Please Note: All Torbay’s beaches are tidal so it is worth checking tide times at BBC weather: Tide Tables https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast-and-sea/tide-tables/10/25
One of our favourite beaches, Meadfoot can be found at Postcode: TQ1 2LL You can reach it on foot by following the South West Coast Path with the sea on your right.
Meadfoot has won a coveted Blue Flag award for cleanliness. It is overlooked by Hesketh Crescent, a graceful Georgian building where Charles Darwin wrote some of On The Origin of Species. The beach is a mix of shingle and sand with large rocks that disappear at high tide. It is great for paddle boarding and swimming. You can hire paddle boards and kayaks in the Summer and there are public toilets and a cafe. If you would prefer to drive you can park for free on Meadfoot road but spaces go quickly during high season. There is a metered car park at the far end of the beach. However, if there are spaces, you can park for free on Ilsham Road.
This rock and pebble beach was one of Agatha Christie’s favourite bathing spots. It has lovely views of the bay and can be found close to Haldon Pier. There are seagrass beds here with a lots of wildlife including cuttlefish and blennies. It has automatic gates which close at sunset. If you do get locked in there is a button to release the gate. Postcode: TQ1 2EP
PEAKED TOR COVE
Walk to the Imperial Hotel and you will see a path leading to the left marked Beach. Continue along the South West Coast Path. Postcode: TQ1 2DS
A high stone wall blocks your view of the sea on the right but you will come to a break in the wall. Steps lead down to a series of grassed terraces. It is worth walking down to the little rocky beach and jetty at the bottom. This is a secluded and popular sunbathing and swimming spot with clean, clear water. These steps are steep so not recommended for people with mobility problems. When the tide is out you can walk around the beach to the left where you will find a little cave. Be careful of falling rocks as the cliffs along this coastline are constantly eroding. Wear sturdy footwear.
TORRE ABBEY SANDS
At low tide this golden sandy beach in the heart of Torquay is very popular with young families. Postcode TQ2 6NY. The sea is shallow and dogs are banned from May to September. During the Summer WeSup have a hub on the beach which serves coffee and snacks and you can hire paddleboards and kayaks. On the other side of the road, behind the beach, are a large selection of bars and restaurants. These have outdoor seats that are a sun trap even in the winter months.
This beautiful rocky little beach is tucked downhill from a picturesque section of the South West Coast Path. Postcode: TQ1 2JB. If you are staying at Vane Tower you can find a circular walk to Anstey’s Cove on the Walks section of the website.
There is a car park at the top of the hill above the beach. However, the road leading to the car park is one way and can only be accessed from the Northern end. When you park make sure you remember to pay as car registration numbers are recorded by cameras. The path to the beach is opposite. Extensive quarrying has left Anstey’s Cove with a distinctive pointed rock sticking up like witch’s hat. There is a nice little café at the bottom of the hill and public toilets . These are open from Easter to early Autumn. It is possible to hire sun loungers, kayaks and paddleboards. Redgate beach, to the left, is now out of bounds because the cliffs are unstable. You will see lots of people clambering over the rocks but it is not advised.
ODDICOMBE & BABBACOMBE
Oddicombe Beach is situated at the base of the towering red Jurassic cliffs at the edge of Babbacombe village. Park your car at Walls Hill Car Park. Postcode TQ1 3LZ or on the street if you are lucky. You can reach the beach by a steep path and steps, which snake down the hill through woods.
At the top of Babbacombe Downs is the very popular Angel’s Tea Rooms famous for its delicious Devon Cream Teas. https://www.angelsatbabbacombe.co.uk/
An easier route down to the beach is the Babbacombe Cliff railway, a fun funicular built in 1926. https://www.babbacombecliffrailway.co.uk/
Keen hikers can walk from Vane Tower to Babbacombe along the South West Coast path. There are fabulous views of the sea but lots of hills. You will need sensible footwear and a reasonable level of fitness. It is worth spending a day and stopping for lunch. Three Degrees West Bar and Bistro can be found on Oddicombe Beach and the beautiful Cary Arms pub is at the neighbouring Babbacombe Beach. This can be reached by a footpath along the shore line.
There is a road down to the privately owned car park by the Cary Arms. Postcode TQ1 3LX. However, this is not for the fainthearted as it is very steep and narrow in places. During the Summer months, queues of cars can form as people try to get back up the hill. You will need change for the car park as it is checked regularly.
In the Summer you will often find seals being fed by fishermen on the little pier next to The Cary Arms. This is dangerous as the seals bite (and carry nasty bacteria in their mouths which can infect people. They are also becoming too dependent on humans for food.
Here are some other highly recommended beaches within easy driving distance:
Goodrington Sands, Paignton. TQ4 6LN
This is an enormous family friendly sandy beach with cafes, toilets, a pub and a neaby park. There is also a waterpark: https://www.splashdownwaterparks.co.uk/quaywest/explore-the-park/
Broadsands Beach TQ4 6HL
Blue flag winning beach with car park. https://www.broadsands-watersports.co.uk/ It’s a nice walk to Brixham, via Ellbury and back along the coast path from here.
Beautiful beach with stunning green water due to the seagrass beds. It can only be reached by foot and has no facilities: https://www.devonguide.com/beaches/elberry-cove.htm
Churston Cove, Brixham
Another fabulous beach which can only be reached on foot via the South West Coast Path. Good footwear is needed but it is worth the effort. https://www.devonguide.com/beaches/churston-cove.htm
Breakwater Beach, Brixham TQ5 9AF
This lovely beach is a short walk from Brixham’s harbour. The water is an amazing chalky blue due to the white pebbles.There are lovely cafes and restaurants nearby and also the Shoalstone saltwater swimming pool https://www.enjoytorbay.co.uk/beaches/breakwater-beach/
St Mary’s Bay, Brixham TQ5 9FE
You reach the beach via some steep steps from the coast path so access is difficult. However, if you can make the effort you will be rewarded. The beach is made up of an interesting mix of marble and slate and sand. Check tide times before visiting. https://www.enjoytorbay.co.uk/beaches/st-marys-bay/
Blackpool Sands TQ6 0RG
Absolutely stunning beach which is the other side of Dartmouth and is worth a day out. It is not actually sand but an enormous sweep of fine golden shingle. The Venus Cafe serves great food but you will need money for the car park as the beach is privately owned. https://www.blackpoolsands.co.uk/