With much of the region being a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and with some of the world’s best beaches, it’s pretty hard to narrow down the beauty spots you have to visit in 2023, but we’re going to give it a go!
We’ve narrowed it down to these ten places that we think that you should definitely visit in the coming year.
Speaking of history and heritage, Clovelly is a must. A tourist attraction in its own right, there is a fee to get into the village and it is completely free of cars – so bear this in mind before you go. The village has some incredible cobbled streets, an ancient fishing harbour, thatched cottages and a herd of helpful donkeys. The donkeys used to deliver goods around the village, but these days spend their time posing for photos and befriending visitors.
Hartland Village, Hartland Peninsula and Hartland Quay are all must visit places in North Devon, especially if you love a dramatic view. The entire area falls under the region’s AONB and offers miles of clifftop walks, pretty coves and beaches and a quaint village packed with history and heritage.
Managed by the National Trust and located near Lynton within the Exmoor National Park, Watersmeet offers a touch of drama, plenty of walks and a great spot to enjoy a cream tea. The estate has around 2000 acres of land, which includes a river gorge and ancient woodlands.
If you want miles of golden sand and the chance to watch surfers do their thing, head to the beach at Saunton Sands. The beach is next to the dunes at Braunton Burrows and has some of the best dune systems in the UK. It is certainly a must for photographers – whatever the weather.
One of the best things about North Devon is its cute cottages – one place where you can enjoy some cute fisherman cottages, pastel colours and the chance to enjoy seafood is Appledore. We recommend visiting towards the end of the day and heading to the water. If you look across towards Instow, you can catch some incredible sunsets.
Not far from Appledore is Westward Ho! The only place in the UK to feature an ! in the name – the village was named after a book written by local author, Charles Kingsley, who lived in Bideford and also lent his name to several hotels and cottages in the region. It was also once the home of the Jungle Book’s author, Rudyard Kipling. You can find those amazing sand dunes here too and the beach and beach huts are a must for photographers.
Though Westward Ho! and Saunton Sands are both known for surfing, Croyde is the region’s surfing capital. The village of Croyde is so beloved by surfers, that you’ll find a host of shops and themed eateries celebrating this fact. Make sure to follow the Baggy Point walks managed by the National Trust for some amazing views over the coast.
We have to mention Woolacombe as it is home to Britain’s Best Beach – the beach has won the accolade several years in a row! It isn’t the only beach you can find in town either – you’ll also find Barricaine Beach, Combesgate Beach, Grunta and the nearby Puttsborough. All of them are worth a visit, you can find rockpools, miles of golden sand and lovely coastal walks.
Lynton and Lynmouth
Though they are two separate places, these two often get grouped together, mainly because one sits above the other. The pair have been described as Little Switzerland and are home to a Victorian cliff railway and the picturesque Valley of Rocks as well as plenty of quaint eateries and coastal walks.
You can look at Lundy Island from places like Ilfracombe, but if you can get the ferry across we recommend it! The island is just 12 miles off the coast and can easily be explored in one day – though they do have accommodation options should you want to stay over. There is no electricity anywhere on the island, so it’s a great place to get away from it all. The island is home to the UK’s first Marine Conservation Zone, so although there are lots of chances to go on adventures, you need permission to climb, dive and other activities – it does mean that you can spot some amazing wildlife though!
Are you inspired to visit North Devon in 2023? You can find places to stay, things to do and more here.