock, a famous arched rock that stands in the sea just a short drive from Kingsbridge. At South Milton Sands beach, you can explore the vast wetlands and see where local wildlife thrive. If you love surfing or want to try it out, South Milton Sands is one of the best places for watersports in the South Hams and is known to be especially popular with surfers.

Events to look out for in Kingsbridge

Kingsbridge Farmers Market

(Local produce & food market held on the 1st, 3rd & 5th of every month)

Kingsbridge Celebrates Christmas’ Annual Event (Opening 2nd December 2023)

TorquayUnique coastal town by the English Riviera

Torquay has established a strong legacy for itself as a seaside town through its fun tourist attractions and impressive coastline, leading to its moniker as ‘the English Riviera.’

This town has long been a popular place to holiday, having been famed as a UK holiday destination since the Victorian era.

In terms of liveability, there is a truly unique way to life in Torquay, especially in such a social and active community. There are things to do and keep you occupied all-year-round!

What better place to escape to than a tropical seaside resort town as your home or holiday base?

Torquay Museum

Learn all about the works of famous Agatha Christie and the local history of Torquay from its maritime days at the Torquay Museum!

Visit Babbacombe

Known for its quaint model village, nearby promenade, and, most notably, Babbacombe Beach. Babbacombe beach is always a popular destination to go to no matter the weather.

Babbacombe is also home to its own vintage cliff railway service, offering visitors access to and from the nearby Oddicombe beach who don’t fancy the steep walk.

Explore Anstey’s Cove

For a quieter beach, opt for Torquay’s Anstey's Cove. This beach was popularised due to being inspirational to famous writer Agatha Christie, making the views inspiration-worthy and perfect for a picnic. Entering through a steep path onto the shingle beach, discover coastal trails and more at Anstey’s Cove.

Events to look out for in Torquay

Halloween at Babbacombe Model Village

(TBC October 2024)

The Agatha Christie Festival

(6th – 15th September 2024)

English Riviera Walking Festival

(Dates TBC 2024)

Newton FerrersUnforgettable Village aside the River Yealm

Newton Ferrers is an ancient village on the banks of the Yealm estuary, that is not too far from the likes of Exeter or Plymouth. This combination of tranquil scenery and practical location are what makes it a great place to live. It has the perfect blend of country and coastal life that will offer stunning views without sacrificing extra time to your everyday work commute or other daily holiday outings.

Newton Ferrers has an extremely interesting past. This village comes with its own unique history dating back to the Normans, as well as famously experiencing a pirate past; Newton Ferrers has been suspected as the birthplace of a famous 17th-century pirate, Henry Every, a man proclaimed, ‘King of the Pirates.’

Visit the Holy Cross Church

Free entry to visit a church which has seen over 900 years’ worth of worshippers and visitors. The Holy Cross Church is full of history from the span of that time and sits in the heart of Newton Ferrers, near the estuary banks.

Best Local Coastal Walk

Noss Mayo and Revelstoke Drive walk is for all ages (dogs too!) and offers multiple astounding views in just one walk! From villages to the estuary leading down on to the magnificent coast.

Events to look out for in Newton Ferrers

Newton Ferrers & Noss Mayo - Bonfire & Fireworks Night

(TBC November 2024)

Plymouth“Britain’s Ocean City” with a maritime charm

Both a lively city and seaport, this urban paradise is suited to meet the demands of someone looking for an urban holiday or lifestyle with a sophisticated edge of marinas, the historic Barbican port,  and of course, the spectacular sea views.

Self-dubbed as "Britain's Ocean City", it is probably one of the most unique cities in the UK.

Plymouth is renowned for its diverse community and vibrant cultural scene.  Its port has played an important part in forming the cultural identity of Plymouth and city goers can’t get enough of its rich seaside history.

Day out to the Aquarium

Learn all about local sea life and more at the National Marine Aquarium; one of the UK's largest aquariums!


If you are feeling extra brave and are a strong, experienced swimmer, why not try out diving by the beautiful Drake's Island?

Visit Wembury Beach

The perfect nearby place for a family day-out to get up to some paddling, rock pooling and swimming in Wembury’s award-winning clear water! Classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the area has a great reputation for being a small paradise teeming with local sea life.

Events to look out for in Plymouth


(Dates TBC September 2024)

Plymouth Christmas Market

(Beginning 30th November until 17th December 2023)

DartmouthUnique sailing port town beside the River Dart

A marine town coined the second most peaceful town in the UK for a reason - if you are looking for a safe place to settle down in, this is the perfect destination for you.

Dartmouth is a town full of history, maritime tales, and independent local shops stocking the freshest produce and food from the region. This fishing port has a past going back as far as the 10th century! From the ancient buildings to the grand quay, there has always been an air of mystery to Dartmouth. Dartmouth’s rich medieval past has kept attracting visitors to the grand fortress of Dartmouth Castle and town again and again.  

Water sports on the River Dart

The river and coast around Dartmouth are water sports havens where you can enjoy regular kayaking, paddleboarding and wild swimming.

Visit Castle Cove & Sugary Cove

Discover Dartmouth’s best-kept secret: its quiet local coves. Paired with views of Dartmouth Castle, Sugary Cove is the perfect ‘locals beach.’

Bring a book, make relaxing coastal walks a regular occurrence, and simply bask in the lovely views this waterside town has to offer.

Events to look out for in Dartmouth

Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta

(Opening 29th August – 31st August 2024: Rowing and Sailing events)

"World Famous" Dartmouth Fresh Fish & Farmers Market :

(Dartmouth farmer’s market: every 2nd Saturday of the month, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm)

Ready to make a move?

South Devon and its coastal towns have become famed for their classic seaside appeal and the opportunity to live life at a slower pace.

Each of its towns and villages breathes life into the surrounding coast and countryside, offering both visitors and locals alike a slice of paradise on home shores.

So, if you are ready for a change, why not move to South Devon?

Each of these unique coastal towns and villages are great places to live and experience some of the best views and scenery in the whole country.

Your dream home might be waiting in one of the best coastal towns to live, so you can experience life the South West way. At Marchand Petit, we understand that relocating to Devon is a lifestyle choice, as much as a home move. We’ll help turn your coastal property dreams into a reality, finding the right home and lending a hand with all those practicalities that come with relocation too.

We may already have your dream property for sale in South Devon available now.

Why not enquire today and find your perfect coastal home?