Bideford was once Britain’s third largest port, it is now a thriving shopping centre with a historic Pannier Market holding both produce and craft markets twice a week. Take some time to explore the narrow backstreets and alleyways linking the quay and the river, you’ll find many antique shops scattered around.
Bideford can be found on the banks of the River Torridge where the river widens into the estuary. The old road has a lovely bridge that crosses the river linking Bideford to other areas of Devon. From Bideford there are regular boat trips to the nearby Lundy Island, as well as opportunities to take a pleasure cruise around the quay.
Bideford is a great base for exploring the surrounding towns and villages and is near to the charming villages of Appledore, Instow and Clovelly. The town is also close to the start of the Tarka Trail and Exmoor National Park is easily accessible from Bideford. You’ll also be able to easily access Cornwall.
Best beaches in the region
Being in Bideford means you are well placed to explore some of North Devon’s best beaches, Croyde Beach, Instow Beach, Westward Ho! beach, Woolacombe Beach and Putsborough Sands are all nearby and offer amazing watersports, relaxing walks and beautiful views. Bideford also has a charming harbour.
Bideford was once the home of the author Charles Kingsley, who is famed for naming the nearby town of Westward Ho! He based his novel (named Westward Ho!) on the area of Bideford. The nearby town takes its name from the book’s title and is currently the only town in the UK to be named after a book rather than the other way round. In his writings, Kingsley described Bideford as a town full of white houses. While you won’t find many white houses, many of the are pastel coloured and the high street and residential areas are very pleasing to look at.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far is Bideford from the beach?
The nearest beach to Bideford is Saunton Sands, which is around 15 miles away. The journey takes around 40 minutes by car, or there is a cycle route which will take around an hour and a half.Find out more about Bideford here
What day is Bideford Market?
Markets in Bideford run on a Tuesday and Saturday every week unless otherwise advertised. You can visit the market between 9am and 4pm. Bideford is also home to the historic Pannier Market, an undercover Victorian market building hosting 30+ shops.Find out more here
Does Bideford have a train station?
Bideford is not on the main trainline, the town's former railway station is managed by the Bideford Railway Heritage Centre. The nearest train station to Bideford is Barnstaple station, where you can get public transport connections to Bideford.Plan your journey and buy tickets here
Why is Bideford known as Little White Town?
Bideford has historically been known as Little White Town because of the houses, the phrase was popularised by novelist Charles Kingsley, in his novel Westward Ho!Find out more about Bideford here
Can I get to Lundy Island from Bideford?
Yes, during the summer season, you can get the MS Oldenburg several times a day from Bideford habour. MS Oldenburg sails from either Bideford or Ilfracombe, depending on tides. As set out in the travel timetable, some sailings depart from one port and return to the other.Find out more here
Does Bideford have a harbour?
Yes, Bideford is a historic harbour town and the harbour is still in use.Learn more about the harbour here
How long does the ferry take between Bideford and Lundy Island?
The ferry takes around two hours to reach Lundy island from Bideford, the MS Oldenburg sails from either Bideford or Ilfracombe, depending on the tides.Find more information here