Croyde Bay – a guide for visiting this Devonshire beach area in 2023


Devon is one of the best parts of the UK for beaches, and we've published guides about a number of the beaches in the county, including the very popular Bantham Beach and the lovely seaside town of Seaton.

Croyde Bay is another lovely Devon beach which is very popular, and we honestly think it might be the best of the lot. We wanted to publish a guide about Croyde Bay for anyone planning to visit in 2023. Let's get into it:

Where is Croyde Bay?

Croyde Bay is situated in North Devon, approximately 10 miles northwest of the town of Barnstaple and about 9 miles west of the popular coastal resort of Ilfracombe. It is also close to other charming villages like Braunton and Woolacombe. The larger city of Exeter is located approximately 50 miles to the south, providing convenient access to more significant urban amenities while still retaining its tranquil and scenic coastal setting.

What is there to see and do at Croyde Bay?

Croyde Bay is a sandy 800m long beach, and although it's not big compared to some of the surrounding beaches, there is a lot to see and do here. We thought we'd round up some of the highlights, let's take a look:


Let's start with the important stuff - keeping safe. We like that Croyde Bay is generally a very safe beach, as you'll find an RNLI lifeguard service here from May to September as well as at various times throughout the year. The main part of Croyde Bay that you need to be a bit careful of is the dunes section, for a few reasons. For starters, the dunes are designated as a protected SSSI area, meaning a number of important species live within this area. On top of this, the dunes are also an adder breeding ground, so adder snakes are often found within this area. A bit from an adder won't kill you, but it'll really hurt and definitely give you a fright. And on a more serious note, a bite from an adder could actually kill a small dog, so definitely keep your dog on a lead while you walk through the dunes. There are paths through the dunes so you can walk through them, but please just stay on the paths and don't stray off them.

Surfing at Croyde Bay

Croyde Bay is regarded as one of the best surfing beaches in the UK, and you'll almost always spot surfers out on the waves here. The rides are generally short as the waves tend to pitch up and break quickly, so it's definitely more of a spot for advanced surfers, although lessons are held here regularly. The beach is also steeper than Woolacombe, Putsborough, and Saunton Sands. This makes the rip currents very strong, especially near the rocks at either end of the beach and at low tide. If you're new to surfing and you fancy giving it a shot during your time at Croyde Bay, then you'll find plenty of options for hiring surfboards and arranging lessons in the area.

Follow some walking trails

If surfing seems a bit too high-octane for your tastes, then you could try going for a walk instead. Croyde Bay and the surrounnding area is excellent for walking, with a number of trails to follow. One of the most popular walking trails in the village is the National Trust’s Baggy Point, which makes for some excellent coastal walking and has breath taking views as well as being generally accessible for walkers of all ages and abilities. You could also try the walk all the way from Croyde Bay to the National Trust's Morte Point via Putsborough Beach, which is about 6 or 7 miles.

Visit Croyde

If you're looking to grab some food or just take a break from the beach, then a trip into the village of Croyde is very pleasant. While you'll definitely find a good amount of surf shops in Croyde, people are often surprised to find a lot more than just wetsuits and boards for sale in the village. You'll find a number of excellent restaurants here, as well as some other great independent shops. And like all great seaside villages, a lovely ice cream parlour. New Coast Kitchen is a modern British restaurant serving up lots of delicious seafood dishes. If you want something lighter like a sandwich or a slice of cake, then we'd recommend either Sandleigh Tea Room and Garden at the foot of Baggy Point or May Cottage Tea Rooms right in the heart of the village.

Goldcoast Oceanfest

Held annually at Croyde Bay, Goldcoast Oceanfest is an award-winning festival which is well worth visiting. Here you'll find a unique blend of music, surf, and coastal culture, with lots of live music performances and surfing competitions. It's typically held in June and ticket prices are very reasonable at less than £80 for the whole weekend. 2024 will be the 25th anniversary of the festival and looks like it'll be a really special one. Learn more and buy your tickets here -

Visit Saunton Sands, Putsborough Beach, & Woolacombe Sands

This part of Devon really does have some of the best beaches in the UK, and if you're visiting Croyde Bay and want to see some other beaches then you're spoilt for choice. To the South of Croyde Bay is Saunton Sands. This is a really long and sandy beach which is ideal for long walks and is perfect for kids and families with a dog (we'd say it's better for people with dogs than Croyde Bay). Putsborough Beach is to the North of Croyde and is 3 miles long all the way to Woolacombe Sands. Putsborough is a much more relaxed beach which is great for sunbathing, and you'll always find some great rock pools when the tide is out.

Getting to Croyde Bay

The nearest train station to Croyde Bay is Barnstaple, which is 10 miles away. You can also catch a bus to Croyde Bay from Barnstaple, which takes a little longer but is generally cheaper. There is also an open top Stagecoach bus which is really lovely to take on a sunny day. If arriving by car, follow the M5 motorway until Junction 27, then take the A361 towards Barnstaple. From Barnstaple, follow signs to Braunton, and then continue to Croyde. Once in Croyde, local buses and taxis are available for short journeys within the area. Learn more here -



Hopefully, this guide has inspired you to visit this great beach area. If you're interested in visiting other locations in Devon then we have guides about Braunton, Seaton, Totnes, Paignton, and Kingsbridge.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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