Are you looking for the best things to do in Teignmouth, South Devon?
The seaside town is located between the Exe Estuary and Torbay, but it’s somewhat overshadowed by the county’s more famous tourist destinations.
However, Teignmouth has a certain charm – largely due to the fact that it’s not brimming with holiday homes!
Sitting on the Teign Estuary, this South Devon town has plenty of charming attractions with quirky coffee shops, cheery coastal pubs, beautiful beaches and historic buildings.
It’s also a great budget break – this list is actually mainly composed of free things to do in Teignmouth!
So read on, and I’ll detail them all!
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Best Things to do in Teignmouth
The best things to do in Teignmouth include relaxing on the town beach,going on the arcades at Teignmouth Pier, walking around town and learning about its history, hiking to Dawlish on the South West Coast Path or walking or catching the ferry to Shaldon.
Here, you can go down a smuggler’s tunnel to Ness Cove Beach, one of the best beaches in the county!
Teignmouth Town Beach
Located right in the heart of the town, this seafront beach is the best place to go to catch the sun or even enjoy an afternoon dip in the summer months!
It’s a large, expansive beach with rich red sand with lots of sections separated by groynes.
A popular spot in the summer months, it’s also gorgeous for walks in the winter.
Dogs aren’t permitted from May to September, but it’s a wonderful spot for dog walks in the cooler months.
Make sure that you visit during low tide, as the beach can be completely covered when the tide is high!
While it’s not as impressive as its counterparts elsewhere in the country (like the pier in Weston Super Mare), Teignmouth’s Grand Pier is brimming with exciting attractions for all the family.
It’s an indoor pier, perfect if you’re looking for things to do in Teignmouth in the rain, as there are lots of amusements and kids’ games.
There’s a viewing platform at the back, where you can look out over the sea.
Teignmouth Back Beach
Although it’s not as expansive as Teignmouth Beach in the town centre, the back beach (also known as Teignmouth River Beach) looks over the river estuary and it’s wonderfully scenic, with boats bobbing on the river.
Teignmouth River Beach is where the ferry to Shaldon leaves from, and it’s also a beautiful place to take in classic seaside views.
The Teignmouth lido offers a safe swimming alternative to the sea.
Located by St Michael’s Church at one end of the beach, it’s a seasonal, heated outdoor pool that’s perfect for families and holidaymakers.
It was closed for the season in 2022, but it should be opening again in summer 2023.
St Michael’s Church
St Michael’s Church is a historic church with an intricate tower.
It’s a beautiful building to stop and photograph and is open from 10:00 am every day if you’d like to check out the interior.
Teignmouth has a small working lifeboat station, and if you’d like to learn about the RNLI, any visitors are welcome.
Stop by and have a quick chat with the volunteers about the RNLI, check out the B Class Inshore Lifeboat and learn the history of the boathouse, which dates all the way back to 1860.
The famous poet, John Keats, stayed in Teignmouth in 1818. He even wrote a poem called Teignmouth, which you can read here!
The house that he stayed in is now called Keats House.
There is a large house with a sign outside that proudly proclaims “Keats stayed here”. But did he?!
In fact, people aren’t too sure!
Locals and tourists think that Keats could have actually stayed at another house shortly up the road – the pink house in this photo.
Interestingly, this is the location that the tourist board by the pier pinpoints!
Get photos of both to be sure!
Bitton House is a Grade-II* listed property in Teignmouth.
It dates back to the late 18th century and was the residence of Edward Pellew, a naval hero.
In 1816, his troop went to Algiers and freed 30,000 Christian slaves. He brought back two cannons that still stand there today.
Nowadays, Bitton House is part of Teignmouth town council, but you can still walk around the gardens and take in the beautiful town views.
The Orangery, an elaborate greenhouse with tropical plants inside, dates back to around 1835 and is free to visit within opening hours.
The Den sits opposite Teignmouth pier and it’s a popular hub for both locals and tourists.
There’s a kids’ play area and a bowling green, and it’s a lovely place for a little stroll while you’re in town!
Teignmouth Carnival takes place for a week every summer at The Den and it’s a fiesta of music and fun stalls. If you’re around on the right dates, don’t miss it!
If you want to learn a little more about the history of Teignmouth, with artefacts from people who have lived in the town, check out Teignmouth Museum.
It costs £5 for adult entrance, which includes free re-entry for one year. Under 16s are free with an accompanying adult.
It’s open from 11 am – 3:30 pm Tuesday to Saturday.
Get lost in the town’s backstreets
The multicoloured buildings of Teignmouth are perfect for spending some time wandering round and getting lost.
On my last trip to the town, I spent a while in this part (Google Maps location) just walking around aimlessly, admiring the jolly buildings and plants.
It was one of my favourite parts of the day!
While it’s quite small, Teignmouth lighthouse is a grade II-listed building that still guides boats safely into the harbour today.
From the lighthouse, there are also beautiful views of the estuary and out to see which are worth checking out!
Check out TRAIL art
TRAIL art is an initiative that takes places in Teignmouth every summer.
It’s a sculpture trail that runs along the seafront, with installations offering poignant messages.
Last time I visited, it was just ending for the summer season, and I found all of the installations about recycling very thought-provoking.
Ferry to Shaldon
The Teignmouth to Shaldon Passenger Ferry runs across River Teign and connects the two coastal towns.
Enjoy picturesque views of boats bobbing on the water and charming cottages and terraced houses on either side and rolling hills in the background.
The Shaldon ferry costs £2 and starts and 10:00 am every day.
I boarded the 10:00 am one on my last trip, and heard an amusing conversation between a passenger and the boat driver:
“What time do you go back?”
“Whenever we feel like it!”
Devon – especially lesser touristy towns like Teignmouth – has a much more relaxed pace of life!
However, while I was in Shaldon, I noticed the ferry go backward and forward a few times, so I think that it’s pretty frequent!
Plus, it’s a very quick journey – my trip only took four minutes.
It’s also interestingly thought to be the oldest passenger ferry in the UK – it’s been traced back to 1296 but many experts think that it’s much older.
If you take the Teignmouth to Shaldon ferry over the River Teign, you’ll dock up at Shaldon Beach.
Disembark the boat, and you’ll find yourself on the gorgeous sands.
With red sand with boats lining the sea wall, there isn’t all that much space to stretch out while you’re here, but it’s well worth taking a nice walk down or basking out and enjoying the views.
It’s also a nice place to watch the workings of the river harbour and take in the coastal town!
The Ferry Boat Inn sits just behind the beach, which is a dog-friendly pub that’s loved by locals.
There’s a real-life smuggler’s tunnel near Teignmouth – and walking down it to get to Ness Beach is definitely one of the best things to do in Shaldon!
You need to walk through this tunnel to get to Ness beach. Don’t do what I did, and try to access the beach by climbing over the cliff – it’s literally only accessible by the tunnel!
The tunnel isn’t on Google maps, but it’s right behind Shaldon Wildlife Trust.
Go to the zoo’s location on Google maps and face the river. Then walk a few steps forward and take a right down some steps.
There are some (free to use, BTW) public toilets on your left and the entrance to the tunnel is on your right.
The tunnel gradually descends at first, and then there are some steps to go down (with a hand rail) before coming down to the beach.
It’s dimly lit and you can hear the waves crashing in the distance, which is quite eerie!
It should only take 2-5 minutes to walk through the tunnel, depending on your walking speed!
Ness Cove Beach
One of the most difficult-to-reach beaches in South Devon, Ness Beach is accessed by the old-world Smuggler’s Tunnel!
When you reach Ness Cove Beach, you’ll find red sands, lots of space for outdoor activities and dramatic orange cliffs.
Water sports opportunities are available in the summer months too!
Because it’s quite difficult to get to, it’s one of the best sandy beaches for the summer holidays when everywhere else is jam-packed – in fact, it’s one of my favourite hidden gems in Devon.
Shaldon Botanical Gardens
Shaldon Botanical Gardens sit above the town and are a really pleasant place for an afternoon stroll.
They were constructed in the late 1920s and opened in the early 1930s, aiming to be somewhere where locals and tourists could relax and enjoy incredible vistas of the town.
The gardens are nowadays kept in excellent shape, with lots of flora to enjoy, and epic views over the River Teign and the town.
Shaldon Castle isn’t really a castle – it was actually originally a summerhouse!
That being said, it does look like a castle, so it’s quite cool to check out!
It sits at the top end of the botanical gardens.
Shaldon Approach Golf Course
This 18-hole golf course is perfect for any fans of the sport!
Hole distances are between 60 and 120 yards and it affords immense views over the Teign estuary.
There’s no need to book, but if you have questions about the course, call 01626 872484.
Located close to the tunnel where you can walk to Ness Cove Beach, Cafe Ode is a unique Devon establishment.
With a seasonal menu, they offer daily specials depending on what produce is seasonal and freshest.
I wanted to try it out when I was in Shaldon – so I ordered a North African bean and cappuccino with oat milk, which cost just over £11.
To be honest, while I liked the concept and it had friendly staff, I was a little disappointed with my dish, which was really just an elaborate bowl of baked beans.
There could be more veggie/ vegan options too – there was only one on the menu and oat milk was 40p extra.
The interior is rustic, with exposed beams and lots of light coming in. There’s also ample space to sit outside and enjoy the vistas of the River Teign.
As the menu changes seasonally, I’d love to return when there’s a different veggie option on the menu!
Teignmouth to Dawlish Walk
For stunning views over the South West Coast Path, I’d recommend taking the Teignmouth to Dawlish walk!
The first part follows the sea wall as far as Holcombe.
Then it involves a bit of uphill and downhill – the good news is that you’ll take in some amazing views over the beautiful coastline.
Eventually, you’ll end up in Dawlish, Teignmouth’s neighbour which is famous for black swans and has a host of lovely tearooms!
Don’t want to walk to Dawlish? You can take the bus or train there, and it’s definitely worth spending some time here!
I’ve wrote a full post about the best things to do in Dawlish, but here are some of them:
- walk along Dawlish water and see the black swans
- enjoy a cream tea at Annie’s Tea Room
- learn about the town at Dawlish Museum
- kick back on Dawlish beach
- walk to Dawlish Warren and take in this coastal resort town
Places to visit near Teignmouth
- Torbay: This area encompasses Paignton, Brixham and Torquay and features attractions like Babbacombe Model Village, Torre Abbey, Kents Cavern Cave and countless incredible beaches!
- Powderham Castle: Sitting on the Exe Estuary, this majestic castle dates back to the 14th century, when it was built for Sir Philip Courtenay, the Earl of Devon. The current Earl of Devon, Charles Peregrine Courtenay, still lives there!
- Exmouth: Home of Stuart Line Cruises and A LA Ronde, Exmouth is an action-packed coastal town with so many attractions.
- Buckfastleigh: This is home to the famous Buckfast Abbey Church, which is where Buckfast Cider is made!
- Bovey Tracey: This is the gateway to Dartmoor, with attractions like Becky Falls, and in town you can experience the House of Marbles.
Where to stay in Teignmouth
Here are some of the best places to stay in Teignmouth:
In Shaldon, you can stay in gorgeous refurbished rooms above The Ness Pub. These rooms have comfy beds, crisp white bedlinen and decorations with a nautical theme, and each has its own bathroom. Read more information here.
Teign View @ Grand Banks is a deluxe apartment that sleeps up to four people – there’s a double bed in one room and two single beds in another. Views of the estuary beckon, with a spacious terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows. On rainy days, enjoy the fully equipped modern kitchen and stylish seating area.
Where is Teignmouth Devon?
Teignmouth is in Devon, just to the east of the Teign Estuary and a short distance from the River Exe.
What is Teignmouth famous for?
Teignmouth is famous for its charming pier, Georgian townhouses and beautiful beaches.
John Keats also once lived there!
How to get to Teignmouth
For a Devonshire town of its size, Teignmouth is quite well connected. It has a train station and bus links; from here you can get to Exeter, Plymouth, Exmouth and even London quite easily.
The Black Swan bus (?) is an open-topped bus that connects Teighmouth with Dawlish and Dawlish Warren.
Alternatively, there are rail links to Paignton one way, and Exeter and Exmouth the other.
It’s about an X drive from Teignmouth to Exeter, and a X drive to London.
When to visit Teignmouth
Most of South Devon is very busy during the peak summer months – although Teignmouth is generally a bit quieter than its counterparts further west.
However, I’d still recommend avoiding it during the school holidays if you can.
My favourite time to explore Devon is May or early September when the kids are still in school and the summer rush has either not yet begun or has just ended.
What shops are there in Teignmouth?
There are quite a few boutique stores in Teignmouth, including Shop Dead Gorgeous and Tom Thumb Boutique.
Supermarket-wise, there’s a Lidl and Morrisons.
How do you pronounce Teignmouth in Devon?
Teignmouth is one of those strange British places that’s pronounced completely differently to how it’s written!
It’s pronounced “tin-muth”.
Make sure that you say it right when you’re there to impress locals!
How much does it cost to park in Teignmouth?
There are a few car parks in Teignmouth.
One of the most popular is Quay Road car park, which has 171 spots and costs £4.40 for all-day parking (and £3.80 for four hours).
To reach this car park, put the postcode TQ14 8EL into your Sat Nav.
Is Teignmouth beach dog friendly?
Dogs are permitted on Teignmouth beach from October to April, but not during the summer months.
This is in line with many beaches in Devon.
Is Teignmouth worth visiting?
YES, Teignmouth is definitely worth visiting!
The hordes of tourists haven’t quite discovered it yet, but I think that that’s part of its charm.
I love the coastal atmosphere that you only really get in local Devonshire towns and villages.
The people are incredibly friendly and there are some great attractions, as well as restaurants serving tasty food.
For me, the highlights are definitely taking the boat to Shaldon and finding Ness Cove Beach and hiking to Dawlish.
Don’t miss this adorable coastal town when you’re exploring Devon!