Dawlish, Devon coastline

Things to do in Dawlish

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Another highlight of the Devon coast can be found across the Exmouth estuary just northeast of Teignmouth. Situated a scenic 20-mile drive from our Devon Cliffs Holiday Park, Dawlish is a pretty seaside town with plenty of surprises in store.

From tranquil walks to engaging activities, here's our curated list of things to do in Dawlish.

1. Dawlish Beach

1. Dawlish Beach

Dawlish Beach is something of a local secret since it all but vanishes at high tide. However, time your visit just right and you can walk its sandy shoreline, build a sandcastle, paddle in the waves, or just relax with a book. The train station is close-by if you’ve come by rail. 

At high tide, there’s a recently completed walkway between the railway line and seawall, perfect for joggers and dog walkers.

2. Dawlish Lawn & Brook

2. Dawlish Lawn & Brook

The small river the town sits on is either called the Dawlish Water or sometimes simply The Brook. Dawlish Lawn is a green space on the banks of this watercourse, where you can wander, dine in the small café, or look for the famous Dawlish black swans! 

You’ll often find local performances and markets taking place, so check local guides or tourist information for up-to-date details. 

3. Shaftesbury Theatre

How about a dose of culture? Catch a show or performance at this local community theatre. There's always something on the cards, with entertaining performances and musical nights. 

The theatre’s auditorium makes for an intimate experience, with a performance history stretching back over 70 years. You’ll find the theatre on the opposite side of The Brook from Dawlish Lawn. 

4. Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve

4. Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve

Nature lovers, this one's for you! Explore the diverse habitats of this 530-acre reserve, which boasts sand dunes, grasslands, and Warren Beach, a sandy haven for swimmers and sunbathers. There’s a visitors’ centre, so you can find out more about the reserve’s 23,000 avian visitors and more than 600 species of plant-life. 

Be sure to bring those binoculars: you might spot rare birds, including ringed plovers, dunlins, and red-breasted mergansers. The reserve is adjacent to Dawlish Warren train station, and there’s ample parking too.

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5. Dawlish Museum

Dive into Dawlish's intriguing past at this local museum. With a rich collection of artefacts and exhibits, it's a charming journey through time. 

With 11 rooms over three floors, there’s plenty to see, from a unique collection of D-Day bagpipes to exhibitions about the great storms of 2014 and many rare, historic photographs. 

6. Railway adventures

6. Railway adventures

Dawlish's railway line offers picturesque views as it runs right by the coast. Hop on a train and enjoy one of the UK's most scenic rides! Dawlish to Exeter takes around 20 minutes and Teignmouth is just a five minute hop to the south. Why not take the train in one direction and walk back? 

7. Seaside walks

Dawlish is perfectly situated to enjoy a range of scenic walks. Stroll along the South West Coast Path, explore the town's charming lanes, or venture to Teignmouth, via the Langstone Cliffs Walking Trail. 

Look out for local attractions like the red sandstone bluff at Langstone Rock, or the viewpoint at Lea Mount to the south of Dawlish. There are several good routes for walkers, joggers, or cyclists and all are dog-friendly, provided your pet is on the lead. 

8. Shopping in the town centre

8. Shopping in the town centre

Grab a souvenir, delve into Devon crafts, or treat yourself to some local treats. Dawlish's town centre has a smattering of unique shops waiting to be discovered.  

For the highest concentration, head for The Strand and Queen Street. There you’ll find a local bookshop, sweet shop, clothing, and curios. There are several good local cafes and places to indulge in that seaside must – fish and chips. 

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