Salcombe is a real gem of a town, where luxury yachts bob on calm turquoise waters and the streets are lined with pastel-hued boutiques and galleries. It’s home to a well-heeled crowd and acts like a magnet to discerning Londoners, who flock to the town each summer to enjoy its pristine sandy beaches and its vibrant boating community…
Start your visit on Island Street, the artisanal heart of Salcombe. Here you’ll find freshly hauled lobster and crab for sale, alongside traditional boatbuilders and shops selling seaside paraphernalia. While you’re there, sample a cone of delicious Salcombe Dairy Ice Cream. Their flavours range from strawberries & cream to decadent banoffee and a curiously named ‘Salcombe mud’ (which is really just a tasty chocolate, shortbread combo).
Salcombe punches well above its size when it comes to retail therapy. This small estuary town is the birthplace of big brands like Jack Wills, Crew Clothing and Quba Sails. On its vibrant Fore Street you’ll find shops selling everything from designer fashion to artisan food, stylish homewares and seaside essentials. Chattels Of Salcombe at 11 Fore Street are purveyors of consciously sourced and beautifully designed homewares. Cranch’s Sweetshop is the stuff of Salcombe legend. It first opened its doors at 78 Fore Street back in 1869 and it honestly hasn’t changed a great deal over the years. Its candy pink facade and nostalgic treats will no doubt tempt children and the young at heart through its doors.
There’s something about the waft of salt on the clean air in Salcombe that makes you crave a crisp G&T. If you can find a coveted slot, book a date at Salcombe Distilling Co.’s Gin School where you can develop and distil your very own 70cl blend of gin. Afterward we suggest kicking back in their waterside bar and taking in the beautiful creek views with a chilled drink in hand.
Locals love The Crab Shed restaurant. Situated right on the waters edge (head along Gould Road) their seafood-focussed menu makes great use of the fresh ingredients landed right on their doorstep – and by ‘ingredients’ we’re largely referring to Salcombe crab. You can order potted crab, crab bisque, crab sarnies, and even crab bouillabaisse. Not enough crustacean on your plate? Order the ‘Shed Crab Fries’ for a portion of crispy chips topped with fresh crabmeat, chilli, parmesan, spring onions and coriander. De-licious.
From the centre of Salcombe, stroll along along Cliff Road for about 15 minutes and you’ll arrive at North Sands Beach. This large sandy beach is perfect for families and welcomes dogs year round. From its golden shores you can enjoy stunning views of the Kingsbridge Estuary. While you’re there, grab a bite to eat across the road at The Winking Prawn Beach Café. This Salcombe institution has been welcoming diners for over 20 years with its own particular brand of shabby chic beach décor. Thanks to its close proximity to the beach, you can sit in the sunshine and graze on platters of fresh shellfish or buckets of juicy prawns.
Mill Bay Beach is a just a quick ferry ride across the water from Salcombe. It’s a glorious little sandy beach that’s warmed by the sun throughout the day. Low tide reveals a wealth of rock pools to explore and the calm waters make it perfect for swimming. From Mill Bay car park you can also cut through the woods and arrive at Sunny Cove Beach within a few minutes. On an evening, Sunny Cove is a great spot from which to watch the sun go down – just don’t get caught by the tide.
Speaking of tides, when it’s high tide you can cruise up the water to reach Millbrook Inn. This hidden foodie gem is nestled at the top of a tranquil tidal creek and for generations it has held a special place in the hearts of locals and honorary locals alike. Situated right on the water, you’ll arrive for the stunning location and stay for its quality Devonshire pub fayre.
Lead Photograph Salcombe by Maria Allenby / Shutterstock. Below Sunny Cover Beach by up_hill_down_dale / Shutterstock. Salcombe Distillery School.