Live in Plymouth? Want to go to the beach, but don’t have a car? Yeah, it’s hard to stare at the sea on a hot day and not get in there. Thankfully there are lots of great beaches you can check out on foot from Plymouth – some are even in the city limits.
All of these beaches can be reached either by walking from central Plymouth, or taking one of the ferries from the Barbican or Royal William Yard.
So what are the best beaches to go to in Plymouth without a car?
Hoe Beach/Tinside Beach
This one is easy, as it’s right on the Hoe (as the name suggests). OK, it’s not that big, and can get very busy on a hot day. But, if you need to take a dip, this is the place to go within the city limits.
Walk to the Hoe and head towards The Terrace cafe. To the right of the cafe are a series of steps down to this small sandy beach, although when the tide comes in it can quickly disappear.
The giveaway is usually the wild swimmers and paddle boarders in the area, and in the summer there is also the platforms in the sea. Also the newly redeveloped sea steps in front of the Terrace cafe make a great space to sunbathe and generally soak up the seaside vibes.
West Hoe Beach
Another handy city centre beach, this one is found between the Wet Wok Chinese restaurant and the Coffee Shack/Maritimo tapas bar. Walk down the slipway next to the Coffee Shack and you’ll find yourself on this small patch of beach for a quick swim.
The beach here completely disappears at high tide, but you can still stash your stuff below Maritimo (take the steps down from either Pier 1 or beside Maritimo) and jump in for a quick dip.
Firestone Bay and Devils Point
The Royal William Yard is a popular haunt in Plymouth, and Firestone Bay is just a stones throw from it’s walls. At the main entry to RWY, walk up the road next to Hutong Cafe and you’ll find yourself looking out towards Drakes Island. There are steps down to the sea pool and a small sandy beach to enjoy.
Like all of these Plymouth beaches, it can get very busy on a hot day. There is also the tidal pool which is perfect for kids to play in at low tide – again it gets very busy on a hot day.
Local tip: You can walk towards Devils Point (turn right at the beach and follow the road past the car park) where there is another smaller hidden beach down the bottom of a long flight of stairs.
Mount Batten Beach
This is the first beach on our list where you’ll actually need to take public transport to reach it. Take the Mount Batten Ferry from the Barbican and once you’re there, follow the road around past all the warehouses. You’ll come to a sea wall where there is nice big beach. Can be very rocky at low tide, so skip this one if the water is out.
But…. You can follow the footpath from here to…
To get to this beach from Plymouth city centre, again you’ll need to take the Mount Batten ferry. Walk to Mount Batten beach (directions above) and then follow the signed footpath towards Jennycliffe. It takes you through some bushes and thicket up the hill, about ten ish minutes.
Once you get to the cafe, you’ll see a path that leas through some undergrowth down to the actual beach. Be warned, there has been a fence and signage warning against using this beach for a few years, due to subsidence. You can still get down there, but at your own risk!
Want to go to the beach in Cornwall from Plymouth? Easy… Just catch the Cremyll Ferry from Stonehouse, or there is another ferry that leaves from the Royal William Yard and the Barbican. A short hop and you’re in Cremyll, which isn’t much to look at.
Wander into the grounds of Mount Edgcumbe and follow the footpath along the seafront (with a bit of wander around the gardens too, of course). You’ll come to a nice big pebble beach, which can get busy in the summer. If you prefer, there are a few others as you wander along the path – so keep walking.
The gorgeously pretty twin villages of Kingsand and Cawsand are a nice long walk from Plymouth, around an hour or so from Cremyll. You can either get the ferry to Mount Edgcumbe, or there is also a ferry from the Barbican direct to Kingsand/Cawsand although its less frequent and more expensive (£5 one way). Best bet is to walk from Plymouth to Cawsand and then take the ferry back at the end of the day.
You’ll spot a nice big beach just before you arrive in Cawsand. Or, in the villages themselves, there are a couple of nice small beaches perfect for a spash. The added benefit of a couple of nice pubs makes this a nice worthwhile trek.
This super popular Plymouth beach is a bit of a trek from Mount Batten, so you’ll need to get the ferry. You can also get a bus to Jennycliffe and walk from there.
The coastal walk takes you along a quite ‘rural’ path, with a lot of ups and downs and undergrowth. But its worth the trek and most of it is shaded if its a sunny day. It’ll take you an hour or more to walk from Plymouth to Fort Bovisand, but its a lovely big sandy beach. There is also a cafe for refreshments too.
Public transport options
If you jump on a bus, you’ll have the option of heading to Whitsand Bay in Cornwall. From Royal Parade in Plymouth, you can hop on the 70 bus to drop you at a number of popular beach spots such as Tregantle, Tregonhawke and Sharrow. (timetable)
On the Devon side, there is a bus to Wembury, which is also a lovely spot. Take the 48 or 49 bus from the city centre. (timetable)
Have we missed any other great beaches you can walk to from Plymouth city centre? Let us know in the comments…