I just love the style and refinement of East Devon, and of course, the great finds in second-hand stores (but that’s another article). And if you want to relax and revive on the coast in style, you can’t do better than the charming town of Budleigh Salterton. Read on for everything you need to know about accommodation, food and drink, shopping and generally having a great time in Budleigh Salterton.
Why visit Budleigh Salterton?
This seaside town is the definition of genteel. I mean it’s packed with coastal grandmas and the increasingly fashionable coastal grandpas, all with a classic Hugh Grant-ish look of bemusement, old–school Land Rover Defenders, beautiful King Charles spaniels, Labs, and other gorgeous dogs on the leash.
The town definitely has the heritage and credentials in keeping with its cultivation. It is the boyhood home of Sir Walter Raleigh, depicted beautifully in the famous 1870 painting by John Everett Millais.
For an often ramshackle freelancer wearing many hats with kids in tow, the town was incredibly forgiving. After a few days of wanting to explore, run, shout, and be our noisy selves, the peaceful and tranquil atmosphere and warm welcome of the locals had its way and soon even the most boisterous of our tribe was calmly enjoying our promenade strolls with a polite ‘good morning’ to all and sundry.
It’s a great spot if you are traveling on public transport as you are only 30 minutes away from Exeter St David’s by bus or taxi. It is good if you’re car-free because there is so much going on locally that you really don’t need to zip about here and there to see diverse attractions. Let your feet do their thing and explore, the town will show you itself and you’ll feel like a local in no time at all. Parents, come, have a rest, and save the entrance fee cash for hearty treats from Sampsons Butchery and Deli, rather than the usual half-term assault course!
So if you are looking for a break in a charming East Devon town, this Jurassic Coast hotspot is ideal. Budleigh Salterton is surrounded by stunning natural scenery, including an expansive pebble beach, which is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a dip in the sea. The town is also home to a lively high street that features lots of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants that deliver a taste of the local culture and cuisine.
What to do in Budleigh Salterton
One thing that will bring me back to Budleigh Salterton is that there is a lot going on, even out of season. Having spent time in the town during the Feb half-term I was impressed with how well the weather held up, allowing us to see a lot of the town and coastline. Visitors of all ages and interests should find something that they will really enjoy.
Budleigh Salterton beaches and coastline
Budleigh Salterton has a unique pebble beach that stretches for 2.5 miles. The pebbles are large and round. If you walk it regularly during your stay, you’ll know the whole town in a couple of days. The beach is popular for kayaking, paddle boarding, and sea fishing, with lobster creels and small boats on the shore.
There is also a beautiful heap of pebble art, where locals have painted a wide range of designs and messages for visitors to enjoy. Apparently, Budleigh Salterton has its own pebble art Banksy who creates outstanding artworks, and of course, everyone wants to make their own recreational cairns, which are sprouting up every few meters along the beach.
Walking and hiking in Budleigh
Budleigh Salterton is a fantastic location to explore the stunning coastline and countryside on foot by following one of the many walking and hiking trails in the area.
We make hitting the South West Coastal Path a priority whenever we are by the sea, walking east or west as far as our legs can take us. Budleigh Salterton is located at the start of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I also loved the Otter Estuary Nature Reserve. This 33-hectare nature reserve is a unique and varied salt marsh habitat that is just packed with wildlife. This is a place that young children will love as you’ll see lapwings, curlews, and apparently, there are actually otters. Here is a video (not great as I don’t have a selfie stick) of a walk I took through the estuary sometime in 2022:
Best Budleigh Salterton local attractions
Budleigh Salterton has a range of local attractions to explore, including the Fairlynch Museum and Arts Centre, which showcases the town’s history and culture. It is a very Devonish building with whitewashed walls and a lovely thatched roof.
You will have to travel out of town (just beyond East Budleigh), but the nearby Bicton Park Botanical Gardens is also worth a visit, with its stunning gardens and glasshouses. You can also unleash your inner sommelier by taking a tour of Lily Farm Vineyard, which is just on the outskirts of the town.
Budleigh also has a classic English cricket club with a full roster of matches in the spring and summer months. I could definitely see myself picnicking in a beautiful white dress, big sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and sipping something cool and refreshing while watching a match!
Budleigh Salterton is just the place to have a thriving croquet club. Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club is one of the best in Europe and boasts over 11 international-class lawns at offer impressive views of Lyme Bay. The club runs a packet calendar of matches and croquet courses throughout the year.
And yes, Golf Dad does not go neglected on a Budleigh Salterton trip. The town boasts a Top 100 golf course, again with beautiful coastal scenery. Just remember to retrieve him from there.
Events and festivals in Budleigh Salterton
Budleigh Salterton also hosts a range of events and festivals throughout the year, including the annual Literary Festival, which attracts best-selling authors and literary enthusiasts from around the world.
The town also hosts a range of music and arts festivals, including the Budleigh Music Festival and the Budleigh Salterton Art Festival.
Upcoming 2023 Budleigh Salterton events include:
- Saturday 6th May 2023: The Salterton Arms Coronation Party – 6 pm
- Saturday 6th May 2023: The Budleigh Salterton Coronation Street Party – 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm – £6
- Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June: Budleigh Salterton Gala Week
- Saturday 8th July to Sunday 16th July: Budleigh Music Festival
- Wednesday 20th September to Sunday 24th September: Budleigh Literary Festival
- Saturday 1st October: Budleigh Salterton Carnival
- December: Late night Christmas Shopping
You can find out what’s on in Budleigh during your stay by popping into the friendly Budleigh Salterton Information Centre.
Budleigh Salterton’s delicious food and drink
Budleigh is also a destination that is popular with gastronomes, foodies, and epicureans. And with good reason too. We were delighted with massive portions of fish and chips every night from Budleigh Fish & Chips on Chapel Street and homemade fry-up featuring slabs of Sampson’s bacon and their delicious sausages. But if your tastes and budget are a little more sophisticated, here are some of the town’s best spots:
The best pubs and restaurants in Budleigh Salterton
For those who enjoy traditional pub grub, The Feathers Hotel is a great option. With a menu that includes classic dishes such as fish and chips, steak and ale pie, and a decent house burger, this pub is perfect for a hearty meal.
If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, The Salty Monk is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers a fine dining experience. The menu features locally-sourced ingredients and changes regularly to reflect the seasons.
For those who enjoy a good pint, there are several pubs in Budleigh Salterton that are worth a visit. The Dog and Donkey is a traditional pub that serves a range of real ales, while The Sir Walter Raleigh is a classic East Devon pub that also serves delicious locally-sourced food.
Brook Kitchen on Fore Street, is another popular spot for relaxed and informal dining or just a good cup of coffee in beautiful surroundings. You can browse or buy artwork at Brook Gallery, before or after your meal. L’image Boutique & Interiors has a similar mix of great design and delicious food!
OB’s – Ophelia-Beaux’s Cafe is another relaxed spot where you can enjoy a hot drink and slabs of creamy patisserie!
East Devon local produce in Budleigh
Budleigh Salterton is located in the heart of Devon, which means there is an abundance of local produce available. The town is home to several independent shops that sell locally-sourced meat, fish, and vegetables. Orchard Wholefoods, run by the very friendly Jane is an ideal stop for health foods including local eggs and honey.
The Otterton Mill is a great place to visit if you’re looking to stock up on local produce. The mill is home to a bakery, a deli, and a shop that sells a range of local products.
If you’re looking to sample some of the local produce, there are several farmers’ markets in the area. The Budleigh Salterton Farmers’ Market takes place on the last Friday of every month and features a range of locally-sourced produce.
Shop til you drop in Budleigh Salterton
If you’re keen to hit the high street, Budleigh is packed with independent shops meaning that you can find something unique, rather than trawl the sales rail in M&S or Monsoon for the millionth time.
Delight yourself with a new dress or just browse at Angies of Budleigh, a snazzy boutique that is ideal for picking up sandals, loafers, hats, and bags with a classy coastal vibe.
Sadly Richard’s Menswear will be closing soon, due to the owner retiring. There is a cracking sale on right now (Spring 2023)!
Another excellent outfitters is Fifty Degrees Clothing on the Fore Street end of town:
There are gifts a-plenty at Tilli Decor, Reflections Stationery, Gifts & Collectibles, or Carters Homewares.
Alternatively, you could unleash your inner Loveyjoy and Tinker Dill as you browse the town’s fine selection of antique shops that include The Victoria Auction Rooms, Peggy Oldham Antiques, and vintage clothiers, Days of Grace.
Accommodation in Budleigh Salterton
Budleigh Salterton offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. From hotels to bed and breakfasts and holiday cottages, there is something for everyone.
There is a wide range of accommodation options available in Budleigh Salterton, including bed and breakfasts, hotels, glamping sites, and holiday rentals. Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel or a cosy bed and breakfast, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay in Budleigh Salterton.
Budleigh Salterton Hotels
There are several hotels in Budleigh Salterton, ranging from budget-friendly to luxury. The Syon House Hotel is a popular choice, offering comfortable rooms and a convenient location just a short walk from the beach. The Long Range is another option, offering sea views and a peaceful atmosphere. For those looking for a more luxurious stay, the Victoria Hotel is a great choice, with its spa and fine dining restaurant.
Bed and Breakfasts in Budleigh Salterton
For a more personal touch, bed and breakfasts are a great option. The Heath Close Bed and Breakfast is a highly-rated option, offering comfortable rooms and a delicious breakfast. The Blue Anchor Bed and Breakfast is another great choice, with its friendly hosts and convenient location.
Favourite Budleigh Salterton Holiday Cottages
On our trips to Budleigh Salterton we have really enjoyed having the run of the town’s beautiful holiday cottages that are usually just seconds from the beach. I love to cook, so I make the most of local shops and we enjoy creating some delicious meals and snacks in the kitchen. Here are some great picks for a seaside self-catering holiday in Budleigh Salterton:
Rayna, a leading East Devon landscape gardener has one of the town’s best holiday properties. Stone’s Throw is an amazing 3-bedroom flat above the Co-op on the High Street, and obviously a ‘stone’s throw’ from the beach! It is well-equipped, beautifully furnished, and tastefully decorated.
This coastal cottage, tucked away a few minutes from the beach is ideal for a family stay. The kids will love the garden, and with so much great meat and fish around, a BBQ will definitely be in order.
This Twosies cottage is ideal for a couple who would enjoy a walking or cycling break in Budleigh. You also have garden access and can enjoy privacy and seclusion while being near the sea.
How to get to Budleigh Salterton
Budleigh Salterton is located in East Devon, England. You can fly your Learjet or Helicopter into Exeter International Airport, which is approximately 10 miles away from the town.
Alternatively, for visitors coming from London, the easiest way to get to Budleigh Salterton is by taking a train from London Paddington to Exeter St Davids (GWR). The journey takes approximately 3 hours and 12 minutes. From Exeter St Davids, visitors can take a bus or a taxi to Budleigh Salterton.
If you’re driving in from Southampton or further East, take the scenic route by driving along the A35.
Getting Around Budleigh Salterton
Budleigh Salterton is a small town that can easily be explored on foot. You also have the choice of several bus routes that run through Budleigh Salterton, taking you into Exeter and the surrounding areas.
The main bus operator in the area is Stagecoach South West, which operates several routes connecting Budleigh Salterton to Exmouth, Exeter, and other nearby towns. Here are the main routes with links to the bus timetables:
- 157: Exmouth – Sidmouth/Budleigh Salterton
- 257: Exmouth – Sidmouth/Budleigh Salterton
- 356: Budleigh Salterton – Aylesbeare – Exeter
- 357: Exmouth – Sidmouth/Budleigh Salterton
Visitors can also take a taxi to get around Budleigh Salterton and the surrounding areas. There are several taxi companies in the town, including Budleigh Taxis and Salterton Taxis. We used both and found the drivers helpful and knowledgeable.
Budleigh Salterton is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the beauty and charm of the English countryside. With its stunning scenery, rich history, and friendly locals, it’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with this town. So why not plan a trip to Budleigh Salterton today and discover everything this wonderful town has to offer?