Saltash is generally the first and last place you encounter on a trip to Cornwall; being located on the western banks of the River Tamar it is found right on the county’s natural border with Devon. Sat prettily in the long shade of the Tamar Bridge, Saltash looks across the waters at the glittering lights of Plymouth and is a quiet haven compared to the famous naval city. You can catch ferries across the river if you are looking for a slower and more picturesque way to get to and from Plymouth without crossing the town’s impressive bridge.
Discover some of the best attractions with our guide to things to do in Saltash.
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Food and drink
Shopping and transport
About the town:
Saltash is the largest town close to the Rame Head Peninsula and has all the facilities and activities you would expect to find, including banks and supermarkets, for your daily needs. There are also pubs, restaurants, cafes and independent shops for you to dine at or explore.
The Heritage Coast is a few miles to the south and is home to stately homes and gardens like Cotehele and Antony House. The area is also great for scuba diving thanks to an artificial reef consisting of the wreck of the HMS Scylla. Charming beaches and rolling Cornish countryside surround the town.
Home to the spectacular Royal Albert Bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, most people who are travelling into Cornwall travel its length. To see the bridge at its best and enjoy views across the river, head out onto its pedestrian walkway. The bridge is of historical relevance to engineers as it is the first suspension bridge in the world to be both broadened and enhanced whilst remaining open to the public. If you are feeling energetic Saltash has its own leisure centre with swimming pools and fitness suites. Also, in town, the China Fleet Club has a golf course and beauty treatments for its visitors.
Saltash’s location on the banks of the River Tamar, slightly upstream from Plymouth - one of England’s most enduring naval cities - means that the town’s history will forever be intertwined with ships, boats, and the seas and rivers upon which they sail. It’s telling that you can still visit the restored 15th-century home of Mary Newman – the first wife of the explorer and master mariner Sir Francis Drake. From the small pier, you can take a ferry for a day trip to the historic Plymouth Barbican or embark on an enjoyable cruise along the River Tamar. Take advantage of the handy free parking and boat launching facilities – these make Saltash a great centre for divers and sailors that aim to discover the many inlets and estuaries of Devon and Cornwall for themselves.
Saltash has easy access to other areas of Cornwall and Devon, from the sandy beaches of Whitsand Bay to Cawsand and Kingsand on the Rame Peninsula. Rame Head is characterised by its rocky shoreline too, it has a medieval chapel at its summit making it a prominent landmark. The sheltered valley behind the Rame headland forms an intimate and enclosed setting for Cawsand and Kingsand which are two lovely beachside villages with pubs and a peculiar WW2 tank which was salvaged after being buried in the sand following extensive wartime exercises. Whitsand Bay has a long string of beaches both sandy and rocky that run west to Seaton and Polperro.
The food and drink:
The Waterside area of the town offers a choice of local refreshment and entertainment, including three riverside pubs and a community centre offering teas and ice creams. The Waterside offers an ideal opportunity to rest awhile and enjoy fabulous views of the Royal Albert Bridge, Tamar Road Bridge and the beautiful Tamar Estuary.
Saltash has easy access to other areas of Cornwall and Devon, from the sandy beaches of Whitsand Bay, Cawsand and Kingsand, to the dramatic and starkly beautiful scenery of both Bodmin Moor (Cornwall) and Dartmoor (Devon), a walker’s paradise. Further west, along the coast, you’ll find the picturesque Looe, Seaton and Polperro. Saltash isn’t short of local places of historical interest in the surrounding area either. Visit the Barbican and stop by the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers left on their epic journey to North America; the famous Plymouth Hoe where Sir Francis Drake played bowls or visit the historic properties of the National Trust, Cotehele, Saltram, Antony House; and the former home of Drake, Buckland Abbey.
For the children, there is plenty of choice from the Monkey Sanctuary near Looe, Plymouth National Marine Aquarium, The Pavilions for ice skating and swimming, or a day of horse riding in the countryside at one of the ‘dude’ ranches.
The shopping and transport:
Stay in Saltash on your next holiday to Cornwall. We have some lovely accommodation throughout Saltash and the wider South Cornwall area. Plymouth is a shopping destination for everybody that lives in the South West. Drakes Circus is the main mall and you can find endless streets with all the top brands in amongst interesting enclaves filled with independent shops selling just about everything.
Saltash is the central transport hub for the Rame Peninsula with excellent transport links connecting the town to the rest of Cornwall and the rest of England. There is a train station with direct links to London and Penzance, bus terminals, ferry dock and easy road access to the A30. The location makes day trips further down into Cornwall for visits to St Ives, Truro, Newquay or Falmouth an easy prospect.
Our Saltash Cottages and South Cornwall holiday cottages are scattered in and around the town, handy for shops and places to eat and drink. We have everything from luxury cottages that sleep 12 guests, to quaint one-bedroom boltholes for a romantic break. And if you’re bringing the dog, our pet-friendly cottages in Saltash offer everything you need for a relaxing Cornish holiday.
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please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.