10 Great Reasons to Visit Seaton in East Devon
Seaton is an extremely friendly, relatively modern town in East Devon. Set by the sea in a large bay on the Jurassic Coast, it has a kilometer long esplanade flanking the pebble beach. In the summer it’s the perfect place to find a space away from the crowds making it popular with locals and tourists alike.
Often over looked by visitors to the region who favour glamorous Lyme Regis just across the border in Dorset, or the chocolate box fishing town of Beer to the West, you really should broaden your horizons. There is plenty for visitors and locals alike to enjoy, so here are my 10 great reasons for visiting Seaton.
1. The Cultural Quarter – Shops and Cafes
Seaton is a small town but offers a great range of independent shops and cafes. Traders in Seaton are a determined and stoic bunch. They work extremely hard all year and this comes across in their great customer service and good value.
Working together to promote the town they have recently set up The Cultural Quarter in the main shopping streets.
Make sure you wander elsewhere though and search out shops all around the town.
Amongst the range of independent shops is an extremely well stock arts and crafts shop on Queen Street. Imagine Design Create is over flowing with everything serious crafters might need to pipe cleaners, goggly eyes and craft kits for children. My teenage girls spotted lovely notebooks, pens and stencils and other present ideas as well.
We were treated to a decoupage session before Christmas and spent a happy hour decorating angles as well as chatting to owner Kerri-Ann about her shop and the town. She is typical of the passionate and loyal shop owners in the town. Imagine Create Design offers lots of craft sessions for all ages. These are really varied from decoupage, stencilling, felting to botanical journaling, as well as kits to take home or for presents.
2. A Choice of Cafes and Restaurants
You don’t need to go far in Seaton to find a lovely independently run cafe.
We were invited to try out Pebbles Coffee House near the seafront. This popular eatery serves a range of light lunches, drinks and homemade cakes. As well as a range of hearty meals on the specials board I spotted that Sunday lunch also was being offered.
We went for the cottage pie, the vegetable curry and pulled pork. All very tasty and good sized portions which meant we were too full for the homemade cake! Pebbles Coffee Shop is family run and is also very dog friendly.
Other cafes and restaurants are dotted around the town as well as one at the far Western end of the Esplanade called The Hideaway. Fish and chips are also a popular seaside option in Seaton.
Over the summer months you can enjoy the Seaton Eats Boutique, a Friday night open air market bringing together some amazing street food.
Importantly for shopping and eating, Seaton has plenty of accessible parking both close to the town centre and the beach.
3. Enjoy the Beach and Esplanade
One of the loveliest things to do in Seaton is to take a gentle walk along the seafront. The long flat Esplanade is part of the sea defence wall built in the 1970’s. It’s about 1km from end to end and perfect for pushchairs and wheelchairs. On Saturday mornings the seafront hosts the popular Park Run.
The beach is also lovely – a long stretch of pebbles sweep around the bay. Perfect for sitting on with your fish and chips and personally I find pebbles a lot less messy that sand! It does slope quite steeply into the sea so is best for confident swimmers or paddlers, although it’s shallower and great for rock pooling at Seaton Hole to the West. If you are a feeling energetic then why not have a go at stand up paddle boarding or kayaking around the bay (available to hire on the summer).
4. A base for walking the South West Coast Path
Reach either end of the seafront and just keep walking! You are now heading along the South West Coast Path. You can enjoy the relatively short walk to Beer via Seaton Hole or take on the more arduous trek to Lyme Regis via the infamous Undercliff. Seaton has good bus connections with local towns so you can use it as a base and plan your return via public transport, or in the summer use the lovely Jurassic Mule Open top bus service. There are also many other lovely places to walk around Seaton such as Holyford Woods and Musbury Castle.
5. Seaton Wetlands
Carrying on the walking theme, one of my favourite places for a stroll is Seaton Wetlands. A beautifully calm and quiet place where you can look out for birds from the hides, take the children pond dipping, follow one of the seasonal trails or join in with craft sessions. Deserved winner of the Silver Award for Best Small Attraction, Seaton Wetlands is free and totally accessible.
6. Seaton Tramway
A ride on the Seaton Tramway is on many visitors top list of days out. This is a lovely and relaxing way to enjoy the Axe Estuary as the narrow gauge tram gently heads to Colyton. Do a bit of bird spotting on the way looking across to the wetlands, then hop off and enjoy a cream tea at the tram Stop Café.
7. Seaton Jurassic
This relatively new attraction takes you on a journey though time as you learn about the fossil hunters, geologists and travel back in time to discover what the Jurassic Coast looked like 200 million years ago.
Seaton Jurassic is a popular attraction for all ages and has proved a great asset to Seaton. It also has a lovely cafe and runs craft sessions and some after school clubs. The building also houses the Tourist Information Centre.
8. Music and Arts
For a varied choice of music, theatre and film, The Gateway has a year round programme packed with a huge variety of acts.
Seaton is also becoming well known for the quality of it’s local arts and crafts.
There is a thriving arts society and the popular Art@Jubilee arts market held on the first Saturday of the month over the summer. During the summer you also can enjoy browsing the Seaton Artisan Market that is held most weekends in Windsor Gardens.
9. Golf – Adventure Golf or an 18 Hole Golf Course
If you are after a fun hour with the family then why not try out the dinosaur themed crazy golf in the Seafield Gardens. It’s a lovely location set back from the beach which also has a small play park and tennis courts.
If you are more advanced at the game there is an 18 hole golf course at nearby Axmouth (Axe valley Golf Course) with amazing cliff top views and a popular restaurant.
10. Seasonal Sports Events
The Grizzly Run
The Grizzly is a popular endurance run held every March in and around Seaton (Sunday March 10th 2019). It’s tough! Twentyish miles of muddy, hilly, boggy, beachy of the multi terrain running It’s not for the faint hearted, but over 1000 people enter every year and many go to cheer on the runners!
Seaton Cycle Fest and Vintage Velo
If running is not your thing then how about cycling? A cycling festival featuring speed races around the town has been very popular in the last two years and certainly brings Seaton alive with this face paced sport. The Seaton Criterium course is a challenging 1.2 km circuit designed for professional cyclists but there are also children’s races and other entertainment.
If more sedate riding is more your thing them look out for the Velo Vintage, a wonderful display of vintage bicycles and entertainment, to be held on 22nd June 2019.
Seaton Summed Up
Being brought up with Seaton as my nearest seaside town I have to admit I do love it. From ice creams to stone skimming, to dog walks and mackerel fishing, it holds good memories for me.
Over the last few years the town really has pulled together to bid for improvements and put on events. The building of Seaton Jurassic and more recently a new terminus for the Seaton Tramway have been a real bonus. However it’s the smaller events that give the town it’s buzz, like the weekly park run, the Artisan Market and seeing the town come together for it’s Christmas Lighting Up event.
If you are looking to stay in Seaton there is a full range of accommodation from hotels (including a new Premier Inn), camping and caravan parks and B&Bs. It’s location as a base is ideal for exploring the rest of East Devon.
So go on – give it go!
* I was invited to Seaton in order to write about the town and received complimentary meals and a craft session for the family. All opinions are my own.