With its picturesque harbour, Victorian shops and houses nestled against a rugged coastline, restaurants, tea rooms, art & craft galleries and home to Damien Hirst’s statue Verity, Ilfracombe is truly a unique seaside town to visit. You will find plenty to do in and around Ilfracombe with a good range of activities available to suit all tastes.
Walk up Lantern Hill from the harbour pier to visit St Nicholas Chapel and look across to the ‘sleeping elephant’ of Hillsborough Nature Reserve. Visit the Aquarium, Ilfracombe Museum and the Victorian bathing pools at the Tunnels Beaches, great for rock-pooling too at low tide. Explore the delightful Bicclescombe Park, where there are also tennis courts or sit a while in Runnymede Gardens with its bandstand performances during the summer. Don’t miss the Landmark Theatre nearby which plays host to a varied arts and entertainment programme.
Take a day trip to the peace and tranquillity of Lundy Island on board the MS Oldenburg, or enjoy a boat trip along the dramatic coastline, keeping an eye out for seals and dolphins.
A short walk up from the harbour is Ilfracombe’s main high street where you will find a selection of independent shops. If you look up you will see many of the buildings have the Victorian architecture and much of it unspoilt. There is also a cinema, together with a few restaurants, coffee shops and cafe’s.
For the more adventurous, there is horse riding, golf, quad biking, kayaking, clay pigeon shooting and, just 10-20 minutes by car or bus, surfing at Woolacombe, Croyde and Saunton. With golden sandy beaches, they are perfect for swimming and rock-pooling too.
Ilfracombe is an ideal base for walking as it is situated directly on the South West Coast Path and whichever direction you take, you will be rewarded with breath-taking views. For those who like to cycle, there is The Tarka Trail, part of the old railway line, and now a 180 mile dedicated walk and cycle route winding through the picturesque North Devon countryside.
A short drive east of Ilfracombe will take you to the unique landscape of Exmoor National Park, including the lovely villages of Lynton and Lynmouth, connected by a cliff top railway. On the edge of Exmoor are Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum. An intriguing Regency house and impressive horse-drawn vehicles all set in picturesque gardens. To the west of Ilfracombe you will find the beautiful Hartland Peninsula and the market town of Bideford. On the coast and estuary you will find Appledore, Westward Ho! and Clovelly.
You can find more information about Ilfracombe, its upcoming events and festivals, and its surrounding area at the Visit Ilfracombe website www.visitilfracombe.co.uk. With all this and more, Ilfracombe and beyond truly offers something for everyone.
The Towers, Chambercombe Park Road, Ilfracombe, North Devon EX34 9QN Telephone 01271 862809 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org