Croyde Bay is arguably one of North Devon’s prettiest places to visit. If you’re researching your next holiday in the UK, this travel photography guide will help you to discover all the things to do in and near Croyde.
It will cover the most photogenic spots in this charming Croyde Bay coastal village. So, don’t forget to bring your camera and take some photos to remember your time here.
It may come as a bit of a surprise that Croyde possesses pristine beauty given that it has a solid reputation as one of the best surfing spots in the UK.
However, this small seaside community has a unique appeal where surf shops mingle with charming thatched homes and traditional village stores.
Surfboards and wetsuits, as well as anything else you would need for a day at the beach, are available here for purchase or rental.
You’ll quickly realise after reading this guide that Croyde beach should be at the top of your list of North Devon places to visit.
Here is what will be covered, click a link to skip ahead:
- Where is Croyde Bay?
- Getting to Croyde
- Best time to visit Croyde Bay?
- Where do you park?
- What facilities are at Croyde Bay?
- Top tips for taking photos of Croyde
- Places to stay in Croyde
- Best things to do in Croyde
- Food and Drink recommendations
- Other places to visit in North Devon
Ready to plan your holiday and find out more about Croyde beach? Let’s get to it.
Where is Croyde Bay?
Croyde is a community located on North Devon’s west coast in England.
This charming village is located on the South West Coast Path, close to the National Trust-owned Baggy Point.
It is the beach situated between Woolacombe and Saunton Sands.
Getting to Croyde
Driving is the easiest way to travel to Croyde bay. Having a car will also be ideal, as you will be able to conveniently explore other places in North Devon on day trips from your accommodation in Croyde during your visit.
If you want to travel by train, the closest station to Croyde is Barnstaple which can be reached via Exeter on North Devon’s Tarka Line.
For the most up-to-date train schedules, go to www.nationalrail.co.uk/planmyjourney
The nearest bus stop is Braunton, however Barnstaple is also served by a separate bus route. For the most up-to-date bus information, go to www.nationalexpress.com
Best time to visit Croyde Bay?
As with most UK destinations the best chance of good weather is over the summer months. Croyde beach is a popular destination for families during the school summer holidays.
If you are looking for a break away from the crowds, it might be best to perhaps avoid this time of year.
Nonetheless, Croyde is still a great place to visit outside of peak summer season.
Keen surfers, in particular, are usually drawn to visit Croyde bay during the winter months, as the ocean swells tend to be larger.
Where do you park?
The biggest car park in the community is Down End Car Park in Croyde Bay, which is open all year round. Along with a restroom building and a beach shower, this location also has a cafe and a surf school.
Beachgoers, surfers, and residents frequently choose to park here because of its close proximity to the beach and beautiful view of the bay.
Additionally, there is a car park near Baggy Point where National Trust members can park for free.
What facilities are at Croyde Bay?
For a small village in Devon, Croyde has a few decent businesses that sell everything you would require during your holidays. If you can’t find what you need, Braunton is a larger town that is close by that has a better supermarket and shops.
Surf shops – There are plenty of these in this small village, including Salt Rock, Ralph’s, The Beach Hut, and the Little Pink Surf Shop. All of them sell surf accessories and clothing. Some hire surf equipment too, so you’ll find everything you need for a day at the beach in one of these stores.
Croyde Open Air Market – During the summer, the Croyde Market comes to town a couple of days a week. You can buy locally handmade crafts as well as standard market items.
Croyde Market – There is another market held in the village itself. Typically located next to the village hall. It once again sells handcrafted items made in the local area, such as silver jewellery.
Post Office – There is a little store here that sells essential groceries and souvenirs. Pick up your postcards and send them to relatives and friends. If you need cash, there is also an ATM available.
Nisa – This is the most well-stocked grocery store in the village, located in the Ruda Holiday Park. Beware, it is not cheap!
Top tips for taking photos of Croyde
To make the most of your visit to Croyde, Devon here are a few photography tips for getting the best shots of the village and bay.
- Get up for Dawn! Early mornings usually have less wind, so this is an ideal time to practise long exposure.
- Croyde beach is on the west coast and has some spectacular sunsets. Plan your day so that you can return down the beach and photograph the sun setting in all its glory.
- To discover an image that reflects your own photographic style, try to be innovative, experiment with angles, and pay attention to your surroundings.
- Remember to employ basic composition rules. Consider techniques such as rule of thirds, framing and leading lines.
- Croyde bay is a great location to practise surf photography from the beach, check out these tips for learning surf photography.
- To improve the storytelling of your photos, include a local surfer catching a wave or someone wandering down the beach in your image.
- Walk into town and practise your architectural photography, capturing the traditional thatched houses.
Croyde can definitely be photographed well using your camera phone or one of the best compact travel cameras.
However, consider investing in more professional equipment if you want to capture stunning detail and crisp images that you can print larger and hang as wall art in your home. Perhaps, you want to sell your photographs too?
Essential photography equipment
A full frame digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) or mirrorless camera.
A zoom lens, such as the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM Lens, would allow you to capture both the larger landscape and zoom into subjects if needed.
A decent camera bag with appropriate protection to keep your equipment safe while in transit.
A waterproof camera cover. Rain showers are not unusual in England throughout the summer. Always be ready to protect your expensive equipment.
Keep additional batteries in your camera bag and make sure they are well charged so that a low battery does not catch you off guard.
Also have some spare memory cards in case you get trigger happy! You’ll be surprised, especially if you’re shooting surfers on sports mode, how quickly you can fill up a memory card.
Places to stay in Croyde
There are plenty of options in Croyde for all accommodation budgets. Places to stay in Croyde Bay, Devon include friendly campsites, holiday parks with caravans and private holiday cottages.
Below are just a few suggestions of Croyde bay accommodation options, all these have very good reviews:
Croyde Bay Hotel or Self Catering (Unison Resort)
This resort has one of the best locations for accommodation in Croyde bay, directly behind the Sand Dunes on Croyde Beach. There are plenty of accommodation options for couples through to large families. Whatever your budget, you should find something suitable. A restaurant, a tennis court, and a fitness centre are all available on site. The resort also provides entertainment staff, surf lessons, equipment hire, and conference facilities.
If you’re looking for more of a luxurious private holiday, consider staying in one of the many gorgeous holiday homes available in the village.
Summer Breeze is a modern four-bedroom holiday home. This charming home boasts amazing views of the surrounding countryside and the sea. It includes a large south-facing patio with a hot tub. This house sleeps 8 people comfortably and is ideal for a family holiday. It has 2 parking spots, is just a 5-minute walk from the village centre, and is a 10-minute walk to the beach.
A really elegant modern house with an open plan kitchen and living area. There are two doubles and two twin rooms, which together sleep eight people. One car can park in the driveway outside, and there is unlimited street parking in front of the building. Excellent position with lovely views of the countryside, close to the village and the beach. Enjoy the convenience of a warm outdoor shower to remove sand from your toes after spending the day at the beach.
Best things to do in Croyde
The following list of things to do in Croyde is not an exhaustive list, it is merely a few suggestions on how we filled our days whilst visiting Croyde.
Beach day – Croyde Bay is one of the most stunning beaches in the UK. It is surrounded by sand dunes and nestled between two beautiful headlands on each side.
Note that dogs are not permitted on the beach between May and September, however they are permitted on the neighbouring beaches of Putsborough and Saunton, as well as on the Croyde sand dunes all year.
Baggy Point Walk – The walk to Baggy Point is highly recommended, especially on a clear day, because of the amazing views. Dogs are permitted on this walk, so you will notice many people taking their pets along to enjoy the walk too.
Learn to Surf – with so many surf schools here, why not take the opportunity to check learning to surf off your bucket list? This is one of the best things to do in Croyde as a family activity.
Afternoon tea – You can’t visit Devon without enjoying a classic Devonshire cream tea by the sea. This has to be on your must do list of things to do in Croyde. Just make sure you apply the cream and jam the Devonshire way! Remember, cream first and jam last.
Watch the sunset – The sunsets in Croyde are spectacular so grab a takeaway and head to the beach to watch the sun go down.
Take photos – if you are reading this post, hopefully you enjoy a bit of travel photography! There are plenty of photo opportunities here, so take some inspiration from this travel photography guide and get out shooting.
Food and Drink recommendations
The Thatch – A favourite among locals and tourists alike in Croyde. This building, which was constructed in the 16th century, is a superb illustration of a typical Devon stone barn with a thatched roof. With low beams, a large bar, and a crackling fire, the interior embodies a traditional British pub. The bar does become really crowded and has a great atmosphere in the summer. Live music, open mic nights, and local musicians taking over the far end of the bar on Friday and Saturday nights draw crowds here all year long.
Stoned – This delicious wood-fired pizza van is frequently parked in the field next to the Ruda holiday resort. Alternatively, depending on the season, you could find it in the Baggy Point car park. Get there early to avoid the queues and lengthy waits at this popular location. People frequently pick up a pizza and go to the beach to watch the sunset. Bliss!
Croyde’s Ice Cream Parlour – Who doesn’t love an ice cream on a hot summer’s day? This place is buzzing with customers throughout the summer all wanting to try one of their delicious flavours.
Other places to visit in North Devon
If you want a change of scenery, Woolacombe and Saunton are both convenient day trips from Croyde and well worth doing.
If you haven’t already, have a look at this article on the best places to visit in North Devon. There are so many things to do in this picturesque region that you’ll want to start thinking about your next trip before your holiday is finished!
Hopefully, after reading this, you have a better understanding of the top things to do in Croyde and will enjoy your trip to this stunning location.
While the majority of this post concentrates on the most picturesque locations in Croyde, you can’t forget you have the whole of North Devon on your doorstep too!
If you’re still looking for more UK travel inspiration head over to see the best places to visit in Pembrokeshire for Photography.
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