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Suggestions for places to visit and things to do north Devon

(40 Posts)
Hobnobswantshernameback Sun 26-Jul-20 11:48:03

We are off on holiday near Ilfracombe for a few days. Teen and adult children coming with us
Staying in self contained accommodation
Suggestions if nice places to visit and things to do would be appreciated as it's not a part of the world I know well
Would love maybe more off the beaten track or quieter places if we can and obviously keen to be respectful and keep distancing but have a nice relaxing few days

OP’s posts: |
hugocat Sun 26-Jul-20 11:48:45

Dartmouth is lovely

Hobnobswantshernameback Sun 26-Jul-20 11:51:43

That's one to go on the list

OP’s posts: |
ifigoup Sun 26-Jul-20 12:04:25

Lynton and Lynmouth
Walk in Valley of the Rocks
Ilfracombe Aquarium

DrMadelineMaxwell Sun 26-Jul-20 12:06:24

We went. Came back yesterday..
It was nice to get away. We did the animal park and has dinner out. Mostly we just went in walks otherwise as the dc were v low maintenance and happy to just be away by the sea.

sw19999 Sun 26-Jul-20 12:06:49

Dartmouth is in South Devon and is about 2 and a half hours drive from Ilfracombe- I wouldn't attempt it!
Sorry- not much more to add other than don't try to visit anything in South Devon from North Devon in July/August!

Hobnobswantshernameback Sun 26-Jul-20 12:18:02

Just went away and did a google maps and realised that
Strike that then
Will try looking up some nice circular walks near where we are staying
Desperate for a change of scenery and fresh air after five solid months in work and lockdown

OP’s posts: |
FinallyHere Sun 26-Jul-20 12:50:06

The Burrows at Westward Ho! are beautiful and used to be pretty empty cost it's quite a walk to get there. Big skies and the water really are lovely.

Appledore very picturesque.

Visit Clovelly before you get old and find your mobility limited.

Hobnobswantshernameback Sun 26-Jul-20 12:52:31


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WitsEnding Sun 26-Jul-20 12:53:10

Walk at Watersmeet, beautiful wooded valley. Cycle on the Tarka Trail from Braunton - very scenic, very flat.

hadtojoin Sun 26-Jul-20 12:58:43

If you go to exmoor (almost any part) after dark you can get fantastic views of the stars, no need to use a telescope. Binoculars can be good to see the milky way. You would also be able to see the International Space Station very easily. Check the times here (scroll down to chart)

Hobnobswantshernameback Sun 26-Jul-20 13:09:21


OP’s posts: |
480Widdio Sun 26-Jul-20 13:17:06

Clovelly is a must.

The Hartland Peninsula just North of Clovelly.stunning and undiscovered.

PerfectPenquins Sun 26-Jul-20 13:26:44

Fremington quay on the tarka trail is quite nice, plenty of beaches to choose from but parking is a pain now it's getting much busier. Ilfracombe aquarium is pretty dispointing in all honesty. It's a shame there isn't much open at the moment. What kid if things are your kids into? Bude is worth the drive in good weather. Barnstaple cinema is open now.

Sophiafour Sun 26-Jul-20 13:33:11

Another vote here for Lynton & Lynmouth; wear good boots, but the Valley of the Rocks is another relatively unsung gem; and if you're feeling fit, Clovelly, if it's open to visitors (that caveat applies pretty much to everything in the rest of this post...) plus the Hartland Peninsula (shush, everyone, don't tell too many people...). And absolutely echo what everyone has said about not driving to South Devon in summer from North Devon, you'd be better off heading to the North Cornish coast

Other things to do in the area:

- Pannier market at Barnstaple (check days)
- Exmoor Zoo and Watersmeet
- Dunkery (I think this is one of the highest points in this part of the West Country, and they lit an Olympic Beacon here - someone contradict me if I'm wrong?)
- Steam trains run the route from Minehead along the Somerset coast under normal circumstances, and that's quite fun, you can get a ticket and get on and off as you please, timetable allowing
- Dunster Castle and Dunster are a nice day out
- And depending on the age of the family, there's always the Big Sheep (just don't expect Alton Towers, it's a nice rural day out and it looks from the website as if they've got good social distancing in place). There's the Milky Way as well, though I've never been there so can't comment. You'll probably have to book in advance for these, and for Dunster, I suspect.
- And I've now added The Gnome Reserve and Wildflower Trail to our "list of places to go". (We live in Somerset and we've pretty much done all the usual suspects now. Plus, you know, I'm small and plump, so obviously have an affinity with gnomes. ;)

Whatever you decide to do, have a lovely time, North Devon is one of my favourite parts of the West Country, and it's surprising how few people know it. (Oh, did I just answer my own question about why I like it so much there!!) Although, um, do maybe bring a waterproof or two...

Sophiafour Sun 26-Jul-20 13:36:21

Oh, also forgot to add the Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre, which was closed but is due to reopen 25 July!

MattBerrysHair Sun 26-Jul-20 13:36:56

If you don't mind a 45 min drive to Oakhampton area then Lydford Gorge is amazing.

Hobnobswantshernameback Sun 26-Jul-20 18:47:56

Thanks all

OP’s posts: |
Beeorwasp Sun 26-Jul-20 19:00:31

Lynmouth and Lynton, Watersmeet, Tarr Steps, Combe Martin for the longest high street in the U.K. Clovelly is beautiful and voted number one in U.K. recently for most picturesque place apparently. Appledore for pubs/cafe, Westward Ho! for the beach, Tarka Trail to Braunton, Fremington, Yelland, Bideford and Torrington - all have cafes along the flat cycle path.
Exmoor Zoo and Combe Martin Wildlife Park are brilliant and really need lots of support at the mo. Big Sheep and Milky Way and definitely the Gnome Reserve for the family too. Blakewell fishery has a nice cafe and you can catch your own trout to take home really easily and it’s cheap! Oh and Croyde and Woolacombe for big beaches with good surf, there’s a brilliant curry cabin at Barricane Beach to get a takeaway plate and watch the sunset. Love it there-can you tell?! Enjoy!!

Hobnobswantshernameback Sun 26-Jul-20 19:36:20

Thank you

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amgine Sun 26-Jul-20 19:38:46

Lots of beach choices And lots of businesses that would love the support.

Exmoor Zoo is ace and they’ve made it feel really safe (we’ve been). Combe Martin wildlife park is also close to you.

Not far to get up onto Exmoor, it’s a dark sky reserve so if you’ve got a clear night you can see so many more stars at night. Also lots of lovely walks in daytime (but always take a map) and some amazing views especially Dunkery Beacon. Also Tarr Steps is lovely.

yearinyearout Sun 26-Jul-20 20:06:47

Can I just add, don't bother going into Ilfracombe, it's a dump. Woolacombe is much nicer.

Arnoldthecat Sun 26-Jul-20 20:15:04

Appledore and instow are worth a visit for walking,browsing,shopping,,fab beach at instow,,check the tide times ! It comes in quickly.

The town of Bideford worth a visit for alking,shopping,,theres a nice walk along the river and also a very good cycle hire shop curiously called Bideford cycle hire, on Torrington st just over the river. You can prk your car there and have direct access to the Tarka trail which is fab if the weather is fine,cycle for miles.

Sadly Barnstaple is not worth visiting as its very run down.

CrepuscularCritter Mon 27-Jul-20 00:03:03

More votes here for Hartland Quay, and indeed all of the Hartland Peninsula. Appledore and a walk on the sands at Instow opposite. Lunch from Johns Deli either side of the estuary. Great surf at Northam Burrows through to Westward Ho! Lunch at the cafe at Fremington Quay while walking or biking the Tarka Trail. A trip down the little toll road to Crow Point. A beach hut...if Saunton for the day and then fish and chips from Squires in Braunton before heading home. Not that we just eat when we visit. grin

CrepuscularCritter Mon 27-Jul-20 00:06:24

Forgot to add that if it is currently feasible, you can take the MS Osterburg to Lundy Island which is a stunning day trip. Loads of wildlife and walks. Sails from Bideford or Ilfracombe depending on the tides.

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