Winter Breaks In North Devon


Traditionally there are many reasons to visit North Devon in the summer, but actually a winter break can also be thoroughly enjoyable. A big part of this is the sense of having the place to yourself, with the pace of life a gentle stroll compared to the hustle and bustle of the tourist season.  The Carlton in Ilfracombe is offering some fantastic North Devon winter break options to tempt you down to the Westcountry this January, February and March. 

From the cosy snugness of The Carlton (which naturally will be continuing to implement its covid plan to ensure safety of staff and guests alike), 5 reasons to head west to North Devon this January and February include:

The Carlton – The Perfect Winter Base!

Excuses to visit the area in January and February are plentiful, and that’s even without leaving the hotel! The Carlton provides a great base to launch your exploration of the area, from its highest spec ensuite rooms to the fine food menus which source the best local produce, served in The Brasserie (located in the hotel). Having made it through the front door – if you can avoid the allure of the superb Carlton afternoon tea! – here are some more reasons to enjoy a winter break in North Devon in 2021.

The Charms of Ilfracombe 

The Carlton’s home is a delightful harbour town on the North Devon coast which went from sleepy village to desirable seaside resort with the coming of the Victorian railways. The result is a town whose character reflects this era, seen in the buildings and architecture of the place. A stroll around the town will reveal some of its historical treasures, such as the famous Tunnel Beaches, Victorian bandstand and the sheltered harbour which has made Ilfracombe a historical haven for small fishing boats, which continue to land their fresh catches today. 

Scratch deeper and you can discover much more fascinating history in the area, with remains of Norman settlements and Iron Age fortifications. On the flipside, Ilfracombe is also home to the sea facing Verity statue created by some time North Devon resident Damien Hirst, an arty side to the town reflected in its healthy array of arts, crafts and galleries.

North Devon’s Great Walking Country

For many visitors on a North Devon winter break, ‘blowing away the cobwebs’ with a few days filled with fresh air and exercise holds great allure. The locals have very much adopted the Scandinavian maxim of there being no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing, and if you are prepared for the very worst the elements can throw your way then you are probably going to be pleasantly surprised! Walking a section of the South West coast path (which passes through Ilfracombe) on a bright winter’s morning, with just the sun and the lapping of the waves for company is true bliss. On the flipside, a roaring wind and a turbulent sky brings its own magic too, but if that’s not your thing, then it’s easy to find a sheltered valley/river walk nearby in Exmoor National Park

Dog Friendly North Devon

Nearby Woolacombe and Saunton Sands beaches roll on for miles and as a dog friendly hotel, The Carlton can recommend these beaches which never fail to disappoint dogs and owners alike.  Closer to home, there are great short walks around Ilfracombe, which offer dog friendly exercise and spectacular views. North Devon as whole enjoys a reputation as being a great dog friendly holiday destination and most pubs, cafes and restaurants go out of their way to accommodate canine visitors.  

Action Winter Break in North Devon 

While some visitors’ idea of the perfect wither break in Ilfracombe is to sit, enjoy great food and drink and just ‘be’, others itch to get active. Despite the winter season, there are still plenty of activity options available. Exmoor National Park is as popular with cyclists as it is with walkers, while the Tarka Trail cycle track begins in Ilfracombe, accessing two more of the region’s bigger towns – Bideford and Barnstaple – along its route. Other activity options include fishing, golfing and clay pigeon shooting.

While the idea of a winter break in the UK may not have been top of a visitor’s list at the start of the pandemic, the events of the past few months have shown that staying close to home does have advantages.  There are plenty of winter break charms to be found in North Devon and discovering them is part of the charm itself! Book direct here, call us on 01271 862446 or email us on