OCEAN BACKPACKERS Independent Hostel is situated in the centre of Ilfracombe by the harbour. Long established for fifteen years, it has welcomed groups of all sizes through its doors over the years. It has lots of experience in providing the ideal accommodation for a school trip to North Devon. The hostel sleeps up to 56 and provides sleeping accommodation in dormitories for students and private rooms for teachers. There is a spacious communal lounge and dining area for large groups to congregate. If a classroom or a very large room for indoor activities are required, then the community rooms directly opposite to the hostel can be hired for a small fee for three hour sessions.
The hostels is fully self-catering so schools can cater for themselves (some even bring their own cook!) to keep the costs low. Alternatively a local catering company will provide breakfast, packed lunch and dinner in the hostel. For older students, it is great to give them the responsibility of cooking for themselves or visiting the local eateries! The hostel is right in the tourist hot spot of Ilfracombe so there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and take-aways on the door step.
So what does Ilfracombe have to offer school parties? Well, the beautiful harbour (a minute’s walk from the hostel) is a working fishing harbour and is the home to Damien Hirst’s statue ‘Verity’. There is an aquarium nearby and the victorian Tunnels Beaches which boasts some of the best rock pooling in the country. Ilfracombe has a lot of history from tales of smugglers and pirates to the grand old days, when 10,000 people a day would flock to Ilfracombe by train and breathe in the fresh sea air for medicinal purposes. Ideal for history projects and the town has a quirky museum where many a tale is recalled.
Ilfracombe is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there are many breathtaking walks along the South West Coast Path from the doorstep. A short drive away is Exmoor National Park and Braunton Burrows which is an UNESCO Biosphere site. Ideal for a geography school trip to North Devon. For wildlife study take a boat trip to Lundy Island, a Marine Conservation Zone, where puffins, dolphins and seals are regular visitors in the summer months!
There are Outdoor Adventure Specialists in the local area that can arrange activities straight from the nearby harbour. How about trying coasteering for a great team challenge? You could try kayaking around the splendid rugged coastline on your school trip to North Devon. Ilfracombe is hoping to offer a Watersports Centre in the very near future. This will be built in the harbour area and will be ideal for water based fun. Some school trips to North Devon visit Woolacombe, just a short drive away, and take a few days of surf lessons with qualified instructors. Woolacombe Beach was voted Best Beach in Britain by Trip Advisor in 2015. How better to reward pupils for all their hard work then to end summer term at the seaside?
School and college groups regularly base their school trip to North Devon at Ocean Backpackers, returning year after year. From students making short films, to university surf clubs coming to ride the waves. From boarders on a weekend “jolly” to educational trips for geography A-level students.
Here is what a Headmaster said after his first trip to Ocean Backpackers. “We had a fantastic time at Ocean Backpackers. As a connoisseur of hostels from a former life, this one was right up there-friendly staff, excellent facilities and a warm welcoming atmosphere. It’s also perfectly placed for the harbour and trips to Lundy and fishing. (Good cafe next door as well.) This time I was with a school trip, showing a dozen teenagers the delights of North Devon. Recommend highly”
Ocean Backpackers can be hired for exclusive use at any time of the year. Discounted prices for school groups start at £15 per person per night. The hostel staff are up-to-date with all risk assessments, fire safety and public liability insurance and can provide you with all documentation you require.