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Ilfracombe Harbour at sunrise in broad panorama across the picturesque town.

Ilfracombe's Best Activities and Attractions

Ilfracombe is a seaside gem nestled on the stunning North Devon coast. Picture dramatic cliffs, a charming town centre brimming with life, and a rich history to explore.

Feeling intrigued? This blog is your one-stop guide to crafting the perfect Ilfracombe itinerary, packed with exciting activities, hidden gems, and enough charm to make you want to extend your stay (we won't blame you!). So, grab a cuppa, settle in, and let's dive into the magic of Ilfracombe!

Unwinding on the Coast

Sun worshippers, rejoice! Ilfracombe boasts a collection of beaches to suit every mood.

Ilfracombe Beaches

Beautiful rocky bay at Wildersmouth, Ilfracombe beach, surrounded by the cliffs, view of the sea and stones.

Wildersmouth Beach

Wildersmouth Beach is a sheltered cove that packs a punch! A stream gurgles through a tunnel to the sea, while dramatic rock formations, including Preacher's Rock, line the shore. A stone wall provides a scenic backdrop, while the promenade and the South West Coast Path offer different ways to experience this unique beach.

Aerial photo of Rapparee Cove

Rapparee Cove

Rapparee Cove is shrouded in history; this secluded cove whispers tales of shipwreck. In 1796, the 'London' met its fate in a storm, leaving behind a legacy of relics like coins and bones. Reach this hidden gem by a set of steep steps and discover a place where history meets the sea.

Harbour beach in Ilfracombe, on the North Devon coast

Harbour Beach

Harbour Beach is a small sandy area by the harbour wall. However, it's not usually accessible at high tide.

Coastal Activities

Feeling the adrenaline rush calling? Ilfracombe offers a plethora of exciting coastal activities. Imagine scaling cliffs and diving into crystal-clear coves during a coasteering adventure. Explore hidden coves and spot marine life by kayak, or embark on the Ilfracombe Sea Safari to discover the enchanting coastline, a wildlife haven teeming with puffins and seals.

Devon | Coastal Activities

Exploring the Town and Beyond

Ilfracombe Harbour at sunrise in broad panorama across the picturesque town.

Ilfracombe's Harbour and Quay

Ilfracombe's heart beats at its bustling harbour and quay. Here, colourful fishing boats bob gently on the water while pleasure cruises offer exciting excursions. Don't forget to grab some fresh seafood straight off the boats – the aroma and taste are simply divine! Finally, a leisurely stroll along the quay is a must, with charming shops and friendly locals adding to the vibrant atmosphere.

St Nicholas Chapel at the entrance to Ilfracombe Harbour Devon England UK

Historical Gems

History buffs, rejoice! Delve into Ilfracombe's fascinating past at the Ilfracombe Museum. A visit to St Nicholas Chapel, the oldest lighthouse in the country, is a must for its breathtaking views and rich heritage. And for a touch of Victorian charm, explore the historic Hele Corn Mill, still operational today, or take a relaxing stroll through the picturesque Bicclescombe Park.

Common Starfish in a rockpool

Family Fun

Planning a family getaway? Look no further than Watermouth Castle! This delightful theme park offers a thrilling mix of rides, captivating shows, and beautifully landscaped gardens, guaranteeing a fun-filled day for all ages. Budding marine biologists will love the Ilfracombe Aquarium, where a kaleidoscope of colourful fish and fascinating sea creatures awaits.

And for those yearning for adventure, Exmoor National Park lies just beyond Ilfracombe's doorstep. Explore the rugged moorland on horseback, go wildlife spotting for Exmoor ponies and red deer, or embark on a scenic hike with breathtaking coastal views.

South West Coast Path

Lace up your walking shoes because Ilfracombe is a walker's paradise! The South West Coast Path, a national trail snaking along the dramatic coastline, offers breathtaking panoramas at every turn. Feeling ambitious? Tackle the entire trail or take a shorter walk from Ilfracombe to the Torrs. This scenic route rewards you with stunning coastline views and a chance to spot playful dolphins or majestic seabirds.

Sandy Cove Hotel is situated on the South West Coast Path, ask at reception for walk details of the 8 circular walks prepared by the Exmoor Park Ranger!


Devon | South West Coast Path

Tantalise Your Taste Buds

Fresh seafood doesn't get any better than what you'll find at Ilfracombe's harbour. Sample the daily catch – succulent prawns, plump mussels, or flaky white fish – for a taste of the sea. Craving something more elaborate? Our award-winning restaurants offering a variety of dishes to tantalise your taste buds. And to truly embrace the local flavours, don't miss our traditional North Devon afternoon tea with delicate mouth-watering finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam and a selection of exquisite handmade cakes and pastries to savour with a pot of tea. 

Sandy Cove Restaurant | Devon | Seafood


Ilfracombe offers something for everyone, from sun-drenched beaches and exhilarating water sports to charming historical gems and hidden coves. Whether you're a family seeking adventure, a couple craving romance, or a solo traveller yearning for serenity, this captivating coastal town will leave you spellbound.

Ready to experience the magic of Ilfracombe firsthand? Book your stay at the Sandy Cove Hotel! Our comfortable accommodations and prime location near the beach and town centre make us the perfect base for exploring Ilfracombe's hidden treasures. So pack your bags and get ready to create unforgettable memories in this delightful seaside haven!