Image of Landmark Theatre and town of Ilfracombe with words Plan Your Holiday in Ilfracombe North Devon overlaid

If you’re planning your next holiday or family getaway in the UK, a holiday in Ilfracombe in North Devon is a great option. Ilfracombe has so much to offer no matter who you’re holidaying with. Whether you’re looking for an active adventure holiday with friends, a relaxing retreat with your partner, a cultural exploration or some wholesome family fun, you won’t be disappointed.

A holiday in Ilfracombe in North Devon has all the bases covered. The beautiful coastline is perfectly complimented by the rugged countryside and the many towns and villages that populate the northern coast of Devon make this area extremely attractive for the 6 million visitors who choose this region for their holidays and day trips each year.

Is Ilfracombe worth visiting?

We may be biased because we have made Ilfracombe our home, but we think this part of the country is the perfect choice for anyone looking to plan a holiday in the UK. Ilfracombe has been a popular tourist destination for many years and in our opinion, it is one of the most beautiful towns you could visit in North Devon. The picture postcard town has so much to offer and in this post, we will share some of our local knowledge with you so that you can plan your perfect holiday in Ilfracombe, North Devon.

What is Ilfracombe famous for?

Damien Hirst’s Verity

Verity by Damien Hirst

The first thing that probably springs to mind when you think of Ilfracombe is Verity, Damien Hirst’s 20m stainless steel and bronze statue that depicts a pregnant woman holding a sword up in the air while carrying the scales of justice and standing on a pile of law books.

You cannot visit Ilfracombe without stopping by the harbour to take in this magnificent sculpture that draws in art-loving tourists year after year.

But Ilfracombe is about so much more than Verity. There are many other attractions and activities that you can do in and around Ilfracombe that will create a memory-making holiday for you and your travel companions.

Ilfracombe Attractions to Visit

Ilfracombe Harbour

We are extremely lucky to have the largest harbour on the North Devon Coast right here in Ilfracombe. The bustling port has been in operation since the 12th Century and whilst it is a functional port for landing locally caught fish and seafood, which we serve in The Brasserie, it is also used for the many leisure and tourism activities that take place in Ilfracombe. Whether you’re planning a sea safari, a day trip to Lundy Island or doing a spot of sea fishing, the harbour is where you will want to head.

Ilfracombe Tunnels Beach

Ilfracombe may be famous for Verity, but coming in a close second is probably Tunnels Beaches. The network of hand-carved tunnels leads to unique sheltered beaches and a tidal Victorian bathing pool. The private beaches are the main beaches in Ilfracombe and are steeped in history.

What is there to do in Ilfracombe for adults?

Runnymede Gardens

If you are visiting Ilfracombe in North Devon with a group of adults there are plenty of things that will keep you occupied. If gardens are your thing, make sure you stop by Runnymede Gardens. This is a small, enclosed garden close to the Landmark Theatre and seafront.

Landmark Theatre

A photo of the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe nestled amongst the surrounding landscape

Photo by Richard Brannen on Unsplash

While you’re there, the Landmark Theatre is a 483-seat arts and entertainment complex where you can watch a film, a musical, a play, a concert, or a dance performance.

Southwest Coast Path

If you’re looking for something more active and outdoorsy there is always the South West Coast Path to explore. The path is 630 miles long and runs all the way around the South West Coast from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset. It is a mixture of rural and urban walks and runs right through Ilfracombe.

Chambercombe Manor

If you’re a fan of the paranormal why not consider visiting Chambercombe Manor, a manor House in Ilfracombe thought to date from the 11th century, was mentioned in the Domesday Book and is thought to be haunted.

Hele Cornmill

Hele Cornmill is a 16th-century working water mill just outside Ilfracombe. It’s a great stop for cream tea in the Teagarden.

St Nicholas Chapel

St Nicholas Chapel is a working lighthouse dating back to 1321 and is said to be the oldest in the country. It is open to visitors from Easter to October.

Things to do in Ilfracombe for Kids

Watermouth Castle

Watermouth Castle is a Victorian Castle full of eclectic treasures and vintage curios. Kids will love the outdoor theme park which includes toboggan runs, mazes, river rides, crazy golf, swing boats, steam carousels and a gnome village.

Bicclescombe Park

Bicclescombe Park is Ilfracombe’s premier park and features a large children’s play area and sensory garden.

Ilfracombe Aquarium

Down on the harbour is Ilfracombe Aquarium, an award-winning, all-weather, family attraction. The living exhibits display a variety of species of aquatic animals from around North Devon.

Chocolate Emporium

A man and a woman at a chocolate making workshop in Ilfracombe at the Chocolate Emporium

Kids will love a trip to the Ilfracombe Chocolate Emporium where they can learn all about how their favourite sweet treat is made in the chocolate museum before sampling some of the goods.

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park

Devon’s very own prehistoric park is situated just a few minutes outside Ilfracombe in Combe Martin. At Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park kids can enjoy the impressive life-sized animatronic dinosaurs and the gigantic Dinosaurus Playzone.

The Milky Way Adventure Park

North Devon’s all-weather, multi-award-winning attraction The Milky Way Adventure Park is a short distance away in Clovelly and is fantastic for kids who seeking thrills as well as those looking to learn about birds of prey, paint some pottery or play a game of mini golf.

The Big Sheep Farm & Theme Park

From rollercoasters to hilarious animal shows, there is something for toddlers, tiddlers and teens at The Big Sheep, yet another award-winning attraction just outside Ilfracombe in Bideford.

If you need more inspiration, check out this handy guide by Devon with Kids for more ideas of things to do in Ilfracombe for kids.

Are There Many Shops in Ilfracombe?

Maybe shopping is your favourite pastime and you’re wondering whether Ilfracombe has a good selection of shops to keep you occupied while you holiday in North Devon. We’re delighted to inform you that Ilfracombe has an excellent selection of independent shops, greengrocers, butchers and bakers, as well as traditional seaside souvenir gift shops and galleries.

Which places are near Ilfracombe?

A holiday in Ilfracombe in North Devon wouldn’t;t be complete without the obligatory day trips to other towns and villages in the near vicinity. You’ll be glad to know that we have a selection of great towns near Ilfracombe that make for fantastic trips. Here are some of our favourites:

Woolacombe & Mortehoe

These two villages in North Devon are best known for Woolacombe Beach. This 3-mile sandy stretch of beach is great for body boarding, rock pooling, building sand castles and playing beach games. But both villages have plenty more to offer including great pubs and restaurants.


Just six miles west of Barnstaple is Braunton, a densely populated village that boasts a working model railway and the Museum of British Surfing along with various eateries.


Superb sandy beaches and spectacular scenery characterise the unspoilt village of Croyde. The village is particularly popular with young surfers and those seeking outdoor activities and water sports.


Barnstaple is one of the UK’s oldest boroughs as well as being one of the largest towns in North Devon. Known as the social centre of North Devon, Barnstaple is home to great markets, eateries, and shopping opportunities.

Lynton and Lynmouth

The picturesque villages of Lynton & Lynmouth are worth a visit for the world-famous Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway, the Lynmouth Regatta & Maritime Festival or a local market, there is something for everyone in this charming seaside town.

South Molton

The classic British market town of South Molton is known for its traditional markets that take place twice a week in the main square. The town has a reputation for the quality of its cafés and independent shops.


Bideford was once Britain’s third largest port and it is now a cultural hub in North Devon with plenty to do and see including nature attractions, walking and cycling trails and ferry trips.


Appledore is a historic fishing village full of maritime history and cute pastel houses. Home to the North Devon Maritime Museum and well-known for the quality of the seafood, Appledore is also a haven for creativity.

Westward Ho!

The only town in the UK to have an exclamation mark as part of its name, Westward Ho! is a delightful village by the sea and one of North Devon’s most popular surfing and swimming spots.

Where to Eat in Ilfracombe

An empty table set for dinner at the Brasserie restaurant at the Carlton Hotel in Ilfracombe

Dine in style at The Brasserie

We’re not exaggerating when we say that Ilfracombe is the gastronomic capital of North Devon. We have some of the best chefs in the area here and they benefit from what we call “North Devon’s Larder” From the fresh fish and live seafood landed daily in the harbour to fine Exmoor meats, locally grown fruit and vegetables, tasty cheeses and more, Ilfracombe is a food-lovers paradise.

We’d love to invite you to sample some of our locally sourced food right here in the Brasserie. You can book your Brasserie table here.

Ilfracombe in Winter

Whilst Ilfracombe has a lot to offer in the summer months when the weather is finer and we can enjoy the outdoors, there is still plenty to enjoy in Ilfracombe in winter. The Landmark Theatre has shows all year round, the Aquarium can be enjoyed no matter what the weather and chocolate workshops at the Chocolate Emporium are a taste sensation.

Embassy Cinema

The independent Embassy Cinema shows all the latest releases and alternative films and is the perfect way to while away a drab and dreary winter’s day il Ilfracombe.

Ilfracombe Museum

There is fun for all the family at Ilfracombe Museum. From natural specimens, maritime models, and technology, to Victoriana, tools and ceremonial objects, and wartime memories, this should keep you occupied until the wet weather dries up enough to get back outdoors.

So there you have it. That’s everything you need to know to plan your perfect holiday in Ilfracombe in North Devon.