Ilfracombe, UK by Richard Brannen

Ilfracombe, UK by Richard Brannen

Amazing Places To Visit In North Devon

Looking for an adventure-filled getaway in North Devon? Look no further!

This article highlights the top attractions in the area, including the stunning Exmoor National Park, the charming Lundy Island, and the picturesque Saunton Sands Beach.

For outdoor activities, we’ve got you covered with hiking, cycling, water sports, golfing, and horse riding options.

Whether you’re a nature lover, thrill-seeker, or history buff, North Devon has something for everyone. Let’s explore together!

Key Takeaways:

Discover the natural beauty of Exmoor National Park, with its rugged moorland and diverse wildlife.

Escape to Lundy Island for a peaceful retreat and explore its fascinating history and stunning landscapes.

Relax on the golden sands of Saunton Sands Beach, one of the best beaches in the UK for surfing and sunbathing.

What are the Top Attractions in North Devon?

North Devon is a beautiful region known for its stunning beaches, picturesque gardens, and charming vintage shops. Visitors can enjoy a variety of attractions, from rugged cliffs and sandy shores to intriguing museums and award-winning zoos, making it a perfect destination for anyone looking to explore captivating coastlinerich heritage, and diverse wildlife.

Exmoor National Park

Exmoor National Park offers visitors a chance to experience the peaceful countryside through scenic walks and wildlife sightings.

As you explore the vast landscapes of Exmoor, try your hand at hiking along the rolling hills or opt for leisurely walks through ancient woodlands. The park’s diverse terrain not only provides opportunities for outdoor activities but also serves as a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Keep your eyes peeled for red deerExmoor ponies, and a variety of bird species that call this pristine wilderness home. Immersing yourself in the park’s rich heritage, you’ll encounter remnants of its agricultural past, from prehistoric hill forts to medieval villages dotted across the countryside.

Lundy Island

Lundy Island is a secluded destination known for its boat trips, diving opportunities, and excellent stargazing spots.

Located off the coast of North Devon, this picturesque island offers a plethora of unique attractions for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Visitors can indulge in thrilling water sports such as kayaking and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island.

Exploring the lush landscapes and diverse wildlife on Lundy Island is a truly magical experience. The island acts as a wildlife sanctuary, providing a safe haven for various species of seabirds, seals, and dolphins.

Saunton Sands Beach

Saunton Sands Beach is famous for its long sandy shores, making it a popular spot for surfing and relaxing by the sea.

Aside from its excellent conditions for surfing, Saunton Sands Beach offers a variety of amenities to ensure a pleasant day by the coast. Visitors can hire beach chairs and parasols to lounge comfortably under the sun or participate in beach volleyball matches with friends.

For those who prefer a more relaxed experience, beachcombing along the shore is a popular pastime, allowing visitors to search for seashells and other treasures washed up by the waves.

The picturesque surroundings of the beach add to its charm, with stunning views of the rolling sand dunes and the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean creating a tranquil and idyllic setting.

Tunnels Beaches

Tunnels Beaches is a unique historical site featuring hand-carved tunnels leading to secluded beaches and fascinating rock pools.

These tunnels were originally created in the early 1800s by Welsh miners to provide Victorian holidaymakers access to these hidden coastal gems. Nestled along the rugged coastline of Ilfracombe in North Devon, Tunnels Beaches offers visitors a blend of history and natural beauty. Stepping through those stone passageways, one can feel transported back in time, imagining the excitement and wonder of those who first ventured through the tunnels. The secluded beaches and mesmerizing rock pools add to the allure of this extraordinary place.

RHS Garden Rosemoor

RHS Garden Rosemoor is a stunning garden attraction that showcases a variety of horticultural displays and beautifully landscaped gardens.

This enchanting garden features distinct sections such as the Queen Mother’s Rose GardenHot Garden, and Fruit and Vegetable Garden, each offering a unique charm and floral experience.

Throughout the year, RHS Garden Rosemoor hosts a range of special events including flower shows, plant fairs, and outdoor concerts, providing visitors with delightful entertainment.

For those seeking to deepen their knowledge, the garden offers various educational opportunities such as gardening workshops, nature walks, and talks by expert horticulturists.

The Big Sheep

The Big Sheep is a popular family attraction and theme park that offers a variety of fun activities for visitors of all ages.

Visitors to The Big Sheep can enjoy a range of thrilling rides, from rollercoasters to dodgems, catering to both adrenaline junkies and those looking for a more relaxed experience. The park features entertaining shows throughout the day, showcasing talented performers and engaging storytelling. For animal enthusiasts, there are opportunities to interact with various farm animals through hands-on experiences and feeding sessions, providing a unique and educational opportunity. Whether you’re after excitement, entertainment, or a chance to commune with nature, The Big Sheep has something for everyone to enjoy.

Ilfracombe Aquarium

Ilfracombe Aquarium is an engaging attraction that allows visitors to explore diverse marine life through its various exhibits and interactive displays.

Visitors can witness a wide array of fascinating sea creatures, including colourful tropical fishgraceful stingraysplayful otters, and mesmerising jellyfish. The aquarium also features educational programmes for all ages, such as guided tours, interactive feeding sessions, and marine conservation workshops. One of the unique displays at the aquarium includes a giant octopus tank where visitors can observe these intelligent creatures up close in their natural habitat. The immersive experience at Ilfracombe Aquarium provides both entertainment and valuable insights into the wonders of the underwater world.

National Trust Properties

National Trust properties in North Devon offer a glimpse into the region’s rich history and heritage through its well-preserved historical sites and nature reserves.

One such gem is Arlington Court, a grand Victorian mansion set amidst lush gardens and parkland, showcasing an impressive collection of eclectic antiques and art. Visitors can explore the detailed interiors, stroll through the picturesque grounds, and enjoy panoramic views of the rolling countryside.

Another notable property is Lundy Island, a remote and rugged island located off the coast, known for its diverse wildlife and dramatic cliffs. The island’s history dates back to the Bronze Age, with remnants of ancient settlements adding to its charm.

Surfing at Croyde Bay

Croyde Bay is a renowned surfing destination with its sandy shores and consistent waves attracting surfers from around the world.

The ideal conditions in Croyde Bay make it a paradise for surfers of all levels. The crystal-clear waters provide great visibility, allowing surfers to catch waves effortlessly. Whether you are a beginner learning the ropes or a seasoned pro seeking an adrenaline rush, Croyde Bay offers waves suitable for everyone.

Surfers can make use of the various amenities available, such as surfboard rentals and surf schools, to enhance their experience. The laid-back atmosphere adds to the charm of this coastal gem, with friendly locals and fellow surf enthusiasts creating a welcoming community.

Dartington Crystal

Dartington Crystal offers visitors a chance to explore charming vintage shops and participate in engaging workshops to learn about the art of glassmaking.

Established in 1967 in Devon, England, Dartington Crystal has a rich history rooted in traditional craftsmanship and innovation. The brand’s exquisite glassware products range from elegant wine glasses, tumblers, vases, to stunning decorative pieces for home decor. The skilled artisans at Dartington Crystal have honed their craft over generations, creating timeless designs that blend beauty with functionality.

What Outdoor Activities Can You Do in North Devon?

North Devon is a haven for outdoor adventures and activities, offering visitors an array of options such as exploring the scenic Exmoor region, traversing the Tarka Trail, and enjoying various water sports along its captivating coastline.

Hiking and Walking

Hiking and walking in North Devon offer incredible scenic routes, with Exmoor National Park providing some of the most picturesque trails.

Exploring the area allows hikers to admire the rugged coastline, stunning cliffs, and lush green landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Exmoor’s diverse terrain caters to all levels of hikers, from leisurely strolls along the River Barle to challenging ascents up Dunkery Beacon. Along the way, walkers may encounter historic landmarks such as medieval castles, ancient hillforts, and charming villages steeped in local folklore.


Cycling enthusiasts will find joy in North Devon’s picturesque routes, especially the famous Tarka Trail, which offers a mix of challenging and leisurely paths.

The Tarka Trail, named after a famous novel set in the region, spans over 180 miles through stunning landscapes, charming villages, and tranquil river valleys. Along the way, cyclists can enjoy the sight of historic bridges, old railway lines, and ancient woodlands. The route caters to all levels of riders, with flat sections suitable for beginners and more rugged terrains for those seeking a challenge. Cyclists can also take advantage of convenient facilities like bike hire shops, repair stations, and cosy cafes for a well-deserved break.

Water Sports

North Devon is a prime location for water sports, including thrilling sailing excursions, kayaking adventures, and the adrenaline-pumping activity of coasteering.

Located along the rugged coastline of the Atlantic Ocean, North Devon offers a variety of water-based activities for enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you prefer the tranquillity of sailing on calm waters or the excitement of navigating the challenging waves, this region has something for everyone. Popular spots like Woolacombe and Croyde Bay are perfect for surfing and paddleboarding, while Lundy Island provides a unique backdrop for diving and snorkelling. If you’re new to water sports, many local companies offer equipment rentals and expert-led classes to help you get started.


Golfing in North Devon provides players with beautiful courses nestled in the tranquil countryside, perfect for a relaxing game surrounded by nature.

One of the top choices for golf enthusiasts in the region is the renowned North Devon Golf Club, offering a challenging 18-hole course with stunning views of the coast. The club boasts state-of-the-art facilities such as a driving range, practice greens, and professional coaching services to enhance players’ skills. Players can unwind after a game at the clubhouse’s cosy bar and restaurant, enjoying delicious meals and refreshing drinks while reliving their rounds. For those seeking a premium golfing experience, North Devon Golf Club truly delivers.

Horse Riding

Horse riding in North Devon allows visitors to explore traditional villages and the peaceful countryside from a unique perspective.

One of the most intriguing aspects of horse riding trails in this region is the diversity of landscapes you can venture through. From lush green meadows to rugged terrains with breathtaking cliffs overlooking the sea, the experience is nothing short of mesmerizing. Riding through the picturesque countryside, you’ll encounter charming farms, ancient woodlands, and winding rivers, creating a truly immersive experience in nature. For those looking to learn or improve their riding skills, there are reputable riding schools scattered across North Devon offering lessons for beginners and advanced riders alike. Guided tours are available for those who prefer exploring with the expertise of a local guide, adding a touch of history and storytelling to the journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-see places to visit in North Devon?

Some popular places to visit in North Devon include the dramatic cliffs and sandy beaches of the Exmoor National Park, the picturesque village of Clovelly, and the historic castle of Tintagel.

Are there any family-friendly attractions in North Devon?

Yes, there are plenty of family-friendly attractions in North Devon, such as the Milky Way Adventure Park, The Big Sheep, and Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park.

What are some free attractions in North Devon?

Visitors can enjoy free attractions in North Devon, including the beautiful beaches such as Woolacombe, Saunton Sands, and Croyde Beach, as well as the stunning parks and gardens like RHS Garden Rosemoor.

What are the best places to visit in North Devon for outdoor activities?

North Devon offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as surfing, hiking, and cycling. Popular spots for these activities include the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Tarka Trail, and the South West Coast Path.

Are there any historical sites to visit in North Devon?

Yes, North Devon is home to numerous historical sites, such as the ruins of Hartland Abbey, the medieval village of Clovelly, and the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

What are some unique places to visit in North Devon?

For a unique experience, visitors can explore the underground tunnels at the Ilfracombe Tunnels or visit the quirky Gnome Reserve and Wildflower Garden. The picturesque village of Appledore is also worth a visit for its narrow streets and quaint charm.