The sandy beach of Croyde sits between two rugged headlands and is the perfect location for surfers due to the big waves and compact sand. With a back drop of spectacular views, there is plenty to keep you occupied on the beach with football nets and volley ball nets to one end of the beach, and plentiful rock pools and sand dunes to explore.
Croyde beach sits between two other beautiful golden beaches that are also well worth a visit when staying at Sunset Beach. They include the award winning Woolacombe with three miles of beach to enjoy, and Saunton Sands, which is backed by the Braunton Burrows, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
One of the best ways to see the stunning views offered by the North Devon coastline is via the South West Coast Path, which winds its way around the coast and has various sections ideal for all ages and abilities.
Renowned as one of the best surfing beaches in Britain, Croyde Bay is ideal not only for accomplished surfers but also for those just learning the sport. Patrolled by qualified lifeguards from April to November the beach is a wonderfully safe place to swim, surf or boogie board. Two other excellent nearby surf beaches, include Saunton Sands and Putsborough, which are located to either side of Croyde.
There are a number of fantastic surf schools like Croyde Surf School located in Croyde for those who want to learn.
Visit Eyeball Surf Check to find out the latest surfing conditions at Croyde and other beaches in North Devon.
Just a short walk along a well signposted path from the beach is Baggy Point. The walk is suitable for all abilities and gives visitors the chance to get away to enjoy some of the peace and quiet. Absorb the spectacular panoramic views of the coastline, or keep an eye out for the nesting sea birds among the gorse and pink thrift. If you’re looking for a bit more excitement Baggy Point is a favourite for experienced rock climbers and they can often be seen making their way up the cliff side.
Surfing Croyde Bay also offer coasteering, as well as surfing lessons. As one of the fastest growing activities in the area, coasteering is the perfect way to clamber, scramble, jump and swim along some of the most beautiful North Devon coastline.
A favoured location for climbers is the nearby Baggy Point. Here the sandstone slab routes and spectacular views have become a paradise for climbers. Please note Baggy Point is off limit to climbers during nesting times (normally from the middle of March to the end of June).
Lundy Island, which is situated in the Bristol Channel, and can be reached either by boat or helicopter also provides climbers with some fantastic and challenging cliffs. The views from Lundy of the Atlantic Ocean and Bristol Channel are some of the best and are well worth a visit.
When staying at Sunset Beach, there are numerous beautiful coastal walks to be enjoyed around the nearby headlands that link Croyde to the neighbouring beaches at Saunton, Woolacombe and Putsborough.
At the other side of the village, just a short walk along a well signposted path from the beach is Baggy Point. The walk is suitable for all abilities and gives visitors the chance to get away to enjoy some of the peace and quiet. Absorb the spectacular panoramic views of the coastline, or keep an eye out for the nesting sea birds.
Sea Kayaking is one of the best ways to see the North Devon coastline along with its wildlife. Sea Kayaking Southwest can arrange day trips for those looking to enjoy this activity.
Located 11 miles off the North Devon coastline is Lundy Island, which is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Marine Conservation Area. This beautiful island, which can be seen from Croyde on a clear day is perfect for those looking to enjoy a walk. It is also well-known amongst climbers, divers and bird watchers.
From April to October boats depart either Bideford or Ilfracombe heading for Lundy Island. Other boat trips are also available, including coastal sea safaris and fishing trips.
Roylands Riding Stables in Croyde is able to offers both lessons and treks for those looking to enjoy a pleasant horse ride. There are many byways and bridleways around Croyde, which the stables take advantage of giving riders the opportunity to experience wonderful views and the local countryside.
Many other riding stables are also available within a 20-minute drive of Sunset Beach, some of which offer beach rides for more experience riders.
The Tarka Trail is a largely traffic-free cycle way and footpath, which runs for several miles along the River Taw heading from Braunton to Barnstaple before continuing further west towards Bideford. The route, which has lovely views of the estuary is favoured by families, and there are many pubs and cafés along the way to enjoy a light lunch or traditional cream tea.
Around Croyde itself there are many different country lanes and minor roads that have proved popular with cyclists of all ages and abilities. Many of these routes are very peaceful and are located away from the busier coastal roads.
Adventurous cyclists will find the roads through Woolacombe, Ilfracombe and Combe Martin offer some of the most break-taking hills and views. Exmoor has also become increasingly well-liked by cyclists seeking the more challenging hills and corners.
The route from Nethercott to Knowle and those over the nearby headlands are ideal for Mountain bikers.
North Devon has several places where you can hire a bike, these include the Tarka Trail Cycle Hire and Otter Cycle Hire.
Within the North Devon area there are several excellent golf courses to suit all ages and abilities. Saunton Sands, which is only a few minutes’ drive from Sunset Beach is a championship standard course, with wonderful views of the coastline. Also within easy reach of the house is the Royal North Devon golf course at Westward Ho!, which is one of the oldest links courses in the country, and is set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Offering excellent locally sourced pub food, fine wines and real ales, The Thatch is a busy village pub, drawing people in with its friendly staff, bustling atmosphere and live entertainment. An excellent choice of delicious food is offered throughout the day in the restaurant, bar and garden, and its cream teas have been voted among the best in Devon.
Located next door to The Thatch, the two pubs have a shared beer garden where you can order food from either menu. A separate garden is also located to the rear of Billy Budds and is home to a children's play area.
A popular informal café with friendly service and able to cater for all tastes. The café serves a variety of freshly cooked food, and is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Family friendly with a play area out back.
The very popular Hobbs Bistro in Croyde is ideal for intimate dinners. The interesting menu is excellent and there is also an extensive wine menu.
The perfect location for a Devon cream tea and after you’ve enjoyed your cream tea in the garden you can go and browse in the shop, which stocks beautiful gifts and treats created by local artists.
This former coaching inn is Croyde's original pub. The large restaurant has a beautiful conservatory, which overlooks a colourful garden and a handy children’s play area. The pub, which features plenty of period charm serves freshly prepared meals using local produce, it also has a good children’s menu. Many of the major sporting events are shown on large screen TV's at the pub, which also hosts live music events.
Recently refurbished the Beachside grill has a surfy, seaside vibe, Part of the Saunton Sands hotel and is located at the entrance to Saunton Sands beach. Offers incredible ocean views and is perfect for admiring the beautiful sunsets.
A short distance from Croyde by car you can find many more lovely places, here is a small selection:
The Rock Inn, built in the 17th century is a pub for all seasons. In the winter sit beside the roaring fire enjoying one of the five cask marque real ales, and in the summer retreat to the spacious conservatory. Also on offer at the Rock Inn is a good wine list and fresh cooked to order food.
Situated in Georgeham is The Kings Arms, a pub which is favoured by those looking for a good atmosphere in which to enjoy a hearty meal. The food, which is well priced is classic English and suits many pallets.
The Red Barn in Woolacombe has been proudly serving classic pub food for the local community, as well as visiting tourists, for 50 years. With daily changing specials, a lively atmosphere and fantastic food, The Red Barn has always been a hot spot for surfers due to its close proximity to the beach.
The Boardwalk is a delightful café/restaurant, which overlooks the award winning Woolacombe Beach. As well as serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Boardwalk also hosts special events, including Thai curry nights and Italian evenings.
Specialising in sea food and locally sourced products is 11, The Quay, a modern restaurant owned by contemporary artist Damien Hirst. Situated overlooking Ilfracombe harbour, the restaurant is a memorable destination to celebrate a special occasion.
Situated at the nearby Ruda Caravan Park is the Cascade Tropical Swimming Pool, which is open throughout most of the year and features a 230-foot water slide, water rapids and underwater geysers. There is also a toddler pool and adult friendly hot tub. A heated swimming pool can also be found at the Oasis Tropical Leisure Complex situated at the Croyde Bay holiday park. Please note both these swimming pools have a small charge for non-residents.
One of Devon’s largest all-weather attractions, The Big Sheep has all sorts of entertainment to offer for a brilliant day out, including a roller-coaster, live shows, plenty of animals, archery lessons, a climbing wall and even jumping pillows; or if you fancy something a little more relaxed, visit the brewery, or go on a farm safari.
The Ultimate Adventure Centre, just outside Bideford, is home to the largest range of outdoor activities in North Devon, offering laser tag, zorbing, coasteering, high ropes, a climbing wall, mountain boarding, surfing and kayaking. If you’re looking for something more challenging, try the Ultimate Assault Course, which features a ride on the waterslide, and make your way across the big balls without falling in the water!
Beautifully set in the Exmoor National Park, Exmoor Zoo boasts a large range of animals in natural enclosures with plenty of space. Throughout the day informative talks are given that are extremely detailed and interesting if you want to learn something new. You can even conquer your fears by handling a spider or a snake!
The award winning zoo is home to all kinds of species including cheetahs, armadillos, singing dogs, parrots, fish and even a leopard known as ‘The Exmoor Beast’. Many of the animals at the zoo are also on the endangered list.
Set within 28 acres of beautiful sub-tropical gardens, Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park has been open for 27 years and is home to lions, wolves, monkeys, meerkats, penguins, exotic birds and many more fantastic animals, as well as the impressive life-sized animatronic dinosaurs that are hidden around the park.
If you want to go one step further than just looking at the animals, you can become a keeper for the day and meet some of your favourite creatures face to face - even feeding the lions! The Park also has a soft play zone, a café and a train ride, so there is something here to occupy the whole family.
The multi-award winning Milky Way is located just 10 miles outside of Bideford and is the perfect venue no matter what the weather. The amusement park aims to promote family fun so have made sure there is something for everyone to enjoy, including an indoor slide area, roller coasters and live shows.
Situated just outside of Ilfracombe is the beautiful Watermouth Castle. Designed by George Wightwick the castle was the Bassett Family residence until the mid-19th century. Designated a grade 2 listed building the castle is now one Devon’s best family attractions featuring a small theme park, landscaped gardens and a world filled with gnomes!
Watermouth Castle also allows visitors to step back in time with a great hall filled with historic artefacts, including suits of armour, antique toys and much more.
Below the castle are the dungeons, which is where you can see magical fairy tales brought to life, but beware of the strange doors inside the Smugglers Dungeon!
To complete your visit to Watermouth Castle enjoy the Water Show Extravaganza, which combines lights, music and fountains. The show was originally designed for the Festival of Britain in 1951 bu since the 1980’s has been at Watermouth Castle.
Ilfracombe is a beautiful Victorian seaside town jam-packed with quirky shops and restaurants, and providing spectacular views of the ocean from its gorgeous harbour and the surrounding hills. Pay a visit to the aquarium, which is home to 75 different species of fish from the local aquatic world, or go to Ilfracombe’s award winning Tunnels Beach with its own tidal pool and soft play area.
There are many boat trips departing from the harbour giving tours of the spectacular Devon coastline and its wildlife, including seals, dolphins, porpoises and sometimes even whales, making for a spectacular day out for everybody and providing plenty of opportunity for the keen photographer.
After a thrilling day on the sea, if you fancy a spot of relaxation, pay a visit to The Landmark Theatre and grab a bite to eat in the café after the show. Alternatively, spend an evening in artist Damien Hirst’s restaurant on the harbour front.
The old market town of Barnstaple is situated right in the heart of beautiful North Devon, and is the main shopping destination for the whole district, with many of the popular high street names featured.
The town is also host to a selection of supermarkets including a Sainsbury’s and two large Tesco’s for all of your shopping needs.
If you’re in need of some more authentic shopping, take a stroll around Barnstaple’s Pannier Market, with its high glass and timber roof supported on iron columns. The market was recently voted one of the top ten food markets in Britain. There is also a leisure centre with a gym and swimming pool, a large array of fast food restaurants.
For a day out at one of Devon’s best loved traditional seaside villages, why not spend a day at Clovelly? This beautiful cobbled village is traffic free but provides a Land Rover service down to the front and back if you don’t feel like walking the steep incline. There are plenty of things to do to keep the whole family entertained, including art and craft workshops, boat trips, fishing, pubs and shops selling seafood and gifts. The village is also home to two museums, which are included in the entrance fee, allowing you to delve deeper into the history of this stunning place.
Ride the water-powered Cliff Railway between Lynton and Lynmouth and discover some of the most beautiful places in the county. The two villages are overflowing with history and have the fond nickname of ‘Little Switzerland’, due to the steep forested hillside and pretty thatched cottages. The two peaceful places full of souvenir shops and pubs selling delicious food, Lynton and Lynmouth are blessed with stunning views in every direction, from the trickling river that runs down to the sea to the spectacular coastal views.
Boat trips to the traffic-free beautiful Lundy Island are available from the harbour of Ilfracombe. Described as Devon’s own ‘Galapagos’ due to its fantastic range of wildlife, many native to the island, the island offers numerous unforgettable walks, as well as snorkelling, scuba diving, seal spotting and bird watching. Finish your day at the island’s only pub, which serves a range of food to suit all tastes.
Sunset Beach is ideally located in the beautiful village of Croyde in North Devon. From the house it is an easy, short, level walk to a blue flag beach, which is renowned for its surfing conditions and perfect for families with children, with lifeguards on duty from Easter through to October.
The village centre is also within easy walking distance of the house and is home to delightful thatched cottages, several places to eat or have an ice cream, as well as a variety of surf and gift shops to explore.
One of the village’s most popular pubs is The Thatch, a beautiful inn which serves excellent food, real ales and fine wines. The pub has an extensive menu and daily black board special. The dishes are all freshly cooked, many using locally sourced produce.
Just a short drive from Croyde is Woolacombe, where the award winning beach attracts many visitors. This lively village has something to offer everyone including an array of pubs and restaurants, as well as bars with live music playing late into the night.
Also nearby is the Victorian harbour town of Ilfracombe where Damien Hirst’s restaurant, 11, The Quay, is located and the contemporary artist’s bronze clad statue ‘Verity’. Ilfracombe’s harbour has seen a renaissance in the past few years and is well worth a visit with many restaurants serving locally caught seafood, whilst others are ideal for a light lunch.
Setting sail from Ilfracombe between Easter and October are several excellent sea safaris, as well as the RMS Oldenburg, which transports visitors to Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel.
Guests staying at Sunset Beach can enjoy a variety of activities, including coastal walks along the South West Coast Path, cycle rides by the river and horse rides over Exmoor. Golf is also widely available with championship standard courses at Saunton and Westward Ho!.
There are also several attractions within easy reach of the house, which can be ideal when seeking an alternative destination to the beach. These include Arlington Court, The Big Sheep, Watermouth Castle, RHS Rosemoor and Exmoor Zoo.