Croyde: North Devon’s Surfing Paradise

Surfer surfing in the sea in Croyde North Devon wearing a wetsuit by Croyde Bay

The Unique Setting of Croyde

Nestled between the dramatic headlands of Baggy Point and Downend Point, Croyde is a quintessential Devon village that has become synonymous with surfing culture in the UK. This charming coastal community, with its thatched cottages, golden beach, and world-class waves, offers visitors a perfect blend of traditional rural charm and vibrant beach life.

As you approach Croyde, you’re immediately struck by the beauty of its setting. The village is tucked into a bay that faces directly into the Atlantic, its wide sandy beach backed by impressive dunes. This geographical position is what makes Croyde so special for surfers – the bay funnels in swells, creating powerful, hollow waves that are considered among the best in Britain.

Croyde Beach: The Heart of Surfing Culture

Croyde Beach is the heart of the village’s appeal. At low tide, it reveals a vast expanse of golden sand, perfect for sunbathing, sandcastle building, and beach games. The beach is flanked by rocky outcrops that create interesting rock pools, ideal for young explorers. But it’s when the tide comes in that Croyde truly comes alive, as surfers of all abilities take to the waves.

Surf Schools and Surfing Spots in Croyde

For those new to surfing, numerous surf schools operate from the beach, offering lessons and equipment hire. The more experienced can often be seen catching waves at low tide off the northern end of the beach, known as ‘Hell’s Pit’ due to its powerful breaks. Even if you’re not a surfer, watching the action from the beach is a spectacle in itself.

Exploring Croyde Village: Traditional Charm and Modern Vibes

Beyond the beach, Croyde village exudes classic Devon charm. Narrow lanes wind between thatched cottages, many of which date back to the 17th century. The village center, though small, is home to a selection of surf shops, cafes, and traditional pubs. The Thatch, a 16th-century pub in the heart of the village, is a popular spot for both locals and visitors, known for its live music nights and local ales.

Walking the South West Coast Path

For those seeking to explore beyond the village, the South West Coast Path offers spectacular walks in both directions. To the north, the path leads to Baggy Point, a dramatic headland offering panoramic views across the bay and out to Lundy Island. To the south, you can walk to the neighboring village of Saunton, home to another spectacular beach backed by Braunton Burrows, one of the largest sand dune systems in Britain.

Nature and Wildlife Around Croyde

Nature lovers will find plenty to admire in and around Croyde. The area is rich in wildlife, with seals often spotted off Baggy Point and a diverse array of birdlife in the surrounding countryside. The nearby Braunton Burrows is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, home to an incredible variety of rare plants and animals.

Year-Round Surfing and Seasonal Events

Croyde’s appeal isn’t limited to the summer months. While it’s undoubtedly busiest during the peak holiday season, the village has a year-round surfing community. Winter brings bigger swells and emptier beaches, attracting hardcore surfers willing to brave the colder temperatures for the chance of catching the perfect wave.

The village comes alive during various events throughout the year. The GoldCoast Oceanfest, held annually in June, is a celebration of music, sports, and sustainability that draws visitors from far and wide. The Croyde Ocean Triathlon, typically held in July, offers a gruelling test for athletes against the backdrop of North Devon’s beautiful coastline.

Culinary Delights in Croyde

Food lovers will find plenty to savour in Croyde. The Blue Groove, a laid-back restaurant in the heart of the village, is known for its eclectic menu and relaxed surfer vibe. For those seeking more traditional fare, the Manor House Inn offers classic pub grub in a historic setting. And no visit to Devon would be complete without a cream tea – the Croyde Ice Cream Parlour serves up delicious scones alongside their famous ice cream.

Croyde’s Relaxed Nightlife

As day turns to evening, Croyde offers a relaxed nightlife scene. The Thatch and Billy Budds are popular spots for a post-surf pint, often featuring live music during the summer months. For a quieter evening, nothing beats a walk along the beach as the sun sets over the Atlantic, painting the sky in spectacular hues.

Accommodation Options in Croyde

Accommodation in Croyde ranges from traditional B&Bs and holiday cottages to the more unusual options like yurts and shepherd’s huts at the eco-friendly Pickwell Manor. The Ruda Holiday Park, situated right behind the beach, offers a range of self-catering options and facilities.

The Perfect Blend: Traditional Devon and Surfing Hotspot

Croyde manages to strike a delicate balance between its traditional Devon roots and its status as a surfing hotspot. It’s a place where farmers and surfers rub shoulders, where centuries-old cottages sit alongside modern surf shops, and where the rhythms of rural life blend with the ebb and flow of the tides. Whether you’re drawn by the world-class waves, the beautiful beach, the charming village, or the stunning coastal walks, Croyde offers a slice of North Devon at its finest – a place where you can truly immerse yourself in the natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle of this special corner of England.


Q: What makes Croyde particularly appealing for surfers?

A: Croyde’s appeal for surfers lies in its geographical position. The bay funnels in swells from the Atlantic, creating powerful, hollow waves that are among the best in Britain. The northern end of the beach, known as ‘Hell’s Pit,’ is famous for its powerful breaks, attracting more experienced surfers.

Q: Are there any activities for visitors who are not interested in surfing?

A: Yes, there are plenty of activities for non-surfers in Croyde. The expansive golden beach is perfect for sunbathing, sandcastle building, and beach games. Visitors can explore rock pools at low tide, enjoy scenic walks on the South West Coast Path, and spot wildlife such as seals and various bird species. The village also offers quaint shops, cafes, traditional pubs, and historical thatched cottages to explore.

Q: What options are available for accommodation in Croyde?

A: Accommodation in Croyde ranges from traditional bed and breakfasts and holiday cottages to unique options like yurts and shepherd’s huts at Pickwell Manor. Ruda Holiday Park, located right behind the beach, offers a variety of self-catering options and facilities.

Q: What annual events are held in Croyde that might interest visitors?

A: Croyde hosts several annual events that attract visitors, including the GoldCoast Oceanfest in June, which celebrates music, sports, and sustainability, and the Croyde Ocean Triathlon in July, offering a challenging race set against the stunning North Devon coastline.

Q: Can you recommend some local dining options in Croyde?

A: For dining, the Blue Groove offers a laid-back atmosphere with an eclectic menu and a relaxed surfer vibe. The Manor House Inn provides traditional pub fare in a historic setting. For dessert or a traditional cream tea, the Croyde Ice Cream Parlour is renowned for its delicious scones and famous ice cream.