Things to do in Ilfracombe, Devon

Ilfracombe, located in the beautiful county of Devon, England, is a charming coastal town that offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. With its stunning cliffs, picturesque harbor, and sandy beaches, Ilfracombe is a paradise for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts. The town is also known for its unique attractions, including the famous Verity statue by Damien Hirst and the fascinating Tunnels Beaches. Whether you're seeking relaxation, adventure, or a cultural experience, Ilfracombe has something for everyone.

Things to do

Visit the Ilfracombe Harbour

One of the top attractions in Ilfracombe is the picturesque Ilfracombe Harbour. This bustling harbor is home to a variety of fishing boats, pleasure craft, and yachts. Take a leisurely stroll along the harbor and enjoy the stunning views of the sea and the surrounding cliffs. You can also take a boat trip from the harbor to explore the nearby coastline and spot wildlife such as seals and dolphins. Don't forget to visit the iconic statue 'Verity' by Damien Hirst, which stands tall at the entrance of the harbor.

Explore the Tunnels Beaches

Tunnels Beaches is a unique attraction in Ilfracombe that offers a fascinating glimpse into the town's history. These tunnels were carved out of the cliffs in the 1820s to provide access to the secluded beaches. Today, visitors can explore the tunnels and enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches. The tidal pool is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach also has a café where you can relax and enjoy a meal or a drink while taking in the stunning coastal views.

Visit the Ilfracombe Museum

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Ilfracombe Museum is a must. This small museum showcases the rich history and heritage of Ilfracombe and the surrounding area. The museum's collection includes artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that tell the story of the town's maritime past, its famous residents, and its natural history. Learn about the town's fishing industry, the Victorian era, and the local wildlife. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and events throughout the year.

Take a Walk along the South West Coast Path

Ilfracombe is located on the South West Coast Path, a long-distance hiking trail that stretches for 630 miles along the stunning coastline of South West England. Take a leisurely walk along the path and enjoy the breathtaking views of the sea, cliffs, and countryside. The path offers a variety of routes suitable for all levels of hikers. You can choose to explore the rugged cliffs of Exmoor National Park or walk along the sandy beaches and coves. Don't forget to pack a picnic and enjoy a scenic lunch along the way.

Visit the Landmark Theatre

The Landmark Theatre is a unique architectural gem in Ilfracombe. Designed by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, this modernist building is a must-visit for art and culture lovers. The theater hosts a variety of performances including plays, musicals, concerts, and comedy shows. The building itself is a work of art, with its distinctive curved shape and glass facade. Take a guided tour of the theater to learn more about its design and history. Don't miss the opportunity to catch a show during your visit to Ilfracombe.

Explore the Chambercombe Manor

Chambercombe Manor is a historic manor house located just outside Ilfracombe. This medieval manor dates back to the 11th century and is steeped in history and legends. Take a guided tour of the manor and explore its fascinating rooms, including the haunted chamber. Learn about the manor's history, its former residents, and the ghostly tales associated with the house. The manor also has beautiful gardens where you can relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Enjoy Water Sports at Ilfracombe Sea Safari

If you're looking for some adventure, head to Ilfracombe Sea Safari for an exhilarating experience on the water. Join a sea safari tour and explore the stunning coastline of North Devon. You can choose from a range of activities including high-speed RIB rides, wildlife spotting tours, and fishing trips. Get up close to seals, dolphins, and seabirds as you cruise along the coast. The experienced guides will provide interesting insights about the local wildlife and the history of the area.

Visit the Ilfracombe Aquarium

The Ilfracombe Aquarium is a great place to learn about the marine life of the North Devon coast. This small aquarium showcases a variety of local species, including fish, crustaceans, and marine invertebrates. Explore the different exhibits and learn about the habitats and ecosystems of the area. The aquarium also offers interactive displays and educational activities for children. Don't miss the daily feeding sessions and the opportunity to touch some of the marine creatures.

Discover the Hillsborough Nature Reserve

Hillsborough Nature Reserve is a beautiful natural area located near Ilfracombe. This coastal reserve offers stunning views of the town, the sea, and the surrounding countryside. Take a leisurely walk along the trails and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. The reserve is home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and wildflowers. Climb to the top of Hillsborough Hill for panoramic views of the coastline. Pack a picnic and spend a relaxing day surrounded by nature.

Enjoy a Day at Hele Bay

Hele Bay is a charming coastal village located just a short distance from Ilfracombe. This picturesque bay is known for its sandy beach, rock pools, and stunning cliffs. Spend a day at Hele Bay and enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The bay is also a popular spot for fishing and water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding. After a day of fun in the sun, relax at one of the beachside cafes or pubs and enjoy a delicious meal or a refreshing drink.