North Devon is perfect for short breaks or longer holidays as there is so much to do and see there.
We travelled to Bideford in North Devon from Oxfordshire and the drive took around three hours. We’d set off early to avoid Bank Holiday weekend traffic and arrived around 10am to a perfectly blue, cloudless sky and sixteen degrees of sunshine.
The rolling green hills welcomed us and just over the curve we spotted the ocean, deep blue against a paler sky. What a perfect start to a long weekend.
We’d booked at The Pines in Eastleigh and were really pleased with the accommodation. Two bedrooms, two ensuites, lounge/diner and fully equipped kitchen with complimentary tea/coffee, milk and chocolates. Bed and breakfasts and cottage accommodation is plentiful in the area and mostly in farm land which means beautiful settings and great country walks on the doorstep!
We set out for the coast taking in the town of Bideford on the estuary first and then on to Westward Ho!
Bideford is a perfect holiday town where you can amble along the embankment of the estuary and stop at the cafés for cream teas or a drink. Victoria Park is a perfect spot to relax, enjoy the blooms and listen to the music from the bandstand. The children love the park too as it offers an open air swimming pool, skateboard park, play area and soft green lawns. The cannons near the bandstand are Spanish, captured during the Armada and a Millenium Time Capsule is buried at the entrance. The Art Gallery Restaurant serves tea, coffee and lunches if you’re peckish.
We explored and then drove on to Westward Ho! for lunch. This seaside town is in flux. Many of the older blocks of holiday apartments are being renovated with more being built. The designs are modern and light and this is having an impact on the new eateries and shops being opened too. We ambled down the sea front and bypassed the famous fish and chip shop for a contemporary bistro overlooking the sea.
Moran’s Bar & Restaurant has a superb menu and who ever is cooking for them is a whizz at the traditional with a contemporary twist. We ordered fish and chips and it was served up on massive platters with three thick, juicy cod fillets in the lightest batter on each plate accompanied by thick chips, fresh salad and tartare sauce. Once plate would serve two kids! We loved it. Nice decor, cheerful service and superb food!
After lunch we drove up to Woolacombe Bay and joined the crowds on the beach to lap up a few rays of sunshine. This bay has fine, golden sand and is perfect for picnics, kite flying, surfing and just enjoying the view. There is plenty of parking and many places to eat, drink and relax. Accommodation wise, The Woolacombe Bay Hotel has pride of place but there are also beach front apartments to rent and many bed and breakfasts to choose from too.
We stopped in at The Red Barn which is a typical surfers hang out and very popular with the youth. Great for a drink with friends on the terrace with a fun, trendy, surf themed interior but hectically busy!
Tired and a little sunburnt, we headed home to our farm cottage for a light supper of local cheeses, pickles and wine in the stunning gardens at the Pines and watched the lambs frolick in the fields and the sun set over the gentle Devonshire hills.
Up and early the next day and off to see famous Clovelly!
Everyone should visit this seaside village once in a lifetime. It’s been there for over 800 years and has been ‘owned’ by the Giffard family since 1242. The village was a typical fishing village but is now supported by tourism and offers visitors a wonderful experience of times gone by as well as workshops in pottery, crafts, ornithology and cake decorating! If you want, you can stay in the village at The New Inn, The Red Lion or one of the bed and breakfasts.
We took the steep, cobbled lane down to the sea stopping at the museum and the fudge shop on the way. The buildings are all different and still lived in and fishing boats still lie in the tiny harbour at the bottom of the path. Once at the bottom you can stroll across the pebbled beach to the waterfall and then stop in at The Red Lion for a pint! What we appreciated most was the landrover that took us back up to the top of the hill as it’s a good steep climb!
That day we lunched on rare roast beef at The Coach & Horses in Buckland Brewer near Bideford and it was excellent. Too much meat, piles of roast potatoes and light and fluffy Yorkshires with bowls of perfectly cooked vegetables.
After lunch we drove out to Bude to explore. Bude is a perfect holiday spot as you can explore both Devon and Cornwall from here and they have magnificent beaches at Crooklets and Summerleaze.
We ended up having a round of crazy golf followed by a bit of crabbing and cream tea at Life’s a Beach. Perfect day all round really!
On Monday we were up early and after another superb breakfast at The Tides, we were heading for home. Will we go back? Definitely, it’s the perfect spot to holiday in the United Kingdom.