Beer is a village with a strong, but small-scale present day maritime tradition. It has a long history of fishing, with skills and business handed down from family to family. The sheer cliff coastline has become something of a distinguishing feature of this small town, with fishing and smuggling sharing equal importance in its heritage. A local hero of infamous reputation was Jack Rattenbury, a smuggler who turned his fortunes around by writing his memoirs in later life.
The location of Beer village centre is stunning. It's tiny roadside brook
runs the full length of the gently sloping streets, following the line of
the pavement, until it flows into the sea. Although so much of the village's
history has centered around the male fishing fleets, the women have also made
a famous name for themselves as producers of lace. It is not surprising since
Beer sits so close to Honiton, world famous home of lace-making in Victorian
times. Beer's charm is that it is still a working fishing village.The steep
cliffs that made such ideal hideouts for smugglers, also made ideal look-out
locations for navigating yachts in the area. The bay itself is very sheltered
and has therefore become a sun trap for visiting tourists. They are protected
from the wind by the sheltered bay, but have the picturesque accoutrements
of the fishing industry like bright wooden boats, winches and old rope around
them. The daily fishing trips have enabled the Anchor Inn, perched on top
of the cliff, to gain something of a reputation as a specialist fish restaurant.
Arguably Beer's finest and most well known attraction are the underground caves, lying hidden beneath the chalk cliffs. The Beer Quarry Caves, as their name suggests, are a feat of man's handiwork. Carved out by hand, they present the visitor with vast, high roofs and airy, inspiring caverns. Perhaps part of the reason that the caves were quarried or perhaps because of the quarrying, Beer stone appears on sections of some of Britain's most highly prized and historic monuments, including Buckingham Palace.
Another favourite with visitors is the nearby Pecorama, a miniature steam railway with its own station. Memorabilia has been utilised from some of East Devon's old key stations like Sidmouth and Seaton.