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Burgh Island

burgh isand hotel

Discover History and Scenery at Beautiful Burgh Island

Rising from the waves just off Bigbury-on-Sea, the historic Burgh Island looks like something from a fairytale. Accessible only by sea tractor or foot at low tide, this iconic South Devon landmark offers a magical family day out with its lovely beaches, charming hotel and fascinating stories.

Once a glamorous hangout for 1920s celebrities like Agatha Christie, today Burgh Island still retains its unspoilt nostalgic charm. Here’s how to enjoy a memorable family adventure discovering this beautiful tidal island’s attractions.

bigbury on sea

Getting There

Burgh Island sits just 250 metres offshore from Bigbury-on-Sea in South Devon. It’s connected to the mainland beach by a sandy causeway at low tide.

Park in the clifftop car park above Bigbury beach. From here the sea tractor shuttle makes frequent crossings or you can walk across the causeway when the tide is out.

The closest railway stations are Totnes, Ivybridge and Plymouth. You can then tqke a taxi to Burgh Island.

You could even think about getting a helicopter to the island with Altas Helicopters, as they have their own helipad.

Visiting Times

You are free to visit Burgh Island and walk around during daylight hours. Tide times affect access – the causeway is only crossable about 2 hours either side of low tide. Check tide times to plan your walk across.

The sea tractor runs regularly each day between around 9am – 5pm, except for maintenance closures. However, it doesn’t operate for an hour either side of low tide.

burgh island

Sea Tractor Prices

The sea tractor shuttle service to Burgh Island costs:

  • Adult – £2 single, £3 return
  • Child under 16 – £1 single, £2 return
  • Family ticket (2A, 3C) – £8 return

Cash payment only. Dogs are also transported for £1.

burgh island sea tractor

Top Things To Do

Must-see highlights for families exploring Burgh Island:

  • Splash in the clear waters and ride waves on Bigbury Beach overlooked by Burgh Island. Spot the sunset-facing Venus Café.
  • Climb up through the sub-tropical gardens surrounding the Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel.
  • Hear stories of famous visitors like Agatha Christie and Noel Coward who stayed at the hotel.
  • Explore the island’s network of caverns and rock pools at low tide.
  • Imagine pirates and smugglers hiding out here centuries ago.
  • See the remains of the older pub and cottages that once stood here.
  • Take photos on the iconic red and white striped Pilchard Inn building.
  • Enjoy amazing sea views stretching along the coast from the island.
burgh island


Burgh Island has toilets located just by the sea tractor boarding point. The Pilchard Inn serves pub meals and drinks.

You can also book to dine or stay at the luxurious Burgh Island Hotel if wanting to experience its Jazz Age glamour.

cocktail bar in burgh island hotel

“Evil Under the Sun”

Set against the stunning backdrop of Burgh Island in South Devon, the story unfolds with Hercule Poirot investigating a murder that takes place in a secluded island resort. The novel intricately weaves together a cast of colorful characters, each harboring secrets and motives, adding layers of complexity to the mystery. Christie’s signature storytelling prowess shines as she skillfully navigates through red herrings and unexpected twists. The picturesque and isolated setting of Burgh Island adds a unique charm to the narrative, creating an atmospheric backdrop for the unfolding drama. “Evil Under the Sun” captivates with its clever plotting, engaging characters, and the timeless appeal of Agatha Christie’s unparalleled mystery writing.

evil under the sun agatha christie
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Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone go to Burgh Island? – Yes, it is open to the public and anyoe can visit. Same goes for the Pilchard Inn.

What famous people have stayed at Burgh Island? – Many famous people havespent time at the hotel, including Lord Mountbatten, Winston Churchill, Edward VII and Mrs Simpson and, while playing a gig in Plymouth in the 1960s, the Beatles.

Is it dog friendly? – Yes, dogs are welcome on Burgh Island as long as they are kept under control

Nearby Attractions

Combine a trip to Burgh Island with other activities in the area like:

  • Overbeck’s – Historic house museum in Salcombe with quirky collections and subtropical gardens with exotic plants.
  • Start Point Lighthouse – Striking working lighthouse in a stunning coastal location. Guided tours provide a glimpse into the lives of past keepers.
  • Totnes Rare Breeds Farm – Family-friendly farm where you can meet and learn about rare breeds of farm animals like pigs, sheep and cattle.
  • Bigbury Beach – Large sandy Blue Flag beach great for swimming, surfing, rockpooling and water sports. Dramatic Burgh Island backdrop.
  • South Devon Railway – Heritage steam railway with scenic journeys along the Dart Valley between Totnes and Buckfastleigh.
  • Blackpool Sands – Picturesque Blue Flag beach near Dartmouth with soft sand, rock pools to explore, and charming beach hut cafe.
  • River Dart Country Park – Activities like canoeing, archery, high ropes and hiking centred around the idyllic River Dart. Cafe on site.
  • Avon Mill Garden Centre – Lovely garden centre with plants, homewares and charming tea room set on the River Avon near Bigbury.
  • Agatha Christie’s Greenway – Captivating summer home of Agatha Christie with gardens, grounds and boathouse to explore. Guided tours of rooms.

For an enchanting glimpse into the past, discover the magical charms of Burgh Island. With smugglers coves, rock pools and sweeping sea views, this tidal island paradise promises adventure and nostalgia for families.

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