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Stroll along the promenade to discover the delights of Ilfracombe seafront. There is always plenty going on especially during the summer months. There are gift shops, cafes, tea rooms, restaurants, pubs and take-aways. Everything you need for a proper British seaside holiday!
The famous Victorian bathing pools at Tunnels Beaches are tucked away at the end of tunnels carved by hand by Welsh miners in the 1820s. Children can play safely in the sea filled pools and enjoy rockpooling.
The Landmark Theatre is North Devon's premier entertainment centre holding performances and exhibitions throughout the year including beer and cider festivals! The striking building also houses the Tourist Information Centre. Next door you will find Ilfracombe Museum with its weird & wonderful curiosities. The Ilfracombe Art and Craft Society Gallery has free exhibitions and is open from Easter to the end of November.
The viewpoint from the top of Capstone Hill is well worth the walk to the top. On a clear day you can see Lundy Island and the coast of South Wales. Or take a walk around the level promenades on the sea side of Capstone Hill, a popular route for dog walkers. Note the interpretation boards which run along the seafront and around Capstone Parade and are part of a series lining the route of the South West Coast Path (SWCP) as it runs through the town. You will also see brass footprints in the ground to mark the route of the SWCP.
Moving back towards the harbour there is a crazy golf course with brilliant floral displays and during the summer you will find bouncy castles, trampolines and regular outdoor events such as car boot/tabletop sales not to mention events which include All Things Morris in July, Ilfracombe Carnival in August and the annual Ilfracombe Bike Show in September which sees hundreds of motorbikes descend upon the town.
There has been a port here since at least the 12th Century and a settlement for much longer. Today the predominant use is for leisure and tourism but this is still a working harbour with fish and seafood landed daily with the tide. Enjoy the spectacle of a proper working boat or watch the gig crews practise their sport.
Trips to Lundy Island, coastal cruises, fishing, sea-life safaris and diving are all available along the quay. Try a trip on the Ilfracombe Princess and see seals, porpoises and sea birds nesting on the cliffs. Try your hand at mackerel or deep sea fishing on Blue Fin. Enjoy an unforgettable experience as you step aboard one of the Ilfracombe RIB's and take an exhilarating tour of North Devon's amazing coastline on the Ilfracombe Sea Safari. The harbour is also the venue for events such as Sea Ilfracombe, a celebration of Ilfracombe's maritime past and Birdman, A full day family event with live music, bars, food and silly people jumping into the water. The George and Dragon at the harbour end has operated continuously as a tavern since 1360 whilst the Prince of Wales, housing an original well, is said to be the oldest surviving building.
Along the Quay and in the surrounding streets there are restaurants, cafes, tea gardens and pubs, many with outside eating and drinking areas giving the feel of a continental pavement culture. Small shops abound selling gifts and other more quirky goods as well as more general stores. There are a number of take-aways including several fish and chip shops. Try an ice cream! You can buy everything from locally made ices to Italian style Gelato.
Overlooking the harbour is St Nicholas Chapel on the top of Lantern Hill built in 1361 and housing England's oldest working lighthouse. Ilfracombe Aquarium is a fun, family day out, an all-weather attraction. The working RNLI lifeboat station is also open to the public and houses Ilfracombe's Mersey class lifeboat Spirit of Derbyshire. Damien Hirst's 'Verity', a 20m tall bronze statue of a pregnant women, overlooking the harbour entrance, is Ilfracombe's newest attraction, a 'must see' for visitors and locals alike.
The harbour is also the venue for events such as Sea Ilfracombe, a celebration of Ilfracombe's maritime past and Birdman, A full day family event with live music, bars, food and silly people jumping into the water.
Fore Street is the road leading into and out of the original harbour settlement. It winds lazily from the sea to join the High Street and town centre. Throughout the middle ages a hotchpotch of cottages, inns and workshops sprang up and many of the buildings still remain. The George and Dragon at the harbour end has operated continuously as a tavern since 1360 whilst the Prince of Wales, housing an original well, is said to be the oldest surviving building.
There are other pubs and cafes and a range of restaurants serving British and Ethnic cuisine to suit all tastes and pockets. Fore Street and the streets leading from it have become Ilfracombe's foodie quarter and in the busy summer months diners spill out onto pavement eating areas. You can choose fine dining, modern British, French, Spanish Tapas and fish restaurants amongst others.
Fore Street is the venue for several events throughout the summer including food festivals, dancing and music into the evening.
Many of the buildings in the town centre date from the 19th century and most of the shops are independent retailers; some have been in the same family for generations. You will find food retailers, banks and building societies, chemists, clothes and homeware shops that will cater for your retail needs. It has often been said that you can find anything you need in Ilfracombe, just not all in the same shop! You will also find a warm welcome and an old fashioned charm rarely experienced these days. No faceless shopping malls for us.
- On-site parking or valet parking
- Open All Year
- Accept Bank Transfers, Internet Payment or SWIFT/IBAN
- All major credit cards accepted
- Cash & Cheque accepted
Travel & Trade
- Wi-fi available
Map & Directions
From Junction 27 of the M5, follow the A361 to Barnstaple. Continue on the A361 following the signs to Ilfracombe.
On entering Ilfracombe from Mullacott Cross, at the first set of traffic lights, turn left towards the sea front. At the next set of traffic lights, go straight on and the Tourist Information Centre is on your left in the Landmark Theatre.
Public Transport Directions
The no.21 bbus from Barnstaple, Bideford and Westward Ho!, the 31 from Woolacombe and the National Express 502 all stop o Wilder Road, just outside the Tourist Information Centre.