Devon vs Cornwall Beaches | Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks


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Why we think Devon's beaches are better than Cornwall’s

Anytime you plan a family holiday or a short break by the sea, the debate often arises: which is best, Devon or Cornwall’s beaches? While Cornwall has its charms, we're here to tell you why Devon should be your top pick (not that we’re biassed!).

Ideal for family holidays & camping

Camping enthusiasts often flock to Devon’s beaches. With numerous well-equipped camping sites, it provides a unique outdoor experience, blending the beauty of the beach with the comforts of modern facilities. Camping with a sea view is an unbeatable experience, and Devon hosts plenty of beach-side camping spots with everything from a simple pitch all the way up to glamping. Most camping spots amongst Devon’s beautiful landscapes have easy access to stunning walking routes, making it a popular family camping destination. Relaxing in nature by the coast makes for memories that will be treasured for years to come - and may even just become a family tradition!

If camping’s not your cup of tea, with its wide range of holiday parks - including Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks - families have a variety of accommodation options to choose from, making it an excellent alternative to Cornwall's often-crowded sites.

Lonely tourist tent in the clearing. North Coast of Devon County. Exmoor National Park. England
Coastal camping in North Devon overlooking the Atlantic Ocean

Britain's best beach: Woolacombe Beach

Woolacombe Beach has been voted the best beach in Britain by Tripadvisor, giving Devon an instant one-up on Cornwall in this regard. A stand-out among Devon's beaches, Woolacombe Beach offers a mix of breathtaking beauty and family-friendly amenities. The beach's long stretches of golden sand make it perfect for everything from surfing to sunbathing to sandcastle building, offering the best beach experience in Devon or Cornwall.

If you are interested in experiencing this beach for yourself, the beach is walkable from Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park in around 15 minutes, and make sure to check out our visitor's guide to Woolacombe.

The beach at Woolacombe, North Devon, England, UK, on one of the hottest days of the year.
Surfing and sand on Woolacombe Beach in North Devon

Iconic seaside walks and scenery

Cornwall, undoubtedly, is home to numerous sandy beaches perfect for sunbathing and surfing. However, Devon is arguably more interesting and diverse in its seaside offerings. Devon is home to two separate coastlines - the north coast hosts spectacular seaside walks and cycling trails, whilst the south is home to a section of the Jurassic Coast, packed with stunning rock formations and fossils to hunt for. Devon is also home to Dartmoor National Park, a stunning moorland filled with striking scenery trails to explore - and best of all, it’s free!

For more secluded spots, head to the Exmoor coast or the South Hams. Furthermore, Devon is also home to stunning countryside and woodland, so when you’re done with your beach fix there is always plenty of exploring, hiking and adventuring to do. Whilst both locations have good beach options, Devon gives you the best of both worlds!

Father and two boys, family walking on a small path along the stunning Devonshire coastline near Lynmouth in Devon, England, UK
Walking the South West Coast Path near Lynmouth in Exmoor

Avoiding the Cornwall crowds

One significant advantage of choosing Devon over Cornwall for your beach holiday is avoiding the crowds. Cornwall’s Fistral Beach occupies the top spot as Britain’s busiest beach, with Cornwall locations taking up 4 of the top 10 spots. Devon, alternatively, takes up only one spot on the list with Woolacombe at spot number 3.

Devon’s beaches provide a more relaxed atmosphere, avoiding the holiday Cornwall rush. This makes it a superior alternative for families looking for a quieter getaway (although still a popular choice!). Discover some of Britain's best alternative beaches, and make new holiday traditions at Devon seaside spots such as Moor Sands, Hele Bay and Elbury Cove. Who would turn their nose up at less traffic, easier parking and shorter wait times?

Holidaymakers and sunbathers on Newquay beach with azure seas. Newquay, Cornwall, UK
Holidaymakers on Fistral Beach near Newquay in Cornwall

An easy and accessible escape for short breaks

For those wanting a quick holiday getaway, Devon hosts plenty of beaches close to towns such as Woolacombe and Torbay - perfect for those who wish to reduce travel or don’t have access to a car. Both the north and south of Devon have plenty of beaches, meaning wherever you are staying you are never too far from a great seaside day out. Devon also has two major cities - Exeter and Plymouth - meaning its public transport options are much better. Furthermore, for most parts of England it’s a shorter journey to Devon than Cornwall, avoiding hours spent in traffic or cramped train journeys!

Paignton pier reflected in the wet and on the Beach Devon England UK Europe
Paignton Beach on Torbay in Devon with Torquay and Brixton

In conclusion, while Cornwall's beaches have their allure, Devon's coastlines - particularly Woolacombe Beach - offer (in our opinion) the best beach holiday experience. Whether it's a family holiday, a camping adventure, or simply a short break, Devon is truly the ultimate seaside destination.

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