Discover the beauty of North Devon where the rolling moors fall down to meet the some of the most stunning coastline in the UK.
The original “Little White Town” straddling the river Torridge with its ancient many arched bridge. Local pannier market and local quay side farmer’s market at week-ends. Contains a full selection of supermarkets, with a variety of factory outlets at Atlantic Village.
In the historic market town of Barnstaple, you will find plenty of lovely shops, a three screen cinema, a 700-seat theatre and a museum. The modern Green Lanes Shopping Centre sits in stark contrast to the traditional Pannier and Craft Markets held since 1855 in the Pannier Market Hall.
For more info on what you can do in and around Barnstaple, read our Barnstaple holiday guide!
The ancient island can be reached by ferry and helicopter, sailing from Ilfracombe and Bideford to this offshore retreat teeming with fabulous wildlife and even has a pub & restaurant!
The cobbled, traffic-free coastal village appears to have been lost in time, the main road of this world famous fishing village, built into a cleft in a 400' high cliff, meander its way down past whitewashed cottages usually covered with flowers, to its eventual climax as it finally meets the sea and a beautiful traditional West Country harbour. Donkeys traditionally carry goods up the hill; sledges bring things down. It has links with Charles Kingsley, Turner, Dickens and the Spanish Armada.
A headland thrusting into the Atlantic Ocean with spectacular cliffs, stunning coastal walks and wild beaches. Hartland Quay is an original smugglers haunt with fabulous views and a quaint fisherman’s pub. Hartland Abbey and gardens provides an area of beauty and solitude whilst Hartland itself epitomises a country village, with shops and pubs and has also become a centre of country crafts.
This prestigious river-side village lies at the wide junction of the River Taw and the River Torridge. Instow has an inshore estuary sandy beach and at extreme tides, if you are careful you can walk across to the opposite village of Appledore. It is a favourite haunt for artists, as the light and the scenery creates a perfect canvas for art of all kinds. It is very popular amongst water sports enthusiasts, with Instow sailing club based at the entrance to the village. During the summer you can take the ferry from Instow's 17th Century quay across to Appledore.
Great Torrington is an ancient market town with many award-winning shops, master butchers and bakers, offering quality local produce. It is surrounded by soft rolling green countryside.
An ancient settlement is strangely sited on a cliff top which drops down to the River Torridge below. This wonderful vista offers spectacular views across the rolling Devon countryside.
The wonderful landscape has remained practically unchanged since Henry Williamson wrote his classic novel “Tarka the Otter” in the 1920’s.
Great Torrington today has become well recognised as an important heritage centre for the history of the 17th century. The community and people in the town, proud of their heritage, can often be seen dressed in costume for re-enactments, festivals and celebrations. There is plenty to do and see; RHS Rosemoor, Dartington Glass Factory and outlet shop, the Plough Arts Centre and the 1646 Experience are all worth a visit.
Classic Exmoor. Unique, rural, historic and host to great pubs, tea rooms and great craft shops. Work off lunch with a good hill yomp or riverside walk, or stop off at the Royal Oak in Withypool on the way back.
Further along the River Barle, north-east of Dulverton, is one of the wonders of Exmoor; Tarr Steps, a footbridge over the river dating back to 1000BC and rightly considered to be Britain's oldest and longest stone clapper bridge. You will also find a beautiful pub with great beer and food especially try the cream tea!
Beaches, Beaches, Beaches! Swim, Surf, Kiting and some of Devon’s best championship golf courses at Westward Ho! and Saunton.
The villages of Westward Ho! and Braunton are gateways to North Devon's Golden Coast. The spectacular local beaches with their golden sands, safe bathing, excellent surfing and extensive kiting areas are all within a short drive.
Both small resorts offer a selection of surf shops, delicatessens, bakers, gift & craft shops. Walk a little further beyond the Braunton centre, you will find yourself in the narrow streets of the old village.
Walk along the old railway line, now paved, from Westward Ho! west to Abbotsham Cliffs and enjoy the spectacular views of the Atlantic coast towards Clovelly, Hartland Point and Lundy Island. Climb to Braunton Beacon at the top of West Hill and enjoy the panoramic view of Braunton Great Fields, one of the few remaining examples of medieval strip farming and the Braunton Burrows nature reserve.
The Tarka Trail, a 180 mile long network of paved paths, following the old railway line linking the North Coast with Dartmoor, begins at Braunton and can be cycled safely along the estuary to Barnstaple, and follows the River Torridge passing through Bideford and on to Torrington and Mere. Travel in the opposite direction on foot and the trail joins the South West Coastal Path along the coastline to Woolacombe, Ilfracombe, Lynton and Lynmouth.
The Royal North Devon Golf Course at Westward Ho! is the oldest links course in Britain, featuring a challenging 18 hole course. Saunton Golf Club has two magnificent 18 hole championship-standard links courses. Golf has been played at Saunton for more than 100 years.
Westward Ho! and Saunton Sands magnificent beaches stretch as far as the eye can see. Westward Ho! dunes and burrows are protected by the famous pebble ridge, whilst Braunton Burrows is now the centre of over 3000 hectares of dunes that have been formally recognised by UNESCO as Britain's first new-style Biosphere Reserve.
Woolacombe’s spectacular golden sandy beach and clean waters have been awarded with both the Blue Flag and Premier Beach Seaside Award.
Almost three miles of golden sands stretch from Putsborough in the south to Woolacombe village itself. The village is flanked by the dramatic headlands of Baggy Point and Morte Point, both offering breathtaking walks at any time of the year.
The village of Mortehoe. sheltering in the lee of Morte Point, is a pretty stone built group of buildings mentioned in the Domesday Book, featuring several pubs and tea rooms, a 13th Century church and Heritage Centre recounting the area’s rich maritime history.
North of the village and reached only on foot, is Rockham Beach lying at the base of the 100 ft cliff, an ideal location for a peaceful day on the beach – rarely crowded even in the height of season.
Croyde is the happening hot spot of North Devon, a famous beach, pubs, restaurants, surf shops and clotted cream tea shops. This is the trendy part of North Devon with superb sandy beaches and a village full of life and charm. The young surfing community and walkers have fuelled Croyde’s popularity.
Read our Croyde holiday guide for the full story!
This old Victorian seaside town with it’s attractive harbour is on the verge of a renaissance. Kiss Me Quick hats still compete for attention with Damian Hirst’s harbourside bistro and restaurant and the extraordinary architecture of the Landmark Theatre. In an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Ilfracombe nestles snugly amongst the rugged cliffs of the majestic and breathtaking scenery of the North Devon coast surrounding this charming natural harbour.
Lively holiday town, good pubs and claiming to have the longest High Street in England. Combe Martin lies at the centre of some of North Devon's most spectacular coastal scenery. The beach at Combe Martin is a mix of sand and pebbles and has a large number of rock pools which is a great attraction for children. Additionally, there are a number of small secluded bays worth exploring within a short walk of the village centre - Wild Pear Beach, Sandy Cove and Newberry Beach. There are some stunning coastal walks heading east over Great Hangman Hill.
A real must to visit for scenery, not for nothing is it situated in an area known as Little Switzerland. Make sure you see both towns, i.e. Lynmouth at the bottom of the hill and Lynton at the top, connected with an historic Victorian cliff railway. Rapidly becoming the cultural festival centre for North Devon with the Two Moors (classical music), Folk, Food, Walking and Comedy festivals between spring and autumn.
Across the water from Instow lies the quaint fishing village of Appledore, now playing host more to the arts world than fishing boats. Appledore is packed with lovely shops and galleries bursting with art and pottery and interesting local fair.
Hartland has some of the most fantastic coastal paths in the UK and on any day of the year, whether it is hot and sunny or blowing an on-shore gale, it is still a walk not to miss. From the cliffs you see a wealth of coastal wildlife and usually you can watch seals basking on the rocks.
Hartland Abbey can be found across a narrow, sheltered valley which winds its way to the wild Atlantic Coast. Within a designated ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ visitors may wander around the beautiful gardens and grounds which lead to the rocky cove. Hartland Abbey is the lived-in family home of the Stucley family. Although it was built in the 12th century, remaining as a monastery for 400 years and passing through the female line three times, it has never been sold. Venue of choice for Prince William’s 2011 stag week-end!
Welcombe is a popular holiday destination and many visitors return year after year. They grow to love the spectacular scenery and peaceful surroundings whilst enjoying the proximity of attractions in both Devon and Cornwall.
The village sits across a deep valley which leads a meandering stream to the cliff edge at Welcombe Mouth where it ends in a pretty waterfall. St Nectan's Church looks over the northern corner of the valley while The Old Smithy Inn lies on the south.
Bude on the North Cornwall Coast is a charming little seaside resort. Its beaches are perfect for family days out, as well as for the surfers amongst you. Enjoy a relaxed days fishing on the Canal, admire the imposing lock gates. Watch the sun set over the breakwater. In gales the Atlantic waves break right over the top of it, so stand well back in Winter!
A few miles north of the town is Sandymouth and Widemouth bay, nearly two miles of sand at low water backed by pebbles and geologically fascinating cliffs. Rock outcrops provide pools for the children to explore.