Ilfracombe: The Gateway to North Devon and Exmoor’s Natural Splendors

Nestled within the rugged beauty of North Devon’s coastline, the historic harbour town of Ilfracombe stands as a sentinel. Beyond being a picturesque gem in its own right, it strategically positions itself as the ideal base for those aiming to uncover the wonders of North Devon and the mysteries of Exmoor.

The Wonders of Exmoor

Exmoor National Park is truly a natural masterpiece. With its expansive moorlands, ancient woodlands, and cascading rivers, this national park offers visitors a chance to reconnect with nature. Look out for the majestic red deer or the elusive Exmoor ponies, especially during early mornings or at dusk. Seasonal changes bring a kaleidoscope of colours to the park, from vibrant gorse bushes in summer to the russet hues of wildflowers in autumn. Outdoor enthusiasts can choose from various hiking trails, while those who prefer wheels can venture out on exhilarating cycle routes. For a slice of local life, stop by one of the many welcoming inns for a hearty Sunday lunch or unwind with a pint at a traditional pub. And if you’re on a road trip, the scenic routes winding through the park’s villages offer unparalleled vistas.

Explore North Devon's Coastal Charm

The Beaches - Woolacombe, Croyde, and Saunton

Saunton Sands Beach

Just a short drive from Ilfracombe, these beaches are renowned for their pristine sands and world-class surf. Whether it’s lounging by the shore, challenging the waves, or capturing a memorable sunset, these beaches cater to all. For surf lessons, check out local instructors.

Lynton and Lynmouth - The Gems of Exmoor

These neighbouring towns are not only famous for their picturesque settings but also for the unique cliff railway connecting them. History buffs can delve into local legends at the town’s museum, while nature lovers can explore nearby trails within Exmoor.

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Combe Martin - A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Combe Martin on visitilfracombe

Beyond its breathtaking bay and the tales of the Silver Mine, Combe Martin invites you to partake in its tapestry of history. Throughout the year, its streets come alive with festivals that echo its rich past and the pulsating energy of its present. Plus, it’s only a 10-minute drive from Ilfracombe, or you can visit via the Coast Path if you’re an avid walker!

Discover Combe Martin

Clovelly - Step into the Past

The timeless allure of Clovelly awaits those who tread its cobbled pathways. Preserved diligently, this privately owned village transports its visitors to an era that time forgot. Note: The village has an entrance fee, but it’s worth every penny for the experience it offers.

Discover Clovelly.

Appledore - A Coastal Cultural Hub

This fishing village doubles up as an art paradise. Dive into its maritime history at the local museum or soak in the art at various galleries lining the streets.

Discover Appledore & Instow

Must-Visit Gardens & National Trust Locations

Broomhill Sculpture Garden

Broomhill Scuplture Gardens on visitilfracombe

Experience art like never before. Interactive installations here make for great photo opportunities. Ticket are available online or on arrival!

Where: Broomhill Estate, Muddiford, Barnstaple EX31 4EX

Marwood Hill

This garden is especially beautiful during spring. Look out for their annual Flower Fest!

Where: Marwood Hill Gardens, Guineaford, Barnstaple EX31 4EA

RHS Rosemoor

Depending on the season, they often have workshops and events. Check their official schedule before visiting.

Where: RHS Garden Rosemoor, Torrington EX38 8PH

Arlington Court

Delve deep into the history, explore their intriguing Regency house and impressive collection of horse-drawn vehicles, all set in a picturesque garden and large wooded estate. Check the opening times here.

Where: Arlington, near Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 4LP

Dunster Castle

An ancient castle and comfortable country home with dramatic vistas and subtropical gardens. Beyond its historical significance, it offers panoramic views of the surrounding region.

Where: Dunster Castle, Dunster, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 6NY


A blend of history and horticulture. A great post-war garden,19th-century parkland and grand Gothic Revival architecture by Victorian visionary William Burges.

Where: Knightshayes, Bolham, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 7RQ

Starting from Ilfracombe, North Devon and Exmoor offer endless possibilities. Each place has its own unique charm, promising memories that last a lifetime. Planning to visit soon? Discover more places to stay and things to do in and around Ilfracombe!

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