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Things to do in Dawlish

things to do in dawlish

Discover some of the best things to do in Dawlish

This post will help you find the best things to do in Dawlish. As we live just 10 miles from Dawlish, it is somewhere that has always been close to the heart for my family. Beyond the golden sands and delightful beaches, Dawlish unveils a treasure trove of experiences for every visitor. Imagine strolling along a vibrant Victorian terrace lined with independent shops, exploring a fascinating museum brimming with local history, or embarking on a scenic coastal walk with breathtaking views.

Whether you crave a relaxing family escape, a taste of local heritage, or an adventurous day by the sea, Dawlish offers something truly special. This post will unveil the best things to do in Dawlish, ensuring your seaside escape is as delightful as it is memorable. So, pack your bags, breathe in the fresh sea air, and get ready to discover the hidden gems and captivating charm of Dawlish!

Dawlish Warren: A Haven for Beach Lovers and Nature Enthusiasts

things to do in dawlish warren

Dawlish Warren, a designated National Nature Reserve, stretches out like a golden peninsula, offering an idyllic escape for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. This 120-acre haven boasts a stunning two-mile stretch of golden sand, perfect for building sandcastles, soaking up the sun, or simply enjoying a relaxing day by the sea.

For families, Dawlish Warren is a paradise. The gentle waves and shallow waters provide a safe environment for children to splash and play, while the vast expanse of sand offers endless space for building sandcastles, playing frisbee, or running freely. Designated lifeguards patrol the beach during peak season, ensuring peace of mind for parents.

Beyond the beach, Dawlish Warren unveils a hidden world of natural beauty. Explore the network of well-maintained trails that wind through sand dunes, grasslands, and wetlands. Keep your eyes peeled for a diverse array of birdlife, from playful sanderlings flitting along the shoreline to majestic red kites soaring overhead.

Dawlish Warren is also a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Look out for playful gray seals basking on the sandbanks offshore, or spot a variety of wading birds in the designated birdwatching areas. During the summer months, the vibrant heathland comes alive with wildflowers, creating a scene of captivating beauty.

For the adventurous, Dawlish Warren offers a range of activities. Hire a bike and explore the network of designated cycling paths, or test your skills on the challenging sand dunes. Kite flying is a popular pastime, with the constant sea breeze providing the perfect conditions to send your colorful creation soaring across the sky.

Dawlish Warren is more than just a beach; it’s a nature lover’s paradise. Whether you seek a relaxing day on the sand, an exploration of the diverse wildlife, or an adventurous escape, Dawlish Warren offers an unforgettable experience for all ages.


Dawlish Town Trail: A Journey Through Time and Enchanting Charm

dawlish town trail

Dawlish Town Trail invites you on a captivating journey through time, unveiling the rich history and delightful charm of this quintessential English seaside town. This self-guided walking tour, easily accessible from the town center, winds through a maze of narrow lanes, past elegant Victorian terraces, and along the scenic Dawlish Lawn.

As you embark on the trail, keep an eye out for the informative plaques scattered throughout the town. These plaques tell fascinating stories of Dawlish’s past, from its bustling fishing heritage to its role in the development of the railway. Learn about the devastating floods of 2014 and the remarkable community spirit that helped Dawlish rebuild.

The trail also highlights Dawlish’s architectural gems. Admire the elegant Victorian buildings lining The Strand, a vibrant street bustling with independent shops, cafes, and restaurants. Take a moment to appreciate the grandeur of Brunel’s award-winning railway bridge, a testament to Victorian engineering ingenuity.

A stop at Dawlish Museum is a must for history buffs. This charming museum delves into the town’s fascinating past, showcasing artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that bring Dawlish’s story to life. Don’t miss the iconic display of Piper Bill Millins’ D-Day bagpipes, a poignant reminder of the town’s contribution to World War II.

The Dawlish Town Trail isn’t just about history; it’s about soaking in the town’s unique atmosphere. Pause for a refreshing beverage at a charming cafe overlooking the Dawlish Lawn, or indulge in a delicious cream tea at a traditional tea room. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the scenic Dawlish Lawn, a haven of tranquillity with colorful flower beds and panoramic sea views.

The Dawlish Town Trail offers a delightful way to explore this captivating seaside town. It’s a perfect activity for families, history buffs, and anyone seeking a charming and informative escape in Dawlish.


Dawlish & Teignmouth: Through Time” by Gerald Gosling offers a captivating visual journey through the rich history of these coastal towns. With a blend of historic and contemporary photographs, this book provides a nostalgic glimpse into the past while celebrating the enduring charm of Dawlish and Teignmouth.

Find out more

dawlish book

Dawlish Lawn and Dawlish Water: A Tranquil Escape in the Heart of the Town

dawlish lawn and dawlish water

Nestled in the heart of Dawlish, Dawlish Lawn and Dawlish Water offer a haven of tranquillity amidst the seaside town’s charm. This delightful green space, perfect for a relaxing escape or a fun-filled family outing, boasts a variety of activities for all ages.

Dawlish Lawn, a vibrant green space adorned with colourful flower beds and manicured lawns, is the centerpiece of this area. Spread a picnic blanket on the soft grass, soak up the sun, and enjoy a leisurely afternoon people-watching. Children will be captivated by the dedicated play area, featuring slides, swings, and climbing frames, while the ornamental pond provides a tranquil spot for observing the resident ducks and geese.

Dawlish Water, a picturesque brook adjoining the lawn, adds to the serene atmosphere. Take a leisurely stroll along the designated paths, enjoying the calming sounds of the water and the vibrant birdlife flitting amongst the surrounding trees. Simply sit on a bench and soak in the tranquil beauty.

Dawlish Lawn and Dawlish Water cater to all ages and interests. It’s a perfect spot for families to spend a relaxing afternoon, for couples to enjoy a romantic stroll, or for anyone seeking a tranquil escape amidst the charm of Dawlish.


Funder Park: A Haven of Fun and Adventure for Children

funder park dawlish

Nearby in Dawlish Warren, Funder Park offers a haven of fun and adventure, specifically designed to keep children entertained for hours on end. This vibrant funfair boasts a variety of exciting activities, ensuring a day filled with laughter, creativity, and physical exertion.

As soon as you step inside Funder Park, everyone will be captivated by the vast array of play equipment and seaside roller coasters. Explore the multi-level play frame, complete with slides, tunnels, and climbing challenges that will test young imaginations and physical abilities.

Parents can relax and unwind in the seating area, enjoying a cup of coffee while keeping an eye on their children playing or taking . Take part in the high slides, dodgems, and enjoy all the fun of the fair!

Funder Park is a delightful escape for an active day. It’s a haven for children and a stress-free environment for parents, making it a must-visit for families exploring Dawlish.


Dawlish Museum: A Window into the Town’s Rich Past

dawlish museum

For a captivating glimpse into Dawlish’s fascinating history, a visit to Dawlish Museum is a must. Housed in a charming Victorian building on The Strand, this museum offers a treasure trove of artifacts, exhibits, and displays that bring the town’s story to life.

As you embark on your exploration, delve into Dawlish’s maritime heritage. Learn about the town’s bustling fishing industry in the past, with exhibits showcasing traditional fishing boats, equipment, and captivating stories of life at sea. Explore the impact of smuggling on the local area, and discover the hidden coves once used by smugglers to bring in contraband.

Dawlish Museum doesn’t shy away from recent history. The devastating floods of 2014, which caused widespread damage to the town, are poignantly documented. Witness the incredible community spirit that helped Dawlish rebuild, and learn about the innovative engineering solutions that now protect the town from future flooding.

A dedicated section of the museum is devoted to the life and legacy of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the visionary engineer who designed the iconic railway bridge dominating Dawlish’s skyline. Discover Brunel’s ingenious solutions to overcome the challenging terrain, and learn about the significant role the railway played in shaping Dawlish’s development.

Dawlish Museum isn’t just about static exhibits; it’s an interactive experience. Engaging activities for children keep them entertained while learning about the town’s history. The museum also hosts regular talks and events throughout the year, offering a deeper dive into specific aspects of Dawlish’s past.

Dawlish Museum caters to history buffs and curious minds of all ages. It’s a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon, learn about the town’s fascinating story, and gain a deeper appreciation for Dawlish’s unique character.


Exploring Dawlish’s Coastline: A Scenic Adventure by Foot or Bike

dawlish coastline

Dawlish boasts a stunning coastline waiting to be explored, offering breathtaking views, hidden coves, and a chance to connect with nature. Lace up your walking boots or grab your bike for a scenic adventure along the South West Coast Path, a designated National Trail that stretches along the entire Devon coastline.

The section of the South West Coast Path near Dawlish offers a variety of experiences. The path winds along Dawlish Warren, a designated National Nature Reserve, offering panoramic vistas across the golden sands and the turquoise waters of the English Channel.

For a more challenging hike, head south towards the dramatic cliffs of Teignmouth. The trail here offers breathtaking views of the coastline, with secluded coves and rock pools waiting to be discovered. Keep your eyes peeled for nesting seabirds and playful seals basking on the rocks offshore.

If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the network of designated cycling paths that wind along the Dawlish coastline. Rent a bike and explore the scenic routes, enjoying the freedom and fresh sea air as you navigate the coastal landscape. Cycling paths cater to all levels, making it a fun activity for families and experienced cyclists alike.

Exploring Dawlish’s coastline offers a refreshing escape from the town centre. Whether you seek a gentle stroll, a challenging hike, or a scenic bike ride, the captivating beauty of the South Devon coastline awaits.

The Strand Centre: A Community Hub in the Heart of Dawlish

strand centre

The Strand Centre is a community hub offering something for everyone. It’s the largest flexible space in town, hosting everything from art exhibitions and gardening competitions to plays, concerts, and charity fundraisers.

At its heart is the Inspire Cafe, a popular spot for residents and visitors alike. They serve delicious meals made with locally sourced ingredients, and great coffee. The cafe also provides meals to eat in or to take away.

The Strand Centre is a strong supporter of the local community. They have a Men’s Shed where men can socialize, work on projects, and share experiences. They run support groups for those struggling with dementia or drug and alcohol abuse, and their weekly toddler group is a big hit with young families.

The Strand Centre is also home to the Strand Church, offering a spiritual space for Sundays and various community activities throughout the week. Whether you’re looking for a delicious meal, a friendly chat, or a place to participate in local events, the Strand Centre is a welcoming space in the centre of Dawlish.

Great places to eat in Dawlish

  • The Marine Tavern: For a taste of the sea, head straight to The Marine Tavern. This traditional pub boasts stunning sea views and a menu brimming with fresh, locally caught seafood. Savor succulent scallops, indulge in classic fish and chips, or choose from their daily specials showcasing the catch of the day. Complement your meal with a local ale or wine while soaking in the charming pub atmosphere.
  • The Daisy Cafe: Experience a quintessential English tradition at The Daisy Cafe. Nestled on the Strand, this charming cafe offers a delightful selection food, perfect for fueling your day. Indulge in a classic afternoon tea with freshly baked scones, clotted cream, and a selection of finger sandwiches. The warm and welcoming ambiance makes it ideal for catching up with friends or enjoying a solo moment of relaxation over a cup of tea.
  • Woody’s Cafe: Craving a casual dining experience? Head to Woody’s Cafe on Queen Street. This vibrant cafe offers a delicious selection of sandwiches, salads, and homemade cakes. Their generous portions and friendly service make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike, perfect for a light lunch or a satisfying afternoon snack.

Some other attractions near Dawlish

While you are in Dawlish, think about checking out some of these places too:

  1. Exeter Cathedral: This magnificent Gothic cathedral, dating back to the 12th century, is located in the historic city of Exeter, about 30 minutes’ drive from Dawlish. Visitors can marvel at the impressive architecture, attend services, and explore the surrounding cathedral grounds.
  2. Exmouth Beach: This two-mile-long sandy beach in the coastal town of Exmouth is a popular destination for a day by the sea. Visitors can enjoy swimming, building sandcastles, or simply relaxing and taking in the stunning views of the Jurassic Coast.
  3. Powderham Castle: Iconic Devon landmark, boasting stunning architecture, lush gardens, and rich history. A must-visit destination for heritage enthusiasts and nature lovers alike
  4. Buckfast Abbey: Located just over an hour’s drive from Dawlish, this ancient Benedictine monastery offers visitors a chance to explore its beautiful gardens, attend services, and learn about its rich history dating back to the 11th century.
  5. Greenway House and Gardens: This former holiday home of the famous author Agatha Christie is situated in the picturesque village of Galmpton, about an hour’s drive from Dawlish. Visitors can explore the beautiful gardens, tour the house, and learn about Christie’s life and work.
  6. Crealy Adventure Park: This family-friendly adventure park, located just a 30-minute drive from Dawlish, offers a wide range of rides, attractions, and indoor play areas, making it a perfect day out for families with children.
  7. Haldon Forest Park: Situated just a short drive from Dawlish, this beautiful forest park offers a variety of walking and cycling trails, as well as opportunities for outdoor activities such as orienteering and mountain biking.
  8. Bygones: This unique museum in Torquay, about an hour’s drive from Dawlish, takes visitors on a journey through time, showcasing a vast collection of Victorian and Edwardian artifacts, including shops, houses, and even a street scene.

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