For sandy days...
North Devon is famed for its beautiful beaches, but in the heights of spring and summer, are these sandy-stretches and breathtaking bays really the empty paradise they look to be? Some definitely are! You just need some explorer spirit and a little local knowledge to find those lesser-known shores. For every one of our famous expanses, there's a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
These are off the beaten track so you may need to hike a little, and packing your own picnic is probably best as these don’t all have cafes, but these quieter spots are worth the extra effort.
Typically not lifeguarded, these secret coves in North Devon are best for older children and strong swimmers. For a more family-friendly beach day with refreshments and facilities, our favourite family-friendly beaches near Woolacombe are Croyde (best for rock pooling), Putsborough Sands (less crowded), and Saunton Sands (loved by little surfers).
BUGGY-FRIENDLY & ACCESSIBLE WALKING ROUTES
Accessible doesn’t mean any less adventurous...
When the sun is out, there’s nothing better than going off for a jaunt, kids in tow. But what if your little people are buggy bound? Our answer: don’t let this stop you!
North Devon is famous for its incredible landscapes – from its stunning coast to its hidden woodlands – and there’s no denying it: spring and summer are the most popular times to visit Woolacombe, but it’s easy to step away from the busier touristy areas and go off-road, even with a buggy on board.
Take the Baggy Point route below, the spectacular views are among the most dramatic you’ll find, and your mini explorers will love the whale bones and old wreck post. Pause for a moment in the ancient fields on top of the headland and you’ll see they are encrusted with lichen. In spring and summer this pretty route is carpeted with pink thrift and white sea campion; visit a little later in the year to see the migrant birds gathering – go quietly and you might spot peregrines, merlins or even the odd haen harrier.
Northam Burrows Country Park, a short drive away in Bideford, is perfect for a shorter trail – great if you want to intersperse walking with buggy time. This is one for the adventure lovers! It is a site of special scientific interest with a range of habitats including sand dunes, salt marsh, grassland and rocky shores.
For both a full day out or just a short stroll, there’s the Tarka Trail. Entirely traffic-free, this surfaced route can be enjoyed in sections to suit you. Famed by Henry Williamson’s “Tarka the Otter” there is wildlife and views in abundance. Take the Barnstaple to Bideford section and you can veer off slightly to Instow’s sandy beach or, south of Bideford, you pass along causeways, through cuttings and tunnels and across bridges. If you are very lucky you may spot an otter or the turquoise flash of a kingfisher.
Feel the wind in your hair...
We recommend bringing your own bikes, skateboards and kites when you come and stay in the Beach Retreats self-catering accommodation in Woolacombe. We have amazing trails and tracks! From ‘lovely and level’ to ‘wild and wicked’ there are so many ‘wheely great’ routes to be explored.
If you are visiting us with a young family, or even packing your pup for a stay in our dog-friendly accommodation, the joys of feeling the wind in your hair should not be underestimated. We’ve handpicked a selection of routes – perfect whether you are celebrating those first wobbly forays with little ones or looking for a taste of freedom and off-road adventure.
DAYS OUT & PLACES TO VISIT
For rainy days & bucket lists
Great for when the younger ones get restless or for when it just isn’t a beach day, we've put together a collection of the best places to visit when you stay with us here in Woolacombe.
If you’re looking for the best family-friendly places to visit in North Devon, you can’t go far wrong with Borough Farm, Watermouth Castle, or the Big Sheep. These fun days out will satisfy everybody from the animal crackers to the adventurers.
If you’re more of a bucket list adventurer, on the other hand, there are no shortage of magical and unique destinations. We recommend The Valley of Rocks (Exmoor) for truly Insta-worthy scenery, Lundy Island for a full-day’s adventure on the sea, and Clovelly for a special afternoon pottering around the quaint winding streets.