If you’re looking for a coastal holiday in North Devon where you can enjoy terrific beaches and seaside village life, Saunton and Braunton is hard to beat. Gateway to Devon’s North coast, Braunton is a large yet charming village that lies about 5 miles west of Barnstaple and is within a short distance of the wonderful surfing and dog-friendly beach of Saunton Sands.
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What makes Braunton and the surrounding area so spectacularly scenic is its position within the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), so for anyone who enjoys wildlife or getting outdoors, it’s a fantastic base from which to explore North Devon’s beautiful landscape. England’s largest sand dune system at Braunton Burrows is a veritable playground for birdlife and fauna with bird varieties such as robins, blackbirds, dunnocks, song thrushes and wrens taking up permanent residence there, while in its quieter areas you are likely to see foxes, badgers and deer.
Famed for its 3 mile beach and epic surf conditions, Saunton is a favourite destination for holidaymakers and sportsmen alike. The beach is top class and family-friendly with plenty of space and excellent facilities that include a Landeez all-terrain wheelchair, allowing everyone to enjoy the beach. It also welcomes dogs 365 days of the year so for anyone looking to enjoy a pet-friendly break in Devon no matter the season, it doesn’t get better.
Being so close to the sea means there’s a relaxed surf-culture atmosphere to the village, so expect to find numerous surf shops where you’ll be able to stock up on boards, wetsuits and wax. Of course if you’re simply looking to hire some equipment for the duration of your stay, you’ll find companies like Saunton Surf Hire and Croyde Bay Surf Hire down on the beach so you can take to the water even if it’s just to try something new.
Aptly named England’s Adventure Coast, North Devon offers plenty to do for those adventurers at heart, and visitors can choose activities like coasteering, cycling, paddle boarding, kiteboarding, surfing and horse riding. Some of our favourite companies are:
Guided coasteering adventures (Croyde)
Surfing, paddleboarding, coasteering and climbing adventures (Braunton)
Moorland Trekking, beach rides and lessons (Bideford)
Electric and standard bikes (Braunton)
Board and wetsuit hire as well as lessons, with click and collect available (Saunton Beach)
Group and private lessons, beach yoga and Landrover surf tours (Saunton Beach)
If you’d like to experience even more beautiful beaches then head over to Croyde and Woolacombe, both with fantastic surfing conditions. Traditional seaside resort Westward Ho! offers amusements to keep all members of the family entertained, and boasts good shopping, restaurants and pubs.
The bustling river-port town of Barnstaple lies just 15 minutes away by car and has outstanding estuary views, historic attractions and shopping. And if you’re celebrating a special occasion, indulge in a meal at Robert Bryant’s acclaimed Maiden Arch restaurant.
For something a touch more quaint, we love the postcard-perfect fishing villages of Clovelly (with its pedestrianised cobbled lanes and gorgeous harbour), and Appledore for it’s lovely quay, wonderful estuary views and charming atmosphere.
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