Make Bideford your base and you’ll have the best in pubs, music and restaurants to satisfy every palate. This historic harbour town is packed with independent shops, local produce and the picturesque quay, which draws visitors during every season.
Bideford was once Britain’s third largest port and while it still has maritime connections, these days, it is more widely known as being a thriving shopping centre, with a historic Pannier Market as well as being the home to the Atlantic Village outlet, where you can find your favourite brands at bargain prices. Bideford is the perfect place for a spot of retail therapy, between the brand names at the outlets and the quirky shops that line the streets, you’ll find all manner of interesting items and unique gifts.
Great base for exploring
If exploring and setting off on your own adventure sounds up your street, make sure to choose Bideford as your base. From here you are well placed to explore some of the best beaches in North Devon, including those at Croyde Bay, Westward Ho!, Putsborough Sands and Woolacombe where you can indulge in a variety of watersports, embark on nature trails and take in some of the spectacular views on offer from the North Devon Natural Landscape (AONB). If that wasn’t enough, there are regular trips from Bideford across the Lundy Island, the home of Devon’s puffin population as well as a host of other rare and protected species of bird. The charming harbour area is home to a number of organisations offering pleasure cruises around the harbour and you’re also close to the surrounding towns and villages such as Appledore, Instow and Clovelly, which are all charming and full of interesting heritage attractions. If you want to explore the rest of the region, take a trip over the bridge on the old road which crosses the river and links you to the wider area.
Bideford is also a great place to stay as you can easily access the start of the Tarka Trail and Exmoor’s National Park is just a short journey away.
Bideford is the former home of the author Charles Kingsley, who regularly mentioned the towns and villages of North Devon in his work. Bideford also made its way into his writings, he noted that it was a town full of white houses, while there are few white houses these days, you will find several pastel coloured homes which are delightful to look at. One thing that hasn’t changed from Kingsley’s writings though is Westward Ho! which was named from one of his books.
Plenty to see and do
As well as the nature attractions, such as the many walking and cycling trails and the ferry trips, Bideford also has a range of theme parks and family friendly attractions offering plenty of adventure, thrills and activities suitable for the whole family.
So, whether you want to stroll along the quay and admire the expansive waterfront, or take a stroll around the fortnightly farmers' market, you’ll never be short of things to see and do while visiting Bideford. For the kids and younger families, make sure to visit Victoria Park which boasts a wonderful children’s play area and free splash pool which is popular on sunny days.