Ilfracombe is on the up

Ilfracombe is on the up

We spent a few lovely days in Ilfracombe this Whitson.

Ilfracombe, a North Devon town,  has always had location and natural beauty on its side.  To the East the rocky North Devon coast and to the West the sandy surfing beaches of Woolacombe.  The town itself, in the past, has seemed short of investment but there’s a feel now that that is all on the change.  The harbour has a real buzz about it, with designer clothes shops,  west country pasties, hand made ice creams and the fabulous Venus statue by Damien Hirst.

Venus in Ilfracombe
Venus in Ilfracombe

The harbour has some special independent shops featuring some lovely seaside brands and homemade food.  There’s a brand new Wetherspoons with roof top seating for families who want good value food with a view. The Victorian Tunnel Beaches have been regenerated to provide a wedding venue as well as a special beach experience.   We spent a lovely few hours in these sheltered coves.  There’s a seawater swimming pool formed at low tide and the kids had great fun with inflatables in this safe environment.   The beach side cafe provides hot drinks and more west country pasties.  Great if you get there before they are all sold out.

Tunnel Beaches in Ilfracombe
Tunnel Beaches in Ilfracombe

Ocean Backpackers is right in the harbour area a few minutes’ walk from the Tunnel Beaches.  It  has double and family rooms ideal for family holidays as well as larger rooms suitable for groups.

Ocean Backpackers in Ilfracombe
Ocean Backpackers in Ilfracombe

There are some great bunkhouses and hostels in the area around and these can be seen on this map of North Devon.  We  enjoyed the excellent surfing in Woolacoombe, just 15 minutes drive from Ilfracombe.   Woolacoombe has some brilliant surfing beaches and a beach side cafe but it was always great to return to the buzz of Ilfracombe for an evening stroll by the harbour.