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Things to do in North Devon

Things to do in North Devon

North Devon has some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain – from the rocky cliffs and long sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast, to the hidden valleys and wild ponies of Exmoor. Croyde itself is famous for its surf and huge tides.

The South West Coast Path passes our door, and Saunton Sands is a top quality golf course. Historic houses, beautiful gardens and fascinating museums are all easily accessible. So, however you want to spend your holiday, you’ll find plenty to do – right here.

It’s easy to find all the leading attractions – just look at North Devon and Barnstaple Tourist Information. There is also a wealth of useful information at Explore Braunton.

We’ve also put together our own little list of places and people that might be of interest – some established favourites, a few hidden gems. Explore!

Outdoor Activities
Places to visit
Arts and crafts

Outdoor Activities

We recommend Surfing Croyde Bay for equipment, tuition and the best ice creams in the village!

The South West Coast Path is right on our doorstep, and a walk around Baggy Point reveals spectacular views. A number of Easy Access Trails have been created for people who are less mobile.

The Tarka Trail starts in Braunton and runs for 21 miles around the Taw Estuary to Bideford. There are plenty of places to hire bikes – try Otter Cycle Hire in Braunton or Tarka Trail Cycle Hire at Barnstaple Station.

Natural World
Explore Exmoor National Park on foot, horseback or bike, or take a more leisurely drive.

On some summer evenings there are sheepdog and falconry displays at Borough Farm.

Horse Riding
Whether you are an experienced rider or a beginner, try Roylands Stables in Croyde village.

Places to Visit

Braunton Burrows, just down the road from us, is one of the largest sand dune systems in the country. It’s a National Nature Reserve, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and home to a wonderful array of wild flowers.

The Hartland Peninsula is a bit further away and attracts fewer visitors, but offers wonderful walks and scenery. Hartland Abbey is over 800 years old. Docton Mill is famous for its cream teas, as well as its gardens.

There are many other wonderful gardens nearby, and three of the best are Castle Hill near Barnstaple, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Rosemoor, and Marwood Hill. Incidentally, the Marwood garden were created by a retired doctor, Dr James Smart, who looked after Annie’s mum when she was a girl.

There are many National Trust properties to visit in North Devon. Arlington Court is a favourite with many of our guests.

Slightly further afield, Lynton and Lynmouth are where Exmoor meets the sea.  Walk in the Valley of Rocks or enjoy spectacular views from the Victorian Cliff Railway.

When it gets dark, you’ll see the lighthouses on Lundy flashing. Why not make a day trip to the island? Sailing time from Bideford or Ilfracombe is less than two hours.

Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon tells the story of North Devon from its formation to the present day and has a number of interesting collections.

Arts and Crafts

Mike Taffinder, who lives just a couple of miles away at North Buckland, makes beautiful and original woodwork to suit a range of budgets.

Dartington is the only remaining major crystal and glass factory in the country. You can watch master craftsmen at work – and then try it for yourself.

Bernard Leach was the most influential British potter of the 20th century. His son Michael ran a successful pottery at Yelland, near Barnstaple, and today grandson Philip continues the family tradition at Springfield Pottery in Hartland.

You’ll see the name Tarka everywhere, recalling the story of Tarka the Otter, written by Henry Williamson. Williamson lived and worked in our neighbouring village of Georgeham and is buried in the graveyard of St George’s Church.

Each September dozens of Devon artists open their studios to the public – everything from painting to pottery, stained glass to stationery.

North Devon Theatres stage a wide range of performances all year round, in Barnstaple and Ilfracombe. You can also book tickets here for the North Devon Festival.

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