If you’re looking for the best things to do in Budleigh Salterton, you’ve come to the right place!
I live in nearby Exmouth (the next town along from Budleigh) and my dad actually grew up in what was the police house of Budleigh (my granddad was the local policeman) – although it’s now a tourist office!
I have a funny memory of visiting as a child, walking into the tourist office with my dad and him looking around and saying “I used to live here” to the confused tourist representative!
Nowadays, I visit Budleigh Salterton at least once a month, as the Exmouth to Budleigh walk (more on that later!) is one of my favourite hikes in the area.
So, I know about all of the best things to do in Budleigh Salterton!
While it’s not as popular as Exmouth and other beach towns in Devon (largely thanks to the pebbly, not sandy, beach!), it’s a charming little town and there are a few attractions here.
Plus it sits in some of the most gorgeous nature in South West England.
Best things to do in Budleigh Salterton
Budleigh Salterton Beach
Budleigh Salterton Beach is long, expansive and… pebbly.
It’s great for an East Devon coastal walk, but not so great for lazing out on and sunbathing all day – pebble beaches just aren’t as comfy, are they?
But this means that Budleigh stays quite quiet throughout the year, even during the peak summer season.
You can swim in Budleigh and I personally find this coastline to be a lot warmer than most other places in the UK. This year, there were people swimming in the sea until early October.
Fairlynch Museum Art Centre
Open in the summer months, Fairlynch Museum Art Centre is located in a gorgeous thatched-roof cottage Budleigh High Street.
It’s a small local museum with various exhibits focusing on life in the region, fashion through the ages and historical curiosities.
Perfect for a rainy day in Budleigh, the exhibitions frequently change, so it’s well worth popping in and seeing what they have to offer!
Budleigh High Street
Budleigh High Street is lined with boutique stores and independent restaurants.
I particularly love “The Tipsy Merchant” which sells alcohol from around the globe (we even found wine from Georgia there before!).
There are lots of independent shops, so it’s a great place to find some souvenirs. There are also plenty of charity shops if you’re looking to buy pre-loved goods.
Knole Farm Vineyard
Lily Farm Vineyard is located about a half-hour walk from Budleigh Salterton beachfront.
It’s a local vineyard and bottle shop where they make English wine, including Jurassic Red and
You can do tours here in the summer months, involving a walk around the orchard where the owner will tell you a bit about wine and the history of their vineyard.
Then, you’ll head to the tasting room, where you can sample some of the red, white, rose and sparkling wines.
Of course, you can also just pop by to enjoy a glass of wine in the outside seating area!
Walk to Exmouth on the South West Coast Path
The South West Coast Path spans 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset to Studland Bay in Dorset. One of the most popular walks for long-distance trekkers, it’s no mean feat to complete it all (I’m still working on it!).
However, it boasts some of the most jaw-dropping coastal scenery in the country (and, I’d venture to add, in Europe!) and the white-sand beaches with towering red cliffs make the Jurassic Coast a fantastic section.
The Budleigh to Exmouth walk is the first section of the Jurassic Coastline, and it’s a fairly easy walk that’ll take you about an hour and covers around three miles. Then you’ll only have 627 left to complete the whole route!
To join the coast path, simply head to the beach and follow the path in a westward direction. You’ll see an acorn sign that directs you to a small path above the cliffs!
Taking you past Orcombe Point (the official beginning of the Jurassic Coast), this walk takes in some of the rugged natural beauty of these 250 million-year-old (yes, really!) ancient cliffs.
You’ll also walk past Devon Cliffs Haven holiday park, which has amazing sea views as it sits above the Jurassic Coast cliffs.
When you reach Exmouth, spend some time chilling out on the golden sand at the beach, and head to the nature reserve of Maer Park (home to Exmouth’s rusty pole – if you know you know).
Walk or cycle to Exmouth on the disused railway line
Another option is to walk to Exmouth on the old railway line.
This is perfect if you want to do a loop walk between the two towns.
The railway line isn’t as scenic, but it’s a lot flatter – and it’s a cycle route, so you can travel between the towns on two wheels if you’d prefer!
The line starts here on Bear Lane and spans all the way to Littleham, which is a suburb of Exmouth. From here, it’s just a downhill walk or bike ride straight to the beach!
Walk to Ladram Bay or Sidmouth
The other way on the South West Coast Path, you can either hike to Ladram Bay or Sidmouth!
Ladram Bay is a holiday park and private beach. While you can’t actually go on the beach in summer (it’s privately owned by the holiday park), you can walk on the coastal path above it and gaze at the incredible clifftop views!
This is the Jurassic Coast at its finest.
If you want a longer walk, you can continue to Sidmouth, a beautiful beach town surrounded by Jurassic Coast scenery.
It’s about 4.4 miles to Ladram Bay or 7 miles to Sidmouth.
If you just hike to Ladram Bay, you can turn inland at Ladram Bay and walk the short journey to Otterton, then walk down the River Otter back to Budleigh Salterton.
This route is slightly different, but you can kind of envisage it by checking out this post about an Exmouth to Otterton loop walk that I like.
If you hike to Sidmouth, you could either need to turn around on the South West Coast Path or take the 157 bus back to Budleigh – double check times before setting out as it’s irregular, especially on Sundays!
There might be a hike inland from Sidmouth back to Budleigh, but it’s not one I have personally done so I wouldn’t want to advise on it.
If you want to take a taxi back to Budleigh, I use AJ Cars throughout Exmouth and East Devon – they’re available on 01395 222655.
The River Otter
The River Otter has its mouth in Budleigh Salterton – it actually splits the beach in two at the eastern end.
There’s a path running all the way up the river to Otterton, and it’s a lovely trail that’s home to a lot of birdlife.
Look out for beavers in the River Otter!
And that’s not all. It’s called the River Otter, but it should have been dubbed the River Beaver, as gorgeous beavers were found in these waters.
This is one of my favourite stories from East Devon – the beavers were found in 2013, and nobody was sure how they got there, as wild beavers hadn’t been seen in the whole of England for 400 years.
There were threats that they’d be removed, as it was believed that they were American in origin and shouldn’t be in the river. However, the Devon Wildlife Trust proved they were European and, after a lot of lobbying, they were allowed to remain.
It’s the only place in the country that you’ll find wild beavers – so if you’re into wildlife, this is one to not miss!
However, the beavers are quite reclusive, and it’s fairly unlikely that you’ll see one – but it’s worth going to look out for them anyway, and it’s one of the best nature walks in the area, with lots of birds and natural flora.
Otterton Mill is one of the most popular attractions in East Devon.
Sitting in the small and picturesque village of Otterton, this historic mill dates back around 1,000 years.
There’s been a mill on-site since Norman times and the mill was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1068.
The mill was used up until the 20th century, when it fell into disrepair, with milling stopping in the 1950s.
However, it was restored 20 years later and now once again operates as a working mill and tourist attraction.
It’s free to visit the mill, and you can see the ruins of the ancient building, learn about the milling process and taste freshly-milled flour!
It’s a wonderful attraction to support, as the millers are very much committed to supporting this ancient practice.
You can also enjoy lunch in their award-winning cafe, which serves delicious meals made from local and seasonal products. They were mentioned in Rick Stein’s ‘Local Food Heroes’ and have won awards in the Devon Food Awards.
East Budleigh and Birthplace of Sir Walter Raleigh
I adore East Budleigh. It’s a tiny village, not more than a street really, but it’s lined with the most adorable thatched cottages and is in the heart of stunning East Devon countryside.
Plus, it’s only a five-minute drive from Budleigh Salterton Beach!
There’s not a huge amount to do in East Budleigh other than admire the cottages, some of which have been turned into Airbnbs.
But, it’s famous for being the birthplace of Sir Walter Raleigh, a famous Elizabethan explorer, who was born in Hayes Barton.
While I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of Raleigh (or any Elizabethan explorers really), I love anything historical, and the fact such a momentous person came from this tiny East Devon village is fascinating.
You can’t actually go into his birthplace – it’s currently a livestock farm, but it’s a traditional 15th-century farmhouse and you can view it from the lane.
It’s a half-hour walk from East Budleigh up Hayes Lane – see directions here.
When you return to East Budleigh, you can have a pint in the Sir Walter Raleigh pub, check out the statue of the explorer and even see All Saints Church where the Raleigh pew is still indicated by their coat of arms.
Sandy Bay is the Devon Cliffs beach, but it’s open to the public.
It’s a sandy cove that’s backed by huge cliffs.
Because of its small size, it’s really busy in the peak summer season when Devon Cliffs is packed full of tourists!
However, it’s one of the best beaches around Exmouth and Budleigh for sea swimming!
Situated a few miles’ drive from Budleigh Salterton, close to Woodbury Common, Bystock Pools are a beautiful pond with a path running around.
In the summer months, sunshine dances across the blue water, and in autumn, the trees turn all shades of oranges, reds and yellows.
It’s a gorgeous nature reserve, with wildflowers, lily pads on the water and lots of resident animals.
A La Ronde
A La Ronde is a National Trust property located between Exmouth and Lympstone, close to Budleigh Salterton.
This is a 16-sided house that two sisters lived in. They were great travellers and filled their property with items that they’d collected from all over the world.
It’s around a 10-15 minute drive from Budleigh Salterton.
Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival
The Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival showcases “books by the sea” in late September every year.
Inviting a selection of writers to the coastal town, this festival celebrates novels, poems and all other forms of literature.
If you’re in East Devon toward the end of the summer, then definitely don’t miss this festival!
Places to visit near Budleigh Salterton
If you’re a fan of outdoor activities, head to Exmouth, the next town west along the coast from Budleigh Salterton.
This is where I live now, and it’s super accessible from Budleigh!
It has a world-class watersports centre, with the chance to go windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, rowing or sailing.
There’s also a two-mile-long sandy beach, gorgeous cliff views, a wonderful Exe Estuary walk and cycle trail and plenty of restaurants and a leisure centre in the town.
Don’t miss the renowned fish and chip shop Krispies, which won an award in
The picturesque town of Sidmouth is the next main settlement along the coast from Budleigh.
This is the heart of the Jurassic Coast – with stunning cliffs and gorgeous beaches.
It’s a popular tourist town (the beach here is sandy, unlike Budleigh!), but it retains a fantastic charm.
Sidmouth Beach is a popular stretch of sand running in front of the town, with exposed rock pools when the tide is out.
If you’re looking for charming towns in East Devon, look no further than the quaint settlement of Beer!
White chalk cliffs surround the beach, making it a pleasant place to spend the day.
However, Beer is brimming with history, which you can enjoy on a walk around the charming village centre.
The village is famous for its Beer stone,
Plus, there’s the chance to go underground in the Beer Quarry Caves!
See history in action at Branscombe, which is believed to be the longest village in the country.
With gorgeous cottages leading the way to the sea, Branscome also has a National Trust-run Old Bakery and Forge.
Like Budleigh Salterton, the beach is pebbly, but it’s beautifully scenic and perfect for a coastal walk.
The closest city to Budleigh Salterton, Exeter is home to the world-famous Exeter Cathedral, the Harry Potter-esque Gandy Street, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) and the charming 17th-century Exeter Quay.
If you’re on holiday in Budleigh Salterton, I’d highly recommend a day trip to Exeter to see the city’s highlights and experience another side of Devon life!
Woodbury Common is a lovely alternative place to take a stroll in East Devon.
It’s a broad area, something in between a common and a moor.
The most famous landmark is probably Woodbury Castle, which is an iron-age fort.
Don’t expect anything too fancy – they just built forts out of the soil in the Iron Age – but it is remarkably well preserved.
Over the border in Dorset, you’ll find the town of Lyme Regis.
Famous for fossil hunting, the town has a large sandy beach with a quaint harbour.
One of the bigger towns on the Jurassic Coast, there are plenty of restaurants in the town centre.
Where to stay in Budleigh Salterton
This cosy B&B is a traditional guesthouse in the heart of Budleigh Salterton.
Feel immediately at home when you step in, with a tasty breakfast being served every day.
All rooms are en-suite and have either a garden or sea view.
The Garden Studios sleeps up to four people, so it’s ideal for families or groups of adults. It is set in a gorgeous stand-alone A frame cabin with a modern kitchen, lounge area with sofa bed and double bedroom.
You’ll feel wonderfully isolated when you stay here, while being a stone’s throw away from the town’s highlights.
Perfect for couples, Jurassic Hideaway is a studio apartment just off Budleigh High Street.
While it’s a small space, it packs in a modern kitchen, comfortable bed and luxury bathroom complete with a bath. Plus, it’s in an ideal location to the best Budleigh Salterton attractions!
Best restaurants in Budleigh Salterton
If you’re looking for places to eat in Budleigh Salterton, here are a few recommendations.
With traditional Italian food and friendly service, this small restaurant is ideal for a treat dinner over a glass of wine!
Open in the summer months, this cafe is right on the beach and serves up coffee and sandwiches with a gorgeous sea view.
The perfect place to stop off for a coffee and cake, Wesley’s has a great selection of homemade treats on offer and is set in a lovely community space.
This is a friendly Salterton pub, with great food and real ales on tap!
How to get to Budleigh Salterton
Unfortunately, Budleigh Salterton doesn’t have a railway station, but it is connected to Exeter and Exmouth by bus services.
If you’re driving, take the M5 to junction 30 and then follow signs to Budleigh Salterton. It’s quite well signposted!
Visiting Budleigh Salterton FAQs
What is Budleigh Salterton famous for?
Budleigh Salterton is famous for its East Devon Jurassic Coast location, its connections to Sir Walter Raleigh, its high street with antique shops and its pebble beach.
Has Budleigh Salterton got a sandy beach?
No, Budleigh has a pebble beach. If you want a sandy beach, head to nearby Exmouth, which has two miles worth of uninterrupted sand!
How long is Budleigh Salterton Beach?
Budleigh Salterton Beach is 2.5 miles/ 4 kilometres long.
Are dogs allowed on Budleigh Beach?
Dogs are allowed at either end of the beach all year, but are banned from the centre of the beach from May 1st until September 30th.
Why is it called Budleigh Salterton?
The name “Budleigh Salterton” used to be a source of endless amusement to me when I was a child. I used to call it “Bubbly Saucepan” whenever we went to visit!
In fact, the name is kind of saucepan-related. “Salterton” comes from the fact that large pans were constructed in this area that were then used to make salt.
“Budleigh” on the other hand, comes from the Budleigh family who lived in the area.
Is Budleigh Salterton worth visiting?
Absolutely! While there’s no sandy beach, the beautiful coastal walks, East Devon nature and relaxing town atmosphere make it definitely one to add to any places to visit in Devon list.