Things to Do in Bideford
Once the third largest port in Britain, Bideford continues to be a hive of activity and is now one of the thriving shopping areas of North Devon. Not only is there a range of interesting stores for you to explore, as well as regular markets including the historic Pannier Market where you can find both locally sourced products and arts and craft stalls offering a whole host of unique gifts and high quality food items. Shoppers will love the town’s narrow backstreets where you can find antique stores and independent gift shops – perfect for anyone looking for that special something. The town is also home to an outlet shopping centre which has all manner of products from designer brands giving you the chance to exercise a little retail therapy during your visit.
Immerse yourself in Victorian heritage
Visitors will love this delightful town with its sloping cobbled streets and being so close to both the Tarka Trail and the Exmoor National Park, there are plenty of opportunities for walks and cycling through the countryside. Part of the Tarka Trail includes Bideford’s Railway Heritage Centre, the perfect destination for those that like old trains and immersing themselves in history. The site has a pleasant walking route where you can stroll along the estuary, so be sure to visit during the summer. Anyone looking for a pretty sights and the chance to quietly enjoy their surroundings will love being in Bideford, not only does the town have a lovely rural atmosphere, but it is full of interesting historic buildings. One popular tourist attraction is St Mary’s Parish Church, which is full of fascinating artefacts and is open to all. Victoria Park is another excellent place to visit during your trip to Bideford, it was opened to commemorate Queen Victoria’s reign and is ideal for anyone looking for a gentle stroll.
Catch the Lundy Island Ferry
With its history of being a provincial port, it will be no surprise that there is still a thriving community of sailing and boating enthusiasts and there are plenty of opportunities for you to get out on the water. Whether you want to catch the ferry over to nearby Lundy Island, a conservation centre where you can spot all kinds of interesting wildlife from puffins to seals and a variety of bird species and where you can book diving sessions among other water based activities. As well as being an important site of Britain’s maritime history, Bideford is also culturally important, the novelist Charles Kingsley, who named the neighbouring town of Westward Ho! lived in the town and it is also where Tarka the Otter is set. Visitors to the town will need to head to the quay where you can find a tiny statue honouring Tarka the Otter, apparently, it is good luck to pat his head as you pass!
Theme Parks and more!
Bideford has a range of theme parks and family-friendly attractions, such as the Big Sheep, as well as several adventure theme parks all within easy reach. For anyone wanting to explore the rest of North Devon, the old road has a lovely bridge that crosses the river linking you to the wider area, making Bideford the ideal place to base yourself for a family holiday.