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Aside from the many fabulous beaches in North Devon, the area benefits from some of the best attractions and places to visit in the British Isles. We have divided this into three sections to help you plan your stay. It's by no means exhaustive, but if you think we have missed something that should be included, please tell us and we'll try to add it to the list.
= An all-weather attraction; = Some all-weather activities
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Kids Grown ups Food and drink
Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, Combe Martin
A clean and well-maintained modern theme park with indoor as well as outdoor attractions. Our kids loved the sealion show and indoor bug experience.

Keypitts Quads, Paintball and Trekking, Near Ilfracombe
An interesting mix, but it works. Kids can ride the mini quads from 6 years old. 200 acres of wooded valleys offers a great opportunity to try out trekking on their horses or ponies. Need indoor activities? Then try the Bullet Zone.

Watermouth Castle, Near Combe Martin
Just up the road from Beach House, a good mix of the old and the new. The first part of the attraction is a musuem reflecting how life was lived at the turn of the century followed by an amazing collection of slot machines (stay with me here). These machines are all pre-1970 and take 2p, so with a 1 coin and a change machine, our kids did not want to leave. Outside, there are beautiful gardends with attractions to suit mainly the under 10s. Closed Saturdays. Try the Sawmill or Sandy Cove Hotel for an excellent carvery lunch on Sunday in the same day, reservations essential.

Brocklands Adventure Park, Kilkhampton
One of our favourites. A little further along the A39 "Atlantic Highway" towards Bude - in fact just inside the Cornish border, but well worth the trip. Bumper boats are hilarious and the indoor archery tuition is excellent.

Killarney Springs, Morwenstow
Not far from Brocklands, this park has a good mix of indoor and outdoor activities including a family fun fair.

Wimbleball Lake, Dulverton
The South West Lakes Trust was setup to provide sustainable lake-side recreation activities. They have approximately 30 locations in the South West. Dulverton is not the closest to Beach House, but it has a great range of outdoor activities for kids including Sailing, Windsurfing, Canoeing, Camping, Fishing and Birdwatching. Other multi-activity centres can be found on the upper and lower Tamar lakes at Bude.

The Milky Way, Clovelly
Classic Devon theme park with a large number of indoor activities. The indoor falconry display is worth the admission price alone. The ferret show will remind you of what it means to be British.

Survival Paintball, Yarnscombe, Barnstaple
The largest paint-ball site in North Devon, set in 20 acres of woodland. Half day and evening sessions available. Ages 12+.

The Big Sheep, Bideford
Not as one-dimensional as it sounds and good value for money. Kids under 3-foot get in free.

Woodlands, Totnes
A bit further afield in Totnes but worth a whole day's visit. This park is superb and has all-weather activities. Our kids didn't want to leave.

Tropiquaria, Near Minehead
A little further to travel, but this park has an unusual combination of attractions for all ages. Family tickets available.

Diggerland, Cullompton
This is probably the trip to make after you depart on your last day. Swing by Diggerland and the kids will be knocked out at the chance to control an excavator all by themselves. If it's been raining, wear wellies.

Cycle the Tarka Trail, Torrington
Rent a bike from Torrington Cycle Hire, 01805 622633, (map) and cycle straight onto the Tarka Trail. Plenty of traffic-free sections.

Learn to Surf!, Croyde Bay
Award-winning surf school catering for absolute beginners as well as those wishing to improve their skills. Open from Easter to October, ages 8+. Check Surf Conditions here.

Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe
A privately owned beach and tunnel complex with a great tidal pool for kids.

Quince Honey Farm, South Molton
An all-weather attraction, you will see this sign-posted on your way to Beach House. Interesting and educational for kids and adults alike.

Exmouth Brass Rubbing Centre, Lynmouth
Continuing the educational and indoor themes, this brass rubbing centre is a short distance away in Lynmouth. Why not combine a visit here with a visit to Watersmeet House in Lynmouth.

House of Marbles, Bovey Tracey
Another excellent all-weather attraction with the most amazing marble runs. Open year round.

Exmoor Zoo, South Stowford
You will pass signs for this zoo on your way to Beach House. A fabulous, well-kept small zoo with excellent hands-on education talks that are free. Joeys are allowed to wander around the zoo which kids find hilarious. Pack a picnic as the food is awful and there's a great picnic area with zip slides, climbing frames and trampolines. Open year round.

Devon Railway Centre, Bickleigh, near Tiverton
Open from April to October (check web site for details) with a mixture of model, miniature and narrow-guage railways.

The Gnome Reserve, Bradworthy
Very popular with younger children. Excellent wild flower garden. Open from late March to October.

Torrington 1646, Torrington
Experience life as it was in Torrington (the site of the last major battle of the English Civil War) in 1646. Open year round.

Cobbaton Combat Collection, Umberleigh
The largest private military collection in the South West. 60 combat vehicles with weapons of all shapes and sizes. Open from April to October, check web site for details.

Skern Lodge Multi-Activity Centre, Appledore
Another one-stop-shop for multiple activites. Skern Lodge offers abseiling, assault courses, surfing, archery, canoeing, climbing, rafting and orienteering. Daily rates include lunch.

Ilfracombe Leisure Centre, Ilfracombe
If the weather is against you and the kids need to burn off some energy, the municipal leisure centre is not far away. Open year round.

Ilfracombe Aquarium, Ilfracombe
More weather-proof activity. No Shamu in sight but good value for money. Open year round.


South West Coast Path, Your front gate!
Like it or not, you have to visit the SWCP as the front gate of Beach House opens on to it. Visit the web site and others to get a good idea of which sections are appropriate for you. Folks travel miles to get to the path and you will cross it every day!

Tarka Trail, Your front gate!
The SWCP and the Tarka Trail combine as one path in this part of North Devon, so you get two for one. There's no avoiding it!

Lundy Island, Atlantic Ocean
Take Lundy's own ferry, the MS Oldenburg, from Bideford or Ilfracombe to visit this beautiful nature reserve now owned by the National Trust. Wear stout trainers or walking boots.

Exmoor National Park, A short walk away!
Words can't do justice to the scenery in this National Park, so here are some pictures instead. Why not make the most of your visit by exploring the moor on horseback. There are plenty of stables to chose from; try Doone Valley or Spirit of Exmoor to get you started.

Clovelly,
Beautifully picturesque and timeless village where steep cobbled alley-ways tumble past chocolate-box cottages to the sea. (Alright - that's enough). Charles Kingsley lived here and according to Clovelly's marketing deprtment, Clovelly was the inspiration for "The Water Babies".

Flying, Gliding and Parachuting, Umberleigh
Trial gliding lessons from about 50 include pre-flight briefing, instruction in two seaters launched by the tug aircraft. The lesson will usually last 15 to 20 minutes. Powered trial flights also available and you get to use the club facilities for the day.

Diving, Various including Ilfracombe
Many wrecks to explore in the region. The clubs listed can offer dives for the experienced or tuition for the beginner.

Sailing, Braunton
Ever wanted to try your hand at sailing? Sailcats has everything for the beginner with expert tuition and a sheltered bay in which to learn. Yacht chartering is available for the more adventurous.

Extreme Water Sports, Croyde Bay
You can try your hand at everything at Point Breaks. Waterskiing, surfing, inflatable rides, powerboat rides, shark fishing, wakeboarding (not sure if these last two are combined activities!) etc.. They even have an Extreme Sampler that lets you try out all activities from 99.

Wind Surfing, Braunton
This club can help get you started with advice on equipment and the best places to learn.

Dartington Crystal, Great Torrington
Internationally famous for its contemporary designs, you can see live demonstrations of glass-making and engraving.

Chambercombe Manor, Just off the Ilfracombe road
Yes, our very own haunted house where a skeleton was found in a bricked up hidden chamber. If it's all too much you can take tea in Lady Jane's tea rooms after a stroll around the gardens.

Gardens of North Devon, North Devon

Your visit to North Devon will put in the middle of some of the most outstanding gardens in the country. Rather than write about each one, a list follows for you to explore with your browser. There are too many to cram into a single stay, so we hope you will return to Beach House to see them all.

Broomhill Sculpture Gardens, Barnstaple
Castle Hill, Filleigh, Barnstaple
Heddon Hall Gardens, Parracombe
Clovelly Court Garden, Clovelly
Docton Mill, Lymebridge, Bideford
Hartland Abbey, Hartland, near Clovelly
Marwood, Marwood, Barnstaple
Clovelly RHS Rosemoor, Great Torrington

Golf Courses, North Devon

Likewise with golf courses, we'll list a few here that you can browse at your leisure.

Royal North Devon, Westward Ho!
Ilfracombe, Ilfracombe
Hartland Forest, Near Clovelly
Saunton, Saunton
Willingcott, Woolacombe
Portmore, Barnstaple

National Trust, North Devon

Aside from Lundy Island, there are many fine national treasures managed by the Trust in North Devon. Here are just a few that are close by:

Watersmeet House, Lynmouth
Arlington Court, Near Barnstaple
Dunster Castle, Near Minehead
Holnicote Estate, Near Minehead

Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon, The Square, Barnstaple
The collections focus on the geology, natural history and archaeology of North Devon.

Berrynarbor, Beach House's stream is the Berrynarbor border!
Take a wander up the local road to this lovely village that has won many "best kept awards". The local bus from the car-park at Newberry Beach will take you to Ilfracombe via Berrynarbour.

Heritage Railways, North Devon

For those of you who like to relive the steam locomotive era, a selection follows:

The Cliff Railway, Lynton
Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, Parracombe
West Somerset Railway, Minehead
South Devon Railway, Buckfastleigh

Scenic Railways in Devon, Various
A great site for timetables of scenic rail routes in Devon along with suggestions for "Car-Free" adventures inlcuding the Tarka Line. Take a look at the Rail Ale Trail for a new twist on rail travel!

Elliot Gallery, Braunton
Probably the finest and most comprehensive collection of paintings, sculpture and craftwork in North Devon. The gallery promotes the work of local artists.


We've split this sub-section into two: Pubs and Restaurants. In our experience, the food in some of the pubs in North Devon can match many restaurants on quality and choice.

Pubs

The Royal Marine, Combe Martin
We'll start with our local. A 1-2 minute walk from Beach House, the place has atmosphere, is friendly, good local beers, great food and enormous portions. Hard to fault.

The Dolphin, Combe Martin
Another local. A 1-2 minute walk from Beach House, next to the Royal Marine. This is an odd place. You can usually get a meal with out reservation. The pub next door is always packed, but the Dolphin rarely so. The food is just as good as the Royal Marine, but it lacks atmosphere. We tend to use this more than the Royal Marine as it has a pool-room for kids where they can lock themselves away from the prying eyes of grown-ups.

The Foc'sle, Combe Martin
Another local. A 2-3 minute walk from Beach House via the beach at low-tide. You can sit on the outdoor terrace and watch the sunset. More of a local boozer than a pub-restaurant, but decent food on occasions.

The Grove Inn, Kings Nympton
Not local, in fact back past the North Devon Link Road, but worth the effort. North Devon's Best Pub in the North Devon Food and Drink Guide 2005.

The Black Venus, Challacombe
16th century pub on the edge of Exmoor with excellent food. Very popular with locals.

The Sawmill Inn, Watermouth (on the road to Ilfracombe)
Beside an old mill and close to Watermouth Castle and the bay. Good for families and excellent carvery on Sundays.

Pack o' Cards, Combe Martin
52 windows, 13 doors, 4 floors; and when we've been in there, there's always been a couple of jokers at the bar. The story has it that it was built with the proceeds of gambling. Great outdoor play area for kids and a skittle alley. A notable landmark in the area.

The Rockford Inn, Lynmouth
Traditional pub serving traditional fayre on the banks of the River Lyn.

The Hele Bay, Hele, just outside Combe Martin
Beer garden over-looking the sea, traditional Sunday Roasts. Popular with locals. Pets welcome.

The Old Smithy Inn, Welcombe, Bideford
Good food and friendly atmosphere in this thatched pub just one mile from the sea. Live music on Tuesdays and two can dine for a fiver on Wednesdays.

The Waterfront Inn, East of Lynton
Lovely pub on the banks of the river Lyn serving traditional food and a large choice of real ales.

The Village Inn, Lynmouth
Traditional pub serving fresh fish inlcuding Lynmouth Lobster.

Restaurants

Sandy Cove Hotel, Berrynarbor, on the Old Coast Road
Stunning location with sloping gardens overlooking the cove. Excellent Sunday carvery. Smorgasbord on Saturday followed by a disco. Reservations advisable.

Westbeach Bar, Woolacombe
One not to miss. Stunning view with food to match. Specialities include freshly caught local seafood. Head out of Combe Martin on the High Street and take the right turn at the Church, signposted Woolacombe 12 miles.

St. Vincent House Restaurant, Lynton
Les Routiers Hotel of the Year 2005 for the South West. Historic Georgian building with pretty cottage garden. Needless to say, the food is excellent with locally caught shellfish and Exmoor game dominating the menu.

The Quay, Ilfracombe
Damien Hirst's venture in North Devon. Great views over the harbour and sea. Modern international cuisine. The Taste menu for two with wine could set you back 100 but there is a set menu for 17.50.

Sands Cafe, Saunton
Not really a cafe, but a fine restaurant with sea views to match.

The Boardwalk, Woolacombe
Overlooks the beach and Baggy Point. good food, reasonably priced. Small bar with friendly atmosphere.

The Harbour Lights, Ilfracombe
Good value pub close to the harbour with down-to-earth food and sensible prices. Families welcome.

The Mason Arms, South Molton
Beautiful pub with excellent restaurant and award-winning chef. On a warm sunny day, there's no better place than a pub like this in England.

Riversford Hotel, Bideford
Delightful restaurant overlooking the river. Reservations advised and ask for a table next to a window with a river view.

Decks Restaurant & Bar, Instow
Another restaurant with excellent view, situated on the sea front.

The Beachcomber Restaurant & Bar, Woolacombe
Unpretentious cafe/restaurant/bar with great views and a family-friendly pirate theme. Small outdoor terrace overlooking 3 miles of Woolacombe Beach.

Bensons, Appledore
Named after a rogue-MP who at one-time turned Lundy into a fore-runner of Alcatraz. A focus on seafood with a passion for fresh locally caught fish.

Lynton Cottage Hotel and Restaurant, Lynton
"The view from the balcony was beyond everything I have ever seen", said C. S. Lewis after his visit here in 1925. The restaurant was awarded 2 AA Rosettes last year.

9 The Quay, Appledore
Not to be confused with Damien Hirst's restaurant in Ilfracombe, this establishment uses accredited recipes from Ramsay, Stein, Oliver and Rhodes.

Quay Cafe, Fremington, Barnstaple
Calls itself a cafe, but has a menu to match any restaurant that attracted The Independant's award for one of the best 50 cafes in the UK. The venue overlooks the Taw estuary and RSPB Reserve and has indoor and outdoor seating.

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