Been Seriously Tidied Up In Recent Years
Still A Little Scruffy In Places
Defintely A Destination On The UP!
If you have read my other Ilfracombe tips, and I appreciate there are not many of them due to the short nature of my stay, you will have read that I had spent a very intersting time in the churchyard of the Holy Trinity Church which is a thing that I really enjoy doing. I was having a bit of a slow amble to get a bus to Barnstaple and thence my...more
It is no secret here on Virtual Tourist that I find cemeteries / graveyards / churchyards (call them what you will) endlessly fascinating and never pass up an opportunity to visit one if I can. When I was wandering past the Church of the Holy Trinity on a short visit to Ilfacombe, and having some time in hand before my bus, I decided to pop in for...more
As ther title suggests, this is probably going to be one of the shorter tips I will ever write on Virtual Tourist. Well, how much can you write about a fried chicken takeaway really? Returning from the admittedly limited nightlife opportunities in Ilfracombe one evening I was in need of a bit of sustenance and stumbled (probably literally) upon...more
Picture the scene if you will. I had just returned from a few days on the most amazing Lundy in company with the excellent VT member John Gayton, and was suffering a touch from the usual "end of tour blues". I suppose it is always the same as you start to make your way home from a trip, especially one as enjoyable as this one as I had started it...more
The Ship and Pilot is another one of Ilfracombe's much-improved pubs. So much so that I've just learned that it's been named as "North Devon Camra Pub of the Year 2013".This used to be a real dive of a pub, with naff beer, stick-to-the-feet carpets and customers that you certainly wouldn't want to argue metaphysics with.On my last couple of visits...more
I am quite surprised by the lovely (even romantic) atmosphere of North Devon. Please, don't expect a hectic nightlife, or hot sunny beaches with voluptuous girls dressing a bikini or less, don't expect Casinos or crazy discos. No ladies and gentlemen. Here the life has a slower pace, calm and reflexive in a certain way, then be prepared to observe,...more
This is something I've yet to do because it doesn't sail on Mondays (which is my only full day off during the summer) but is definitely on my "To Do" list.Lundy is a three-and-half mile long, half-mile wide, chunk of granite sitting out where the Bristol Channel meets the Atlantic. The Island is almost totally undeveloped and is a popular...more
Next door to the Prince of Wales is the George and Dragon, reputedly Ilfracombe's oldest pub dating back to 1360, and of course reputedly haunted. This is characterful, cosy, pub with neither a juke box nor a fruit machine.Unfortunately on my single visit I was the only person there but the barmaid was friendly and chatty - I think she was grateful...more
This is an atmospheric backstreet locals pub, a little bit off the tourist track. It is however just round the corner from the bus station and so ideal for a beer when waiting for the bus.This is snug place with low beamed ceilings, flagstone floors and solid wooden fittings. Beer, the locally-brewed Otter, was spot-on and service friendly,...more
This is definitely Ilfracombe's best located pub, sitting on the quayside. Although it is a magnet for us tourists it does have a pleasantly local feel to it. Beer and food are relatively cheap and although I haven't eaten here the food did look good - proper pub food! Beer was in good nick (Wadsworth 6X if I remember correctly), service was swift...more
Ilfracombe sits in yet another stunning section of North Devon's coastal path and a short walk either East or West of the town leads to spectacular rocky scenery and interesting little coves. This part of the path has a couple of steep sections but is fairly-well maintained and the climbs well worth their rewards. Not only are the walks a pleasure...more
There are a couple of operators offering short cruises from Ilfracombe, the "Ilfracombe Princess" and the "Obsession". These allow you to enjoy the spectacularly dramatic rocky cliffs of the coastline and as a bonus often encounter marine mammals such as seals and dolphins.The standard trips are about 90 minutes, cost from 12 pounds and both...more
Sitting atop the appropriately named Lantern Hill is the St Nicholas Chapel which has the dual function of being a place of worship as well as the harbour's lighthouse. This tiny building dates back from the 14th century and now hosts a small local history museum in addition to its other functions.The short walk up its hill gives a great overview...more
Ilfracombe is one of North Devon's main lifeboat stations being the base for the inshore D-class "Deborah Brown" and the all-weather seagoing Mersey-class "Spirit of Derbyshire". The lifeboat station is open to the public and hosts a small museum for which entry is free (although a small donation is appreciated).The lifeboat ramp also serves as a...more
Bought a deal for 2 via KGB for 2 nights dinner bed and breakfast - described as "Gourmet Devon"....more
Had to let everyone know about this gem of a place I found. Located in the nice end of Ilfracombe,...more
The Elmfield is a really special place. Friendly attentive staff, lovely rooms and great facilities....more
I've already given the Prince of Wales a good write-up here as a pub - Prince of Wales and now that I've eaten here I'm happily adding it as a restaurant too.This is proper pub food, all home-made, with friendly, swift service, and very reasonable prices. The menu has a snack section with sandwiches, jacket potatoes and baguettes and for those...more
The Royal Britannia has a lovely pub as well, as old as the hotel is, here you can enjoy a pint of very good beer or cider, and if you are hungry then order some dishes from the menu, you will be not disappointed. The meals has a singular home made elaboration, and, as in North Devon should be, all ingredients are from the region. The cast is very...more
The Smugglers is a classical North Devon restaurant, profusely decorated with marine and exotic swords hanging from walls and ceilings, the place is small and intimate, attended by young girls smiling all the time. The cuisine is typical in their recipes, tasty, filling, large portions, very careful with hygiene and aesthetics. Local lamb stuffed...more
Lundy's supply ship, the MS Oldenburg, is also licensed to carry up to 267 passengers and from the end of March until the end of October makes at least three weekly crossings from North Devon - on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The route is shared between Bideford and Ilfracombe and because Ilfracombe's deep water harbour isn't dependent on...more
As with most of North Devon Ilfracombe is well-served by local bus services. First Devon is the main service provider and the Ilfracombe based company Filers provides town and village services as well as seasonal buses to Lynton and other nearby destinations.During the day the number 3 First bus runs roughly every half hour to and from Barnstaple...more
First of all, departing from London, Paddington Station, to Exeter St David's with the Western lines, fast and safe. After arrival to St David's take the local train to Barnstaple, this connection works well, not a large delay between both trains (three minutes in our case!). Of course that this local train is slower, stopping by several small...more
The locally-resident artist of international repute, Damien Hirst, is well-known for his ability to create controversy. His contribution to local debate here in Ilfracombe is his 66-foot bronze "Verity", which was installed at the harbour in October 2012.The figure is that of a massively-pregnant, naked, woman looking out to sea. Verity stands...more
Ilfracombe looks out onto the Bristol Channel which has the World's second-highest tidal range - the difference between high and low tides can be as much as 14 metres. The harbour here is a deep-water one and so the pier has been designed to allow passenger-carrying ships, such as Liundy's MS Oldenburg, to be able to dock almost independently of...more
122 Reviews and Opinions
Whilst the now spruced-up harbour is one of the town's most attactive features it is still a working quayside with boats tooing and froing and fish being landed. It is quite a safe environment and the quayside is safely wallled. However there are parts which can be dangerous especially when wet and when the Atlantic storms muster and so a little caution is advised. Also don't let young children go unsupervised.
I have spoken at length here on Virtual Tourist about my belief that you can find fascinating things just about anywhere you go, it is just a matter of keeping your eyes and ears open. People that say there is nothing of interest where they live are, in my opinion, missing the point completely and this tip reflects my conviction entirely. I do apologise for going on about this ad nauseum but it is something dear to me heart. I have gone to the most unprepossessing places and found wonderful things that most people never even see. OK, here endeth the lesson!
I had spent a very comfortable night in the veyr pleasant Avalon Guest House / Hotel (descriptions vay) in Ilfracombe and was heading off early to catch the fery to Lundy as the guest of the wonderful John Gayton, a dear friend and excellent contributor to this site. I hadn't pid much attention to the srroundings the previous evening when I had arrived and it was well past sunset when I returned later. I had worked out where the harbour was and anticipated a short stroll in good time to get the boat. Walking out the door I spotted, on a house across the road, what looked like a "blue plaque" although not quite in the normal style I normally see in London and elsewhere in the UK. For those of you that do not know, "blue plaques" are put up on buildings where famous people have been born, lived, worked, died or whatever. Regrettably, it seems that Government cuts are now threatening the entire scheme.
I am attracted by blue plaques like a moth to a flame and just couldn't resist. Wandering straight across the road to what looked like a well-kept terrace house, I had a look at the plaque to find out that this had been the home of Henry Williamson (1895 - 1977), the author of the famous book Tarka the Otter. To my shame, I have never read the book, which was published in 1927, but I have certainly heard of it and it was even turned into a famous film released in 1979.
You cannot actually visit the building as it is a private dwelling still but it was an interesting start to a day that turned out to be completely wonderful. I wandered towards the harbour with a big smile. I don't want to get on my soapbox again but this was in a fairly nondescript if tidy and pleasant residential street in a Devon coastal town. Just don't ever try to tell me that there are not interesting things to see in the most unlikely places.
Should you want to visit, it is in Capstone Crescent, almost directly opposite the Avalon Guest House.
The word "awesome" is a word that I hate to hear being used frivolously. To my mind it should be reserved as the superlative of superlatives and not applied to mundane things like "Awesome body" or "Awesome football game" & etc.The first time I found a true use for the term was when I visited the Grand Canyon, the first sight of which literally...more
As with most North Devon towns Ilfracombe has its Tourist Information Centre to help you make the most of your stay. The office is situated in the rather oddbod building which houses the Landmark Theatre (the one with the often maligned ,but certainly distinctive, concrete chimney-pot things). Here the friendly, knowledgeable local staff will help...more