Welcome to the heart of the South Hams, an area of outstanding natural beauty in South Devon, which enjoys warm summers and mild winters. The area is an array of small market towns and quaint villages, many are situated along the coastline, and all of which have their own unique character.
For information on our coastal villages please visit our Beach guide.
You will find the area has plenty to offer all generations, whether you like to ramble along the South West Coast path www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk, the network of inland Green lanes, explore small towns and villages, or perhaps magnificent gardens and historic houses. Family adventure centres and visitor attractions are plentiful, along with sailing, water sports, fishing and golf, or perhaps just a lazy day on one of the many award-winning beaches in the vicinity.
Thurlestone takes its name for the 'thirled stone', an arch formation of rock located just offshore in the Thurlestone Bay. The vista is of dramatic cliffs, sandy coves and rolling countryside. The village has pretty cream and pink stone built cottages with thatched roofs, making it the quintessential Devon Village.
This South Devon village has a thriving community spirit and even supports a primary school. The Village Hall is regularly used for community events, coffee mornings and film nights. The 13th Century All Saints Church offers a service for all every Sunday at 11.00am. There is also a post office and shop offering local treats and gifts.
The South West Coast path is easily accessible offering you walks to Hope Cove and Salcombe, or over the Thurlestone Golf Course which is set on the stunning cliff tops (lessons and discounted green fees are available for our guests) www.thurlestonegolfclub.co.uk to the picturesque village of Bantham.
You can relax and enjoy a few beaches along the Thurlestone coastline:
Thurlestone & South Milton Sands is a wide sandy beach, owned by the National Trust and has parking and amenities. The beach is ideal for families; there is a small beach café (open throughout the year), and a rocky shoreline for rock pooling. During the summer months windsurfing and canoeing tuition and hire are available.
Leasfoot is a smaller beach, with fine shingle sand, and again sheltered waters. A quiet traditional beach, ideal for a lazy day, beach games and rock pooling.
Yarmer is a small sandy beach, directly below the golf course.
Broadsands is a pleasant bathing beach, with good rock pooling at low tide.
Thurlestone Marsh and South Milton Ley are both of special scientific interest, being a haven for fauna, wild life and bird watching.
Bantham (1 mile) is renowned for its 'chocolate' box image of thatched cottages, which lead to the vast sandy beach known as the 'locals' beach. See our beach guide for further information.
Kingsbridge (5 miles) is a bustling and friendly market town, which lies at the head of the Kingsbridge and Salcombe Estuary. The town is often referred to as the 'capital' of the South Hams.
Many weekly and monthly activities take place on the Quay area of the town, trade and farmers markets, and music concerts during the summer months. The town also hosts an annual music festival in June and carnival week is in July.
You will find ample parking, either on the quayside or at the top of the main street. Street parking is available but is time limited.
The main shopping street is Fore Street, which leads away from the Quay area and is lined with a variety of shops; for your every day needs, to boutiques and jewellers. The town also has art galleries, which offer exhibitions and workshops. www.harbourhouse.org.uk or www.maynegallery.co.uk
The Town Hall is home to the Reel Cinema www.reelcinema.co.ukand also hosts regular craft fairs, and to the top of Fore Street is the Cookworthy Museum www.kingsbridgemuseum.org.uk, which is located in the old School House. The museum tells the tale of local history and rural life.
The Rivermaid ferry departs regularly from Kingsbridge to Salcombe, it also offers Estuary and Wildlife cruises (April – October only). For timetable information please visit www.kingsbridgesalcombeferry.co.uk
For further information on Kingsbridge and the surrounding area visit www.kingsbridgeinfo.co.uk
Salcombe (7 miles) is Devon's most southerly town, located at the mouth of the estuary. It is a busy marine town, the ideal place for the boating and water sports enthusiast. You will find many businesses offering boat hire, fishing trips, coastal cruises and tuition in all water sports.
The narrow, main street is lined with a variety of shops, the town boasts the likes of Crew, Henri Lloyd, White Stuff, Fat Face and Jack Wills, to name but a few.
You can also enjoy a variety of eateries along the main street from the local pubs, to fine dining restaurants, many of which serve the Salcombe catch of the day.
The town is home to the local lifeboat 'Baltic Exchange III', and there is also a small maritime museum. The town has the popular beaches of North & South Sands, along with 'Overbecks' a National Trust property www.nationaltrust.org.uk with a magnificent tropical garden.
Please remember that parking is limited in the town and it is recommended that you use the Park & Ride service during the summer months.
From Salcombe you can take the passenger ferry across the estuary and discover the sheltered cove of Mill Bay, or explore further afield along the coastal path.
For further information on Salcombe, please visit www.salcombeinformation.co.uk
Totnes (16 miles) is an ancient market town situated in an upper valley of the River Dart. The town is famous today for its weekly Pannier Market and Elizabethan charity mornings.
The town's main high street is dominated by architectural delights, especially the clock tower. A wide range of shops line the narrow, steep hill. Totnes is well known for its craft shops, antiquarian bookshops and whole food shops, selling local produce.
There is plenty to do in and around Totnes, with a variety of small museums and the historic castle, which is prominent on the hillside.
For further information on Totnes, please vist www.totnesinformation.co.uk
From the Quayside in Totnes you can enjoy abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery on a cruise down the estuary of the River Dart, to the historic port of Dartmouth www.dartmouthrailriver.co.uk
Why not take a trip back in time on the South Devon Railway. The Great Western Steam train runs from the edge of the town (near the main Totnes Train station) and meanders to Buckfastleigh along the banks of the River Dart. www.southdevonrailway.co.uk Also near the train station in Totnes is the Rare Breeds centre www.rarebreeds.org.uk
At Buckfastleigh (19 miles) you can visit the Butterfly and Otter Sanctuary www.ottersandbutterlies.co.uk or wander further into the town where you will discover the famous Buckfast Abbey, a living Benedictine monastery www.buckfast.org.uk
Dartington (17 miles) is just a short distance from Totnes (2 miles) with the world famous Dartington Arts College and Hall, and home to Dartington Cider Press centre, www.dartington.org.uk a large craft centre offering a variety of merchandise, including Dartington Glass from Torrington.
Dartmouth (16 miles) is situated at the mouth of the River Dart with the Britannia Royal Naval College dominant on the hillside. The town's main asset is its deep-water harbour, which is popular for visiting naval vessels, small cruise liners, pleasure craft and a commercial fishing fleet.
Dartmouth is popular for sailing with many companies offering boat hire, private charter and tuition, along with the river and coastal cruises. www.dartmouthrailriver.co.uk You can also enjoy the round robin – cruise to Totnes on the river, open-air bus to Paignton and steam train back to Kingswear.
The streets of Dartmouth are filled with an array of shops; art galleries, boutiques and gifts – you will always find something that little bit different here.
The Royal Dartmouth Regatta takes place at the end of August every year, a very popular local event, offering interest to all on and off the water.
Long stay parking is limited in Dartmouth and the Park & Ride is recommended during the main summer season.
For further information on Dartmouth and the surrounding area, please visit www.discoverdartmouth.com
Modbury (8 miles) is a small town, with a car park tucked away behind the main street and is well worth a stop on your way to Plymouth. The town has an array of gift shops, an art gallery along with shops for the everyday essentials. The town became well known in 2007 as being the first town to declare itself plastic bag free – so don't forget to take your own shopping bag with you!
Newton Ferrers (17 miles) and Noss Mayo (17 miles) are two villages that lie opposite each other on the banks of the River Yealm; both are totally unspoilt with steep wooded banks and creeks, and will offer you a tranquil visit, with some stunning scenery along the local footpaths. www.newtonnoss.co.uk
For some of our coastal villages; Bantham (1 mile), Hope Cove (7 miles) Bigbury on Sea (8 miles), East Portlemouth (12 miles), East Prawle (12 miles), Hallsands (13 miles), Beesands (12 miles) and Torcross (11 miles) please see our Beach Guide page.
Our large cities are Plymouth (20 miles) a vibrant waterfront city with a rich maritime heritage and historic Exeter (40 miles) capital of Devon, both are certainly worth visiting for the shopping experience alone, but do also offer many cultural, leisure and sporting attractions.
Plymouth is famous for the Pilgrim Fathers, setting sail from the Mayflower steps, which you will find on the waterfront of the historic Barbican area. Here you can explore the quaint cobbled quayside, art galleries and antique shops, along with one of Plymouths finest exports the Blackfriars Gin Distillery. There is also the Merchants House Museum, and The National Marine Aquarium www.national-aquarium.co.uk, is easily accessible with its deepwater fish tanks dedicated to ocean life.
From Plymouth Hoe you can enjoy the stunning waterfront scenery, Smeatons Tower, and the restored Tinside Lido, an art deco outdoor swimming pool set into the rocks and filled by the sea.
The breakwater of Plymouth Sound offers many maritime opportunities – sailing, canoeing, water-skiing, scuba diving and windsurfing, or why not take a leisurely cruise on the water around Drakes Island, the Naval Dockyards, Devonport Naval Base or travel further down the River Tamar.
The modern city centre is ideal for shopping, Drake Circus provides you with ample car parking www.drakecircus.com, and here you will find all the big name high street shops, along with smaller independent retailers and of course the traditional market.
The Theatre Royal showcases high-class productions throughout the year, many of which are on tour from the West End www.theatreroyal.co.uk, and the Pavilions offers an array of live entertainment and leisure facilities including an indoor ice rink www.plymouthpavillions.com. The City Museum and Art Gallery is well worth a visit, especially its Natural History section.
Other attractions include a dry ski and snow board slope www.jnlplymouth.co.uk located on the city outskirts, multiplex cinema and ten-pin bowling can be found at the Barbican Leisure centre www.barbican-leisure.co.uk.
For more information Plymouth, please visit www.visitplymouth.co.uk
Exeter has many fascinating historic attractions, the main being the magnificent St Peter's Cathedral www.exeter-cathedral.org.uk, dominant in the heart of the city. The Cathedral is a fine example of medieval architecture. Why not take a Red Coat walking tour, various walks around the city including the medieval Underground passages, or a leisurely stroll on the quayside.
Shopping is a unique experience www.exetershopping.org, with all the major high street brands, designer boutiques and many independent retailers.
For first time visitors to the city, the 'Park n Ride' scheme on the outskirts of the city is recommended, this will take you into the heart of the shopping district.
For further information on Exeter, please visit www.heartofdevon.com
Dartmoor National Park covers a staggering area of 368 square miles in the heart of Devon, with over 450 miles of public rights of way www.discoverdartmoor.net. There is so much to discover and explore with the dramatic, rugged and picturesque landscapes – heather clad moorland, forests, obscure stone Tors, wide-open landscapes, rolling valleys, waterfalls and rushing rivers and of course don't forget the wildlife, ponies and cattle.
You will find picture postcard villages with thatched cottages and rambling lanes, along with historic market towns to visit such as – Ivybridge, Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Chagford, Tavistock, Moretonhampstead, Princetown and Widecombe
You can participate in so many activities - cycling, climbing, canoeing, horse riding, hiking.
There are also many attractions to visit – The Garden House, Castle Drogo, Morwellham Quay, Princetown Prison Museum, House of Marbles, The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Miniature Pony Centre and Dartmoor Zoological Park.
For further information on Dartmoor, please visit www.dartmoor.co.uk
You may also find the following websites useful when planning your stay at Thurlestone.
South Devon www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk
Visit Devon www.visitdevon.co.uk
National Trust www.nationaltrust.org.uk
South Devon AONB www.southdevonaonb.org.uk