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A hidden paradise of subtropical gardens and quirky collections...

Welcome to the seaside home of inventor and scientist Otto Overbeck. His gardens and house are perched high on the cliffs above Salcombe, with glorious views over the estuary and coast. Walking through the garden is like taking a trip around the world. With palm trees, banana plants, citrus and olive trees, you could easily forget for a moment where you are and expect to see a parrot flying up above.

The house too is full of surprises. A magical polyphon (A disc playing music box) still plays, and cabinets of butterflies and bugs sit happily with collections of dolls, toys and model boats. Take lunch or tea in the old billard room, a favourite of the convalescing First World War soldiers or eat alfresco on the warm, sheltered terrace.

This is our story

Our volunteer room guides offer special tours of the museum several days a  week. Extremely popular with visitors, these tours bring the house and its amazing collections to life.

Look out for these

The perfect blossom is a rare thing

  • Magnolia Campbellii 'Overbecks' in the Banana garden
  • Magnolia x veitchii best viewed from the Statue garden
  • Magnolia dawsoniana in the woodland


Visitor reviews

  • The view from the terrace down the estuary was stunning. It's worth a visit just for the view
  • Well worth the climb up the steep winding road, just like (you imagine) the gardens of Eden. Tropical, and with a little imagination, you could picture a parrot or monkey in the palms and banana trees.
  • There was so much more to see and do than we thought - garden trails and the museum for us and 'ghost hunting' and picture quizzes for the children.

Otto Overbeck

Painting of Otto Overbeck in his garden

 Otto Overbeck was a scientist, inventor, artist, linguist, musician and even a prize-winning fisherman - a veritable polymath. Come and hear his life history and see some of his remarkable inventions.

Cadbury Easter Egg Trail

2014 Cadbury Easter Egg Trail Logo

20-21 April, 11am - 4pm

Explore the gardens while you hunt for clues to win a yummy Cadbury chocolate Egghead. Free face painting.

£3 per child (plus admission)


Arrive on foot

Final leg of the walk from East Soar to Overbeck’s © Eric McDonald/National Trust

Park at East Soar (NT) car park and take the gentle, easy track to Overbeck's. It's a 30-40 minute walk and you will be rewarded by lovely views of the estuary before reaching the gardens. Why not stop for a cuppa at the Walkers Hut café?.

Take the ferry

The South Sands Ferry taking passengers from Salcombe to South Sands © Frank Prowse

The South Sands passenger Ferry runs between Whitestrand, in the centre of Salcombe, and the picturesque beach of South Sands. A steep five minute walk up the hill and you've arrived at Overbeck's.

Breathtaking cliff top road

The South Sands Ferry taking passengers from Salcombe to South Sands © Frank Prowse

Overbeck's is situated along a beautiful road that winds up along this panoramic stretch of coast. Please note this is a country lane which is very narrow in places and steep.