This unspoiled cove was once the home of fishermen and smugglers. Now it’s a popular beach on the English Riviera coastline.
Relax and soak up the sun on the shingle sands of Babbacombe Beach. Take the 1920s Babbacombe Cliff Railway to the top of the cliffs and walk along the highest promenade in England. Fish from the breakwater, take a sailboat out on the waves or scuba dive beneath them.
Babbacombe has been settled since before records began and was historically known as a smuggler’s haven. It was also the home of John “Babbacombe” Lee, a local who became known as “the man they couldn’t hang” after three attempts to hang him for murder. With the decline of the fishing industry, the area capitalized on its unusual history and beautiful scenery, becoming a popular tourist resort in the early 20th century. See the caves where the smugglers hid their wares and enjoy a beach walk or day on the sands.
While tourists flock to Torre Abbey Sands, Babbacombe is the more popular spot with locals. Relax and enjoy the sun in the summer, sunbathe on the sands or swim in the ocean. In the colder months take long walks while the beach is at its quietest. Enjoy fishing and sailing in all weather or pull on a wetsuit and try scuba diving. With its sheltered location and interesting underwater features, the beach has become a popular scuba training venue.
Stroll up the steep hillside to Babbacombe Downs or take the Babbacombe Cliff Railway, which was built in 1926. Enjoy the ascent from inside a tram-like funicular cart. Walk along the promenade atop the 240-foot (73-meter) red-clay cliffs, the highest in England, and enjoy spectacular views of the bay. Sample local specialties, from Devonshire cream tea to Brixham crab sandwiches, at the local cafés and restaurants.
Babbacombe Beach is in Torquay, roughly 24 miles (39 kilometers) south of Exeter and 32 miles (51 kilometers) east of Plymouth. Get here with local bus services or by car, with a parking lot available near the beach. Local accommodations are available in Babbacombe itself, with a range of options including hotels, cottages and guest houses. The beach has an on-site café, restrooms with disabled access and dog-friendly sections.