Let 2024 be the year of discovering new places or rediscovering old ones by exploring North Devon’s best loved towns and villages. Of course, there is no one better placed than us to help with this endeavour, so we thought we would start off with a truly unique place – Westward Ho!

Where and what?

Westward Ho! is a little village near the sea on the outskirts of Bideford. Places like Saunton Sands and Northam Burrows surround it and if that wasn’t special enough, it is the only place in England that features ! in its name!

That might be enough to make it a fun and unusual place to start your North Devon discoveries but that’s not the only unique thing about its name. Westward Ho’s name comes from the title of Charles Kingsley’s novel – also called Westward Ho! which is set in Bideford.

Charles who?

Charles Kingsley, he was a novelist that lived in Bideford and set many of his books in and around North Devon, his most famous work, the Water Babies, is lauded for focus in social reforms, something he was very passionate about. In fact, as well as being a writer, he was known for being a social reformer, university professor, historian and was a priest in his own right too. He spent much of his childhood in nearby Clovelly and you can see evidence of his influence around the region – as well as Westward Ho!, there is also the Kingsley School, which is in Bideford.

Not just Kingsley...

Charles Kingsley is not the only writer associated with Westward Ho!, Rudyard Kipling, the author of the Jungle Book was educated at the United Services College, which was founded in the village and prepared young men for services of the British Empire. He also based one of his works in the area and there are a couple of walking routes named after him.

Things to do in Westward Ho!

Westward Ho! is a great destination for families or anyone looking for a traditional seaside resort. Among the many activities open to you are:

  • Rockpooling
  • Surfing
  • Exploring the South West Coast Path 
  • Following the Kipling Tors
  • Visit the award winning beach

Where to stay in Westward Ho!


Interested in discovering Westward Ho! in 2024? Book your stay now!