There has been a port here since at least the 12th Century and a settlement for much longer. Today the predominant use is for leisure and tourism but this is still a working harbour with fish and seafood landed daily.
Trips to Lundy Island, coastal cruises, fishing, sea-life safaris and diving are all available. Take a trip on the Ilfracombe Princess and see seals, porpoises and sea birds nesting on the cliffs. Try your hand at sea fishing on Blue Fin or take an exhilarating tour of the amazing coastline on the Ilfracombe Sea Safari or on the Hampshire Rose, a former RNLI Lifeboat.
Along the Quay and in the surrounding streets there are restaurants, cafes, tea gardens and pubs, many with outside seating, giving the feel of a continental pavement culture. Small shops abound selling gifts and other quirky goods, art galleries and more general stores.
St Nicholas Chapel on the top of Lantern Hill built in 1361 houses England’s oldest working lighthouse. Ilfracombe Aquarium is a fun all-weather attraction. The working RNLI lifeboat station is open to the public and houses Ilfracombe’s Shannon class lifeboat The Barry and Peggy High Foundation, Damien Hirst’s ‘Verity’, a 20m tall bronze statue, overlooking the harbour entrance, is ‘must see’ for visitors.