Seaton is a small seaside town in east Devon on the south west coast of England. It’s a great place for a short break with lots to see and do and some wonderful places nearby.
Located along the Jurassic Coast and at the mouth of the River Axe, it’s the perfect spot to get out and about, enjoy the fresh sea air, and see what the region has to offer.
This post outlines the best things to do in Seaton, Devon.
Where is Seaton?
Seaton overlooks Lyme Bay, a large bay that spans both Devon and Dorset on the south west coast.
The town is near several towns and villages worth visiting. These include Beer (a mile and a half away), Lyme Regis (8 miles away), West Bay (18 miles), Sidmouth (just under 10 miles), and Weymouth (around 30 miles). It is just over 150 miles from London.
How to get to Seaton
Seaton is easily accessible by car. It is around a two and a half to three hour drive from London, one hour from the county town of Exeter, and just under two hours from Bristol.
If you prefer to travel by public transport, note that Seaton does not have its own train station. However, you can travel from London Waterloo to the nearby station of Axminster and then catch a bus the remaining way (this is about a 20-minute journey).
Although this might seem like a relatively long journey (around 2 hours and 45 minutes to Axminster), it is usually a direct train. So you can just sit back and relax and not worry about the timing of connecting trains.
You can also travel from Exeter St. David’s station to Axminster, a journey of 40 minutes.
Things to do in Seaton
There are many things to do in Seaton, whether you are looking for a relaxing coastal break, a cultural break exploring some of the local attractions, or walks along the coast or through the local nature reserves.
There’s also plenty of interesting attractions if you’re on a family holiday and looking for some family fun, looking for free things to do, or need to find things to do on rainy days.
Read on for my overview of the top things to do in Seaton, Devon.
Explore Seaton Town
Seaton town has all the usual amenities you would expect and some lovely parts to explore on a short break.
You can shop and eat out in the town, as well as learn about the history of Seaton and nearby places around the Axe Valley in the Axe Valley Heritage Museum. On selected days, the Seaton Artisan Market takes place if you fancy browsing around some stalls that sell arts and crafts products.
There are also places to take in great views across the town and sea. One such place is Cliff Field Gardens.
Here you’ll find the Seaton Labyrinth. This is a circle 60 feet in diameter made using rock from the Jurassic coastline (apparently the town is the only place along this coastline “where rocks from all three of the World Heritage Site’s geological periods…can be viewed in their natural environment” –
You can get to the gardens by walking up from the esplanade along Seaton seafront. The esplanade is a wide flat area running behind the mile-long pebble beach and is a perfect spot for a leisurely walk in the fresh air.
You can also wander through Seafield Gardens with its wildflower beds and pond. This place is set at a high vantage point and has fantastic views. And if you fancy more activity, there are tennis courts, an outdoor gym and a mini golf course here. There’s also a small play park for children and the 19th-century Jubilee Clock Tower.
For evenings out, Seaton has a small theatre – The Gateway Theatre – where you can watch live shows and films and listen to live music.
And if you’re in town on the first Friday night of the month, head to the Seaton Eats Boutique, where you can eat street food outside in the Jubilee Gardens and watch the sun go down.
To check out more places to eat in Seaton, click here.
Chill out on Seaton Beach
The town’s beach is one of the highlights of a visit here. It’s a large pebble beach where you can rest and relax, especially if you visit on a warm sunny day.
The main beach stretches for more than a mile to the smaller and slightly more secluded Seaton Hole Beach. It has an esplanade behind it that you can stroll along and look out across Lyme Bay.
You can also enjoy water sports here, including paddleboarding and kayaking.
Take a trip on the Seaton to Tramway
One of the top things to do in Seaton is to take a journey on the Seaton Tramway.
This is an opportunity to ride on vintage trams along a narrow-gauge line that runs for three miles through the Axe valley along the side of the river estuary. You get to travel through some beautiful countryside and can get off at some of the stops to visit other attractions.
The journey takes around half an hour each way. At the end of the line in Colyton there is the Tramstop Cafe, where you can have some refreshments. This claims to be listed as serving one of the best cream teas in Devon!
I grew up near Seaton, and a trip on the Seaton Tramway was a firm favourite in my childhood. In summer, open top double deckers are used, which just adds to the experience.
Seaton sits along the Jurassic Coast that runs through Devon and Dorset. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site covering an area that spans 95 miles and forms part of the longer South West Coast Path. The east Devon area is also a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
You’re therefore spoilt for choice when it comes to places to go walking. Some walks take you along the coastal path; others also go to inland areas. This website gives you ideas for walks depending on the time you have available, how far you want to walk, and the difficulty level (there are 15 in total set out here).
The Seaton to Beer beach route is labelled as easy and takes just over an hour. This would be an excellent walk if time is limited and you also want to drop down into the pretty village of Beer. More seasoned walkers may want to give the route from nearby Axmouth to West Bay a go. This more ‘moderate’ route is almost 17 miles long.
See the local nature
As east Devon is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s easy to get out and about and see some nature and local wildlife when you visit.
Aside from that you might see on one of the coastal walks, there is the nature that is encompassed within the nearby Seaton Wetlands. This comprises four areas of marshland and reed beds by the Axe estuary – Seaton Marshes, Black Hole Marsh, Colyford Common, and Stafford Marsh – and almost two and a half miles of nature trails.
The wetlands is an excellent place for those who want to see some wildlife. Seaton Marsh is the nearest of the four to visit if you’re staying in the town (it’s about a mile away from the town centre, so you can walk here). There are wide open spaces with views across the surrounding countryside and where you’ll often see wildfowl and wading birds. There is also a bird hide for bird watchers.
You can find out more here, including information on the three other marshes and things to do here. And if you want to explore other places in the surrounding area, the Devon Wildlife Trust provides a list of nature reserves in the local area.
Go to Beer
There are great views if you do it this way. Although if you take the bus, you could also see some of these by walking from the village to the top of the cliffs at Beer Head. This is a headland around a 15-minute walk away.
It’s worth a visit to Beer. It’s a picturesque fishing village with several historical buildings, a 19th-century church, and interesting shops and galleries to browse. There is also a small shingle beach in a pretty little cove overlooked by limestone cliffs. You can take fishing trips from here if this interests you.
Visit Pecorama and ride the Beer Heights Light Railway
Pecorama is a nearby tourist attraction that is perfect for family days out. It has gardens, play areas, and a fleet of model railways.
It also has the Beer Height’s Light Railway. According to the website, this Light Railway is “considered by many to be the finest 7 1/4-inch gauge railway in Britain”.
The passenger trains on this line travel along a mile-long route with breathtaking views over Lyme Bay and the surrounding coastline. This is an amazing experience, and you will get some spectacular views out to sea if you don’t have time to do any walks in the area.
If you fancy it and can afford it, you can also book a lesson to drive the train. Train buffs or model railway enthusiasts will absolutely love it here.
Clamber into the Beer Quarry Caves
Beer Quarry Caves are just over two miles from Seaton. Here, you can go inside a series of underground caves, which were first quarried in Roman times. The excavated stone has been used on several famous buildings, including Exeter Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and the Tower of London.
When you visit, you’ll see the cave structures, including the roofs and pillars of beer stone. You’ll also get an insight into the conditions the workers faced, some of whom were children. Depending on the season, there may even be bats!
The tours are around an hour long, and you are advised to wear sensible shoes and take some warm clothing as the caves have a temperature of around 7 to 9 degrees centigrade. You’ll also need to wear a hard hat.
Admire the donkeys in Sidmouth
Animal lovers will enjoy a visit to The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. This is a charity that was set up in the late 1960s to provide protection and welfare for donkeys. Since its inception, over 20,000 donkeys have been helped.
You can take a walk around the sanctuary and its attractive gardens, meet some of the donkeys, and learn about the charity’s work. The sanctuary has a restaurant providing meals and refreshments, and there is a hut where you can buy ice cream. There is also a gift shop and Information Centre on the site.
The sanctuary is worth a visit if you want to support a good cause and get close to some animals at the same time. You can drive to it from Seaton in around 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can take the 899 bus, which is a journey of around 40 minutes.
There is no entrance fee to go into the sanctuary.
Visit Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis is only 8 miles away and is another of the local towns worth popping to while on a short break to Seaton. If you’re staying for a few days, I’d definitely say a visit here is one of the top things to do in Seaton. You can have a great day out in Lyme Regis.
Known as the ‘Pearl of Dorset’, it’s an attractive, picturesque town by the sea. It’s probably best known for its 14th-century Cobb – a 900 metre long wall that snakes around the small harbour to protect it from the sea and stormy weather.
On calm days, you can walk along it to the end to get stunning sea and coastline views. There’s also the small Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium here.
There is plenty to do in Lyme away from the seafront, and that would suit if you’re unlucky enough to experience wet weather while here.
Of particular note are the museums that focus on Lyme Regis’ fossils: the town is a perfect place to visit if this interests you. Sitting as it does on the Jurassic coastline, fossils can be found scattered along the beaches as the cliffs weather and erode.
As a result, a young local resident, Mary Anning, made the first of a series of discoveries in the town in the early 19th century. You can learn more about her life and work in the Lyme Regis Museum (also called the Lyme Regis Philpot Museum).
The Dinosaurland Fossil Museum also provides information about the fossils found in the area, and you can browse the 16,000 specimens on display. A Time Gallery focuses on geological change over time and a Natural History Room contains an amazing selection of shells and skeletons.
The town is also worth strolling around. There are also several fossil shops along the main street, as well as book shops, art galleries, clothes shops, and gift shops. You can also stop off at the tea rooms for a local cream tea and sample beer from the town’s microbrewery.
Have some family fun at the Crealy Theme Park
This is one for the family, school holidays, or for those who like theme parks.
Located about 17 miles from Seaton, Crealy Theme Park is perfect for family fun and excitement. With dozens of thrilling rides, including rollercoasters, water rides, and adventure areas, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. To complement the more modern rides, you can ride on an old Victorian carousel and a small miniature train.
Crealy Theme Park is also another place to see some animals. There’s several animal experiences here, including meerkats in Meerkat Manor, tortoises in Tortoise Town, and ponies, goats, emus, and alpacas in Animal Land.
Anyone who loves Sooty will also have great fun here. There are daily performances of the Sooty Show, and you can visit the Hall of Fame to see some of the items used in the iconic TV show and go to the Sooty Store.
There’s plenty here to occupy you on a day out from Seaton and plenty of fun things for all the family.
If you’re driving to the theme park, this will take around a half hour from Seaton. If you’re taking public transport, the nearest place you can travel to by bus is Newton Poppleford, and then you would need to take a taxi for the remaining 5 miles.
Other great UK short breaks and day trips
If you’re in the Seaton area, check out some of my other posts on places nearby: