Are you looking for things to do in Branscombe, East Devon? If so, you’re in the right place, as I’m going to detail all of them!
There are few Devon villages quite as quaint as Branscombe.
Rumoured to be the longest village in the UK and nestled into Jurassic Coast cliffs, this adorable village comprises of thatched-roof cottages, a 14th century inn, a shingle beach and an epic viewpoint over some of the best East Devon coastal scenery.
I remember visiting Branscombe as a child, running up the steep section of the coast path and admiring the panoramic coastal views from the top.
I also loved fossil hunting on the beach – this is the oldest section of coastline in the UK, after all!
Recently, I moved to Exmouth, after spending my whole life visiting my gran who lived in the town.
Exmouth is just 40 minute drive from Branscombe, so I’ve revisited the village a few times to re-discover some of my favourite Branscombe activities from when I was a kid!
So today, I bring you the very best things to do in Branscombe in this useful guide.
It’s not a big place, and you can definitely tick off the top attractions in a day – or you could spend a few days in the village to enjoy the surrounding attractions and neighbouring towns and villages.
Where is Branscombe?
Branscombe is located in the East Devon region of Devon, on the south coast of England.
It’s 26 miles from Exeter and 10 miles from Honiton.
How to get to Branscombe
The turning to Branscombe is located on the A3052, which runs from Lyme Regis in Dorset to Topsham.
There are a few turnings that lead to Branscombe, most of which are on one-lane country roads.
If you’re not used to driving around Devon and Cornwall, these can be a little hair-raising, but take it steady and keep watching out for cars coming the other way.
I’d recommend plugging in the Google Maps location for the free National Trust car park and parking there. There’s also paid-for parking at Branscombe Beach.
Things to do in Branscombe
Part of the reason why Branscombe isn’t in the most bucket-list-worthy destinations in Devon is that the beach here is pebbly, rather than sandy.
However, while you probably won’t want to stretch out with a towel on the beach, you may well wish to take a walk along it, looking out for interesting rocks and fossils as you go!
Branscombe Beach is on the South West Coast Path, and you can start a walk from here to either Beer or Sidmouth (more on that in a moment!)
Once you’ve explored the beach to your heart’s content, stop off at the Sea Shanty Beach Cafe for a Devonshire cream tea (cream on first this side of the Tamar!) or a hot drink.
Hike to Beer
From Branscombe Beach, you can follow the South West Coastal Path up the cliffs.
Either walk just a little before turning around and enjoying the Jurassic Coast view (there’s a bench positioned quite far up the hill with a lovely vista of the beach!), or carry on walking all the way to Beer, which is around 2 miles.
Beer is another beautiful Devon village with a charming main street and beautiful water views.
If you don’t want to hike, you can either drive between the two villages or take the bus.
Walk between Branscombe beach and the village
From Branscombe Beach, it’s around a 10-15 minute walk through a walking trail to the beach.
You’ll walk through a farm, stroll past cows in a field and enjoy the sounds of a stream.
A perfect stroll for families, you’ll take in some incredible nature before approaching the beach.
The Old Forge
One of my favourite parts of Branscombe was that it has a lot of traditional buildings, one of which is the National Trust-owned Old Forge.
Sitting right next to a free car park, this forge dates back to 1580 and, to this day, makes beautiful metal pieces that make a perfect souvenir from East Devon.
You can head into the forge and speak to the blacksmith about the craft, enjoy the items on display and snap a photo of the beautiful thatched-roof cottage from the outside!
Manor Mill is a historic water mill that’s recently been refurbished to its former glory.
Open from Spring to Autumn, visit the mill to admire the building and learn about how water power once powered the village!
The Old Bakery
Another historic business in Branscombe, the Old Bakery is a historic thatched-roof building.
The bakery offers a great selection of delicious cakes and biscuits, along with hot drink options.
There’s also an exhibition of baking equipment, photos and information about the building’s history.
St Winifred’s Church
St Winifred’s Church is the village’s place of worship.
A patchwork through the ages, it boasts a 12th century square central tower, a 13th century nave and a 14th century chancel.
The front was constructed in the 15th century out of Beer stone.
There are a few memorials in the church, including an ornate Elizabethan altar tomb.
Also, look out for a Maltese Cross in the south transept!
Walk around the village
Branscombe is believed to be the country’s longest village.
This sounds like a strange claim to fame, but you’ll see what I mean when you explore – it’s very spread out over a mile or so, with cottages lining one road.
So, what do you do when you’re in the UK’s longest village? Walk it, of course!
By walking around the village, you’ll take in its principal attractions and get a slice of local life!
Hike to Sidmouth
For something a little more challenging, depart Branscombe and hike along the coastal path in a westerly direction to reach the resort town of Sidmouth.
This five-mile hike is fairly challenging but boasts spectacular views of the ancient coastline along with vistas over to Sidmouth and beyond to Budleigh Salterton and, on a clear day, the Exe Estuary.
When you reach Sidmouth, enjoy the beautiful beach, the cliff views, dining and drinking in some of their local establishments and the charming Connaught Gardens.
I’m working on a guide to the best things to do in Sidmouth, so check back soon to read all about it!
Of course, if you don’t want to hike, you can drive (around 20 minutes) or take the 899 bus – this connects the towns, but is infrequent, so research bus times before making your journey!
Enjoy a pint (or lunch) in a 14th-century pub
If you’ve come to Devon in search of old-fashioned country pubs, you’re in luck in Branscombe.
The Masons Arms is situated in the heart of the city, amongst beautiful cottages.
Enjoy traditional features like timber frames, a low-beamed ceiling and a roaring log fire – the perfect place to curl up in on a chilly winter’s night!
It has a full-stocked bar with drinks from the West Country and beyond, including ciders, beers and gins.
The menu boasts items like fish and chips (both the traditional variety and a vegan banana blossom variety), roasted celeriac, steaks, salads and burgers.
Beer Quarry Caves
The Beer Quarry Caves are located on the road between Branscombe and Beer and are definitely one of the best attractions in East Devon.
These manmade caves have been in use for two millenniums, and is where the commonly-used beer stone is found.
This stone was used in the construction of 24 of the UK’s 44 cathedrals, and numerous other buildings including Exeter’s guildhall and West Country churches.
On a guided tour, you’ll learn all about what makes the stone so popular, the quarrying process and the caves history, along with an education into flora and fauna in the cave (there’s quite a lot of bat life!).
It’s a fascinating attraction where you’ll definitely learn something new!
The Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary is situated about a 10 minute drive from Branscombe, and it’s probably the most adorable activity in East Devon, especially (but not limited to) if you’re with kids!
The sanctuary started in 1969 when Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, the then-owner adopted a donkey – and she fell in love with the creatures.
She realised how badly donkeys were treated and made it her mission to buy and rehome as many as possible.
Nowadays, donkeys at seaside resorts are treated a little better, but the sanctuary still rehomes plenty of creatures.
Admission fees help to fund the project, and guests can learn a little about the sanctuary and of course see the donkeys themselves!
Where to stay in Branscombe
Pottery Barn is a modern two-bedroom holiday home with a modern kitchen and bathroom, including lavish features like a log-burning fire.
With exposed beams inside and rustic stone walls, the flat has one bedroom with a large double bed and another bedroom with a double and single bed.
The Mason’s Arms, the 14th century pub that I mentioned earlier, has six rooms for couples, friends and families!
The rooms are traditional and cosy, with comfortable beds and period features.
It’s a fantastic historical place to stay if you’re looking for a traditional English pub!
Hopefully, this list of things to do in Branscombe has inspired your trip to this East Devon village! With a gorgeous pebbled beach, charming thatched-roof cottages and wonderful eateries, there’s so much to love in this Jurassic Coast spot.