sea swimming in devon

Best Sea Swimming Spots in Devon

The beautiful county of Devon spans the breadth of the South West and offers a world of breathtaking coastal beauty, from the balmy south coast to the rugged north. A jewel in the English coastal crown, it is renowned for its incredible seaside vistas and inviting beaches that beckon for beachside bliss. Naturally, if you love sea swimming in Devon, you are sure to be enchanted by the array of stunning spots the county has to offer, from secluded coves to bustling town beaches.

If you are looking forward to the tranquillity of the water and the rejuvenating qualities of vitamin sea, here we share some of the best sea swimming spots in Devon for the best beach break. Keep up to date with local tide times and conditions and savour serene moments on the shore, kissed by crystalline seas.

Safety First

Before taking the plunge into the best sea swimming spots in Devon, it’s always important to consider safety first. To keep safe, it’s crucial to check the local tide times and understand the elements, as well as being aware of any potential hazards that you may encounter.

This may vary from beach to beach, so it’s best to read local reports and check in with local safety bodies like the RNLI. For the best practice, swim in designated areas where lifeguards are on duty if possible, and always swim with a buddy. Remember to kit yourself in suitable swimwear and also use reef-safe sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays and protect the ocean too.

Sugary Cove

Nestled near the picturesque town of Dartmouth at the mouth of the River Dart, Sugary Cove is a beautiful hidden gem. Beloved for its tranquil setting and crystal-clear waters, it is one of the best places for sea swimming in Devon on calm days and offers a tranquil experience away from some of its better-known neighbours.

To get to this year-round dog-friendly beach, access to Sugary Cove requires a short walk along the South West Coast Path and there is parking available nearby on Castle Road. Just be mindful, there are rocks along the shoreline and the beach is completely covered at high tide. Take a SUP with you for added adventure and later, when you’re ready to refuel, savour a shoreside picnic or head to Dartmouth Castle’s tea rooms for refreshments.

Seaton Hole

Less than 10 miles away from us at Hotel Riviera, Seaton Hole is another great place for sea swimming in Devon. Situated between Beer and Seaton on the county’s sunny south coast, it features a stunning sand and shingle beach surrounded by striking white cliffs.

Graced with a gently sloping shoreline, this beach is popular with families for relaxed days by the sea and also a great place to launch kayaks and paddleboards from on flat days. While swimming here, stay within the designated areas and keep an eye on the tides, and make sure to avoid sitting directly below the cliffs for safety. If you feel peckish, you can wander up to Jurassic Bites kiosk above the beach for drinks and snacks.

Man Sands

If you are looking to head off the beaten track to go sea swimming in Devon, Man Sands is an excellent choice. A picture of unspoilt beauty, this beach doesn’t have any nearby parking – making it all the more rewarding upon arrival. Follow the coast path down to the beach, being mindful of steep sections, and head down onto the shore to bathe in the sunshine.

Adding to the sense of wild escapism, Man Sands beach is backed by verdant greenery and a brackish lagoon that combine to create an important haven for wildlife. Since Man Sands is quite secluded, there are no lifeguards on duty even in summer, so caution is advised when wild swimming here.

Sidmouth Beach

Sidmouth is a quintessential seaside town in Devon, famed for its beautiful sand and pebble beach that stretches along the coast. Just a stone’s throw from the front door at Hotel Riviera, it is the perfect spot for beach lovers of all ages – from friends to couples to families.

Making it all the more tempting for sea swimming in Devon, this beach is patrolled by lifeguards during peak season too, providing a comfortable additional layer of safety. If you like water sports, Sidmouth's beach is also great for activities like paddleboarding and kayaking, which you can practise outside of the beach’s designated swimming areas. Of course, this beach also benefits from the array of restaurants, cafés and amenities in the town.

Ladram Bay

Ladram Bay is a stunning spot known for its red Devonian sandstone cliffs that hug the beach and unique sea stacks that rise dramatically from the water. A sheltered bay often offering protection from the elements and suntrap spots in which to relax, it is an idyllic destination for days by the water.

For comfort and convenience, a holiday park resides behind the beach and has a restaurant and public restrooms. Ladram Bay doesn’t have lifeguards and is also one of Devon’s dog-free beaches. Make your way over on balmy days to bag your spot on the pebble-brushed shore and look forward to dreamy sea swimming opportunities on calm days.

Ready for sea swimming in Devon?

To make sure you don’t miss out on some of the best sea swimming in Devon, book your stay at Hotel Riviera and gather your swimming costume, ready to immerse yourself in coastal bliss. With a range of beautiful bedrooms to choose from in our grand, four-star Sidmouth Hotel, you couldn’t be better placed for days of seaside bliss. We look forward to welcoming you.