The small town of Instow is a great holiday destination all year round, located on an estuary where the Taw and Torridge rivers meet. It’s a peaceful and charming place to visit for the day or to stay for longer and is has long been a firm favourite with families for generations.
Get energetic in Instow
The popular Tarka Trail runs through Instow providing an easy way to explore on both foot or by bike. The trail is traffic free making it ideal for tiring out the kids and as it passes alongside the estuary, there are plenty of chances to spot wildlife and enjoy the breeze on a warm day. Alternatively, head down to the town’s beach, full of golden sand and large enough to accommodate everyone during the busier months, the beach area is perfect for building sandcastles, flying kites or just plain old relaxing. You can even introduce the children to traditions from your childhood by crabbing from the quay at high tide.
If you’re the adventurous type, why not partake in some watersports while in the area, whether you’re a seasoned pro or looking to challenge yourself with a new skill, Instow has plenty of spots along the coast that are perfect for taking to the waves and is particularly popular with windsurfers. Unlike the surf at places like Croyde or Putsborough, the waves in Instow are much calmer because of the mouth of the estuary cancelling out most of the ocean’s swell, giving you the ideal conditions for kite and wind surfing and you’ll find plenty of organisations around the seafront offering everything from equipment hire to tuition to help you get out on the waves. The town is also popular with those that like a spot of canoeing and kayaking, particularly along the rivers, both of which are also supported by local businesses.
During the summer, a ferry service operates across the estuary from Instow to Appledore which is on the opposite bank. It’s an ideal way to explore the wider region, particularly when water levels are too high to use the footpaths.
For a more tranquil activity, call into the Waterside Gallery to see works by some of North Devon’s finest artists, potters and craftspeople.
Sample good quality local foods
Instow is home to an array of great bars and restaurants, many of which offer views across the water towards Appledore, giving you a picturesque backdrop to your meal. There is something quite special about watching the world go by and the boats journeying along the estuary as you tuck-in to fine local seafood, ruby beef and even locally sourced samphire.
Because of the quality of the local food, the village has several delis and farm shops stocking a range of locally produced items, perfect for an impromptu picnic on the beach or for packing into a bag as refreshments while traversing the Tarka Trail. If you’re visiting during a particularly sunny day, there is nothing better than grabbing a few items and lazing on the beach watching the world go by. You just have to keep your eyes peeled for seagulls!