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The local area guide to living in Salcombe

The attractive seaside town of Salcombe sits at the most southerly tip of Devon and has some of the beautiful scenery and stunning beaches in the UK. It is surrounded by the stunning countryside of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, having been built mainly on the west side of the sweeping Kingsbridge Estuary.

Until the beginning of the 20th century, Salcombe’s principal industry came from the sea. Seafaring, fishing, boatbuilding and smuggling were all important methods of earning a living, and even piracy was not unheard of. The oldest parts of the town were built some distance inland because there was a danger of invasion, slavery and piracy from the sea; folklore has it that scores of Devonians were kidnapped into slavery during the 17th century. During the 1920s and 30s the fishing trade declined and Salcombe transformed itself into a tourist resort for wealthy people who came for the scenery and sailing, and it remains popular holiday resort to this day.

Information about the local residents

At the last count in 2011, Salcombe had 3,353 residents. It is one of the less ethnically diverse areas in the UK, with 96% of people being white British. As is usual for many seaside resorts it is home to a large amount of older people, with over 25% of people being over retirement age. Thanks to its older population and rich visitors, the area has the second largest amount of second homes in the UK, estimated to be up to an incredible 75%. Salcombe has a large amount of celebrity residents, with Sir Michael Parkinson, Kate Bush, members of Led Zeppelin and Mary Berry all having homes in the area.

Nearby schools

Salcombe has a very good selection of schools. Ivybridge Community College and Kingsbridge Academy are just two of the secondary schools in the area, both of which have been rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. There are also a number of primary schools, of which three – Stoke Fleming Community, Stokenham Area Primary and Ermington Primary – were classed as ‘outstanding’, with many other primary schools being rated as ‘good’. For higher education learning, the University of Plymouth is 52 miles away.

Getting around

In common with many towns in Devon and Cornwall, Salcombe is a relatively remote area. It doesn’t have a train station, the nearest one being in Totnes, a journey of about 1.5 hours by bus. There are also bus services running between Salcombe and Kingsbridge, and Salcombe and Totnes, where other train and bus routes link the town with the rest of the country. The closest motorway junction is where the M5 ends at Exeter, and Salcombe is another hour away on the A roads. For international travel, the closest airport is at Exeter.

Local shops

Salcombe is the jewel in Devon’s south coast and has a large number of high end shops, restaurants and bars, as would be expected from a popular seaside town that attracts wealthy tourists and residents in huge numbers. The picturesque town centre has many small, winding streets and is largely full of pedestrians; a park and ride scheme from the outskirts of town during the summer. The town boasts a large selection of exclusive fashion stores, including Fat Face, Henri Lloyd and Joules, plus a great selection of boutique shops selling everything from toys to jewellery to beach equipment. Salcombe is heaven for foodies, with a lot of high quality delicatessens, cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars to choose from.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.