When it comes to dining with a view, you can’t beat the open sea – or can you?

FI-sea vs river

Stunning views are something of a given when you’re eating out in the picturesque county of Devon. With national parks, numerous rivers and a lengthy expanse of coastline, al fresco dining is a countywide privilege. Pitting sea views against riverside panoramas, we’ve created the ultimate showdown of backdrops for some of our favourite eateries in Devon. Let the battle begin!

Sea views in Devon

The Pier House

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The Pier House offers diners wondrous views over Bideford Bay and across to Lundy Island. Their menu is equally impressive, and showcases local catch – why not nibble your way through a creamy seafood mornay, or tuck into a pan-fried sea bass fillet accompanied by crab and crushed new potato cakes? With huge windows running all along the building, in addition to two sun terraces, you’d be hard pressed to find a seat in the beautifully modern restaurant that doesn’t boast an incredible coastal view – even on a busy day. Read a review of The Pier House. 

Woolacombe Bay Hotel

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The views on offer at Woolacombe Bay Hotel are something everyone should experience at least once. In addition to the impeccable views available from both their interior restaurant and exterior seating, visitors to this hotel can also opt for an overnight stay in a Luxury Sea View Suite, which offers guests glorious views of Woolacombe beach, which was recently voted as the number 1 beach in the UK by Tripadvisor. Read a review of Woolacombe Bay Hotel.

Berry Head Hotel


Wandering through the Berry Head Country Park (which is protected by the National Trust), visitors to this hotel may almost feel as if they’ve stumbled across a mirage. Perched on the cliffside in Brixham, the Terrace Bar Restaurant at Berry Head Hotel offers breathtaking views of the English Riviera and is the perfect spot to escape from the worries of the world. Events are a regular feature at the restaurant, from steak nights, to Indian to Chinese editions, meaning there’s always something special going on. Read a review of Berry Head Hotel. 

Sea Shanty Beach Café

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The Jurassic Coast is so beautiful; it has officially been made a World Heritage Site. This area of outstanding natural beauty is also home to the award-winning Sea Shanty Beach Café. There’s an abundance of picnic benches, allowing guests to take in the scenery whilst tucking into some local beer battered haddock or fisherman’s pie. Making the most of the produce afforded to the cafe thanks to its coastal location, fresh seafood features heavily on the menus, in addition to vegetables and herbs being picked daily from the nearby village. Read a review of Sea Shanty Beach Café.

Babbacombe Bay Hotel

Sitting atop the Babbacombe Downs, the roof terrace at this hotel offers a full 360 degree view, including stunning views of the sea and coastline. Guests are welcome to recline with a good book, sip a refreshing cocktail, or relax with a steaming cup of coffee, and simply watch the world go by. Access to the terrace is for hotel guests only, but with a range of stylishly opulent rooms and suites to choose from, there’s every reason to stay the night.

Riverside views in Devon

Otterton Mill

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A haven for coffee fiends, this café and restaurant roasts their own beans just two miles down the river Otter. Homemade goods, organic soft drinks and sustainably sourced produce is important at Otterton Mill, and it seems to be a winning formula – they received their third Taste of the West Gold Award in 2014. For those wishing to enjoy their freshly baked goods and experience the scenic views of the river at the same time, there’s a special outdoor courtyard and terrace. Read a review of Otterton Mill. 

Fingle Bridge Inn

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You’d be hard pressed to find the scenic views afforded to the Fingle Bridge Inn elsewhere. Surrounded by parkland and sat along the banks of the river Teign, this family-run inn is a great retreat for anyone looking to return to nature and escape from the stresses of the city life. Visitors can explore the surrounding area on foot or by cycling, from the ancient Fingle Mill to Castle Drogo, and make use of the fishing spots, before returning to the inn for a thirst-quenching drink and a hearty meal.

The Passage House Inn

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The Passage House Inn is an authentic British pub, which comes with the added bonus of being located by the Exe Estuary. Menus change regularly to reflect the seasons, and there’s also a well-stocked bar for those wishing for a delicious drink after exploring the area on foot or on bike. With a patio and barbecue area, there’s plenty of outdoor seating, and the ferry service across the river leaves from nearby. Read a review of the Passage House Inn. 

The Queen’s Arms

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If you’re looking for a traditional, home-from-home, pub in Plymouth, look no further than the Queen’s Arms. The pub offers attendees an abundance of seating options from which the Tamar-Tavey Estuary can be seen – there’s outdoor seating for al fresco dining on warmer days, and floor to ceiling windows on the first floor for when the weather is cooler. If you’re into sports, there’s also large TVs tuned to the sports channels, and a function room featuring a pool table and a darts board. Read a review of the Queen’s Arms. 

On The Waterfront

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If the name isn’t enough of giveaway, this unique venue is house in the ground floor of an old warehouse. The rooms are themed – the Long Room is the perfect party destination, whilst the swish Boat Room is ideal for an intimate meal or special occasion. Those wanting to make the most of the quayside location can dine al fresco or recline with a refreshing beverage in the restaurant’s ample outdoor seating. Read a review of On The Waterfront.

So now it’s over to you. You’ve seen what’s on offer from the sea shores and the river banks, but which floats your boat?

What view floats your boat?

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Jessica Roberts

Jessica Roberts

Jess is a self-confessed Buzzfeed quiz addict and avid dog petter. When not writing about food, she's eating food – most often cooked by someone else. She once tried to replicate a bicycle trick she'd seen performed by circus acrobats. It did not go well.

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