The Pilchard Inn, one of Devon’s oldest and most beloved pubs, has reopened seven days a week from 11 am to 10 pm for the summer season along the picturesque South Devon coast. With a new head chef, nearly 700 years of rich history, and magnificent vistas in an Area of Outstanding National Beauty, the Pilchard Inn offers a cosy hideaway for visitors looking to enjoy local food and drink in a charming and historic setting.

Located at the foot of Burgh Island, just above the golden sands of Bigbury Beach, the Pilchard is a family-friendly and dog-friendly pub where visitors can watch the tides ebb and flow in a relaxed, remote spot. Outdoor seating is available for those who want to catch the summer breeze. The Pilchard has been home to local fishermen since 1336, before being taken over by smugglers and pirates that lured unassuming sailors to their fate along the rocky shores. Today, its rustic wooden interior still retains much of its past, from stuffed parrots to rifles and ship figureheads adorning the walls.

The sea tractor across to Burgh Island

Most famous is the spectre of the Pilchard that guests should beware - notorious smuggler Tom Crocker, who was shot in the 1500s in the pub’s doorway. His ghost is said to wander the island in search of his lost treasure, causing mischief to visitors along the way. The Pilchard’s front door is known to unlock itself on occasion, with locals reporting sensations of being pushed through the doorway and other supernatural phenomena. The legend is now celebrated annually on 14 August, as the Tom Crocker Day Festival, for those who want to experience the island’s history first-hand!

New head chef Philip Raymond joins the hospitable Pilchard Inn team as Head Chef, with a wealth of knowledge from 10 years working in Michelin-starred and AA Rosette restaurants, including The Samling Hotel and Paschoe House.

Visitors can sample locally brewed craft beers, wines, ciders and spirits, including Burgh Island’s very own London dry gin, blended using 17 different botanicals, some of which are from the island itself. Philip aims to provide guests with a hearty, traditional meal, creating simple, seasonal British dishes including pastries and local seafood to showcase the diverse flavours and cuisines of the nation.

Burgh Island is two miles from Bigbury-on-Sea and can be reached by car, or by taxi from Totnes, Ivybridge, Plymouth, or Exeter rail stations. Cars can be parked on the mainland, in Bigbury-on-Sea, and visitors can walk across the Bigbury Beach causeway during low tide. When the tide comes in, visitors can ride the island’s unique third-generation hydraulic sea tractor, designed in 1969 and renovated recently, to arrive at the Pilchard Inn in style. This unique mode of transport adds an extra layer of charm and adventure to the visit, making the journey to the Pilchard Inn as memorable as the destination itself.