Things to do in Ilfracombe

With a whole host of world famous attractions and growing in popularity as a cultural and culinary hub, there are plenty of things to see and do in Ilfracombe.

The town known as Devon's St Ives

The buzz around the town’s culinary delights mainly comes from the harbour which is picturesque and holds the traditional atmosphere that make Britain’s seaside resorts so well loved. The Old Quay Head is a listed pier and the nearby quayside is a haven for trendy bars and restaurants as well as quaint gift shops. While in the harbour you can sit and watch the boats come in with the catch of the day, which you can then sample at one of the town’s many restaurants. The harbour is also home to a number of walking trails including the Fish Trail which takes in the history and maritime heritage of the harbour area. Towards the end of the trail you’ll find Ilfracombe Aquarium, one of the UK’s best loved tourist attractions. The aquarium is housed in the old lifeboat house which is an interesting place to go on its own, families will love the chance to learn more about local species and will easily be able to pick out local landmarks as the aquarium tracks the region’s sealife around the south west.

Beach bums unite

Speaking of the sea, Ilfracombe is the ideal location for beach lovers. The town is surrounded by beautiful beaches, such as Wildersmouth Beach a small cove with a stream flowing via a tunnel down to the ocean and gives you easy access to the South West Coast path. Other nearby beaches include the Harbour Beach, Rapparee Cove which is small and secluded, perfect for those wanting somewhere quiet and off the beaten track and Hele Bay, a cove within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where you can join holiday makers and locals alike in rock pooling and enjoying climbing over the rocky areas on the shore. Anyone interesting in getting out and about in nature will love the hiking trails that lead to Hele Bay from the town. You can pick it up along the South West Coastal Path and the route takes you to the top of the Hillsborough Cliffs which give some impressive views across North Devon. Following the trail through the nature reserve will then give you alternative access to Hele Bay.

Perhaps one of Ilfracombe’s most famous tourist attractions is the Tunnels Beaches, which is left over from the 1800s. The four tunnels were hand carved and gives access to otherwise inaccessible areas of beach. The tunnels are not only popular because of their history, but also because the beaches themselves contain calm pools and are sectioned off into a Ladies’ Beach and a Men’s Beach. Of all the things to do in Ilfracombe, a trip to the Tunnels Beaches is a must.

Visit Verity

The town’s other famous architectural sight is Damien Hirst’s Verity statue which stands at over 20m high. Opinions on the statue are divided, but whether you love her or hate her, you can’t really miss her.

For those that are fans of arts and crafts, you’ll find plenty to entertain you while in Ilfracombe. It was chosen for the site of Verity because of its commitment to the art world, there are regular arts and crafts events, plus a host of galleries which are perfect for viewing and buying locally created art. Every year, an Art’s Trail is held which takes in all the town’s galleries and studios and is complimented with live music and fresh food, it is a hugely popular event, so be sure to get it in your diaries.

Still on the hunt for things to do in Ilfracombe? Click here to see more of the town’s attractions.