We recently had a long weekend (bank holiday) in England and as it was August (and wanted to make the most of the last few days of summer) we decided to go on a camping trip to Devon. We spent three beautiful days exploring the area of Croyde Bay in North Devon. Croyde Bay is a sleepy little surf village with thatched roof cottages and lots of old-world charm. It reminded me in many ways of an English version of Tofino, Canada. As always I thought I would write a little guide on everything to see, do and eat in Croyde, Devon!
WHERE TO STAY IN CROYDE BAY
We originally were going to ‘wild camp,’ but ended up booking a camp site at the last-minute. We stayed at Bay View Farm Campsite and loved it! As all of the campsites were booked out for the weekend I was expecting the place to be packed and noisy but it was surprisingly calm and peaceful, with the tents quite spread apart giving you loads of space to settle in. The bathrooms were spotless, they had both a Pizza and Fish and Chip Shop on site (though we never actually ate there) and was only a few minutes walk to the beach (you could see the surf from your tent). I would definitely stay there again.
WHAT TO DO
Hike Baggy Point
We spent a few hours hiking the Baggy Point Trail, an easy hike along the coastline. If you do the whole circuit the walk is about 9km but if you follow the path from the beach to the cliffs at Baggy Point it’s about 6km return. On the way there we took the steeper path on the hill and on the way back walked along the flatter cliff-side path. The view was spectacular but one of our favourite parts was discovering these cute little ‘fairy doors’ along the trail. Inside would be money, mementos and letters to the fairies.
Cycle The Tarka Trail
The Tarka Trail is one of the oldest traffic-free cycle and walking paths in the country. It was named after Henry Williamson’s famous novel Tarka The Otter. The story was based around many of the locations along the trail, which follows the route of an abandoned railway line along the River Taw. We hired bikes for half the day from Bideford Bicyle Hire for £9 and rode the 14km route to Barnstaple and back (I can’t find our photos from this, frustratingly). The path was flat and very easy to cycle but my butt was sore for days after 30km on the saddle (ouch)!
Along the way we stopped at Fremington Quay Cafe to enjoy some famous Cream Tea (Scones with Jam and Cornish Clotted Cream accompanied with Tea), which was delicious!!!!!
Go For A Surf
One of the main activities we wanted to do on this trip was to go surfing. I haven’t surfed since school sports almost ten years ago (that is scary) and Andy was desperate to get me back out there. When I was younger I had no fear of sharks but the older I get the stronger my irrelevant fear becomes so I was quite excited to go out into the surf and for once in my life have absolutely no need to think about the idea of sharks lurking bellow the shallows. The water was freezing so thick, winter wetsuits were a necessity (putting these on are a mission by the way) but we had so much fun! We hired our boards from Ralphs Surf Shop for £12 including a wetsuit.
Relax and Watch a Sunset
Croyde Bay Beach is delightful. It’s surrounded by rolling hills, covered in golden sands, backed by large sand dunes and enjoys some of the best surf in the country. We spent a few hours swimming (the water was freezing), watching people play volleyball on the beach courts, topped up our tans as we read our books in the sun and spent a few hours on the sand dunes listening to music, drinking rum and watching the glorious sunset.
WHERE TO EAT
Whilst the small village feel of Croyde is endearing the town lacked enough restaurants during the busy summer season which resulted in long waits for tables, though a lot of that is probably to blame on people staying at the tables for hours playing card games with their friends (we were totally guilty of this too)!
Below were some of our favourite places to eat in Croyde Bay were:
The Old Cream Shop
This is the spot to visit if you are after a quick take away lunch as they have shelves upon shelves of freshly cooked, assorted Cornish Pasties to try. If you don’t want to eat on the go they have a lovely tea garden in the back where you can sit and eat. They also serve delicious Cornish cream ice creams – the salted caramel and honeycomb flavour was delicious as was the chocolate brownie. Yum!
Thatch is by far the busiest and most well-known pub in all of Croyde. As the name suggests the Pub’s roof is covered in a beautiful thatched roof to suit the history of the village and they serve delicious food and drinks. The four of us ate here two nights in a row and we all thoroughly enjoyed our meals.
Croyde Bay is a beautiful part of not only Devon but England and we loved every minute of our stay. I hope you found this guide helpful in planning your own trip to this charming little surfing village!