Are you looking for the best things to do in Beer in East Devon? I’m a local to the region – and here are all my top tips for visiting!
“Is the name anything to do with the drink?” virtually every tourist asks when they’re introduced to the village of Beer in East Devon.
Well, I regret to inform you that it isn’t where beer comes from – it comes from the old English word beare, which means woodland.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, Beer’s still well worth a visit (and yes, there are plenty of places where you can enjoy a pint!).
Sitting in the heart of East Devon’s Jurassic Coast, steep cliffs surround the village, plunging down to a pebbled beach that’s dotted with deckchairs.
The high street ascends up from the beach in a northerly direction, dotted with thatched roof cottages.
Around Beer, you’ll find the South West Coast Path – there are plenty of hiking opportunities – and attractions like the Beer Quarry Caves, Pecorama and Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary are nearby.
This guide will detail the best things to do in town, with tips on where to eat, what to stay and what to do in the surrounding area.
I live in nearby Exmouth and know this region like the back of my hand. So, here’s my full Beer travel guide!
Best things to do in Beer
The best things to do in Beer include visiting the Beer Quarry Caves, basking on Beer Beach (get an ice cream from Ducky’s!), learning about the town at the story of Beer shelter and museum and walking on the South West Coast Path to enjoy some of the best vistas in this part of East Devon.
1. Beer Quarry Caves
This is technically out of the village, but in my opinion, it’s the best attraction in town – even if it’s underground!
The Beer Quarry Caves are manmade caves that have been in use since the Roman age.
The cliffs are made of Beer Stone, a popular stone in architecture because of its malleability but sturdiness; historically, it’s been used for buildings like Exeter Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, along with countless churches in the West Country.
The caves are visitable on a guided tour, where you’ll learn about their Roman origins, stories about miners and even the bat population who live in the cave in the winter months (they aren’t around in the summer!).
Booking is highly recommended, as tours are popular – you can ring to reserve your spot.
Do bring a jumper, as it’s chilly underground!
2. Stroll along Beer Beach
Beer Beach may not be white sands, but the rough shingle blends in perfectly with the ancient Jurassic Coast cliffs.
Plus, if you want to spend a day relaxing while listening to the sounds of the waves break, you can hire a deckchair from Ducky’s cafe for a reasonable price.
There are also beach huts to rent on a daily or weekly basis!
Fishing, stand up paddleboarding or wild swimming are all possible here!
Or just stroll around the beach, take a look at the fishing boats (Beer is still partially a working fishing village) and enjoy an ice cream at Ducky’s.
3. Visit Pecorama
Head up to the cliffs above Beer to Pecorama, home to one of the best vantage points in town!
The park features model railways, gardens, and a miniature steam train ride that travels a mile around the park; it’s a lovely spot for kids and adults alike.
It’s ideal if you fancy trying the steam train experience but don’t want to spend too much time and money on one (I love the train near Dartmouth but it’s pricier and longer!)
Pecorama has been around for over 40 years and is a favourite of both locals and tourists.
Stroll around the garden, grab some homemade food and enjoy the East Devon coastline down below!
4. Walk to Seaton on the South West Coast Path
The South West Coast Path leaves Beer and ascends over the cliffs to the town of Seaton.
This is a fairly quick hike that bypasses Seaton Hole Beach and then traverses the long, pebbly expanse of Seaton Beach.
It should take you around an hour one-way; there’s a little uphill at the beginning but the last part is fairly flat.
Fancy a longer hike? From Seaton, you can walk all the way to Lyme Regis via the Undercliff.
This is a part of the cliff that collapsed, leaving a rocky natural trail that’s a complete contrast to the rest of the South West Coast Path.
The 885 bus connects Beer with Seaton for the return journey, but if you’re travelling back from Lyme Regis, you’ll need to change buses.
5. Walk to Branscombe on the South West Coast Path
Another fairly short but enjoyable walk – it’ll take you around an hour and 15 minutes on the coastal path – is the Branscombe to Beer walk.
This hike is a bit up and down, although there are some extraordinary views of Lyme Bay from the top of the cliffs.
This walk traverses Beer Head and the Hooken Cliffs, where there is an undercliff area caused by a cliff slide.
There’s also a small cave here – enter at your own risk!
It’s an interesting place to explore, and if you don’t want to walk all the way to Branscombe there’s a loop trail that brings you back around to Beer Head and the coast path.
But if you do make it all the way to Branscombe – at 3.3 miles it’s a relatively short hike – you can enjoy a slap-up meal in The Mason’s Arms pub, a personal favourite of mine and see the thatched roof cottages in the village.
It’s one of the best places to visit in Devon, that’s for sure!
6. Visit the Beer Fine Foundation Centre
Learn about the village’s history at the Beer Fine Foundation Centre.
With explanations on how Beer is the “last White Cliffs in England going west“, and an exhibition about “the bomb that didn’t fall on Beer during WWII“, there’s more than you’d expect to uncover in this East Devon town!
Entry to the Beer Fine Foundation Centre is free, but donations are very much appreciated.
7. Walk around the tranquil village centre
Beer generally consists of one street – Fore Street – leading down to the beach.
It’s lined with historic thatched cottages, that this part of Devon is known for, and is a scenic place for a stroll.
My mum visited Beer when it was the Queen’s Jubilee, and she told me that they had a huge street party right in Fore Street!
It’s that kind of place where the community comes together.
Walking around the centre of Beer won’t take long, but definitely add it to your to-do list.
8. Pay a visit to Branscombe
Whether you hike, drive or take a bus (the 899 connects the villages), don’t miss the postcard-perfect village of Branscombe.
Known as “the longest village in the UK” (the main street stretches out around a mile!), it’s dotted with thatched roof cottages, a historic forge and 14th century pub “The Mason’s Arms“, possibly named after the amount of masons in the area due to the Beer Quarry Caves.
Branscombe’s home to a shingle beach; it’s off the tourist trail somewhat, but keep your eyes peeled when exploring – you might find a fossil!
Here’s my full guide to Branscombe!
9. Relax (possibly with a Beer!) in Beer’s best beer garden
Beer’s best beer garden?
It’s got to be The Anchor Inn’s, which basically serves as a balcony overlooking the beach.
There are only limited seats with a coastal view (so try to go out of peak times if you can!), but it’s the ideal spot to toast to a holiday in East Devon!
On the menu, you’ll find a range of sandwiches, salads and heavier meals, and the fully stocked bar serves local beer, wine and cider.
10. Find the best viewpoint of Beer Beach
Local secret… the best viewpoint of Beer Beach really isn’t that difficult to find.
Just head up to the RNLI shop and walk across to the railings, where you’ll see the pebbles and chalk cliffs in all their glory!
Behind Beer Beach is the “Story of Beer Shelter”.
It’ll detail the geology that made Beer the village it is, and enthrall you with some social history, such as the infamous smuggler Jack Rattenbury who was born in the village.
11. Visit the RNLI shop
The RNLI shop sits just by the Beer Beach viewpoint.
With a few information boards about the RNLI, it offers a chance to comprehend some of the amazing work that this organisation does – and understand how to stay safe in the seas!
You can also purchase an RNLI-themed souvenir – all profits go back to the charity.
12. See the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary
Established more than 50 years ago, Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary is devoted to improving the lives of donkeys worldwide.
Over the years, the sanctuary has provided a safe haven for countless donkeys, rescuing them from mistreatment – often, donkeys here were forced to be ridden on beaches.
The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary offers educational opportunities, allowing visitors to learn about the history, care, and conservation efforts related to donkeys – and why they’re worth protecting!
It’s one of the most family friendly attractions in the area and is actually free to visit – although donations are very welcome.
13. Visit Seaton and ride on its Tramway
Nearby Seaton is another picturesque Devon village, with a pebbled beach, signature Jurassic Coast cliffs, and scenic town centre.
But it’s perhaps most famous for the Seaton Tramway; one of the most unique visitor attractions in Devon!
These miniature double-decker trams trundle through beautiful countryside, past the Seaton Wetlands and up to the town of Colyton.
Away from the coast, the tramway offers you the chance to see East Devon’s beautiful countryside from a new perspective.
Where to stay in Beer
Here are the best hotels and places to stay in Beer.
Belmont House offers adult-only accommodation just a short walk from the seafront.
The building dates back 200 years and was originally a fisherman’s cottage.
With comfortable rooms with flat-screen TVs and en-suite bathrooms and a garden terrace, Belmont House is your perfect Beer retreat!
The Dolphin Hotel offers pet-friendly accommodation in the heart of Beer.
There’s an onsite restaurant and bar, and free limited private parking on-site.
Enjoy The Anchor Inn’s phenomenal sea views from your window!
Rooms at The Anchor Inn are well-furnished, with extraordinary sea views and free Wi-Fi, TVs, and tea/coffee-making facilities.
The on-site pub is a fantastic place to dine and drink.
Where to eat in Beer
Here are some of the best restaurants to try out while you’re in Beer!
The aforementioned Anchor Inn is a delight, with a variety of “pub grub” style dishes on their menu and an incredible beer garden.
You could also try Ducky’s on the beach – they serve dishes like jacket potatoes and sandwiches and have a vast ice cream selection. They also own the beach’s deckchairs and cabins.
Barrel of Beer is another pub in town (that’s really cashing in on the “Beer” theme!), serving fish and chips, jacket potatoes and burgers.
Places to visit near Beer
There are tonnes of places to visit around Beer!
Explore the East Devon coastline, passing through villages like Branscombe and larger towns like Sidmouth and Seaton, or venture into Dorset to see nearby Lyme Regis.
Here are the best places to visit in the area!
Situated further west from Beer, in the heart of Devon’s Jurassic Coast, Sidmouth is a Regency town renowned for its elegant architecture, beautiful gardens, and scenic seafront.
With its long pebble beach and iconic red cliffs, Sidmouth blends nature and history.
Stroll along the iconic promenade, explore the town’s shops and boutiques, and indulge in a traditional cream tea – cream first when you’re in Devon!
A little further along, you’ll find the laidback town of Budleigh Salterton.
Known for its unspoiled pebble beach, stunning red cliffs, and charming high street, Budleigh Salterton is an ideal spot if you want to get away from the crowds.
Walk along the River Otter or visit the Fairlynch Museum Art Centre, located in a thatched cottage on the high street.
Or, venture inland to villages like East Budleigh (where Walter Raleigh was born) or Otterton (famous for its Otterton Mill – you can reach it by an easy walk from Budleigh along the River Otter).
My dad lived in Budleigh Salterton when he was growing up – in what is now the tourist information centre!
My stomping ground!
Exmouth has so much to offer; it’s a busy seaside resort town (the oldest in Devon!) situated at the mouth of the River Exe, boasting a two-mile-long beach, watersports, the beginning of the Jurassic Coast at Orcombe Point and an enthralling amount of history.
I’ve actually started walking tours of Exmouth to go into this history and culture; do join me on one if you’re interested in learning more!
Over in West Dorset, Lyme Regis is a timeless seaside town known as the “Pearl of Dorset.”
Its four beaches, fossil-rich cliffs, and iconic harbour have attracted visitors for centuries – it’s actually where Mary Anning, famous fossil collector, was from.
It’s also famous for the historic Cobb, a stone jetty made famous by literature and film.
Tucked away in the Axe Valley, Colyton is a historic market town that’s known as “the most rebellious town in Devon” due to its part in the Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion of 1685.
Walk around streets lined by thatched roof cottages and a church with a 12th-century tower.
Colyton is a stop on the Seaton Tramway station, so it’s worth combining the two destinations in one day trip.
Visiting Beer FAQs
Here are some answers to frequent questions about visiting Beer in East Devon.
Is Beer Devon worth visiting?
Beer Devon is an absolute must-visit! Prepare to be enchanted by its coastal scenery, rich fishing legacy, and serene atmopshere.
Top things to do include exploring the pebble beach, venturing into the fascinating Beer Quarry Caves and relishing delectable seafood.
What is Beer in Devon famous for?
Beer in Devon is famous for its fishing industry and coastal beauty.
The village is known for its traditional fishing boats called “beer luggers” and its history of fishing, particularly for mackerel and crab.
Beer is also renowned for its limestone cliffs, which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Jurassic Coast.
What’s near Beer Devon?
Near Beer Devon, you can find several noteworthy attractions.
Just a short distance away is the town of Seaton, which has a beautiful beach, nature reserves, and the Seaton Tramway.
The coastal towns of Lyme Regis and Sidmouth are also within reach.
Beer Quarry Caves are just outside of the village, while the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary is only a short drive away.
Where is the seaside town of Beer?
The seaside town of Beer is located on the south coast of Devon in South West England.
It’s along the stunning Jurassic Coast, which stretches between Exmouth in Devon and Studland Bay in Dorset.
Beer is between the town of Seaton and the village of Branscombe.
Can you walk from Beer to Lyme Regis?
Yes, it’s possible to walk from Beer to Lyme Regis on the South West Coast Path.
The first section will take you over the cliffs to Seaton, and then you can traverse the Lyme Regis undercliff walk to cross over the Dorset border.
It’s around 12.km (7.5 miles) long and will take around five hours.
Can you walk from Beer to Sidmouth?
Yes, you can walk from Beer to Sidmouth.
First, you’ll pass over the cliffs and through Branscombe Beach, and then hike another five miles to Sidmouth.
In total, it’s around an eight mile walk.
How long does it take to walk from Beer to Branscombe?
The distance from Beer to Branscombe is approximately 3 miles (5 km).
It takes most hikers around 1.25 hours to complete – a little longer than if you were walking flat, thanks to the up-and-down nature of the coast path!
Why is the village called Beer?
The village of Beer derives its name from the Old English word “bearu,” which means “grove” or “wooded place.”
The name reflects the area’s historical connection to the wooded valleys and hills that surround the village.
Over time, the name “bearu” transformed into “Beer,” and it has remained so ever since.
Is it safe to swim at Beer Devon?
It’s generally safe to swim at Beer Devon.
The village has a sheltered pebble beach where swimming is possible, especially during calm weather conditions.
There is no lifeguard cover, so it’s recommended to only take a dip if you’re an experienced swimmer.
Are you ready to visit Beer in East Devon?
Sitting on a deckchair at the natural suntrap that is Beer Beach, admiring the white chalk cliffs, then venturing into the picturesque village for dinner… a day in Beer sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?
I hope that this blog post has helped you plan your trip to Beer village and its surrounding area. Do check out the rest of my Devon posts for more information about this part of the country, and feel free to reach out on Instagram if you have any questions.