With miles of sandy coastline, picturesque towns, caravan parks and gloriously green countryside, South Devon is surely the ultimate staycation destination in the UK?
If you are in the market for a British seaside holiday, then Teignmouth in South Devon is the place for you.
Best things to do in Teignmouth
Teignmouth is a charming coastal town that boasts sandy beaches, historic Georgian houses and delicious seafood.
This guide contains a range of fun activities and sights in Teignmouth as well as suggestions for what to do in the surrounding area.
From walks, country pubs, outdoor activities to culture and arts, there is so much to do in Teignmouth. Read my guide and get inspired to book a holiday in Devon right now.
Disclaimer: This content was created from a press trip with Cofton Holidays and Visit South Devon.
Where is Teignmouth Devon?
The small town is located on the edge of the River Teign and the South Devon coast.
It is surrounded by picturesque countryside and is near other small Devonshire towns including Dawlish and Shaldon.
It’s an ideal location for exploring the rest South Devon including Dartmoor National Park, Exeter and Torquay
Below is a map of some of the locations visited in this article, so that you can follow this itinerary of fun things to Teignmouth.
Looking for more South Devon travel inspiration? Check out my article on 11 reasons to visit Exeter and continue exploring Devon!
Explore Teignmouth Town beach
Teignmouth Town Beach has that classic British summer holiday feel with a long sandy beach, Victorian pier, promenade and pastel-coloured buildings.
Local watersports are also on offer at the beach if you want to try kayaking, coasteering or paddleboarding during the warmer months.
The beach features a classic Victorian Pier where you can find traditional seaside amusements and ice cream and coffee shops.
Walking past the pier invokes a sense of seaside holiday nostalgia for anyone whose family holidays were to the British seaside.
The Teignmouth beachfront also features a long promenade, perfect for a slow arm in arm stroll for soaking up some seaside vibes.
If you have brought the family with you, you will also find a play park, crazy golf, skate park and ice cream huts to keep the kids entertained.
If you have a stroll along the promenade when the winds up, you can also watch the waves crash dramatically against the wall.
Catch the Ferry from Teignmouth to Shaldon
If you are in the Teignmouth area I would recommend catching the ferry to the pretty village of Shaldon.
There is a daily passenger ferry from Teignmouth to Shaldon, [and by ferry, they mean adorable fishing boat, operated by a weathered Devonshire sailor], that runs between the two towns.
The skies were unseasonable blue for February, the sea was choppy and the wind was whipping around our faces, as we made the short crossing.
It certainly was a bracing day to be at sea, as the small boat navigated over choppy waters.
Teignmouth boat trips
My favourite part of the experience was the negotiation of the return journey, “What time do you go back to Teignmouth?’ Luke innocently enquired.
This was met with a look of total bafflement, “When the sign is out of course” said the captain, gesturing to a sandwich board sign,
“If the sign is out, then the boat is running.” Obviously, we were unfamiliar with the Devonshire method of ferry schedules.
Get cultured at Pavilions Teignmouth
If you are looking to inject a little culture into your seaside holiday, then make sure to visit Pavilions Teignmouth.
This contemporary performing arts centre has a range of theatre shows, comedy nights, dance shows and films.
They also have a rather lovely cafe bar that serves great food with beautiful seaside views.
Breakfast at the Oystercatcher Cafe
This independent cafe serves a cracking range of home-cooked and reasonably priced breakfasts that will help you start the day right.
The Oystercatcher is an inviting and friendly cafe that places great emphasis on great service, local produce and delicious food.
Choose from a range of top-notch breakfasts including their famous ‘Fisherman’s breakfast’, Steak & Eggs, Vegan breakfast, Eggs Espagnol and Eggs Florentine.
Walkthrough Smuggler’s Tunnel
Your inner child demands that you visit Smuggler’s Tunnel, a historic passageway in Shaldon that leads you to the hidden Ness Cove.
Get the ferry from Teignmouth to Shaldon and explore this little piece of local history and legend.
Ness Cove is a unique beach only accessible by foot. Walkthrough a long, bricked tunnel that runs through the headland and comes out at the pretty sheltered cove.
There are several theories about how the Ness Cove tunnel came to be including a smugglers tunnel and a secret tunnel built by a local family.
Many locals also their own particular take on what the tunnel was used for.
It’s a well-lit tunnel and it only takes a few minutes to walk through.
The real challenge is trying to stop one’s husbands from shouting a series of rude words in the tunnel ‘to hear them echo’. Thank god he is cute.
It’s definitely worth making your way over to Shaldon to traverse the tunnel and admire Ness Cove.
Ness Cove is a lovely place for a little afternoon walk and is incredibly photogenic. Remember to bring your cameras, especially if its a glorious day.
Teignmouth to Dawlish Railway Walk
Have a bracing walk along the South Devon Railway Sea Wall, Britain’s most photographed stretch of railway line.
The start of this walk is near to Teignmouth railway station, and there is also a station at Dawlish Warren midway along the walk.
Walking from Teignmouth to Dawlish offers ramblers spectacular seaside and country views
Part of this walk goes underneath the railway and is impassable at high tide.
So, unless you fancy getting your feet wet, so be sure to check the tide times before you set off.
Walking from Teignmouth to Dawlish
We started in Teignmouth and followed the path all the way to the town of Dawlish.
We had perfect winter weather that day, with bright blue skies but with a frosty chill in the air.
The walk is also next to the railway line, so every few minutes a train will rush by, prompting Luke to excitedly shout “Choo-choo” at every train.
This got rather trying after the 15th train, so I had to distract him with discussions of what pub we would visit in Dawlish.
Once you reach Dawlish, make sure to walk up the cliffs for the most stunning views of Dawlish and the coastal railway line
If you are into travel photography, you can take beautiful photographs of the town, the sea and railway line from above, especially if the weather is being particularly kind to you that day.
Sunset drinks at the Ship Inn Teignmouth
At first glance, the Ship Inn might appear to be just your average British boozer. Slightly dated, in need of a lick of paint and a little bit of love.
However, what makes the Ship Inn special is the stunning views up the Teign Estuary. They have a fantastic garden bar that is smack bang on the beachfront.
It’s frankly the best spot in Teignmouth for watching the sunset with a cheeky glass of wine.
On sunny days customers sit on tables, walls, the beach, anywhere really. It’s such a lively atmosphere when the weather is pleasant and is definitely worth a visit.
Spend the day exploring Dawlish
Dawlish is a traditional seaside town, with a sandy beach right on its doorstep. The town features amusement arcades, lawns, scenic walks and fabulous cafes.
You can walk from Teignmouth to Dawlish along the South West Coast Path, get the train, or drive over. Dawlish is only 3 miles away from Teignmouth.
The pretty town is probably best known for its iconic lawn and brook, which is home to the famous black swans.
The lawns are a perfect place for a picnic or for a spot of people watching in the centre of town. You can also get some fantastic snaps when the sun is out.
Some of the best things to do in Dawlish include:
- Take a walk to the seaside resort of Dawlish Warren
- Try pottery painting at The Paint Hub Cafe
- Explore the rockpools at Coryton Cove Beach
- Swim in the outdoor pool at Ashburn Springs
Coffee in Dawlish
There are lots of lovely cafes in Dawlish serving a range of cream teas, homemade cakes and delicious coffees.
Make sure to have coffee at the lovely Strand Cafe in the centre of town if you are looking for a decent coffee and cake stop.
We managed to bag the window seat so we could have a morning of coffee drinking and relax in this quaint little town.
Paddleboard to the pub in Exminster
Venture outside of Teignmouth to enjoy a range of watersports in South Devon.
Head to Exminster, [around 25 minutes away from Teignmouth], to discover a range of watersports including kayaking, canoeing and stand up paddling.
I would definitely recommend going paddleboarding along the Exeter canal on a sunny day.
Arrive at the pub in style on a giant paddleboard and take in those countryside views as you glide down the Exeter canal.
“Do you have a change of clothes?” nervously asked our guide, Sam, surveying my jeans and cashmere scarf.
“No, but don’t worry, I’m not planning on falling in” came my overconfident, breezy reply.
This was to primarily disguise the fact I am far too disorganised to pack towels and changes of clothes.
Paddle Boarding Exeter Canal
Luckily, I have done a fair bit of paddle boarding, so I managed to stay upright during our paddle to the pub and back.
Darling husband has only been once before so he took a fair amount of coaxing to get him to stand up, as well as the promise of a Guinness when we reached the pub.
The Double Locks is a lovely little waterside pub, populated by weathered Devonshire men with dogs by the fire, exactly how I imagine a Devonshire pub to be.
We had a swift pint before embarking on our gentle paddle back. We had a marvellous afternoon with Exe Adventures and we are still very smug about staying dry.
Have a sustainable lunch at Cafe Ode
Hop across the water to Shaldon to have a sustainable lunch with a view at Cafe Ode in Ness Cove.
This friendly and sustainably-minded cafe has a constantly changing menu, with dishes served up in nifty bio packaging.
Cafe Ode menu
The Fish was extremely flaky with a perfect, crispy batter. There is surely nothing worse than a soggy fish and chips to ruin a lunchtime outing?
Their clam chowder was also full of delicious sea flavours, I often find that clam chowder either too salty or too bland, but the Cafe Ode Chowder was well seasoned.
One of the best features of Cafe Ode is the gorgeous sea view that can be admired from its many seating areas.
We chose to warm ourselves by the open fire and gaze out to sea from the large windows.
It’s also the little touches that make Cafe Ode a special place to visit. From the chalkboard menus, commitment to sustainability, mini microbrewery, to the dress-up box for kids to play with.
It’s a unique spot by the sea and well worth visiting foodie fans.
Have a cosy dinner at the Anchor Inn Dawlish
South Devon has a plethora of cosy pubs to snuggle up in and hearty dishes to try.
The Anchor Inn is located in Cockwood, a short drive from Teignmouth and is the perfect place for a romantic meal in Dawlish.
There are all the elements of a proper, seaside pub here with low wooden beams, seaside paraphernalia, roaring fire and a selection of fine ales.
Anchor Inn Menu
We had delicious homemade steak and ale pie and slow-roasted belly pork for our mains and dear lord were they filling.
Portion sizes here are huge, you certainly won’t go away feeling hungry. Despite declaring myself ‘absolutely full’, the rather charming waiter upsold me on Affogato as dessert.
Italian desserts are my weakness and I was powerless to say no. I’m glad I decided to order though, with crunch biscotti, smooth espresso as well as a cheeky shot of Kahlúa. Perfection.
Take a coastal train journey on the South Devon Railway Line
One of the most scenic railway journeys in Britain is The South Devon Railway Line, the ‘Riviera Line’.
This line runs along the coast from Exeter to Newton Abbot and gives passengers incredible views along the Exe Estuary and out to sea.
The train journey time between Exeter St David’s and Newton Abbot is around 31 minutes.
The line runs right along the coast next to the iconic red-brown cliffs and through series of tunnels, literally a few metres from the shoreline.
If you are looking for a short scenic journey, you could just take the train from Teignmouth to Dawlish Warren and then spend the day exploring the Dawlish area.
Riviera Line ticket prices
The best value train ticket for this journey is an Off-Peak Day Return. This is perfect if you leave after peak times in the morning and return on the same day.
Ticket prices start around £8.20 for the Exeter-Paignton Riviera Line and you can also buy them on the day at the station.
Where to stay in Teignmouth
Teignmouth has a brilliant range of accommodation if you’re looking for somewhere to stay for the weekend?
Choose from local hotels, traditional B&B’s, caravans, camping sites and self-catering holiday cottages.
Some of the best places to stay in Teignmouth and the surrounding area include:
Cofton Holidays Dawlish
We stayed in Cofton’s Estuary View Hot Tub Cottage with Cofton Holidays in nearby Dawlish.
You can choose from a selection of accommodation options including holiday homes, cottages, or apartments.
Our cottage was located within the picturesque Eastdon Estate and had lovely views of the surrounding farmland.
We were about 2 miles away from the main holiday park, so it was perfect for a romantic escape.
Cofton Holidays Cottage
Set amongst pretty Devon farmland, with its own private hot tub, our cottage was seriously luxurious.
In our cottage, there were 2 lovely bedrooms, a bathroom, fully-fitted kitchen with an open plan lounge and diner to unwind in.
The entire living space has a design that I can only describe as ‘Pinterest goals’.
There’s Egyptian cotton bed linen, dressing gowns, all manner of upscale kitchenware.
The cottage also had a private patio area with hot tub, BBQ and table and chairs.
There is even a bird table outside, complete with adorable and curious wildlife to watch.
Cofton Holiday Park facilities
Obviously, the main attraction for us was the private hot tub at our cottage.
We would frankly live in a hot tub if we thought we could get away with it.
There is nothing more lovely than enjoying an afternoon wine in a relaxing, bubbling hot tub, after all, it’s Ireland somewhere right?
Our cottage stay also included complimentary passes to the heated indoor pool, gym, steam room and sauna on the main holiday park.
There is also a cafe, restaurants, gaming areas as well as coarse fishing and fitness classes on-site.
It definitely reminds me of the traditional family holiday parks I used to visit as a child, so my time there was very much a giant nostalgia fest.
I would definitely recommend a stay here if you are looking for a classic British holiday experience, with a touch of luxury.
Why visit Teignmouth?
It’s easy to write off Teignmouth as just another faded British seaside town, with its best days long behind it.
If you actually take the time to properly explore this coastal spot in Devon, there is much to be discovered.
The architecture here includes highly Instagrammable, historic Georgian buildings, dotted with pretty palm trees.
You can also walk along the gorgeous coastline with a bag of chips and listen to the sound of the ocean as a wonderful way to pass a few hours.
Beach holidays South Devon
There is a mix of retro fun as well as modern attractions in Teignmouth. You can stroll along the historic Grand Pier and drop some coins into the arcade games, or have an artsy afternoon at the Lenkiewicz Art Gallery.
There are also many coffee shops, restaurants and sea view pubs to enjoy a cheeky glass of wine from.
I would really recommend a visit to this underrated part of South Devon. What do you think of my guide things to do in Teignmouth Devon? Would you visit? Let me know in the comments below.
Planning your trip to Teignmouth
Ready to book your trip to Teignmouth? Use these awesome travel resources to get you started:
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- Get the best travel tips with a travel guidebook
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