croyde bay, blue skies and beach busy, from baggy point

Surfing Spot: Croyde Bay, North Devon

Where is Croyde?

Croyde is a gorgeous coastal surf village in North Devon that we starting visiting many years ago. It is a picturesque village that you reach down idyllic, little country lanes past Georgeham and Putsborough (which are both worth looking at as a place to stay).

Croyde has the beach, the surf, the scenery, perfect accommodation and is a lovely setting to eat and drink in. Whether it is solely a surfing trip with friends or your annual UK family summer holiday. We have done a few trips now, started off just us, then with friends and now it is with our own young family and we always managed to get a good surf in.

Picture of the coast in Croyde Bay, North Devon

We’re obviously not locals, but have holidayed here for longer enough to say that it has become increasingly more popular over the years. Whether that is because it has simply become more well known and popular, or the fact that UK staycations have become more the thing – especially since Covid. Which you could argue is a shame, as for a while it felt like a special secret, however the plus side is there is now more on offer. Accommodation has improved and increased (so have the prices!). But Croyde Bay really is a gem of a surfing spot as it ticks so many UK family holiday boxes.

What is the surf like in Croyde?

Croyde is famous for its surfing conditions. With beach break waves and its well-known low tide barrels, it is a popular UK surf destination with the locals and holidaymakers. Some would even argue that it is one of the best surfing spots in the UK! With it being an exposed beach, It is a spot that gets pretty good surf conditions all year round. The waves are consistent and you can surf them at all tides.

In the summer its gets very busy, and the waves can be fast which is ideal for experienced surfers. However there are also perfect conditions that suit beginners at times. There are plenty of surfing schools where you can have lessons to help guide you on your surfing journey. It is said that the best time of the year to head to Croyde for their infamous waves is Spring, particularly around April. Before we head out on any trip we always check the surfing conditions using Magic Seaweed.

There are plenty of other good surfing spots close to Croyde. There is Saunton Sands which has the most beautiful beach, as well as the lovely Saunton Sands Hotel. The hotel is incredible – not cheap we should add, but it is in an amazing location. Even if you are not staying over there you can still visit and on a sunny day you can sit outside for lunch and enjoy a drink whilst looking out to sea. As well as there, you can find good surfing in Woolacombe and Putsborough. Both of those places have great beaches too.

Where can you stay in Croyde?

Croyde has many places where you can stay. From camping to lodges, bed and breakfasts and self-catering houses. It may not be the cheapest place in North Devon to stay but when you are on holiday there it is much more enjoyable to find accommodation in the actual village of Croyde. This is because once you are there, everything is a walking distance away and the roads in and out of Croyde can get very busy. Especially at the peak of Summer.

When we first discovered Croyde as a surfing spot we would camp at the Bay view Farm campsite. From this campsite you could easily walk to the beach with your board. We loved nothing more then waking up for an early sunrise surf, coming back to the tent for breakfast. Or finishing the day and walking down to beach for a surf during the sunset. There are many campsites that have been set up since we first camped but this is undoubtedly a popular campsite in Croyde. At Bay View Farm campsite you can have the view of the sea, there is on-site food and the site itself has good facilities. You are also only a short walk away from the very popular Thatch pub.

Happy Camper mug being held up in the air

Over the years we have changed up where we have stayed in Croyde and more recently we have booked several different self-catering cottages using a local company; Ocean Cottages. They own lots of properties in Croyde which are all finished to a good standard – most come with a hot tub too. Which if you have young children like us, it gives you something special to enjoy when the kids have gone to bed! We like that most of these self-catered cottages have a surf and coastal style to them.

There is also a big holiday park next to the beach in Croyde. The park itself has changed lots over the years and it now offers camping, static caravans and lodges. Ruda holiday park also has good onsite facilities for families. Again this holiday park is within walking distance of the centre of Croyde

Things to do in Croyde Bay

As well as Croyde being a popular surfing spot in North Devon, it is also famous for being a popular UK holiday destination. The village of Croyde is very picturesque and quaint. With thatched cottages that house; pubs, restaurants and cool looking surf shops, this village certainly makes you feel like that you are away on holiday.

In the daytime there are plenty of places in the village to have a coffee and breakfast and a little shop. By the evening Croyde has a nice busy, bustling feel. There are plenty of places to have dinner as well as some evening entertainment and live music in the very popular Thatch Pub. Over the last few years in Croyde we’ve noticed an increase in street food pop-ups which are ideal if you want to grab some food and head back to your campsite or down to the beach.

Thatch Pub, Croyde Bay, North Devon

Croyde is also famous for its sandy beach. The beach is vast with good beachside facilities. There are various surf hire shops in the village of Croyde and also next to the beach where you can also book onto surfing lessons. Croyde beach is dog free through the summer months and has lifeguards on duty. As we’ve already mentioned there is a good surf in Croyde so this also means that you can take your bodyboards down to the beach with you. Next to Croyde beach there is a public car park – it isn’t cheap but who knows of a UK beach car park that doesn’t cost you a lot of money.

There is a popular coastal walk from Croyde beach to Baggy point. It’s definitely a walk you can do with your family and is suitable for most ages. This picturesque walk follows a path alongside the ocean well you can spot some groups doing coasteering as well as spotting some very nice coastal properties. Baggy point marks the corner of the coast between Croyde and another popular family destination Woolacombe. If you feel up to it you can complete the full walk round however this may be more suited for the experienced walkers. A good refreshment stop off for this walk is that the Sandleigh National Trust tea room where you can enjoy some traditional cream tea in a lovely garden setting.

There are other fantastic places to eat in Croyde. Here are a few of our favourites;

  • Billy Budds
  • Hobbs Bistro
  • Blue Groove
  • Biffen’s Kitchen
  • The Thatch
  • May Cottage Team Rooms

Things to do near Croyde

Ilfracombe is popular spot with visitors. Here you can find a bustling sea town, with plenty of shops and restaurants. There is the harbour that has the famous Damien Hirst statue ‘Verity’. Whilst at the harbour you can catch various boat trips but we definitely recommend booking these in advance if you can. During the Summer months these are very popular and the harbour area gets very busy!

Mortehoe is small cliff-top village just next to Woolacombe beach. It is worth a visit to for the breath-taking views you get from the top. You could walk from Woolacombe but be prepared for the hills! There is a lovely stop for some ice-cream and a couple of pubs where you can sit outside and watch the world go by. There is a also a good coastal walk that starts from Mortehoe.

Clovelly isn’t too far from Croyde if you fancy a trip out in the car. Once owned by Queen of England, this picturesque fishing village is still under private ownership today, which means you have to pay to enter. It isn’t much but if there are a lot of you, it can add up. Clovelly is a nice place to wander round, with shops, museums and crafts to see. There are places to eat, you can book boat trips and even donkeys. We would advise though if you have little ones in prams, the cobbled streets are hard work! Either use a baby carrier or perhaps visit here when they’re a bit older.

This recommendation is one for families. If you fancy a break from the beach visit Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur park. This isn’t perhaps the closest to Croyde Bay but it is a good family trip out. We have tended to visit here when the UK weather looks to let us down! It is a family run park with plenty to see and do. We have always enjoyed visiting here and look forward to heading back soon.

Feel ready to book a surfing holiday in Croyde now? Check out our Top 10 Surf Trip Essentials article to get what you need!

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