Plymouth may not boast its own city centre beaches, but nevertheless just a quick car ride away you can find yourself on some of the most beautiful sandscapes in the south-west. Whether you want a spot of sunbathing, top class rockpooling or some surfing action, our guide to Plymouth’s beaches shows you some of the top spots in the area.
Beaches in Plymouth
Well known as one of the best places in the country to explore rock pools, Wembury Beach is little over a 20-minute drive from our Lockyers Quay hotel. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the beach is surrounded by dramatic cliffs, and there is a nearby car park overlooking the sea. It’s best to visit during low tide as the swimming’s easier, and there are more sandy beaches to choose from.
Most importantly, low tide is when the rock pools are revealed, with their resident limpets, anemones, crabs, fish, sea scorpions and starfish. They’re great for exploring, and what’s more, the nearby Wembury Marine Centre tells visitors all you need to know about the creatures you manage to catch, as well as ways you can help to protect and preserve them.
The cliffs around Wembury also form part of the South West Coast Path – the National Trail is the longest waymarked footpath in the country, and is well known for its stunning views. So when you’re finished basking on the beach you can enjoy a stroll on an official and popular walking trail.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can walk the South West Coast Path all the way around to another of Plymouth’s best beaches, Bovisand Beach. Or you can just drive. Like Wembury, it’s about 20 minutes away from our Lockyers Quay hotel. Its in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, surrounded by stunning cliffs, and has lovely golden sands for a spot of sunbathing, and clean seas if you fancy a swim.
At low tide the bay’s huge expanse of flat sands is revealed, providing a great area for ball games and building sand castles. If you are driving to the beach, there is a reasonably priced car park nearby with a café, shop and picnic area. But bear in mind that the only way to get down, and to the sands and back up, is via steps and a path some might find steep.
Bantham Beach, Plymouth
A little bit further from the city, Bantham Beach is roughly 45 minutes’ drive from our Lockyers Quay hotel, but it’s one of the best beaches in the area and well worth the journey. It’s won awards from the Marine Conservation Society and has coveted Blue Flag status. The sea is shallow and safe for paddling, and the vast expanse of soft, golden sand is great for sunbathing the day away.
Bantham is also one of the best surfing beaches in South Devon and caters to all skill levels. The mellow sea waves are fantastic for beginners who are trying to get to grips with simply standing up. Meanwhile, because the beach marks the point where the River Avon meets the sea, even the hardiest of surfers can test themselves on its unique rips.
As an added bonus, the gastrobus in the car park is a million miles better than your typical greasy spoon. You pay a little bit more, and the queues can get long, but their burgers, breakfasts, cakes and drinks are all top notch.
One of the hidden gems of our stretch of coastline is Mothecombe Beach, owned by The Flete Estate. Don’t worry, it’s not a private affair, though – the small beach is open to the public, so anyone can enjoy its delightful golden sands. There’s a car park nearby, with a gravel woodland path leading down to the beach. And you can grab something to eat, or a drink, at the nearby Schoolhouse restaurant.