Note: As the postcode is used to identify the general area of the property, it may not always reflect its precise location, therefore please only use this map as a guide.
Ilfracombe is a charming Victorian seaside resort town nestled into the harbour and surrounding cliffs along the North Devon coastline. The working harbour is always populated with little fishing boats bobbing on the water and larger vessels taking holidaymakers out to Lundy Island, and the rugged coastline reveals many beautiful sandy beaches and secluded coves perfect for rock pooling and swimming.
The pretty streets are alive with a friendly atmosphere. There is a wealth of bustling independent shops selling everything from clothing to handmade chocolates and quirky American sweets. There are regular Farmer Markets in the town and plenty of choice to spend a day shopping. During the summer, the streets are in bloom with multi-coloured displays of hanging baskets and flowers that the retailers display and adorn their shop fronts with, the town is a multi Gold award-winning ‘South West in Bloom’ winner.
The areas picturesque harbour is the central hub of the town. It has been a working port since the 12th Century and fishermen still bring in their catch to the same harbour walls today. Nowadays the fishing boats are joined by pleasure boats like the Ilfracombe Princess waiting to take holidaymakers and locals alike out to sea to try and spot seals, porpoises, and sea birds nestling in the surrounding cliffs. If you want to explore the surrounding area by boat, there is a wealth of different activities and trips to try; from marine life safaris and fishing trips, to journeys to the stunning Lundy Island and coastal cruises.
Spend a day along the Quayside and watch the pace of waterside life. Fishermen bring their catch in daily, local rowing groups practise on the water, or lucky locals heading out for a leisurely weekend sail. Along the Quay and up the connecting streets are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can often try the fresh catch from the harbour.
A welcome and recent attraction on the seafront is the 66 ft bronze statue ‘Verity’ by acclaimed local artist and Turner Prize winner Damien Hirst. The statue stands on the Pier and is a remarkable sight at dusk as the sun is setting. There are many artists who live in the area and there are a number of acclaimed art galleries and exhibitions.
What to do
The South West Coast Path runs through the town and there is a lovely walk you can take from Lee Bay, through the town and finishing in Hele Bay. Lee and Hele are two small villages that lay either side of Ilfracombe. Both sit at the top of lush green coastal cliffs offering beautiful views out to sea and paths down towards secluded hidden gem coves and beaches. The walk from Lee to Hele is about 4 miles and takes in some of the most stunning views out to sea, incorporating parts of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you can look out across to the Verity statue and out to where the bay opens up into the sea, glimpsing the Welsh Coast on a clear day.
The beaches at Lee and Hele, and the other areas surrounding the area leave you spoilt for choice for places to go for a spot of swimming, sunbathing, or beach games. Lee Bay is set in what is known locally as the ‘Fuchsia Valley’ and as you follow the steep wooded path down to the beach you will soon find out why, as these stunning pink flowers are all around you. On the other side are the villages and beaches of Hele and Watermouth. Following the South West Coast Path along the cliff tops at Watermouth, you can look out across the little harbour and when the tide is just right you may be able to spot dolphins and seals in the water below. The tide ebbs to reveal a lovely sandy beach at Watermouth and the rocky bay at Hele is perfect for rock pooling and discovering the hidden wildlife in the mini pools of water.
Where to stay
We have a lovely collection of cottages in the area from luxurious sea view apartments to gorgeous coastal cottages set atop the cliffs surrounding the village, you can enjoy the very best of the regions Victorian charm in one of our cottages in the heart of the town.
The little village of Berrynarbor is a beautiful and peaceful place for a cottage holiday. Nestled within Exmoor National Park, it’s a short distance from Ilfracombe and the Devon coast while benefitting from the tranquil countryside location too.
Following the coast around from Ilfracombe is the coastal village of Combe Martin, set in a valley leading down to a lovely beach, this is a perfect place for a peaceful holiday or a day trip during your stay in Ilfracombe.