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front view of overbeck's

Find Inspiration at Overbeck’s Museum and Gardens

Nestled on the rugged cliffs overlooking the English Channel at Salcombe, Overbeck’s perfectly preserves the inspiring home of Victorian artist Otto Overbeck. Wandering through Overbeck’s home studio, admiring his evocative paintings, and strolling through subtropical gardens filled with exotic blooms, it is very easy to be transported into his creative world overlooking South Devon’s compelling coastlines.

From Overbeck’s story of finding inspiration in Britain to interactive exhibits tailored for families, a day out discovering this hidden National Trust gem promises beauty, intrigue and imagination in equal measure. Here’s everything you need to plan an atmospheric visit.

overbeck's house

Getting There

Overbeck’s perches on the cliffs above Sharpitor Beach, around 2 miles from the centre of Salcombe along the coastal footpath. Well waymarked from Salcombe, there is free parking available.

By Car

Drive towards Salcombe from the A381, turning off towards South Sands/South Milton after the village of South Pool. Follow scenic lanes 1.5 miles to the small Overbeck’s car park.

On Foot

Hikers can take the breathtaking 45 minute cliff path walk from Salcombe’s town centre and ferry pier along the South West Coast Path towards Overbeck’s Vantage viewpoint.

By Ferry

Alternatively, take the seasonal ferry from Salcombe harbour across to East Portlemouth, followed by a 30 minute woodland trail.

Opening Times

Overbeck’s house, studio and gardens are open from mid-February to October:

  • Tuesday – Sunday + Bank Holidays 11am – 5pm

The estate remains open year-round for walks. Check the website for winter opening schedules and special events.

Entry Prices

Admission includes the house, gardens and countryside walks. Current prices are:

  • Adults £9.40
  • Children £4.70
  • Family £23.40
  • National Trust Members Free

Non-members can pay donations only November-February. A 10% discount applies for advanced bookings.

The House and Studio

Overbeck’s cleverly designed L-shaped Victorian house seamlessly frames inspiring maritime views from every room. Highlights include:

  • Overbeck’s studio showcasing his evocative coastal paintings and sketches, framed by the same views that inspired him over a century ago.
  • Intimate drawing room decorated with ornate low-relief plasterwork and a mirrored dining space to admire the vistas.
  • Overbeck’s bedroom and those of his wife and daughter, capturing family life.
  • Memorabilia like guestbooks signed by fellow creative pioneers of the era such as the painter Sir John Millais.

It provides a window into Overbeck’s creative process finding beauty and meaning in wild South Devon landscapes.

insect collection at overbeck's

The Subtropical Gardens

Overbeck landscaped the sloping site himself to create a remarkable oasis flourishing in Britain’s mild coastal micro-climate. Features include:

  • Lily ponds and fern-filled streams cascading through bamboo groves down the sheltered valley.
  • Winding paths under canopies of camellia and magnolia trees.
  • Exotic blooms like giant echiums thriving due to the Gulf Stream.
  • Panoramic vistas over the Salcombe Estuary framed by palm trees.

Kids will love exploring the tropical plants, quaint bridges, gazeebos and secret gardens formed inside the sloping site.

palm trees at overbeck's

Coastal Walks

From Overbeck’s, exhilarating coastal walks offer even more inspiration:

  • Follow the footpath to Mill Bay’s secluded beach and crystal clear waters.
  • Take the woodland trail to South Milton Sands family beach.
  • Attempt the steep climb up to spectacular views from Sharpitor viewpoint.
  • Extend along the coast path as far as your feet fancy – traffic-free trails run for miles in both directions!

Interactive Family Fun

Overbeck’s has added ways to engage younger visitors:

  • Nature trails and drawing packs.
  • Materials for bark rubbings from tree textures.
  • Photo prompts encouraging you to see landscapes through artistic eyes.
  • Listen to the relaxing sounds of nature in the mindfulness glade.
  • Regular family craft activity days.

It provides a perfect creative outlet surrounded by Overbeck’s enchanting coastal scenery.

overbeck's garden

Visitor Facilities

The Café serves snacks and refreshments on the terrace overlooking the estuary. The Shop sells art, books and crafts in keeping with the artisan surroundings.

Facilities include baby changing areas and assisted wheelchair access with advance notice. Leave dogs at home due to the terrain and wildlife.

Overbeck’s showcases the transported world Otto Overbeck found high on Britain’s wind-battered clifftops that still provides inspiration today. Follow footsteps through exotic gardens to his coastal viewpoint studio for a day of discovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs allowed? – Assistance dogs only are allowed at Overbeck’s.

What is parking like? – The car park is very limited for space, but there is a dropping off spot if needed. You can park on the road for free outside Overbeck’s and walk up the slope to get in.

Is Overbeck’s accessible for wheelchairs and prams? – They have loose gravel paths, steps and steep paths. The gardens are not easily accessible for wheelchairs or pramsn and the toilets are not accessible for wheelchairs.

Other nearby attractions

There are many other great places to visit when you are in this area, including:

  • Berry Pomeroy Castle – Picturesque 15th century castle ruin surrounded by woodlands. Legends of ghostly apparitions add to the atmosphere.
  • Saltram House – Impressive Georgian mansion with fine interiors and ornamental gardens designed by Capability Brown. Guided tours available.
  • Plym Valley Railway – Scenic steam train rides along the Plym Valley’s tranquil nature trails and riverside paths departing from Plymbridge.
  • Dartmouth Castle – Imposing medieval fortification with a rich history. Walk the ramparts and admire the views over the Dart Estuary.
  • Blackpool Sands – Idyllic Blue Flag beach near Dartmouth with soft sand, rock pools to explore, and nearby cafes. Perfect for relaxing or water sports.
  • Woodlands Leisure Park – Family adventure park with animal encounters, falconry displays, indoor and outdoor play areas, and theme park rides.
  • River Dart Country Park – Picturesque park with walking trails, kayaking and other activities centred around the river. Cafe and visitor facilities onsite.
  • Totnes Rare Breeds Farm – Meet friendly farm animals like sheep, pigs, deer and alpacas at this family-friendly attraction. Learn about conservation of rare breeds.

You can find out more about other National Trust places in Devon here.

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