Known as one of the most popular tourist resorts in the North Devon region and a town that is quickly becoming known as a foodie destination, Ilfracombe is a great choice for anyone looking for a break later in 2021 or into 2022. Here are some suggestions of things to do and places to stay while visiting in Ilfracombe!

The town is full of family friendly attractions, a huge range of activities, beaches perfect for watersports and sunbathing and of course, plenty of accommodation options, from hotels to B&Bs and just about everything in between.

Ilfracombe is home to several world famous attractions, including the historic and unique Tunnel Beaches and Verity, Damien Hirst’s sculpture which presides over the harbour. It has been a popular resort since Victorian times, thanks to its award winning beaches, theatres, annual events and theme parks!

Beautiful beaches

If you’re someone who loves being at the beach, Ilfracombe is a great place to spend some time. On one side, there is Wildersmouth Beach and then Rapparee Cove and Hele Cove, both of which are great for rock pooling or for somewhere a little more secluded and then of course, there is the Tunnel Beaches, one of the most famous beaches in the area, instantly recognised by its hand carved tunnels. The tunnels were built in the 1820s and allow a glimpse into the town’s Victorian history. While these days the beach is used as a wedding venue and heritage attraction, back in the day, the tunnels allowed for segregation of men, women, boys and girls who were visiting the beach. Once you’ve made your way through the tunnel, you’re greeted by a unique and truly stunning beach.

Images: The Tunnel Beaches

Alternatively, there are a host of other places to spend your time, including great shopping opportunities and other top attractions. You can even get the ferry over to Lundy Island, which can be seen across the sea. It’s a protected site, which can only be accessed via ferry or, in the winter, by helicopter and is home to Devon’s puffin population as well as a number of marine creatures such as dolphins and seals. A day trip to Lundy Island will give you the chance to get up close and personal with all manner of bird and wildlife, plus there are loads of activities, including swimming, snorkelling, climbing and more all taking place on the island. Just make sure to book them with the island manager beforehand.

So many attractions

There are plenty of great places to while away the hours in and around Ilfracombe. Like RHS Garden Rosemoor, beautiful all year around, the gardens cover 65 acres and are nestled between the county’s two national parks. It provides a wonderful day out for the while family and currently has a range of covid-safety measures in place, so you can be sure of a safe and fun time.
Alternatively there are the theme parks at Watermouth Castle and nearby at the Milky Way Adventure Park reopening in May, this theme park has won the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Award every year for the past five years! As you might expect, there is a limit on the number of tickets available at the moment, but with the number of fun activities, it is well worth the wait!

Image: The Milky Way

If history is your thing, make sure to visit the fishing village of Clovelly, an attraction in its own right, this village near Ilfracombe is completely car free and full of wonderful cobbled streets giving you a real hint into yesteryear. 

One of the most well known and beloved attractions in Ilfracombe is the aquarium where you can learn about local marine life as well as creatures from farther afield. The living exhibits display over 75 different species, so there is plenty to learn about!

A foodie haven

When it comes to finding amazing places to eat and drink, Ilfracombe is the top of the list. As you might expect from somewhere with a bustling harbour, you’ll find plenty of seafood and fish on offer and really, what could be better than eating fish and chips on the beach?

There are some truly incredible places to eat and drink, especially around Fore Street, so make sure to leave room to sample everything!

If it is a foodie break you’re after, you might want to book yourself a stay in one of the many self catering properties in and around the town. Staying somewhere like a cottage, holiday park or other self catering accommodation option will give you the freedom you need when it comes to food and drink. You’re not tied into restaurant serving times and can really enjoy a wide range of meals.
One option in the town is Beach Cove Coastal Retreat where you can stay in a quirky beach hut, with private hot tubs and stunning coastal views. Part of Darwin Escapes, Beach Cove Coastal Retreat provides everything you need for a fully self catered break, with everything from pretty beach huts to holiday apartments, both of which offer five star luxury.

Combe Martin Beach Holiday Park is another option for you, this one is a quiet park which offers real peace and relaxation. The park is set into a valley with beautiful sea views, wherever you are on the site. The surrounding woodland, clubhouse and facilities give you plenty to do while you’re staying here – whatever your age!

For more holiday parks, there is always Ilfracombe Holiday Park, just a few minutes from the centre of the town. The park sits at the highest point of Ilfracombe giving you the perfect view of the town and the sea. It is spread over thirteen acres and with a wide range of accommodation, there are plenty of options, all of which are fully equipped. There are even a number of apartments that are accessible, so everyone can enjoy a holiday in Ilfracombe.

Image: Ilfracombe Holiday Park 

Alternatively, take a look at Sandaway Beach Holiday Park. Set on the edge of a cliff staying here gives you incredible sea views and access to a private beach! The park has a whole host of activities available on site and can even facilitate kayaking and other watersports sessions for you if you want to take advantage of the conditions of the North Devon coast.

How about something a little different? For a unique stay, why not give glamping a go? Classic Glamping have accommodation all over North Devon, including in and near  Ilfracombe. Whatever alternative accommodation you’re looking for, they have it and with each one equipped with ensuites, tea and coffee making facilities and with linen provided, you can enjoy all the comforts of a hotel with the charm of camping!

Another option is Park Life Resorts’ Watermouth Lodges , where you can really enjoy rest and relaxation. This woodland resort by the sea has an elevated position above Watermouth Harbour and is just a short walk from Broadsands Beach, one of North Devon’s best kept secrets. From here, you can easily visit Ilfracombe, Combe Martin and Braunton, as well as the surfer’s paradises of Woolacombe, Croyde and Saunton. There is also easy access to the South West Coast Path, the Tarka Trail and plenty more attractions and amenities.

Or if a camping holiday is what you’re after, Stowford Farm Meadows is a wonderful family friendly site with excellent facilities. The site includes indoor swimming, bars, restaurants horse riding, crazy golf and more! Dogs are welcome on site too, so the whole family is invited to join your trip to Ilfracombe.

Image: Stowford Farm Meadows

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