Places to Go
Recommendations around Toad Hall
From our own experiences and also feedback and comments from previous guests we thought we would type up a few ideas, suggestions and recommendations of what you can do in the area around Toad Hall.
Definitely The Sloop pub which is in Bantham. Child friendly and dog friendly and great food, good choice of beers (and often a lovely open fire in the cooler months).
Also there is The Winking Prawn at North Beach in Salcombe: Very informal and very child friendly and also has outside eating area which is dog friendly too. Great location as you can run around on the beach while waiting for your food to be prepared (or afterwards to burn off some calories).
You could also try The Oyster Shack which is near the tidal road between Bigbury and Aveton Gifford. It has an excellent reputation as a seafood restaurant. Very relaxed atmosphere and child friendly. Great little drive to it along the tidal road too (if the tide is out of course). Worth booking rather than just turning up as it is popular.
For tea, coffee, cakes and snacks/hot food with a view try the Beachhouse at South Milton. Very ‘beach shack’ and rustic and right above the beach and rock pools of South Milton.
You can also get teas, coffees and snacks at the mobile Gastrobus that is usually in the grass car park at Bantham. They do a surprising range of goodies. The hot chocolates are especially good after a swim in the sea.
Kingsbridge which has a lovely feel and a proper high street with lots of independent shop and a tiny cinema. Great to sit on the harbour wall munching a pasty when the tide is in.
Salcombe is lovely with beautiful views. Does get busy in summer but that actually makes it even more interesting. Great watching the coming and going of all the different boats (and people!). You can catch a passenger ferry round to North Sands and South Sands (or walk there through the side streets) or catch a ferry across to East Portlemouth beach which is very pretty with a flat sandy beach with shallow clear water. Perfect for young children who will also enjoy the ferry crossing.
You can also hire various small boats and do some exploring around the estuary yourselves (highly recommended!!). Salcombe is a great place to look at some very expensive and beautiful houses (and boats).
Dartmouth is also fabulous… Lots of interesting shops (much better for shopping than Salcombe), houses and boats. Great place to wander around with lots of quirky side streets, art galleries, foodie places and a fair chunk of nautical history.
Worth looking at taking a ferry or river cruise at Dartmouth as the estuary is fabulous. Also worth catching the steam trains that run from Dartmouth/Kingswear up to Paignton and back… very scenic. You can also have the option of catching a train out and boat around the coastline on the way back… highly recommended… Visit www.dartmouthrailriver.co.uk
Totnes is sort of the region’s capital. Surprisingly quirky! The High Street has lots of independent shops (they recently fought off Costa having an outlet there). Feels a bit like Kingsbridge but has a bit of a ‘New Age’ vibe about it.
Modbury is a lovely little town. Worth a stroll around if you happen to be passing. First town in Britain where they shops stopped using plastic bags.
If you need supplies there is a big Tescos and a Morrisons in Kingsbridge. Very little in the way of shops at Salcombe.
Difficult to know where to start with this… you really are spoilt for choice…
Bantham Beach itself is fab’ with sand dunes, rocks, gently shelving beach, surfing, estuary, great views… everything really! (I have kayaked with a pair of dolphins off Bantham so just makes it extra special). The following website is full of useful information.. www.banthamdevon.co.uk
There is a webcam and you can also get surf and weather reports for the week ahead at Magic Seaweed.
You can catch a foot ferry from Bantham across to Bigbury and then stroll out to Burgh Island (becomes an island at high tide when sand spit gets covered) and have a drink in the Pilchard Inn pub which is in front of the Art Deco hotel.
Soar Mill Cove is pretty and tends to be quiet too. Cannot be accessed by car which tends to keep the hordes away from it. Turn off at Malborough and follow signs, parking in the small car park at the top of the hill. A very pleasant short’ish stroll down the track (which is harder on the way back up!). Good little drive from there to Salcombe along the back roads too.
If you can it is worth a trip to the Erme Estuary near Wonwell… completely undeveloped and lovely to have a short stroll along. Very quiet with lots of birdlife. You can also get to the estuary from the other side at Mothecombe which is a pretty, privately owned, very quiet beach, open to the public on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Hope Cove is widely feted but I am always a bit disappointed by it. It has a pretty little harbour but it does get fairly rammed with people and cars unless you go there out of season.
Where else would I recommend….?
Lannacombe is lovely but very little parking and exceedingly narrow long lane to get to it but worth the effort. Great little beach with river, good scrambling rocks and coastal path.
Start Point with its lighthouse. Last time we went there we saw an adder, field crickets, lizards and also had to shimmy around some black fluffy cows coming the other way up the path!
East Prawle and Prawle Point is great too. East Prawle has a very quirky pub called the Pig’s Nose… The food's not exceptional but evenings in there can be a really great experience (also dog friendly). Prawle Point is a good place for a walk and there are some truly beautiful and quiet little coves and beaches along that stretch of coastline.
We do also like the walk from East Portlemouth (Mill Bay) opposite Salcombe which goes up through the National Trust car par at the back of the beach and then follows a wooded track (with some fabulous old trees) all the way to Gara Rock where you can get tea and stuff. You can then walk down to Gara beach below it before coming back up and then along the coastal path back to East Portlemouth. Great views… It is possible to park in Salcombe and catch the passenger ferry across to East Portlemouth which just adds a bit of extra fun to the trip.
Torcross and Slapton Sands are interesting (very good fish and chip shop there). Sea on one side and Slapton Ley on the other. Bit of World War 2 history there too.
Further along is Blackpool Sands which is one of ‘the’ classic looking beaches. Very beautiful although, in spite of the name, not actually sandy… more pebbly. They do charge for parking there but there is a café on the beach. Don’t allow dogs on beach.
To be honest I have barely scratched the surface. There are a myriad of other places and walks so well worth going off and having an explore. The following site has details of some great walks in the area to download and print off.. www.southdevonaonb.org.uk/explore/walks