As you drive around the famous headland into Croyde, arguably one of the most beautiful stretches of road there is, you’re instantly greeted with views of the waves. Croyde is often quoted as ‘the surfing capital of North Devon’ and upon rounding the corner it certainly feels that way. With the low tide banks producing drool-worthy barrels, two prominent headlands sheltering the majority of the wind and with consistent swell there’s no wonder it’s considered the surfing mecca in the South West.
Filled with adrenaline and anticipation, a reaction often associated with the sight of a pumping line up, your eyes lock on the beach itself, backing onto the dunes. Even at low tide the size of the bay is superb. Long enough to deserve a post beach-walk pint but small enough so as not to lose your bearings, or your little ones, in the process.
As you venture inland you’re surrounded by gorgeous green pastures with thatched cottages tucked in between the fields. As the buildings become less interspersed you approach the Thatch, home of proper pub grub and cosy firelit corners as well as a bustling live music scene. The pub/bnb/restaurant is one of those places that seem to be quietly famous all around the globe, despite its seemingly humble beginning. Whichever line up you’re frequenting, whether it’s deep in Ecuador or the tropical waters of Bali – you’ll be likely to meet someone who’s surfed at Croyde. And if they’ve surfed at Croyde, no doubt they’ll have a story or two about the Thatch.
The Thatch is one of many pubs, restaurants and cafes gracing the streets of Croyde however, all with a passion for locally sourced produce. Head to Sandleigh tea rooms for a traditional cream tea (cream first, mind you), pick up some locally sourced Deli produce at the Stores and finish off the day at Blue Groove, their Friday night fish menu is an absolute must.
Not only are there tonnes of spots to keep your taste buds in check, but there’s loads of family activities too. The diverse landscape lends itself to some incredible nature trails, such as the cliff top walk to baggy point or the breathtaking trek around the headland to Woolacombe. The coves and caves at both ends of the bay are perfect for coasteering or, on flatter days, exploring in a kayak. Those calmer periods are ideal for sunset stand up paddleboard sessions or a game of beach volleyball at the semi permanent summer nets.
The village hall holds a weekly market where you can stock up on local, artisan goods plus there’s a skate park just around the corner to keep the kids happy.
Croyde bay really is a magical village and, though we’re somewhat biased, we challenge you to spend some time here and not come away feeling that same enchantment that we do. The quintessential village combined with an underlying surf culture, surrounded by beautiful scenery defines its status as one of North Devon’s most renowned seaside locations.