While exploring South Devon, you may hear about a gem of a coastal town called Dawlish.
The fishing town has been a popular vacation destination since Victorian times and continues to be a site to behold. Undeniably, the Devon town has a charming tendency to leave a lasting impression on you.
Dawlish has had plenty to offer for visitors and tourists alike, from sandy beaches and wildlife parks to a retreat in the woods. It’s a town that is inherently more laid-back and peaceful than some of the busier places around Devon, which makes for a relaxing vacation spot.
So, let’s take a look at all the fun things you can do and the hidden gems you can visit when in Dawlish Warren. The traditional seaside town brings with it enough character and charm to keep you engaged for the duration of your visit!
7 Attractions To See And Things To Do In Dawlish Warren
1. Observe The Waves From Dawlish Warren Beach
A lively town beach can be the perfect start to your family holiday, and Dawlish Warren Beach is just the place for it. It is one of the two most famous beaches in Dawlish, with Dawlish Town Beach being the other.
With rugged cliffs as its backdrop, the golden sands can be a great focal point to begin your family days in. Sit down at the shoreline and observe the gentle waves touch the sand dunes and retreat back into the sea.
The coastal scenery makes for a quiet and serene afternoon, which only improves as the sun approaches the horizon. As the sun sets in the distance, observe its golden hue turn crimson, bathing the sands in its marvellous glow.
And if you’re visiting the town during the summer months, feel free to go for a swim or surf on the sea waves. The shoreline of this sandy beach extends over a mile, touching the mouth of the River Exe.
This sandy beach is recommended by the Marine Conservation Society for tourists, from where you can spot the nature reserves as well. Wading birds and wildfowl species are commonly seen in the reserve, along with hundreds of flowering plant species.
2. Go On A Hike At Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve
The Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve is an expansive 500-acre area filled to the brim with sights to see and wildlife to observe. Hike across the distinctive sand dunes, explore the grassland and stride through the plains across the Exe Estuary.
Not only is the reserve an incredible tourist attraction, but it is also an important site for wildlife. Birds migrate to and from the reserve to feed or spend the winter at the Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve.
Moreover, there are more than 600 species of plants that have been registered on the Warren, thanks to its varied habitats. You can observe these as well across the nature reserve, which includes freshwater ponds, wet meadows, salt marshes and woodland. So, it may not come to anyone’s surprise that the location is protected by local and international laws.
Most of the reserve is accessible to all, which includes the bird hide for observing rare and elusive bird species. Entering the nature reserve is free, and dogs are allowed to accompany you on a lead. The only places that are restricted to the public are the mudflats and the crazy golf course.
Visit Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve as early as 10:30 in the morning and spend your day in nature’s cradle. There is much to learn and explore, so make the most out of your time there!
3. Explore Local History At Dawlish Museum
Dawlish has a rich history, and much of it is detailed in the records kept at Dawlish Museum. As such, it is a tourist attraction that you must visit during school holidays in the seaside town.
Featuring no less than 11 galleries spread over three floors, the museum has artefacts that date back to the Victorian era. These galleries are home to some of the greatest paintings in the area, all of which have a unique story to tell. The museum specialises in all things Dawlish, which is what makes it so alluring.
You can find three rooms dedicated specifically to Victoriana, in addition to rooms with themed exhibits. Porcelain, Geology, Dolls Room for children and Boys’ Toys Room are all featured in the various rooms across the venue.
Learn all about events that transpired in the past and the present, with one of the most recent exhibits depicting the great storm of February 2014. The exhibit showcases how the storm damaged the train line, impacting the transportation mode severely.
4. Explore The Town On The Dawlish And Dawlish Warren Walk
If you’re up for a leisurely stroll along the south west coast path, the Dawlish and Dawlish Warren Walk can be just the place for you. It’s an easy walk through fields, roads, tracks and paths in the coastal town, making it suited for family fun.
The path starts in Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve, which is connected by level roads and paths. Progressing along the path, you will be treated to incredible views along the coast, past the visually striking architecture in the seaside resort. Further along, you will come across the sea wall, making for a magnificent time on foot in the springtime.
Should the weather turn bad or the tide be high, turn to the inland route that takes you across the railway line. Witness the raging seas from afar instead of along the sea wall as its harsh waves strike the rock pools in a spectacular fashion.
And if you’re accompanied by a pet dog, feel free to walk them along this path. Find dog-friendly beaches and pubs along the Walk for a quick snack or drink with your pooch.
Dogs adore the south west coast path for its length and varied sights, giving your pet the enjoyment of a lifetime.
5. Watch Out For Dawlish Black Swans
The coastal town in south west England is practically known for being home to the famous black swans. You can find them around Dawlish Waters and The Lawn, which are close to the town centre.
Having been brought to Dawlish from Australia in the early 1900s, the birds have made Dawlish their home for over a century now. Keep your camera ready! These birds are easy to spot and are often followed by keen tourists for a picture.
If you visit Dawlish Water at the right time of the year, you may even see cygnets accompanying the black-feathered flock. The regal birds are a fantastic sight for any tourist visiting the area.
Be sure to maintain your distance, though! Swans are known to be aggressive and may react violently to people approaching them too closely.
6. Explore Dawlish
The nature reserve, beaches and museums aside, there is plenty to see in the coastal town of Dawlish. There is a small river that runs through the town, which can be a great spot to relax.
A single fleeting glance from the town centre will let you know that all the buildings here have some sort of historical significance. There are mediaeval churches, Victorian and Georgian buildings, old pubs and more to explore. A short walk across the town is a good way to spend a few hours on your vacation.
Visit independent shops for locally-made souvenirs and produce, or visit nearby tea rooms for a cup of the traditional South Devon cream tea. Find fine-dining places aplenty for a filling meal, after which you can enter one of the several pubs that can be found in Dawlish, Devon.
Once you’ve had your meal and drinks, head out to the wildlife parks or open green spaces for some fresh air. Enjoy the salty aroma of the sea that can be experienced throughout the day, filling you with a refreshing feeling. And once the day ends, feel free to check into your hotel to sleep off the fatigue.
7. Spend A Magical Day At Powderham Castle
If there was one place filled to the brim with stories in Dawlish, Devon, it would be Powderham Castle. Plenty of significant events have transpired over the centuries of its existence, giving it a rich and intriguing history.
Situated in a gorgeous deer park next to the River Exe, the castle is open for guided tours, trailer rides, garden walks and much more. You can enjoy more than just exploration at Powderham Castle, offering you local delicacies, souvenirs, toys, clothing and more.
Additionally, there are several events to take part in that are held regularly. These events include yoga, nordic walking, rock festivals, etc.
A day at Powderham Castle can expose you to a wealth of different experiences supported by an efficient service, making it a great destination for holidays.
Dawlish is a place of immense natural beauty where you can partake in various fun activities or simply sit back and relax. And since it is not as bustling with people as some of the larger resort towns, a visit to the seaside town is always pleasant.
The town can also be a great starting point for your vacation, as you can easily access the rest of the English Riviera from Dawlish, Devon. Moreover, you can venture into the nearby Jurassic Coastline or Stuart Line cruises from there, known to be some of the best attractions in Devon.
Wildlife parks, gardens, castles, pubs, cafes and restaurants in this Devon town give it a unique flair, making Dawlish worth visiting for a day trip.
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