Ilfracombe continues to be a top destination for summer 2023 holidays. With its quaint coastal charm, working harbour, plenty of water sports and attractions to keep the whole family engaged this year.
Things to Do & Discover
Here are just some of the many great things to do and see during your visit to Ilfracombe. The town is packed full of family-friendly attractions and activities, including beaches ideal for sunbathing, water sports, and pretty much anything in between. Summer 2023 sees the opening of our brand-new Watersports Hub centre at Larkstone which means the harbour will also be used for much more leisure activities.
Home to many world-famous attractions, including the unique and historic Tunnel Beaches, and Damien Hirst’s sculpture Verity located beside the harbour, symbolising the modern allegory of truth and justice. With award-winning beaches, theatres, theme parks and annual events, it’s not hard to see how Ilfracombe has been a particularly popular resort since the Victorian era.
Out of This World Beaches
On one hand, there is Wildermouth Beach, Rapparee Cove and Hele Cove, which boast great rock pooling and if you’re looking for something a little more secluded. On the other hand, there is Tunnels Beaches, one of the most famous beaches in North Devon. Known for the iconic hand-carved tunnels that were built in the 1820s by the Victorian’s, it is now a popular heritage attraction and wedding venue. If you make your way through the tunnel you are welcomed by a truly picturesque beach like no other.
A little further afield is the tiny village and beach of Lee Bay which has truly wonderful beaches off the beaten track; and then within 15 minutes you quickly arrive at the vast Woolacombe and Saunton Bay beaches. Though these beaches get busy be sure to venture to the middle of the long sands to set up your home on the sand.
There is a whole host of ways to ensure your time is well spent. You can get a ferry or helicopter over to Lundy Island, a protected nature reserve that can be seen from the mainland. Get up close and personal with North Devon’s puffin population and a huge variety of bird, wild and marine life including seals and dolphins. Not to mention, an abundance of activities such as swimming, snorkelling, climbing all from this truly magnificent island. Book in advance through the Landmark Trust https://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/lundyisland/day-trips/bookings/ or Visit Ilfracombe.
Back to the mainland, one of the most loved local attractions has to be Ilfracombe Aquarium. Discover and learn all about the magical marine life both near and far, boasting over 75 different species. The town has it’s own museum packed to the gunnells and featuring eclectic collections of natural history items & cultural relics & curiosities.
Family fun can be enjoyed at Watermouth Castle, which is at the eastern edge of town. This is good for a wet or dry day with plenty of covered activities and curios to enjoy.
The Favourite Spot For Foodies
Ilfracombe is top of the destinations for discovering incredible food and drink venues. With its bustling harbour port, you will certainly find many places that serve day boat fish and seafood. Not to mention the freshest of fish and chips and what better place to eat them than by the harbour or on the beach looking taking in the sea views.
North Devon, with its breathtaking coastline, rolling countryside, and charming towns, is a perfect destination for families seeking an unforgettable break. Nestled in the South West, this picturesque region offers a myriad of activities and attractions that cater to all ages and interests. From exhilarating outdoor adventures to educational experiences, North Devon has something to delight every member of your family. So, let’s embark on a journey and discover the top things families can do in North Devon!
Discover Stunning Beaches:
North Devon boasts some of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches in the UK. Head to Woolacombe Beach, which consistently ranks among the top beaches worldwide, with its golden sands, clear waters, and excellent surfing conditions. Saunton Sands is another gem, featuring a vast expanse of sand dunes and a backdrop of rolling hills. For a more secluded experience, explore the hidden coves of Lee Bay or the charming village of Clovelly, where time seems to stand still.
Explore Exmoor National Park:
Located on the eastern edge of North Devon, Exmoor National Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Take your family on an adventure-filled hike along its rugged trails, where you might spot wild ponies, red deer, and soaring birds of prey. The park also offers exciting opportunities for cycling, horseback riding, and canoeing, ensuring an exhilarating day in nature.
Visit Lundy Island:
Hop aboard the MS Oldenburg from the mainland and set sail to Lundy Island, a unique and enchanting destination. This remote island is a designated Marine Conservation Zone, perfect for a day of wildlife spotting. Seals, puffins, and dolphins can often be seen from the cliffs, and the island’s rich history, including its own castle and lighthouse, adds an educational twist to your adventure. And if you want to get there in a (sort of) hurry private charters can be booked from the many harbour towns including Ilfracombe.
Enjoy Family-Friendly Attractions:
North Devon is home to various family-friendly attractions that guarantee hours of entertainment. The Milky Way Adventure Park is a must-visit, offering a mix of thrilling rides, indoor play areas, and live shows. Children can get up close to exotic animals at the Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park or embark on a magical journey at the Big Sheep, featuring sheep racing, tractor rides, and an array of fun-filled activities. Watermouth Castle is a captivating family destination that combines history, fantasy, and entertainment in the heart of North Devon. Watermouth Castle is designed with families in mind, offering a plethora of attractions and activities to entertain visitors of all ages. Kids will be captivated by the adventure theme park, featuring exciting rides, slides, and a maze. Let them zoom down the toboggan run, navigate the obstacle courses, and test their skills on the arcade games.
Explore North Devon and Exmoor by open top bus
If you’re looking for a environmentally friendly, unique and captivating way to discover the beauty of North Devon, hop on one of the open top bus services. New this year is the Exmoor Coaster, which can take you on a two hour tour from Ilfracombe to Minehead, via the coastal towns of Combe Martin, Lynmouth and Porlock. Whilst jump on the top deck of the open-top Stagecoach 21C bus and embark on a scenic adventure like no other. Travelling to Barnstaple through Braunton, Saunton and Croyde. Both routes operate hop and hop off with numerous drop off points and bus connections across the route you will be treated to views of stunning coastal vistas, charming countryside, and picturesque towns, North Devon offers a breathtaking backdrop for an unforgettable journey. Sit back, relax, and let the refreshing breeze and panoramic views transport you as you explore the wonders of North Devon from on an open-top bus.
Visit the Landmark Theatre for a family fun day out
Are you ready for an extraordinary theatrical experience in North Devon? Look no further than the Landmark Theatre, a cultural hub located right here in Ilfracombe. Offering a diverse and exciting Summer Season, the Landmark Theatre promises to captivate audiences of all ages with a range of performances including Fireman Sam, The Little Mermaid , Splash Test Dummies and more.
A family holiday in North Devon is a perfect blend of natural wonders, coastal charm, and unforgettable experiences. From the captivating beaches to the untamed beauty of Exmoor National Park, each day brings new adventures and cherished memories.