What is it?


It’s a hydraulic tractor that drives through the sea, taking passengers from the beach of village Bigbury-on-Sea to the tidal island Burgh Island on the South Devon coast.

Best for:

5- 8 / 9 – 12 / 12+

OK for:

More like this

Toddlers & Preschool babies


£ - It’s only £2 per person each way.

What’s on offer

The trek from the seaside town of Bigbury-on-Sea to the tidal island Burgh Island can be reached on foot during the low tide, as they’re only 250 metres apart. When the tide rises (and believe me, it rises quickly), the causeway allowing public access to the island becomes closed. Passengers can then board the third generation sea tractor, which will take them over to the island.

Burgh Island is tiny, and part of the fun of visiting is riding in the tractor. There are only five buildings on Burgh Island, but one of them is the famous Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel. The hotel has been linked to some big name celebrities, notably Dame Agatha Christie. The hotel owners also run a public house called The Pilchards Inn (which does lunches) and there are the remains of an ancient chapel, not to mention, incredible views of the sea.

Check the Burgh Island website for more information about what’s on and when.

The sea tractor itself is one of a kind. Its job is to ferry people to a destination yet it has become an attraction in its own right. And while there are obviously no facilities for families on the tractor, there are facilities directly on Bigbury beach, where the tractor departs / arrives. Bigbury beach is also really family-friendly in terms of its accessibility. Don't worry about dragging your buggy onto the beach, as there should be available ramps in the vicinity.


It’s a really unique, unusual experience suitable for all ages. You can make it feel like an adventure for the little ones, or simply enjoy the views.

What to watch out for

- You can only ride this attraction when the tide is high. Whatever you do, make sure you check the tide times or you might face a walk to island, which isn’t ideal with little ones in tow.

- Whether or not the Sea Tractor is running is not only dependent on the tide but also extreme weather conditions.

- You can only eat in the Burgh Island Hotel restaurant if you are a guest there and it’s generally inaccessible to non-guests. You can however have a bite to eat and a drink at The Pilchards Inn.

MFM tips:

- A trip to the charming village of Bigbury-on-sea can become a full day or weekend beach holiday. Not only is the village famous for being a popular surfing location with a Discovery Surf School, families can explore the surrounding rock pools or get their adrenaline pumping with some water sport activities. There are plenty of beachside cafes to eat at, gorgeous views to witness and interest walking trails to pursue.

- It's also only 40 minutes from Plymouth city centre in the car, so why not visit Plymouth Aquarium?

- Another charming island to visit in Devon is the famous Lundy Island

More family attractions in South Devon…


Plymouth Aquarium
South Devon Railway
Woodlands Leisure Park
Miniature Pony Centre
Babbacombe Miniature Village
Paignton Zoo