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Jun 17, 2022 | Activities, Beaches, Family Days Out

Visiting South Devon would not be complete without a trip to a National Trust. The National Trust is a charity and membership organisation that works to conserve and celebrate the heritage of some of the most beautiful places in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

In this blog, we will reveal some of our top picks for those wanting to dive into the rich history and beauty of South Devon. 

What makes South Devon the perfect place to visit?

With golden stretches of sand and a rugged coastline with breathtaking views, South Devon is home to some of the best beaches in the UK. Make the most of the unspoilt countryside and unwind in quaint seaside towns and villages.

There is so much to do and see in South Devon. With over ten great National Trust places to visit, from stately homes to protected beaches, there is something for everyone. Throughout the year, the county is alive with various events, from food festivals to exhibitions and open-air shows. 

If you want to make your stay extra special, Salcombe Finest has a range of luxury holiday homes available for every occasion. Whether you are looking for a large house for your reunion with friends or an intimate two-person retreat for a romantic getaway, take a look below at the view from Little Painter, our 4-bed cottage in the heart of Salcombe. 

salcombe room with a view

South Milton Sands

South Milton Sands is one of the most popular beaches in the South Hams. Its long, golden stretch of sand and rocks makes it the perfect place for families to visit. 

For lovers of water sports and all things active, this beach offers a wide sheltered bay that is perfect for paddleboarding, windsurfing, or canoeing. Safely swim in the calm waters with your family and friends. You can even take out a snorkel if you want to discover what lies beneath the water!

For lovers of rock pooling, South Milton Sands is just the place. There are plenty of pools on either side of the bay that your children can explore with their net and bucket and see what they can find. 

For most people, one of the joys about visiting a National Trust place is being able to call at the cafe or beach hut for a refreshing drink and well-deserved bite to eat. Whether that is for a hot chocolate or cold lemonade, it offers the perfect place to relax after a long day of exploring. The Beachhouse cafe at South Milton Sands offers breakfast, lunch and dinner to beach visitors and specialises in local, freshly caught fish and seafood for those wanting more than just a snack!

East Soar

East Soar is the ideal destination for those wanting to explore South Devon on foot. Discover hidden coves and secluded spots perfect for your early morning dip or mid-walk picnic. If you want to discover other areas of South Devon from East Soar, take the coastal path around Salcombe to Bolt Head, or follow the trail to Overbeck’s Garden. The South Hams coast and countryside are breathtaking no matter which route you take. 

For a really great view of the estuary and beyond, head to Snapes Point. This is an especially great walk if you have a dog staying with you in Salcombe. You can find dog-friendly accommodation with us. 

You can also enjoy hot drinks, cakes and snacks at East Soar Farm. The East Soar Outdoor Experience offers a ‘Grab and Go’ service for all passers-by that may be feeling peckish or thirsty. 

south devon coasteering

Overbeck’s Garden 

Overbeck’s Garden is a hidden paradise on the clifftop above the Salcombe Estuary. With unusual plants from across the globe, this spot is a must-see if you plan to visit South Devon. Make sure you get tickets if you are planning to visit this property as it is only available for walk-ins. 

The views from Overbeck’s Garden are truly stunning. On a clear day, the water looks crystal clear and incredibly appealing, even if cold! There are many different ways to get to Overbeck’s Garden. You can even travel by ferry or ‘sea tractor’ to south sands. 

There are lots to do for kids and families at this National Trust property. Pick up a coastal creatures spotter sheet or start ticking off some of the ‘50 things to do before you are 11 ¾’.  

children friendly national trust devon

Mill Bay

Mill Bay is a haven for lovers of sandy beaches and clear blue waters. You can explore the coves usually hidden by the water at low tide. As you stroll further up or down this stretch of the South Devon coastline, there are plenty of places for adventure. If you want to stand on the southernmost point of Devon, make sure that you visit Prawle Point.

During busy times of the year, the small car park gets filled up quickly at Mill Bay. If this is the case, consider extending your route and starting your walk along the coastline at Gara Rock or East Portlemouth. 

It is a relatively short walk to Gara Rock from Mill Bay. Here you can find a cafe serving locally-produced food. 


Once Agatha Christie’s holiday home, Greenway is drenched in a rich history. The Georgian house is enclosed by a woodland garden that stretches down to the banks of the River Dart. It is the perfect place for exploring, with sheltered spots and grand trees scattered throughout the estate. Dogs are also welcome as long as they are kept on a short lead.

There is always lots on at Greenway throughout the year, including guest speakers and literary events. Explore inside the house and see just how Agatha Christie and her family left it. 

The Barn Cafe at Greenway is the ideal place to pick up lunch or treat yourself and others to a Devon cream tea. If you visit Greenway in the summer months you will also find the Tack Room which serves takeaway ice cream and cold drinks to visitors. 

devon cream tea national trust

If you have been inspired by these great places to visit in South Devon and want to come and experience it yourself, let us know or take a look at our range of accommodation


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