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Holidays in Ilfracombe

Victorian seaside charm meets modern art

UK | South West | Devon | North Devon | Ilfracombe
Ilfracombe harbour

With St Nicholas Chapel overlooking the sea and boats bobbing in the harbour, there’s a tranquil air about this town. Renowned for being home to Damien Hirst’s statue, Verity, Ilfracombe is a bustling coastal town with spectacular scenery.

Ilfracombe is an excellent family holiday destination due to its proximity to local attractions. Just a short drive away is Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park. Here, you can meet the sea lions, walk with the meerkats and feed the lions. This unique attraction is set among rural North Devon scenery. Watermouth Family Theme Park and Castle is also nearby, harbouring fairytale themed rides, gardens and attractions. On Ilfracombe’s pretty harbour is Ilfracombe Aquarium.

Avid walkers will enjoy Ilfracombe’s idyllic setting on the South West Coast Path. From here, you can easily reach the three-mile long sandy beach at Woolacombe, or the nearby village of Combe Martin. Shorter routes include Ilfracombe and the Torrs, approximately one-mile long, passing dramatic coastal views.


For a beach day with a difference, check out Tunnels Beaches. Hand carved in the 1820s, four tunnels lead you through to a spectacular open beach. Other beaches nearby include Woolacombe, Saunton and Croyde.

In the evening, why not enjoy a performance at the famous Landmark Theatre? Ilfracombe’s town centre is packed full of exciting eateries. Notable restaurant 11 The Quay, owned by Damien Hirst, is popular among locals and visitors. If you’re seeking high quality local seafood, try the River Exe mussels with white wine, garlic and parsley or the Lundy crab claw. Also serving delicious fish dishes is Take Thyme Fish Restaurant. Try the handmade Devon crab cakes or wild sea bass fillet. If you’d rather sample some Italian fare, pay a visit to Giovanni and Luca.

“Ilfracombe is a Victorian seaside town with a unique blend of traditional pubs and contemporary eateries”

One of the best things about North Devon is the cream teas. Hele Corn Mill and Tea Room is revered and serves gastronomic cream teas and homemade cakes. St James Tea Room in the centre of Ilfracombe is also hugely popular, due to its pretty gardens and delicious afternoon tea.

To sample the finest local ales and ciders, The Ship and Pilot Inn is highly recommended. Having won numerous awards for its outstanding range of real ales and ciders, this is the perfect spot to unwind with a pint.

While you’re there

Watermouth Family Theme Park And Castle

A theme park set in and around the grounds of a Victorian castle.

Tunnels Beaches

This beautiful beach is only accessible via hand carved tunnels.

George and Dragon

Dating back to the 14th century, this traditional pub is very welcoming.

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