Our guide to holidays in Kingsbridge
Nestled in the gorgeous region of the South Hams, the market town of Kingsbridge and the area that surrounds it have beauty, charm and plenty of opportunity to experience true Devon life . Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Kingsbridge is just off the beaten track enough to keep its charm, and a break nearby is all about enjoying coast and countryside…and the views of course.
Perched on the Kingsbridge Estuary, life in the town centres on a laidback lifestyle, and it’s the perfect way to get that feeling that you’re in ‘real’ Devon. This is the kind of town where you’ll find yourself striking up conversation with strangers as though you’ve known them for years, where you can leave your watch off because there’s no rush to do anything, and where you can just immerse yourself in whatever it is you love to do.
Things to do in Kingsbridge
There are so many things to do in Kingsbridge that it’s really just a question of what you like to do best. If you’re happiest exploring, map in hand, with a long walk and a stop off at a country pub you’ll have your pick of local trails and routes to follow. And, speaking of welcoming pubs, you won’t have to wander far before you come across a good old fashioned pub or café for some time out and a glass of something cool. For the foodies, the Kingsbridge Farmers Market takes place on the first and third Saturday of each month, and we can’t think of a better way to stock up on fresh produce, local meats and seafood than by enjoying the atmosphere with the rest of the crowds.
For those days that are all about pottering and rediscovering your creative side, there’s a lovely bohemian streak to Kingsbridge that makes it perfect for those of you who are into crafts. You’ll find an arts and crafts scene that ranges from quirky cafes where there’s art to admire, to the ever-so-welcoming Harbour House. This is the place to indulge in a spot of yoga, sample organic food or take in the work of the featured artist of the moment, and it’s the unofficial hub of the Kingsbridge arts and crafts scene.
Being, as it is, so close to the waters of the estuary, a stay in Kingsbridge is perfect for those of you with a hankering to get on the water and enjoy some water sports. Whether you fancy perfecting your SUP skills or braving a surfing lesson, it’s as easy as stepping on the board and giving it a go. Head to Bantham Beach if you’re determined to have a bash at surfing as you’ll be able to take advantage of one of the local surf schools…and don’t worry, they can have pretty much anyone on the board within a couple of hours’ tuition.
If you’re heading that way for your day on the coast, half the fun of a trip to Bantham is making your way along the winding country roads that lead to one of the largest sandy beaches in the whole of South Devon, and the views on the way are incredible.
Kingsbridge dates all the way back to the 10th century when a bridge was built to link the royal estates of Alvington and Chillington. When the Abbot of Buckfast was given permission to start selling local produce in 1219, a market town was born. If you want to walk the town’s history you can grab a guide at the TIC and head off on the hour walk that takes you to the town’s most historic spots.
Even if you’re not that into your history, the walk’s a good way to get to know the town better, and it’s easy enough that pretty much anyone can follow it. Look out for the local shops that have served the town for centuries as you go, and make sure you leave time to take advantage of the delightfully unique shops and boutiques.
Speaking of boats, you’ll find the sailing hotspot of Salcombe just a short drive from Kingsbridge, and we should mention that the annual Salcombe Regatta is one of the most important events in the South Devon calendar. Whether you’re a sailing enthusiast or you just fancy embracing the regatta atmosphere, this event’s always packed with entertainment, events and good old fashioned fun.
Restaurants in Kingsbridge
If you’re something of a foodie then you’re probably already wondering what the local eateries are like, and they’re every bit as yummy as you’d expect. One of those seafood restaurants that has the Blue Chip team crowding to it after work on a sunny day, The Crabshell Inn sits in one of the most stunning settings you’ll ever find a restaurant in. Right beside the estuary, it even has mooring for boats, and it’s not unusual to see someone arrive via SUP board and step off the water and onto the jetty. Once you’re in (however you’ve arrived), The Crabshell Inn serves up fresh, local seafood as well as the classic pub favourites. If you visit on a sunny evening and sit outside you’ll make a memory that’ll stay with you for a long time to come.
Just down the road from The Crabshell, The Old Bakery’s a gorgeous little café and restaurant that manages to fit any occasion. With a quaint little courtyard and fairy lights to make it even prettier, this characterful old building’s home to wooden benches and a rustic charm that makes the hearty fodder taste all the better. The tapas has itself a reputation as the best for miles, and this is the kind of family-run restaurant where you can take your time and just enjoy your visit.
We mentioned The Harbour House before, and if you do pop in, make sure you head upstairs to the Harbour House Café before you leave. Perfect for those days that are all about yoga and chilling out over artwork, this light, spacious area looks down over the gallery and makes just the spot for a catch up and some allotment-grown produce.