Saunton Sands beach is just a mile and a half from Kingsacre House and is perhaps our favourite beach in the world! Three miles of beautiful, west facing, sandy beach backed by Braunton Burrows — the largest sand dunes in Britain. Stroll along the beach enjoying the big skies and rumbling of the Atlantic rolling in, have a picnic, paddle into some of the best longboarding waves in the country or kitesurf if it is windy. Whatever you do there – and whatever the weather – you’ll not fail to fall in love with the place.
Saunton Sands’ expansive scenery means that it has often been used for filming. In “A Matter of Life and Death” David Niven was washed up on to Saunton Sands, Robbie Williams’ “Angels” video was also filmed there and it pretended to be Normandy in Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” (it was also used for their “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” album cover).
The facilities are excellent. There is a large car park (the cost is seasonal but roughly £3 to £6 depending on the month and time of day you arrive), toilets with outdoor showers for rinsing yourself and your wetsuit, The Sands Cafe / Restaurant, Beach shop and cafe and, maybe most importantly, Surfed Out surf shop and hire centre. The beach is very safe which makes it a great choice if you’re learning to surf.
To get to Saunton Sands turn right out of Kingsacre House and follow Saunton Road for a mile and a half, where the car park will be signed to your left.
Woolacombe is about four miles from Kingsacre House. The beach at Woolacombe is one of our ‘blue flag’ beaches and the ‘main beach’ is essentially just over two miles of beautiful sand with Putsborough Sands at the other end.
Woolacombe itself has great facilities, pubs, restaurants, shops and surf equipment hire. There are lots of parking options, public toilets near the beach and there is disabled beach access.
Putsborough Sands beach is another beautiful and popular local beach. Facilities include a cafe/shop and public toilets. Woolacombe and Putsborough are essentially the same bay and one long sandy beach (with Woolacombe at the North end and Putsborough to the south).
One issue with Putsborough is the approach along long winding single lane roads. These can become gridlocked during the busiest summer days so we’d advise against arriving at Putsborough on a hot summer afternoon when most people will be leaving.
Here is a link to: Putsborough Sands’ website which has lots more information about the beach and how to get there.
Croyde Bay is perhaps the most renowned beach for it’s surfing. With lifeguards May to October and the host of local surf shops and hire centres Croyde is a great place to learn to surf. When the swell’s good Croyde can have some great A-Frame peaks and the reef on the north side of the bay can produce some nice rights. If you’re at the stage when you’re just starting to paddle to the outside and the waves are good – try your hardest to keep out of the way of other surfers and use good surfing etiquette. Croyde Bay can get very busy with surfers in the summer (as do all the well known local breaks).
The bay itself is just a mile further on from Saunton Sands and has the National Trust’s Baggy Point on the other side which is a lovely place for a walk.
Since 1999 Croyde has hosted the annual Goldcoast Oceanfest (surfing and music festival) on the weekend closest to the summer solstice.
Here is a link for more information about Croyde Bay.