Beach cafés in Devon

Classic Fodder

Beach cafés in Devon

Known for its dual coastlines, endless bucolic scenes and excellent eating, it's little wonder Devon remains popular with visitors year after year. And whether you’re into sunbathing or storm watching, every season has its charms in Devon.

With two national parks to explore and the famous Jurassic Coast, nature lovers, avid walkers, and keen cyclists will find themselves in paradise. Meanwhile with over a hundred beaches to sunbathe, swim and play on, beach bums, water sports fans and families adore Devon for its laidback beachy atmosphere that’s primed for an ocean-side fish and chips.

Then there's the buzzing and historic cities of Plymouth and Exeter full of culture, excellent shopping and live music, not to mention the many quaint market towns, coastal resorts and picture-perfect villages all with their own charms to explore.

But of course, you’re going to need some energy to fuel all of that exploring and where better to fill up than a beachside café? Tucking into local produce with a view of the Atlantic - where do we sign up? With that in mind, here’s our pick of the best beach cafés in Devon…

North Devon


Barricane Beach Café, Woolacombe

The converted shipping container that houses Barricane Beach Café in Devon

If you've had enough crab sandwiches and cream teas for one holiday, head to this rustic spot just up for the golden sands of Woolacombe beach – one of the best on the Devon coast. This unassuming beach shack, fashioned out of a converted shipping container, is renowned for its Sri Lankan curry. Given the modest size, it's takeaway only and recent reports are they still only accept cash. The choice is simple, meat or veggie, adult or child portion. But be warned, word has caught on - so arrive early (curry starts at 5pm), with cash and expect a bit of a queue (it moves along fast).

During the day Barricane Beach Café offers up the usual seaside fare you'd expect in this neck of the woods, with hot drinks and scones aplenty. As for the spot, you can't go wrong with Woolacombe. It's a firm favourite with families and surfers alike, thanks to its three-mile-long stretch of golden sand, excellent surf and generous car park. It's dog friendly year-round, with zone restriction in place during the main season.

If dreamy beachside locations like this are your favourite, you’ll love these Devon cottages near a beach – get some inspiration for your next holiday.


Putsborough Beach Café, Braunton

The stretching sands that lie beneath Putsborourgh Beach Café in Devon

To the south of Woolacombe, you'll find Putsborough Sands. Further away from the hustle and bustle means it's often a quieter spot than nearby beaches, making it a good choice for peace seekers.

And if you're in need of refreshment, look no further than Putsborough Beach Shop. Inside, this beachside haunt boasts huge picture windows framing the gorgeous setting so practically every table can enjoy it. The rest of the décor is stripped back, think simple pine tables and wood cladding, to let the views do the talking.

It's a dog friendly spot that's open from April until the end of October, then weekends throughout the winter. Post-walk bowl of soup anyone?

As for the local area, you're in for a treat. The sweeping sands here have plenty of space for running off steam, meanwhile the swell is a surfer’s paradise. There's a surfboard hire on the beach if you fancy giving it a go. Dogs are welcome on this beach between October and April, plus there are some excellent local walks making it a great option for dogs and their owners. Try the walk from Croyde around Baggy Point.


Fremington Quay Café, Fremington

The quaint white exterior of Fremington Quay Café in Devon

Technically situated on an estuary, we had to include Fremington Quay café. It overlooks the River Raw, which leads down to Saunton Sands and Westward Ho Beach.

When it comes to eating, there are plenty of savoury options, from a coronation chicken wrap to a cobb salad, but it's the homemade cakes on offer here that really appeal. Expect generous portions. It’s a toss-up between the coffee and walnut cake and a slab of rocky road for us! You can choose to sit inside or al fresco, and dogs are welcome outside. Sometimes they even have homemade dog treats to hand.

Why not visit by bike or walk along the Tarka trail? If you do drive, there is plenty of parking. And if you'd like to learn more about the heritage of the Quay, pop into the free heritage museum which is open all year round and does a great job documenting the history of the area.


Sandleigh Tea Room & Gardens, Croyde

A Devonshire cream tea from the National Trust with a scone, clotted cream and a jar of jam

A stone’s throw from the south west coast path and Croyde beach, you'll find Sandleigh Tea-Room. This National Trust establishment is famed for its traybakes, cakes, cream teas and light lunches, with plenty of gluten-free options. Dogs are welcome and you might be lucky enough to visit on a day when they have their doggy ice-cream in stock.

Choose to sit in the garden, surrounded by views of the community allotment or inside the quaint tea room. There's also often a takeaway trailer available in the carpark.

If you're in the area and a keen walker, you'd be mad to miss a hike out to Baggy Point. This dramatic, atmospheric headland separates Croyde Bay from Morte Bay and you'll find it is home to plenty of history. There is evidence of human settlements from the Mesolithic era and during World War II, it was used by American forced training for the Normandy Landings.

Wildlife lovers will be in their elements here too. Pack your binoculars and keep an eye out for guillemots, razorbills, Dartford warblers, stonechats and cormorants.  You can also see seals, plus Hebridean sheep and Ruby Red cattle have been introduced to keep the brambles and bracken at bay.

Craving more North Devon eatery suggestions? We’ve got you! Check out our guide on the best places to eat in North Devon.

South Devon


Beachhouse Café, South Milton Sands

The lovely Beachhouse Café right next to the beach with lots of people enjoying the sun outside

Located at South Milton Sands, one of the most popular beaches in the South Hams, this simple seafood shack is literally right on the beach. Watch the sun set while you tuck into locally-sourced seafood al fresco, or snuggle up inside in the cooler months.

Specialising in fresh seafood, you can expect plenty of tantalising treats on the menu here, from prawn gumbo and cracked crab, to the seafood platter featuring fresh lobster. It's dog friendly too, so be sure to book a table to avoid disappointment.

This is a beautiful area to explore and there is plenty to keep you busy in this stunning corner of Devon. Explore the rockpools, try your hand at paddleboarding or kayaking, and check out Thurlestone Rock, an impressive coastal rock formation just off the main beach. 


The Winking Prawn, Salcombe

The quaint exterior of The Winking Prawn in Salcombe

Situated just behind North Sands beach, you'll find Winking Prawn's Salcombe outpost. This shabby-chic beach café is decorated in shades of pastel ice cream hues and is always buzzing with people (and dogs), no matter the time of day.

Friday to Sunday, tuck into breakfast, go for a sweet start to the day with coffee and cake or dive right in with a hearty full English.

The rest of the week? Lunch and dinner are all about fresh seafood, from handpicked local crab meat to deep-fried popcorn shrimp baguettes. There are vegan and vegetarian options to choose from too - check out the soup of the day, chargrilled smoked tofu salad and avocado, and pomegranate and sweet chilli baguette.

Afterwards, explore North Sands beach which enjoys sweeping views of the Kingsbridge Estuary, Sunny Cove on the East Portlemouth side and out to sea past Wolf Rock. It's dog friendly year-round, however, make sure you check tide times as the beach disappears at high tide.

No beach? No worries! Take the Cliff Road walk down to Salcombe town centre to discover the quaint town’s pretty boutiques and independent shops.


The Sea Shanty Beach Café, Branscombe

Looking out over the beach and coastal location of The Sea Shanty Beach Café in Devon

If you're looking for hearty meals served with a smile, look no further than The Sea Shanty Beach café. It sits on the South West Coast Path and enjoys glorious views across Branscombe beach.

The building has a fantastic and tightly woven heritage; the Sea Shanty Tea Rooms was first established in 1939 by Clem and Boo Ford, and in 1961 it was purchased by the Sellick family. Between 1994 and 2019 it was leased to various other managers, but it has since been returned to the Sellick family as of 2019.

Today, it's open every day, even throughout winter with gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options available. For breakfast tuck into everything from a full English to an American pancake stack or creamy Scottish porridge. The last order for lunch in winter is 2.30pm, but cream teas and cakes are available throughout opening hours.

Afterwards, take a stroll along the pretty shingle beach of Branscombe. The village of Branscombe, part of the Jurassic Coastline, is worth a wander around too - the chocolate box thatched cottages look like something out of a fairytale. There's a great clifftop walk along the coast path to the idyllic village of Beer, home to PECO, the world-famous model railway track manufacturer Pecorama.


The Old Mill Café, Wembury

The pretty cottage exterior of The Old Mill with the beach behind

Wembury Old Mill café is set in a historic stone building and serves up a range of hot and cold refreshments to take away. Go for a traditional pasty, cream tea or panini to fuel you up for a decent walk.

Speaking of which - there are walks for all abilities around Wembury. The two mile walk between Wembury Beach and Wembury Point offers gorgeous vistas out to sea and the Great Mewstone. Plus, the waters are part of the Voluntary Marine Conservation Area and known for its rich diversity of marine life.

For a more leisurely jaunt, hop aboard the River Yealm Ferry (which runs seven days a week between 1st April and 26th September) and explore the other side.

If you'd like to learn more about the local wildlife, head to the Wembury Marine Centre (just up from the beach) and enjoy their interactive displays, or go on one of their regular rockpool rambles. 


Venus Café, Bigbury-on-Sea

Looking out across the sands of Bigbury-on-Sea where Venus Café sits

Venus café is located just up from Bigbury Beach, and this pared back café lets its coastal location do the talking. Head indoors and snag a window seat to lap up the views across to Burgh Island and Bantham. It's also dog friendly and open seven days a week throughout the seasons, making it a great choice whatever the weather.

There are plenty of tempting meals on offer here, from hearty breakfasts to their Devon beef chilli or bean packed vegan alternative. They also specialise in fresh seafood and the Hawaiian coconut prawn with guava mayo is a must.

At low tide, walk over to Burgh Island (or hop aboard a sea tractor for a memorable journey). Murder mystery fans will love a wander around the island, which enjoys links to Agatha Christie. The art-deco inspired hotel which sits proudly on the island is said to have once been a haunt for pirates and smugglers too!

Discover more delicious places to eat in South Devon, a roundup of the best pubs, restaurants and bistros.


If all that talk of beaches and good food has got you hankering after Devon, take a look at our selection of holiday cottages in Devon and start planning your next break.

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