With two beautiful coasts to choose from, a holiday in Devon is almost certainly within easy reach of the sea. Whether surfing on the wild northern side or paddling in the shallows on the calmer southern, there’s a self-catering seaside cottage that ticks all of your boxes to make your holiday the perfect one!

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Why the Devon Coast?

Here’s an interesting fact. Devon is the only county in the UK that has two separate coastlines, north and south. Together they span nearly 700km with most of the population living within 20km of the coast.

This is great news for anyone who loves spending time near the beach, as an array of self-catering seaside properties give you plenty of options to choose from for your dream Devon holiday by the sea. The only real question is, which coastline is right for you and the kind of break you’re after as both are distinctively different in their landscapes and sea conditions. Now don’t misunderstand.

Both have lots in common too like superb walking, surfing and swimming; jaw-dropping seascapes and oodles of all-weather attractions, still they offer a slightly different kind of break from each other and here’s why.

Devon’s North Coast

The north coast sits on the Atlantic side of the county which means it is somewhat wilder than its English Channel-facing sibling. Here, thanks to a slightly harsher climate, you can expect to find longer sandy beaches, craggier cliffs and untamed surroundings; beautiful in both the summer and winter months, like the largest dune system in the UK at Braunton Burrow; the UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve, which is home to more than 400 plant species.

You’ll also find beaches like Croyde Bay, Saunton Sands, Westward Ho and Woolacombe which, with their large Atlantic swells and sands that stretch for miles, are the top-rated surf spots for board riders in the region.

Like South Devon, much of the north’s coast is designated as an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty and includes places like Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Westward Ho!, so there’s plenty of instagrammable outdoor adventure on hand. These beaches are also fantastic if you’re looking for more family-friendly waters, with the Blue Flag-awarded Woolacombe and Westward Ho! having gentler waves and lifeguards watching over the seas in the summer months.

Devon’s South Coast

Thanks to the shelter of the surrounding South Hams hills, the south benefits from a milder, slightly warmer climate and is positively peppered with sheltered bays, estuaries and inlets. It also boasts its own UNESCO, World Heritage Site in the form of its Jurassic coast which stretches from Exmouth to Studland Bay in Dorset and includes Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth and Seaton. Fossil-hunting along the beaches and cliffs here are naturally a must, and several guided tours are on offer in each area, allowing you to seek out, identify and learn about your ancient discoveries.

Seaside towns abound, like the fishing villages of Brixham, Appledore and Beer, along with many other pretty places like Beesands, Shaldon and Salcombe. The towns of Torquay, Paignton and Teignmouth offer their own seaside resort atmospheres along with family-friendly beaches and coast paths. Beaches like Broadsands in Paignton are the perfect place to SUP or paddle in the shallows, while the Blue Flag beaches at Dawlish Warren, Blackpool Sands, Challaborough and Bantham are extremely popular with families.

ocean 1, newquay

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