I have always been a lover of beach picnics, evening drinks, and squeezing the last bit of daylight out of every day. The sun setting often evokes a feeling a serenity, reflection and contemplation, no doubt passed on from our ancestors before us. People will gather on the beach at dusk for all sorts of reasons and one thing Devon has in abundance, is the perfect spots to do just this.
Covid seemed to create a surge in outdoor gatherings, meaning outdoor hen dos, birthdays, and weddings have popped up more so than ever before. It has reminded people what can be achieved outside with a little creativity, forward thinking and imagination. Hopefully as a result, none of us will ever stop appreciating and enjoying the places this country and world, has to offer.
So, with all this in mind, here is my list of favourite and logistically convenient Devon spots for a sunset gathering:
Thurlestone golf club beach – TQ7 3JS
This beach is perfect for any kind of beach gathering. It is blessed with a car park a stone’s throw from the beach itself (2 mins by foot) and it is west facing ensuring uninterrupted sunlight well into the evening.
The tide at high and low, offers a large expense of beach to set up camp on, and if you want the last of the sun, I recommend the far-left hand side as you are looking at the water.
The proximity of the car park means carrying your provisions is close and convenient, but despite this perk, the beach still offers an unmanicured, wonderfully wild charm.
Parking at the golf club is recommended, they do charge for this service though.
Photo credit @bite something studios
Warren car park, Noss Mayo
This suggestion is not a beach, but a beautiful spot situated on the cliffs edge looking out to sea.
Park at Warren car park, just outside Noss Mayo, and walk down the track which leads to a gate, where just beyond this is a wonderful sea view. Turning right beyond this, brings you to a wall bordering the cliff edge, opposite the very spot when the sun reddens as it slips beyond the horizon.
It’s a great picnic spot which you’ll share with the odd walker and perhaps a sheep or two.
If you want to continue into the evening after the sun has set, Noss Mayo village has a welcoming pub known as The Ship inn, along with air bnb opportunities to choose from.
Mill Bay Beach
This stretch of coastline is like a postcard from Greece. It boasts the whitest beaches in Devon, with fine sand and turquoise sea along its length.
There are numerous beaches to choose from along this stretch, but Mill Bay is my suggestion, purely for ease of transporting provisions from the car park to your spot.
You will lose the sun behind the hill to the left as the day progresses, but at low tide, you can set up camp at the water’s edge, which should mean the sunlight will remain with you onto late in the day.
The car park is a 2-minute walk from the beach itself, offering toilets, shaded parking spots, and a convenient location should someone forget the bottle opener!
The water is shallow here, nearly always calm, and from this spot, you can enjoy the bustling view of Salcombe harbour with all its fishing life across the water.
This beach has been a favourite for years, especially amongst surfers and families. The car park is directly in front of the beach, with just a short amble required through the dunes before you reach the wide Bantham beach.
Heading left on arrival will gain you the best location for watching, where the sun sets beyond the silhouette of Burgh Island.
The car park will close in the evening, but the timings for this are listed on the gate as you enter.
This cove is one of the best spots in Devon for sunsets. Many people gather by the jetty to the left of the cove to watch an unhindered sunset out over the water.
Parking opportunities throughout the village in the evening tend to be ample for the requirements, meaning you’ll nearly always find a spot close to where you’d like to be situated. This provides ease if you’re transporting picnic items, blankets, celebratory fizz and all the other things a gathering requires!
The village itself has a beautiful selection of hotels and restaurants, so if you wish to stay on as darkness descends, this bustling little village offers a good opportunity to do just that. The Cove is a great place for sunset drinks and food, or you may like to try The Anchor stone, with its high balcony offering tranquil views across the water.
For the campers amongst you, there are 2 camping spots just 3 miles out of the village with a gentle stroll up out of the village to return to your tent.