Shaldon lies adjacent to the older village of Ringmore and across the estuary from the commercial port of Teignmouth. Unsurprisingly, given its seaside position, the village has a rich seafaring heritage, from fishing to shipbuilding and sailing. Hundreds of small boats are moored offshore and fresh seafood features prominently on local restaurant menus.
What to see and do
With the sea lapping at the town’s shores, and two sandy beaches, there are all manner of water-based activities to keep young and old entertained. You’ll find a rowing club, sailing club and canoe club all operating in the village.
Walk through Smugglers Tunnel to reach the beautiful and secluded Ness Beach, or simply sit and watch the world go by at the River Ferry Beach. From here, you can hop on the historic black-and0white passenger ferry that makes the crossing to Teignmouth daily, and spend a day exploring the town. For a better view of the Devon coastline, the Teignmouth Circular cruise takes you past numerous landmarks on your way to Dartmouth or Torquay.
Avid golfers will find a pretty 18-hole golf course at the Shaldon Pitch and Putt, while animal lovers should head to Shaldon Zoo, which is just opposite. Set in a woodland garden, it’s home to a variety of smaller endangered species such as lemurs and tamarins.
The rolling hills and coastal cliffs make for superb walking. A variety of circular walks from Shaldon will take you along ancient lanes where hedgerows brim with wildlife. Alternatively, follow the South West Coast Path for more challenging hikes.
Where to eat and drink
In recent years, Shaldon has gained a reputation as an unexpected foodie destination, with several restaurants highlighting the great quality of locally sourced-ingredients. Chef Tim Bouget, trained by Michel Roux, is widely credited with sparking this trend through his multi-award winning ODE true food venture, inspired by a commitment to sustainability. You will find fine dining, using the freshest of ingredients, in a relaxed atmosphere at ODE dining on Fore Street. Otherwise, find more casual fare at café ODE Ness Cove and café ODE Gara Rock.
The Italian-run Clipper Café, located on the waterfront, is open from breakfast, lunch and dinner, and serves changing daily specials in addition to the regular menu, made with vegetables grown just down the road. Fancy a cosy, family-run pub serving traditional British dishes? Then head to the recently-refurbished London Inn or the Ferry Boat Inn, with its pleasant beer garden and views of the beach and estuary.
Shaldon Bakery supplies many local restaurants and also sells its fresh, handcrafted breads, cakes and sandwiches to the general public. For real Devon cream teas – along with ice creams, milkshakes, handmade fudge and more – the Yummy Shop deli is well worth a visit.
How to get in and around
Shaldon is just a few minutes’ drive from Teignmouth and 15 or so from Torquay. Regular buses from both towns stop at Shaldon. The nearest train station is at Teignmouth, which is on the Exeter to Plymouth line. From there you can walk, take a taxi or board the ferry to cross the estuary. For those visiting from further afield, Exeter airport is only 14 miles away.