Pebbles, sand, surf and rock pools
Sidmouth effectively has two beaches, although they are connected at low tide. A stroll westward along the esplanade takes you the full length of the main beach and then you can follow a walkway under overhanging cliffs to carry on around to Jacob’s Ladder beach. They are both pebble beaches at high tide, but as the tide goes out it reveals rock pools and firm sand, excellent for sand castles. When the tide is full in there isn’t enough sand for making sandcastles but you can still build mini sculptures by balancing pebbles. See how many you can stack before they topple – it’s harder than it looks! The water is clean and usually meets the Environment Agency’s highest standards for water quality. Both beaches are fairly safe for swimming as long as the off shore breakwaters are avoided as there can be strong currents around them.
Janine M wrote “Myself and the children can spend hours on the beach looking at pebbles and beach combing. Nature is a wonderful thing, we found some beauties. Our theme this trip was ‘holes’ and found pebbles, shells, wood and glass with holes through.” (February 2019).
Facilities at Sidmouth main beach
There are cafes and ice cream stands opposite the Esplanade and it’s only a short walk from the main beach to all the facilities of the town centre. There are also often summer time boat cruises around Sidmouth Bay. Dogs are not permitted on the main town beach from 1 May to 30 September.
Facilities at Jacob’s Ladder Beach
From Jacob’s Ladder beach there are steep wooden steps up to the Connaught Gardens – it’s these steps that give the beach it’s name. At the top you’ll find public toilets, beautiful gardens and the Clock Tower cafe. If the steps look too steep for you then there’s also a footpath winding up the slope. Half way up the cliff side there’s a small kiosk, again up some steps, which sells snacks, sandwiches, ice creams and some beach equipment. Dogs are allowed all year round on Jacob’s Ladder beach.
Getting to the beaches
If you haven’t got much to carry then the beaches are easily walkable from Chandler’s Cottage. However, if you have a lot of beach equipment then driving or getting a bus are both good options. There is a large car park in the town centre and another on the hillside near to the Connaught Gardens. Note that on sunny days during peak holiday weeks (July to August) the car parks can fill up by lunch time. Parking can be especially difficult during the Folk Festival in the first week of August. There are regular buses passing near to Chandler’s Cottage that set down at the ‘Triangle’, a few minutes walk from the Esplanade.
Click a picture to see the full size photo album:
What some of our guests thought about Sidmouth seafront and beaches:
- “Quiet, lovely sea front, choice of places to eat, relaxing.” Paul B from Bedfordshire, February 2013.
- “Lovely beach – great swimming – sandy at low to mid tide.” Caroline W from Portishead, May 2014
Find out more from these web sites:
- Britishbeaches.co.uk has approximate tide times for Jacob’s Ladder beach – useful as there is no sand for a couple of hours either side of high tide.
- Travelinesw.com has timetables for buses to Sidmouth Triangle.
- Stuart Line Cruises run boat trips from Sidmouth beach.
- Stonebalancing.com show’s examples of Adrian Grey’s work, much of which he created on East Devon and Dorset beaches.