‘Visit Ilfracombe’ describe the North Devon holiday resort as having ‘curious coastal charm’, and that me be an apt description when you consider the mix of whitewashed houses, Victorian villas, coastal inlets and modern facilities that lie within its boundaries.
Ilfracombe arrived on the holiday scene in Victorian times with the advent of rail travel, and its scenic vista, seaside location, and heritage, have been popular ever since. The town centre is now a hub of activity, with regular farmers markets, and a mix of independent shops attracting visitors. One of these is Walkers Chocolate Emporium, which has a chocolate shop, café, museum, and demonstration theatre on the premises.
Other attractions in the town include the harbour and quay area, which along with a selection of shops, is where several boat trips run from. Regular trips are available to Lundy Island, an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, while you can also take several different routes on the Waverley, the last seagoing Paddle Steamer in the world.
Ilfracombe also has a yearlong event schedule, so if you visit at the right time, you could experience anything from their May Day Celebrations to Victorian Week in June, with its parade, traditional costumes and fireworks. There’s also the Ilfracombe Tennis Tournament and Powerboat Races in July, Lynton and Barnstaple’s nearby Steam Railway Gala, and a whole host of events at the Landmark Theatre.
As a seaside town, it also provides well for outdoor pursuits, with fishing, cycling, and surfing readily available. Blue Flag Beaches are also good places to explore, with The Tunnels and Hele Bay Beaches within Ilfracombe Territory. The town is also an ideal base for walkers to explore the nearby countryside, as it borders Exmoor National Park, and the North Devon Coastal Path is also close by.
There is plenty to see and do here and quite a few accommodation options too. Although the days of the luxury hotel have gone, staying in Ilfracombe can still be a treat. Much of the accommodation is based around self-catering, including whitewashed holiday cottages, and apartments in converted buildings, dating back to the Regency Era in the early 1800’s. Caravan and camping sites dominate the nearby area, while there are also a collection of guesthouses, hotels, and bed and breakfasts. These range from the 9 room Avalon Guesthouse, to the 30 room Arlington Hotel and 70 room Grosvenor Hotel.
All these attractions and facilities are easily accessible by road, rail, or even plane. Car travellers can arrive in the area via the M5/A361 route, which passes through Barnstaple, while National Express Coaches also arrive in Barnstaple, Exeter or Taunton, connecting with local services. Domestic flights to Exeter and Bristol are also possible, while train travellers will need to take an Intercity route to Exeter, change at Barnstaple, and go from there into Ilfracombe.
All in all, there’s a travel route, accommodation, and activities to suit all tastes and budgets in this part of the UK, so why not make your next holiday a scenic, coastal one.