Sitting comfortably among the rugged cliffs on the North Devon Coast, Ilfracombe is an ideal holiday destination. It has some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain, with its unique character and atmosphere making it adaptable for anyone’s holiday needs. It’s range of restaurants, pubs and shops and the charm of its working harbour set among spectacular and jaw-dropping cliffs and cloves offering a tranquil setting for your enjoyment during your stay whether it’s just for a family action packed holiday, or for those who prefer the quieter relaxing break.
Ilfracombe is perfectly located in North Devon, allowing you explore and visit the surrounding area with easy access to places such as the beautiful Exmoor National Park, fabulous local beaches such as Woolacombe, Croyde and Putsborough, and pretty villages such as Lynton and Lynmouth, Bideford, Clovelly and Appledore.
When you visit Ilfracombe, you’ll find plenty to do in and around Ilfracombe with a terrific range of activities available to suit all tastes including, swimming, fishing, horse riding, cycling, clay pigeon shooting, sub-aqua diving, not to mention the exciting scenery and coast path for those of us who enjoy Walking Holidays.
There are lots of things to see and explore around Ilfracombe, with their new star attraction, Verity, Damien Hirst’s work of art and the UK’s largest bronze statue at 20 meters, now erected at the end of the harbour for everyone to see. So we thought we should list a few things to do in Ilfracombe just to tempt you. If you are not sure where to start or split for choice, don’t panic. Our Ilfracombe guide will give you all the information and advice you need while making sure you never miss a single thing.
If you visit Ilfracombe without experiencing this place, it’s just like going to France without visiting Paris. The famous historic Tunnels Beaches is a truly unique attraction with its network of hand carved tunnels leading to sheltered beaches and Victorian bathing pool. Also, Parents can sit back and watch the lovely rugged scenery while the kids play safely in the shallow pool. No wonder they’ve been rated the 3rd best beach for rock pooling in the UK by BBC Wildlife Magazine! It’s usually opened between Sunday 1st April to end September from 10am to 6pm daily and closed from November to March.
If you want to take a cruise and explore the coastline, the largest harbour on the North Devon Coast is a great place to be. It is an ideal centre from which to explore the many attractions that North Devon has to offer, along with being at a strategic location to reach destinations such as Lundy Island and other harbours along the North Cornwall and Bristol Channel coasts.
Clay Pigeon Shooting
If you are someone who enjoys shooting, then you will be spoilt with the fine choice. With two grounds to choose from the North Devon Shooting Ground and the South West Shooting School are both a short drive form the Carlton Hotel. This sport is perfect for everyone as it does not matter whether you are one of the country’s top shots, or just a beginner. More so as both grounds welcome novices, have a go’s and the pro.
Walking in Ilfracombe
Ilfracombe is no doubt one of the best walking destinations in the world, housing many of the finest walks in England. Whether it’s a gentle promenade walk around Capstone Hill, or the moorland hills of Exmoor National Park, each of the walks is special and possesses its own unique feature. Experience the jaw-dropping scenery of mighty hogback cliffs of Great Hangman, and the sweeping golden sands and wild turf at Woolacombe with the presence of nature surrounding you, getting you completely lost in them. You’ll also be able to explore a wide range of walks using your car or public transport. Our Ilfracombe guide will help you get the best out of these walks in whichever area you choose.
Ilfracombe Golf Club
Ilfracombe is surrounded by four local courses. The nearest is Ilfracombe Golf Club, overlooking the Bristol Channel, is a course you simply must try. Yearly membership is available for all ages. With so many materials available to hire, there is a choice from a buggy, a set of clubs for the course to individual clubs for the driving range or putting green. Also you’ll get wonderful views of the sea from the windows of the clubhouse and in warmer days, there is outside seating available for you. Don’t forget that Saunton Golf Club with its award winning twin courses is nearby and over the estuary is the Royal North Devon at Westward Ho!
Horse-Riding in Ilfracombe
Another awesome activity you can try out in when you visit Ilfracombe is horse-riding. Woolacombe Riding Stables offers both adults and children an unforgettable experience in horse-riding. With the stables situated at Eastacott Farm, visitors can ride over 200 acres of countryside as well as specialised beach rides for experienced riders. Everyone can choose between first ponies and competition horses. The stable is opened all year round, however, children below 4 years old and adults with weights over 16 stones are not allowed to ride.
Cycling in Ilfracombe
When it comes to cycling, Ilfracombe has a lot to offer with so many services available for cyclists. Also available for you to explore is the Cairn and 0ld railway line which is an ideal track for cyclists to explore the warmth of the countryside. The start of the Devon coast to coast cycle route (27) is at the harbour quay in Ilfracombe. From here you can cross country avoiding the busier roads for a stunning ride all the way to Plymouth.
Accommodation for Dogs
As a dog-friendly town, many of the pubs, shops, and restaurants allow dogs on a lead and under their owner’s control and supervision, and these are well-behaved dogs of course. However, these establishments may have certain restrictions, so you can check with them first to find out about this. Some of the places to walk your dog in and around Ilfracombe includes Capstone Hill and Parade which is a steep grassy area with plenty of walkways, and Rapperee Beach which is also a very steep walkway mostly used by dog owners. If you take your dog for a walk here, you need to be careful allowing your dog into the water as it is very rough. Another is Bicclescombe Park which is Ilfracombe’s premier park lying approximately one mile from the south. Others are Hillsborough, Torrs, and Wildersmouth Beach. The Ilfracombe Carlton is of course dog-friendly too!
Fishing in Ilfracombe
Fishing in North Devon, Capstone Point can be very rewarding, especially in the winter. Fishing is possible anytime of the year, meaning there is always a chance of you getting a catch. The Ilfracombe Harbour is your best destination to fish in Ilfracombe, it has been extended over the years and is home to many fishing trips. There are also many other professional fishing businesses that can host a boat charter, some of them include Bluefin Charters, Bristol Channel Charters, Osprey Charters, and Obsession Charters.
Once you have experienced these areas in this our list of things to do in Ilfracombe, you’ll wish you had discovered them sooner and want to come back time and time again. So, what are you still waiting for? Visit Ilfracombe and you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience!