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.
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.