Not only is Westward Ho! the only town in the UK to have an exclamation mark as part of its name, but it was also named after a book. The name comes from Charles Kingsley’s book of the same name, which was a best seller and brought a new wave of tourism to his home town of Bideford, which led to the creation of Westward Ho! in the surrounding area.
Aside from the peculiarities about how it got its name, Westward Ho! is famous for being a delightful village by the sea. The seafront is one of North Devon’s most popular surfing and swimming spots, as it combines a large expanse of sand with pebbles, grasslands and a diverse beachscape making it perfect for families, sunbathers and water sports enthusiasts alike. Whether you want to spend the day relaxing or having a picnic, there are flat areas, while those that want to do a spot of rockpooling will love the rockier areas and those that love swimming and surfing will find the perfect environment for catching the waves.
Beautiful Blue-Flag beach
The seafront, like most of the coast in this part of Devon, falls into the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and offers stunning views as well as being a safe, family friendly place to spend a few hours. The beach is one of a number of sites that has been awarded a Blue Flag in the county. These awards are given to beaches that reach a certain criteria when it comes to cleanliness among other things, so you know that a visit to Westward Ho! will be a great beach experience.
In the summer months, there are life guards stationed along much of the coastline making it one of the safest places for swimming and getting out on the water.
Westward Ho! is a great destination for those wanting to bring their dogs on holiday with them as it is not only home to several dog friendly accommodation providers, but your furry friends are allowed on the beach all year around, with just a few restrictions in the summer months. There are signs along the whole beach front and on the approach to the seafront detailing which parts of the beach are open to dogs and of course, if you are staying in the village, then your accommodation provider will happily give you all the advice you need when travelling around with your dogs.
If you’ve brought your dog on holiday with you, chances are you are someone who loves getting back to nature and exploring the countryside. If that’s the case, Westward Ho! is the ideal destination. While the village is well known for its beach, it is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes including cliffs, fields and an estuary. If you want to get out and about and explore, you’ll find plenty of trails leading all across the village and towards the neighbouring towns and villages such as Bideford.
Haven for watersports
Like much of the north Devon coastline, Westward Ho! has ideal conditions for several water based sports. The current, the water and the weather in this part of Devon make it a popular spot for surfers, kayakers, paddle boarders and more. Because the village is so popular among sports enthusiast, you’ll find that there are a number of businesses based in the village, particularly among the seafront who not only offer equipment hire should you not have your own. These organisations also run a host of training sessions and tours of the coastline for those of you who want to give a certain sport a go or who want to get involved with a sightseeing tour with a difference. The whole of the North Devon coast is spectacular with its dramatic looking cliffs and gorgeous, sandy beaches so sightseeing from the water is an ideal way to appreciate it.
As a popular holiday destination, particularly for families, you’ll find that there is plenty to see and do while on a visit to Westward Ho!. There are a number of cafes, tearooms, restaurants, hotels and attractions in and around the village giving you plenty to do and value for money.