Salcombe – A Truly Idyllic British Holiday Destination

13 April 2017

Salcombe – A Truly Idyllic British Holiday Destination

Salcombe Estuary. Photo courtesy of

Salcombe is a small town on the south coast of Devon which can be summed up with one word… exquisite. If you’ve visited, then you’ll understand why this one word summation is so appropriate. If not, then read on and all will be revealed!

Nestled in the softly rolling countryside of South Devon, Salcombe is the ultimate British holiday destination, especially during the summer months. Located near the mouth of the Kingsbridge Estuary it is the perfect base for sailing and boating enthusiasts but with plenty to do besides making it ideal for a family break.

Whether you’re out on a boat, strolling down the narrow streets browsing in a range of boutique shops, sat watching the world go by in a café by the harbour or exploring the sugar sand beaches dotted along the coast there is no doubt it’s more enjoyable when the sun is out. Fortunately this particular area of the UK tends to be well blessed in the sunshine department with good weather the norm, not a rarity!

Many of our Salcombe properties (scroll down to take a sneak peak) are located within walking distance of the middle of the town. You’ll find the narrow roads tricky to navigate especially in the height of summer so abandon the car at your property and set out to explore on foot. 

The main road in and out of the middle of Salcombe (and by main, we don’t mean big… you’d be lucky to fit two cars side by side down it!) meanders alongside the estuary affording you some spectacular views as you walk into town. In the summer the Estuary is filled with yachts, boats and dinghies of all shapes and sizes making their way back to harbour or out towards the estuary mouth and the sea beyond. The sun sparkles off the water and a gentle breeze keeps the temperature comfortable. Walk past the Salcombe Yacht Club (often a busy social scene) and carry on into the heart of Salcombe.

Salcombe Shopping

If you enjoy shopping then Salcombe offers a surprisingly wide variety of high end boutiques and brands. Home to the now famous Jack Wills clothing store (established in Salcombe in 1999 and located on Fore Street) you’ll also notice other recognisable resident brands, Quba Sails and Crew Clothing, both of which were also established in Salcombe… clearly the crisp sea air lends itself to some entrepreneurial activity! 

Salcombe has long been a favourite haunt of the well-heeled including Made in Chelsea socialite Cheska Hull who calls Salcombe home and helps run boutique, Amelia's Attic, located on the high street.

Amelias Attic

Amelia's Attic. Photo courtesy of @cheskahull - Instagram

In keeping with the shopping part of your day you just have to stop at one of the handful of delightful old fashioned sweet shops and get yourself some Salcombe Dairy Ice cream... the champion of all ice creams in our opinion! We suggest you try the Clotted Cream and Honeycomb variety!

Ice cream in hand, keep on walking and you’ll swing round along the harbour front before being led into the recently developed Island Street. Hunt around and you’ll find galleries, a boutique jeweller, yacht chandlers and a recent addition, Wills Bees, a lifestyle accessory store which sells bespoke handbags and other leather goods. Established in 2015 by Will Bees, the founder of Quba Sails, this shop alone is worth the short walk… trendy but understated, the shop has been setup in an old boat house which runs down to the waters edge. We challenge you to leave without buying something!

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Wills Bees. Photo courtesy of

Eating out and about

If you’re after a light lunch then there is nowhere better in the middle of town than The Wardroom. Located on Fore Street at the back of Crew Clothing, the Wardroom serves some fab food including a creamy clam chowder, fish pie and salmon filled bagels. Hurry and you’ll be able to nab a table on the small terrace which overlooks Salcombe harbour. Keep a look out and you might just see the Salcombe Lifeboat gliding out into the channel on one of their regular training exercises. Coffee and cake are a Wardroom specialty if you’re not yet ready for lunch!

Another favourite pick for lunch (or an extravagant dinner) has to be The Winking Prawn. Located just out of town (but walkable if you’re feeling fit), The Winking Prawn has, in a few short years, grown to become a Salcombe institution. Run out of what is essentially a beach hut overlooking a small bay, The Winking Prawn is the place to go for superb seafood and fish.

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The Winking Prawn Restaurant. Photo courtesy of

Start with a crab and prawn stack and move onto a whole lobster served alongside its own beach bucket to hold the shell you crack off. Be warned… this place is busy! Booking is essential but the food good enough that you won’t mind waiting for your table. And whilst you wait, order a drink from the bar and take it out to the sea wall where you can watch the boats carry on by.

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The Winking Prawn Restaurant. Photo courtesy of @thewinkingprawn - Instagram

Heading slightly farther afield we’d recommend the Beachhouse Café at South Milton (about a 20 minute drive from Salcombe). This pint-sized beach shack serves some incredible fish and chips. Afterwards take a stroll along Thurlestone beach (just 10 feet from the Café). The Café can only seat about 20 people so if you want to guarantee a table then make sure you book!

And if you’re in the mood for a Gastro Pub then carry on driving and head down an incredibly steep and winding road to Bantham. Nestling in the heart of the village is The Sloop Inn. Massively popular, The Sloop Inn serves fantastic fillet steaks served with thick cut chips, fresh fish specials and some pretty epic Scampi & Chips (or a salad if you’re feeling healthy!).

Days out

Visiting Salcombe for a weekend, a week or three? You’ll not have any problem filling the time. Whilst you’re there we recommend a trip to Overbecks and a day on the beach at Bantham. If you’ve time, hire a boat, allowing you to escape to some of the secluded coves dotted around the estuary.

Overbecks is a National Trust property located in the hills above Salcombe. This Victorian era house is set in some incredible gardens that have an almost tropical feel to them (and yes, they are real palm trees bordering the driveway). You can easily spend an hour or two getting lost in the gardens which have the most spectacular views up the estuary towards Salcombe. If you’re feeling in the mood for a walk then head out onto the coast path for a 45 minute stroll which loops around some of the prettiest coastline in the UK. You can revive yourself with coffee and cake (or something stronger) in the Overbecks restaurant afterwards.


Out in the sun at Overbecks. Photo courtesy of The National Trust - Facebook

Fancy topping up your tan? Then head to Bantham for some beach time! A mere 25 minute drive from Salcombe, Bantham Beach is popular for a reason. Enjoy what feels like miles of pristine sands and go for a swim in the safe waters here (lifeguards are on duty for much of the summer). Head further out into the water if you’re a surfer to catch some waves. Or just lie on the beach soaking up the sun. As you look out to sea you’ll spot Burgh Island… only accessible at low tide or by boat, Burgh Island is famous as the location of one of the many Poirot novels by Agatha Christie who stayed at the hotel on the island numerous times in the 1930’s. The Sloop Inn (mentioned earlier) is an easy 10 minute walk from the beach.


Bantham beach with a view of Burgh Island. Photo courtesy of

Closer to home we’d recommend taking a whole day out to hire a boat (from Salcombe Boat Hire or Whitestrand Boat Hire) and then head up the estuary. There are lots of coves and inlets, many with small beaches that are all but deserted – with names like Fishermans Cove and Mill Bay it’s hard not to want to go exploring! Crossing the estuary you’ll get to East Portlemouth which is well worth a visit and allows you to view Salcombe from the other side of the estuary.

Where to stay

Throughout the last year we have been busy adding to our portfolio of exquisite homes across the UK which include some of the most desirable residences in and around Salcombe.

Vine House located in the beautiful Batson Creek is a stunning waterside property that has recently undergone extensive renovation. With the addition of the Sail Loft and Boat House this property is perfect for large groups and families. And if all you want to do on holiday is sit in a tranquil garden under the dappled shade of a tree overlooking the water then Vine House is for you. For more information on this stunning property click here.


Vine House, Batson Creek, Salcombe

If contemporary elegance is what you’re after then Cable Cottage ticks all the boxes. This stunning standalone property boasts panoramic views of Salcombe Castle, the estuary and the Devonshire coastline. More details available here


Cable Cottage, Salcombe

Cross the estuary into East Portlemouth and you’ll find Harbour Watch. A luxurious property that oozes comfort makes this the perfect seaside retreat. And with your very own secluded beach on your doorstep this property is perfect for families and groups. Featured in The Sunday Times ‘Top 50 Holiday Homes’ and ITV’s Holiday Home Sweet Home, Harbour Watch is the very definition of a prestigious holiday home. Take a look here.


Harbour Watch, Salcombe

And if you’re looking for a romantic getaway then The Sea Balcony, Salcombe is for you. Offering the best of both worlds with the VIP facilities of a grand hotel but with the privacy of your own blissful retreat. The Sea Balcony definitely lives up to its name with wonderful glass frontage as the wraparound veranda sits metres away from the ocean before it. More information on this property can be viewed here.


The Sea Balcony, Salcombe

And finally if you’re happy to venture slightly further afield and head up the estuary to Kingsbridge you’ll find Woodspring house… A beautifully modern home with the most amazing views and incredible interior design. If contemporary style and endless space is what you are after then look no further. More details here.


Woodspring House, Kingsbridge

Our Concierge Service

Booking a holiday shouldn’t be stressful! Our team have an in-depth knowledge of our properties and the areas surrounding them and love nothing more than helping you plan the perfect holiday. Find out more about how we can assist when you book a holiday with us here.

To enquire about your next holiday please contact us online here or call us on +44 1993 899 430.