Here in North Devon, we’re lucky enough to have a huge range of local businesses, and we’re proud of the fact that our local community rallies around and supports them. Whether it’s providing accommodation for our many recurrent visitors or offering up delicious home-cooked goods or providing exceptional family days out, we’re proud of everything these businesses offer our community.
So, today, we thought we’d highlight a couple of our favourite family-run, local businesses here in North Devon!
First up, it has to be everyone’s favourite ice cream - Hocking’s! Long established since 1936, they’re famous throughout North Devon, and even further afield for these delicious Devonshire treats. Hocking’s has been family-run ever since, and in their last season, 7 great nieces and nephews of the original owner, Dave Hocking, helped out with the service.
The business has expanded over the years, and now, a Hocking’s is almost synonymous with the idea of a day out in North Devon. It’s not hard to come by either, with vans in Appledore, Bideford, Torrington, Ilfracombe, and two in Westward Ho! - including a lesser-known spot by the slipway, which serves up a multitude of flavours, rather than the classic vanilla.
Credit: Johns of Appledore
Johns of Instow (and now Appledore) have been trading in North Devon for over 90 years now. Having opened initially as a traditional grocer in 1926, it has grown into two vibrant delicatessen, deli and cafes, sourcing locally and sustainably to provide some of the best flavours North Devon has to offer whether you’re eating in or simply shopping.
The current owners, Anthony and Sue, are the fourth generation in the family to run the business, which can now be found along Marine Parade in Instow, or on Appledore Quay. Johns also offer catering for special events, and with such a wide variety, can provide for any occasion or set of tastebuds.
Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks
Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks are family-owned and run, and there are now four different parks for you to choose from for your next holiday. Golden Coast, Twitchen House, Easewell Farm and Woolacombe Bay are all within close proximity of each other, and of course, the award-winning Woolacombe Beach.
Being family-run themselves, they know all about what makes the perfect family holiday and look for the best ways to create exhilarating fun across their sites - what’s more is, if you’re staying at any of the parks, you have access to the facilities and entertainment at the other three too.
The Milky Way
Credit: The Milky Way
The Milky Way Adventure Park is one of North Devon’s most beloved family attractions - and is well known in its own right, having recently been named the second best amusement park in the UK by TripAdvisor in 2019.
It’s also a family-run attraction, having begun as a simple farm attraction from the Stanbury family farm near Clovelly, back in 1984. It’s grown a lot since then - having collected numerous awards, and investing millions in exciting attractions, rides and exhibits throughout the theme park. Along with the attractions, the team at the park has only expanded - but numerous members of the Stanbury family still work there and are likely to be the faces that you encounter on your visit.
Squire’s Fish Restaurant
The restaurant is still run by the Squire family, with the original co-owners still lending a hand to the day-to-day business tasks, and even occasionally leading service in the restaurant or kitchen. These days, their menu is even more varied, with more choices than just your standard seafood - and they’re renowned for having a few famous faces in the restaurant and endorsing their food, from Damien Hirst and Rick Stein to past prime ministers.
David Kennard and his family live and work on Borough Farm in Woolacombe, and for the past 21 years, have been hosting incredible sheepdog and falconry shows. Home to 600 sheep and 50 cattle, and the Borough Farm Sheepdogs, who are stars of Channel Five’s ‘Mist-Sheepdog Tales’.
In the summer, spectacular shows demonstrate David and his sheepdogs herding various animals, as well as adding in a hint of pantomime to tell the story of Jemima the Puddle-Duck, and her rescue from the castle. In addition, he hosts Shepherding Experience Walks round Mortehoe, while North Devon Falconer Martin Simkins provides absolutely spectacular displays. It offers a real treat, and a rare insight into real rural life, and is definitely worth a trip whether you’re a North Devon local, or just visiting the area.
Braddicks Holiday Centre is located in Westward Ho!, and is run by the Braddick family - who also own The Pierhouse, The Waterfront, and numerous other businesses throughout North Devon.
Each of these establishments perfectly caters to the needs of families, whether local, or just visiting for a fantastic North Devon holiday, and with a close proximity to each other, as well as beautiful Westward Ho! Beach, all of your needs are catered for, whether it's accommodation, food and drink, or simply unwinding and having a good time.
Quince Honey Farm
These days, Quince Honey Farm is one of North Devon’s most popular and unique family attractions - and it’s also one of Britain’s leading honey farms. First established by George Wallace in 1949 with two hives of bees, the business recently relocated to a bigger site, and carefully manage around 1500 hives.
Having branched out over time, Quince Honey Farm produce and sell a range of different items, from honey, honey fudge, and honey chutney, to skincare products. They’ve also got plenty to do for the family - from educational introductions into the world of bee keeping, to indoor soft play.
These are just a few family-run businesses here in North Devon - the truth is, we have way too many to possibly name. Have you got someone in mind that you think everyone should be shouting about? Let us know on our social channels - Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - we’d love to hear from you, and support even more of the local contributors to our community!