Type of beach - sand
Where to park - Various car parks along the sea front, including long stay ones along Queen’s Drive. We parked at Orcombe Red Rocks on one occasion which was up near the very modern and impressive lifeboat station.
Where to eat - try the new Queen's Drive Space (see below) which features Devon stallholders coordinated by Taste of the West all summer. Their offerings include excellent fish and chips and quality burgers, but also innovative and satisfying dumplings, a very healthy falafel and smoothie stall, and an ingenious Thai pan-rolled ice-cream stand. There is also a fantastic ice-cream outlet behind the lifeboat station.
Public toilets - also located along the sea front at several points close to parking.
How far away is it? Google Maps says 37 minutes.
Type of beach - pebble but with access to the River Otter estuary where it is a bit more sandy/silty.
Where to park - Lime Kiln car park has plenty of spaces right next to the beach and the estuary.
Where to eat - A little cafe called Fifty Degrees North very close to the Lime Kiln car park sells food including Budleigh lobster and crab sandwiches and salads and a wide range of delicious icecream.
Public toilets - from the car park turn right behind the beach huts, past the cafe and the toilets are soon on your right.
How far away is it? 41 minutes
Type of beach - mix of sand, rock pools and pebbles.
Where to park - We usually park in the Manor Road long stay car park at the top of the hill and either walk down the fairly steep but step-free pedestrian sloping path to the beach or back down the road to the town itself. You can also walk through Connaught Gardens (a park opposite the car park’s pedestrian exit) and through the gorgeous walled gardens of The Clock Tower cakery and restaurant which serves excellent crab almost whichever way you want it. You can then descend the Jacob's Ladder staircase after which the beach is named.
Where to eat - Besides The Clock Tower cakery mentioned above, there are some fantastic eateries right on the sea front. We particularly like the small and friendly Pea Green Boat and Mocha Cafe, which does a fantastic fish platter. There are plenty of places to get fish and chips and ice-creams too. The Bedford Hotel on the junction with the B3176 has been recommended to me for a good value, silver service Sunday lunch.
Public toilets - available on the seafront and in the Market Place in the centre of the shopping area.
How far away is it? 41 minutes
Type of beach - pebble, steeply shelving at the water’s edge, great for swimming. Also good for attempting to pile up as many stones as you can in a tower before they fall over.
Where to park - make sure you follow the signs to avoid the smallest roads, access to Branscombe is steep and narrow in places. The beachfront car park also has a vehicle height restriction. It is an odd system of paying - you can buy a certain amount and top it up if you overstay your original ticket. A new ticket is given to you but you must calculate the time you have left from when the original ticket ran out. If in doubt read the signs very carefully. Numberplate recognition cameras are in operation on entering and leaving the car park and some people have been caught out and sent tickets.
Where to eat - there is a fantastic cafe called The Sea Shanty right on the beach which also does ice creams. There is a very attractive looking pub in the village, The Mason’s Arms, the terrace of which catches the evening sun and is always very enticing when leaving the beach to drive home!
Public toilets - in the car park
How far away is it? 38 minutes
Where to park - when it's quiet you may be lucky to find a place right down near the fresh fish shop almost on the beach or in the tiny car park just before the road that goes down to the sea. If it is busier there is a larger car park behind the Dolphin Inn and the even larger Cliff Top car park up on the headland in summer.
Where to eat - We usually get fish and chips to eat on the beach from The Beer Fish and Chip Shop just up from The Dolphin Inn. Be aware they only accept cash, but the post office just over the road and towards the beach a bit dispenses cash (and their soft drinks are also way cheaper than in the chip shop). The Anchor Inn at the end of Fore Street has a fantastically situated beer garden with views over the beach. Ducky’s cafe on the beach does a good full English breakfast if you fancy a reward after a bracing early morning swim.
Public toilets - are available just above the beach and the playground.
How far away is it? 39 minutes
Where to park - top tip for Lyme is to come into town on the Charmouth Road and park at the Charmouth Road long stay car park. That way you avoid driving through the tiniest streets of the town centre. From the car park you can walk down some stairs onto the beach to look for ammonite fossils in the flat rocks and walk along the sea wall to the town and the harbour which is known as The Cobb. There is a car park behind the Heritage Coast Centre in Charmouth.
Where to eat - There are a couple of fish and chip stalls at the Cobb where sand has been brought in for children to play. For an upmarket eatery try Hix Oyster and Fish House for fabulous seafood and views to match.
Public toilets - in the Charmouth Road car park in Lyme and beside the Heritage Coast Centre in Charmouth.
How far away is it? Lyme is 44 minutes away and Charmouth 41.