Tourists Guide to Croyde, North Devon

Croyde has become known as "Chelsea -by- Sea" due to affluent nature of many of the tourists frequenting Croyde in the popular holiday times. As with many of the North Devon beachside villages, Croyde has benefited from the increase in popularity of surfing. Croyde has a lovely beach which is very popular with surfers all year round and because of the rise in popularity of Croyde, most cottages and houses have been converted to holiday cottages providing ideal accommodation for families and friends. My Favourite Cottages has a range of holiday homes in Croyde available for holiday lets.

What Makes Croyde Special?

  • One of the best surfing beaches in the country.
  • Unspoilt village with 3 fantastic pubs.
  • Hub of the surfing industry with regular competitions.
  • Home of the GoldCoast Oceanfest Surf and Music festival.
  • Stunning sandy beach with car parks and facilities at either end.
  • Family friendly location with plenty of accommodation and two major holiday parks.
  • Several great places to eat including the popular Blue Groove restaurant.
  • Gorgeous walk from the village centre through the field and dunes down to the beach.
  • Popular for coasteering, walking and climbing at Baggy Point.


What Can We Do in Croyde?

  • Learn to Surf, there are several popular surf schools with qualified instructors.
  • Coasteering at Baggy Point provided by specialist events companies.
  • Walk the South West Coastal Path, the Baggy Point walk is stunning whatever the weather.
  • People watch, The Thatch, Blue Groove and Billy Budds are perfect.
  • Enjoy regular events including the Oceanfest and other Festivals.
  • Enjoy the beach and the sea, the number one destination for all families.
  • Cascades at Ruda with a with the Big Blue water slide, great on a rainy day!
  • Weekly outdoor markets during the summer season.

Where Can We Stay In Croyde?

  • Croyde holiday cottages managed by My Favourite Cottages.
  • Ruda Holiday Park and Unison Croyde Bay are the biggest!
  • Smaller parks including Bay View, Freshwell, Surfer’s Paradise and Cherrytree.
  • A range of Bed and Breakfasts in Croyde, Georgeham and Putsborough.
  • Numerous holiday cottages, large and small.


All About Croyde

Croyde is and has been one of the favourite beach destinations in Devon, set against the backdrop of rolling hills, the stunning Baggy Point and a beautifully preserved village, the popularity of Croyde as a holiday and beach day destination just increases year on year. Famous for having one of the finest surfing beaches in the country, very high quality pubs in a well preserved village, Croyde is now one of the must go to holiday destinations in the West Country and is now popular as a destination all year round.

The beach at Croyde is the jewel in the crown, backed by sand dunes with the village stream meeting flowing through the middle of the beach, prefect for a traditional family day out. There are shops and toilet facilities as well as parking at both ends of the beach although there is a reasonably easy climb down over a few rocks at Down End to the south of the beach.

The beach itself has a lifeguard patrol during the main holiday season from May to the end of September, it is cleaned regularly and there are several bins for litter.  The beach is popular due to the quality of the surf with significant banks, especially at low tide. The flip side of this is that even in small surf, there can be strong rip currents, swimmers must always swim between the red and yellow flags. If full red flags are up, do not swim and always ask the RNLI Lifeguards if you are unsure.

There are several surf schools that operate at the beach, Croyde Surf Academy and Surf South West have been based at the beach for many years and operated by locals that are qualified and have specific local knowledge of the beach and how the waves break at varying stages of the tide.

After you have enjoyed a fun day at the beach, Croyde still has plenty to offer. There are three pubs in Croyde, all very popular serving great food and beers and are very busy during the summer months. The Thatch and Billy Budds are in the centre of the village and if you walk a couple of hundred yards alongside the stream through the pretty centre of the village, the Manor is easily found.  

Alongside the pubs, Hobbs Bistro offers quality food in a bistro environment, the seafood is specifically very good here and always has been!  Blue Groove is an environment in its own right, funky, young and fun with beautiful artwork throughout and a great atmosphere serving different foods from big breakfasts in the morning the quality dining in the evening.  There are several surf shops and great ice creams in the village so even if you don’t want a sit down meal, it is well worth a visit after a day at the beach.

There are numerous walks and public footpaths around the village including the often missed walk over the top of the hill to Saunton accessed from Cloutman’s lane. However, the major walk is Baggy Point, the must do walk during your stay with sheer drops that will test your vertigo, stunning wildlife and scenery over Croyde, out to Westward Ho! and Clovelly in the distance. At the end point, there are fantastic sea views with Lundy in the distance, there is even a sheltered cove hidden here although access is only for very experienced walkers and climbers. To the north side of Baggy Point, enjoy the views towards Woolacombe with Mortehoe and Morte Point further on and enjoy the stroll down to Putsborough where a well earned ice cream awaits.

Croyde is the quintessential Devon village, chocolate box thatched cottages adorn the road with individual character and history to be seen in each building. The traffic moves slowly and the pace of life matches, Croyde is one destination where you have to slow down and enjoy one of the finest beach based locations in the country

Croyde History

The village apparently takes its Celtic name from the Viking raider Crydda although there is some debate, the word being closely related to the old Cornish word Curd that describes the geographical position of the village sitting in a cradle of hills. However, there is certainly strong evidence that the village is pre-saxon so it is entirely unclear as to what name is correct!

Croyde remained a small settlement primarily revolved around the main industry of farming and remained that way until the early part of the twentieth century. The area around Croyde, Braunton, Knowle and Georgeham evolved significantly from around 1750 when farming developed and land was cleared, the rich and fertile fields, mild and wet climate were perfect for livestock and arable farming. Many of the old farm buildings in Croyde and surrounding villages were built during the period 1750 to 1850 although it wasn’t until after the first world war that sanitation and a clean water supply arrived in the village.

Modern Croyde as we know it certainly took off from 1932 when Nalgo opened its holiday camp at Down End, primarily for the benefit of its union members. This is still open today under the Unison umbrella. Despite a lull in the second world war, the village has thrived from the growing popularity of tourism, more noticeably so in the last 30 years. Gone were the days of the Bob Marley poster inside Billy Budds, a pub that was more akin to a farmhouse lounge than anything else! Billy Budd was the old Carpenter, in fact the pub was called the Carpenters Arms and dates back way beyond 1880, much older than the Thatch as a public house! The development of properties, first into bed and breakfasts and later into holiday cottages has been more pronounced in Croyde than any other village in North Devon, The limited amount of land available for developments and tight control has meant that house prices have spiralled beyond the means of local people and now Croyde is seen as primarily as a tourist destination with a stunning beach.

How Do You Get to Croyde?

Unless you are experienced at back lane driving in Devon and are comfortable with reversing 100 yards plus, stick to the main roads. The vast majority of tourists come via the main road from Barnstaple and Braunton.

If you have never been here before, stay on the main North Devon link road all of the way to Barnstaple. Take all signs for Ilfracombe and Braunton, you should find yourself crossing the Taw Bridge, it is quite high, you can’t miss it!  Head into the centre of Braunton, approximately 5 miles from Barnstaple. Invariably there is a traffic jam, especially in the summer, be patient and take the left hand turn at the main cross roads in the centre of Braunton, don’t be tempted with alternative sat nav routes, there is no other easy way!

You should now be on the main road to Croyde, approximately 5 miles in distance and about half way, you will approach Saunton with the hotel, golf club and beach to your left. If you are just visiting Croyde for the day and it is hot and sunny, don’t bother trying to fight your way through the village if there are parking spaces at Down End, you will probably end up back there anyway!