Ilfracombe Through the Seasons: A Year-Round Travel Guide

Known for its stunning landscapes, coastal charm, and vibrant cultural scene, Ilfracombe is a gem waiting to be discovered. In this guide, we’ll take a journey through the seasons, exploring the unique attractions and activities that make Ilfracombe an ideal destination any time of the year. Helping you decide what time of year you want to visit!

Check out our 2024 Events Guide here to see all of our events.

Spring: Renewal and Natural Beauty

As spring unfolds, Ilfracombe bursts into life. The gardens of Bicclescombe Park are a riot of colour, with daffodils, tulips, and wildflowers painting a vivid landscape. We celebrate those colours in our annual Jack in the Green May Day celebrations, which is all about saying goodbye to Spring and releasing the ‘spirit of summer! Nature enthusiasts will love the awakening wildlife springtime brings, making it a perfect time for bird watching and nature walks, plus, art lovers shouldn’t miss the Ilfracombe Art Trail, where local artists showcase their work in a celebration of creativity and community within a 20-minute walk of the high street. 

Spring is our favourite time of year to enjoy the never-ending hikes, walks, bikes rides and everything in between too! The miles of footpaths are full of wildlife and the country lanes are nice and quiet, perfect for walking or riding, taking in the views and stopping at one of the many cafes and local pubs along the way. Take a look here for more info on routes & recommendations. We end May with the new Ilfracombe Beer Festival, a fantastic weekend featuring 50+ local beers and ciders – live music all weekend – local street food, a cocktail bar and even an undercover fire pit!

Walkers are Welcome on Visit Ilfracombe

Summer: Sunshine and Seaside Fun

As the spring blossoms give way to busiest season in North Devon, Ilfracombe transforms into a haven for beach-goers and sun worshippers. The town’s beaches become lively hubs of activity; families can enjoy the bathing pools at Tunnels Beaches, while adventure seekers might try their hand at sea kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding at the nearby Hele beach. Or, if sunbathing is your game, head out to Woolacombe Beach to soak in the sun all day!

Return back to Ilfracombe Harbour, bustling with boats and framed by cafes and shops, which is a perfect spot to soak in the summer vibe in the evenings, and catch a sunset over the harbour! The summer is also host to many more activities and festivals, from the annual Ilfracombe carnival, The Big Lunch, the Sea Ilfracombe Maritime Festival, All Things Morris and many more! Check out our what’s on page for more info nearer the time. 

If the open ocean is more your thing, there are plenty of things to do and places to see every summer here in Ilfracombe! Take a trip over to Lundy Island to watch the Round Lundy Yacht Race, head down to the harbour to cheer on the Ilfracombe Pilot Gig Club Regatta, or hop onboard the Waverly, which is the last ocean-going Paddle Steamer in the world – heading to Ilfracombe through June.

Autumn: A Palette of Colours and Celebrations!

As summer fades, autumn adorns Ilfracombe in spectacular reds, oranges, and yellows. It’s a photographer’s paradise, with scenic walks along the South West Coast Path offering breathtaking views of the rugged coastline. This season is also ideal for exploring indoor attractions, such as local galleries and museums, offering a deeper insight into Ilfracombe’s rich history and artistic heritage. Autumn is also the time to join in with our annual Halloween and Guy Fawkes celebrations!

Winter: A Quiet Charm and Festive Celebrations

With the arrival of winter, Ilfracombe embraces a peaceful charm. The town’s slower pace allows visitors to enjoy its beauty and local offerings. Dramatic winter skies provide a stunning backdrop for coastal walks, but don’t forget your wellies and waterproofs! The festive season brings its own magic, with Christmas markets and New Year’s celebrations offering local crafts, food, and the warmth of community spirit. Winter is also the ideal time to explore Ilfracombe’s array of shops and eateries, perfect for holiday shopping and dining.

Ilfracombe, with its year-round appeal, promises unique experiences in every season. Whether it’s the vibrant colours of spring, the lively beaches of summer, the cultural richness of autumn, or the peaceful charm of winter, this coastal town is a treasure trove of memories waiting to be made. We invite you to explore Ilfracombe, a place where the beauty of nature and the warmth of community come together, offering something special for every traveller.

Accommodation in Ilfracombe

Ilfracombe’s accommodation scene is as diverse as its seasonal offerings. Whether you’re visiting in the bloom of spring, the warmth of summer, the crispness of autumn, or the quiet of winter, you’ll find a place to stay that fits your needs and budget. The town is home to an array of hotels, ranging from boutique hotels, cosy bed and breakfasts, and social hostels. Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of the numerous campsites available, especially inviting during the warmer months. With such a wide range of options, Ilfracombe ensures a comfortable stay for every visitor, making it an appealing year-round destination.

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