Holidays in Exmouth Travel Guide: all you need to know!

Dog on a beach in Exmouth

The seaside town of Exmouth is one of Devon’s most popular holiday destinations. With epic cliff views, calming estuary walks, and enigmatic moorland sprawling from the north of the town, there’s something for all nature lovers here.

That being said, if you’re keen to relax, Exmouth has 2 kilometres of beaches with all the seaside attractions and amenities you could enjoy. If you visit the town during summer, you should have the chance to make the most of its golden shores and calm water for swimming. 

Exmouth also has plenty of restaurants and pubs, perfect for enjoying a meal in after an action-packed day. Most of these venues are family friendly, although there are some bars that are open later into the night as well. 

And with plenty of day trip opportunities, you won’t run out of things to do around Exmouth! It’s the perfect British holiday destination for any traveller. 

When to visit Exmouth

Exmouth soars in popularity in the summer months, especially from the end of July to the start of September. While the weather is often warm and sunny at this time (although it can be unpredictable anywhere in the UK, even this far south!), it is very busy and more expensive. 

Earlier in the summer and late spring is much quieter and the weather is often just as beautiful. Avoid the half term at the end of the month, which is also busy, and the bank holiday weekend in early May. 

Exmouth in winter is a little different, and can be quite rainy and windy. You’ll get some nice days, but as a general rule, its much nicer to visit closer to the summer. 

How to get to Exmouth

You can reach Exmouth by road, rail or bus. Road is the easiest way – it’s near the A303, which connects to the M3 and then M25, or it’s about half an hour from the Exeter junction of the M5.

Alternatively, you can take the train to Exeter St Davids or Exeter Central and change to a train to Exeter. Megabuses and National Express coach services also serve Exeter. 

For more specific directions, check out my how to get to Exmouth post

Things to do in Exmouth

Enjoy the beach

Exmouth beach is one of the most popular stretches of coastline in the county. With two kilometres of golden sands, amusement arcades, a mini golf course and plenty of fish and chip shops, you can easily spend all day here!

Visit Orcombe point and hike the cliffs

Exmouth is perhaps most famous for being at the end of the Jurassic Coast. Orcombe Point, which is on the cliffs just above the town, marks this. You can easily climb up here from the beach and admire the view, as well as the stunning prehistoric cliffs. Click here for Google maps location.

See the nature of the Exe Estuary

On the other side of Exmouth is the Exe Estuary. There is a boardwalk going all the way up, and here you can enjoy local birdlife and pretty river views. You can also hike to Exe Estuary villages – more of that in the places near Exmouth section!

Visit a la Ronde

Did you know Exmouth has a National Trust property? A La Ronde is a 16 sided house with quirky interiors, that was built for two spinster cousins in the 18th century. It’s not your usual National Trust property, but is a fantastic thing to do in Exmouth in the rain! 

Go stand up paddle boarding

Exmouth is a great place to try stand up paddleboarding – a new water sport that everybody loves! If you have your own board, you can take to the Exe Estuary and try it, or book a lesson with Edge Watersports

Hike on the moors

As beautiful as the Exmouth coastline is, there’s something so wonderfully enigmatic about the moors… you can reach Bystock and Woodbury Common easily on foot from Exmouth town. You can even hike to nearby villages, like East Budleigh, from here. 

Go to the Exmouth museum 

Another activity for a rainy day! The Exmouth Museum details the life and culture of this popular seaside town. 

Take a cruise

Stuart Line Cruises offer boat trips around the Jurassic Coast, up the Exe Estuary, and westwards towards Torquay. They run mainly in the summer, but do offer some festive specials too. If you want something quintessentially British, you could try the cream tea cruises! 

For more information on all of these places, check out this things to do in Exmouth guide.

Places to visit near Exmouth

Budleigh Salterton

Over the cliffs is the smaller town of Budleigh Salterton. It’s around an hour’s hike from Exmouth, or you can drive in 10-15 minutes. Bus links are also available. Budleigh Salterton has a few independent shops, cafes and restaurants, a pebble beach, and lovely walks along the River Otter. 

Ladram Bay

Ladram Bay is a scenic Jurassic Coast cove. There is a holiday park here, but if you visit in the off season, you may find it very quiet! 

Otterton Mill

Otterton Mill is a historic working mill; here you can learn about how the mill operated. Tours are also available around the River Otter, which discuss its diverse fauna population, as well as the mystery of the beavers that appeared here after 400 years. 

There’s also a tearoom on site that won a gold medal in Taste of the West awards!

You can hike to Otterton from Exmouth – here’s a route that passes through East Budleigh and Budleigh Salterton.

East Budleigh

East Budleigh is a quiet village north of Budleigh Salterton. It was the birthplace of Sir Walter Raleigh, a famous Elizabethan explorer and writer (and potentially one of Queen Elizabeth’s lovers!). Stroll around East Budleigh and see the quaint thatched roof cottages, and outside of service times you can also pop into the local church. 

Lympstone

Just along the River Exe from Exmouth, Lympstone is a small village with a beautiful tidal beach. It’s easy to walk here from Exmouth (about 40 minutes), so it’s an ideal side trip! You can also take the train. 

Topsham

Topsham is a larger village not too far from Exeter, which has a few different pubs, a museum and is the start of the canals that go all the way into the city.

Exeter

The city of Exeter has a lot to offer travellers, and you should spend at least a day visiting while on a holiday in Exmouth. Some of the best things to do here include a Red Coat Tour to learn about its history, seeing the Exeter Cathedral, having lunch by the Quay, and going underground in the Exeter Tunnels! 

Starcross

Starcross is located on the other side of the estuary to Exmouth, and the towns are connected by a seasonal ferry. From Starcross, you can walk south to the holiday resort of Dawlish Warren, or north to Powderham Castle. You can also drive to the opposite side of the estuary in around half an hour. 

Dawlish Warren Beach

For more things to do near Exmouth, click here for my blog post.

Where to eat in Exmouth

Like many tourist orientated towns, there are plenty of places to eat in Exmouth. Some of the options include: 

  • The Grovethis pub has a roaring fire inside for the winter, and an atmospheric garden for the summer! It serves up traditional pub grub, with menus for dietary requirements and for children. 
  • Krispies Fish Bar – if you eat one thing in Exmouth, make it Krispie’s battered chips – you are on holiday after all! These deep fried chips are a guilty pleasure of mine, and are the reason why Krispies won best fish and chip shop in the UK award in 2018. If they sound a bit much for you, you can order standard chips too! 
  • Rockfish – if you’re after sit down seafood, this is the institution for it – Rockfish is a Devonshire institution serving local seafood. They also have good vegetarian and vegan options. 
  • Olive Lounge – a cosy cafe in the town centre, the Olive Lounge serves everything from full English fry ups to Malaysian curries, all made using fresh local ingredients. 
  • The Puffing Billy – if you want to visit a country pub, The Puffing Billy along the Exe Estuary is a good option. You can reach it by the hiking trail that runs alongside the river, or driving. It’s perfect for a Sunday lunch or a hearty pub dinner! 

Where to stay in Exmouth

Budget Hotel: The Old Dairy B&B is a friendly bed and breakfast on the edge of Lymptone. With friendly staff, clean bedrooms, and a delicious included breakfast, this is one of the best guesthouses in the area. Click here for more information.

Mid-Range Hotel: The Dolphin Hotel is a centrally located hotel right by the beach. The rooms are spacious, bright and decorated well, all with an en suite bathroom. Breakfasts are served each morning, with a few different options to suit any tastes! Click here for more information.

Luxury Hotel: Lympstone Manor Hotel is set in a beautiful period building with expansive luxury grounds. The rooms are furnished with deluxe features, and the staff are happy to help with any concerns and queries. There is also a restaurant on site. If you want a five star stay in Exmouth, this is the best place for it! Click here for more information.

Holiday park: the Devon Cliffs Holiday Park is run by Haven. As well as its own private beach, the holiday park has a swimming pool, children’s play area, and multiple restaurants. It’s got a great atmosphere in the summer months, and is an ideal staycation place. Here are some of the cabins available at Devon Cliffs.

Check this post out for the best places to stay in Exmouth.

Where to go from Exmouth

If you’re looking to combine your Exmouth trip with other destinations, there are plenty of other places to visit in Devon. 

If you want to stick to south Devon, you could drive along the coast to the English Riviera, or go a little inland to the enigmatic Dartmoor. You could also visit the city of Plymouth, which is just over the River Tamar from Cornwall. 

On the northern coast of the county, there’s Exmoor National Park, beach towns like Ilfracombe and Woolacombe, and you can take a day trip to the beautiful Lundy Island. Also check out quintessential fishing villages such as Clovelly and Lynmouth

From here, you can also journey into Cornwall. Here’s my Cornwall road trip itinerary for more information!

Alternatively, Devon is on the Jurassic Coast, so you could drive eastwards along the coastline, which ends near Bournemouth. There are tons of places to visit in Dorset too. 

Whether you’re British and are after a staycation destination, or are looking for a quintessentially British seaside holiday, Exmouth is perfect. It’s got fun activities for families, plenty of opportunities for adventurers, and is only a stone’s throw from Exeter for a slice of city life as well!

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