There is so much to do and see in Ilfracombe it would be difficult to do everything in one day, but to get a flavour of what we have on offer I thought I would Blog the highlights.
Of course the picturesque harbour is the focal point of the town and you can while away many an hour there visiting some of the many art galleries and our stunning statue Verity, but we would also recommend visiting the Ilfracombe Aquarium. Situated in the old Lifeboat Station, the Aquarium offers an insight into the wonders of the aquatic world in North Devon and follows the journey from an Exmoor stream to the Atlantic Ocean. They also serve great coffee, teas and refreshments and one of our favourite spots for cappuccino is on the top deck of their little café with its great views of the harbour.
While you are there you really should visit St Nicholas Chapel which stands majestically on Lantern Hill with fantastic views of the harbour and across the Bristol channel to the Wales and Lundy Island on a clear day. Steeped in history, it was built in 1321 and is the Uk’s oldest working lighthouse. It is so tiny and unbelievably it was once home to a family with 14 children!! Lantern Hill is also a great viewpoint to overlook Verity and you’ll be able to take a great photo of where you are staying as there is a fantastic view of The Collingdale from here ;0)
Whilst there take one of the many boat trips on offer .. the Ilfracombe Princess takes passengers for a cruise along the coast either east towards Exmoor or West towards Bull point lighthouse and Morte Stone where you can often sight seals and porpoises. Or take an historic trip on ex-RNLI Lifeboat the Hampshire Rose or an exhilarating rib ride on the Ilfracombe Sea Safari. Or of course you could take a day trip to Lundy Island (but that needs a Blog all of its own :0)
Coming back along the sea front you may be tempted to sit in the garden of one of the tearooms along St James for a yummy Devon cream tea or stop for an ice cream at one of the many vendors on the quay, or an Hockings ice cream which is made just along the road in Appledore and served from their very own van on the seafront.
Try your hand at crazy golf and pop into the Tourist Information Centre for leaflets, books and maps. The Ilfracombe museum is really fascinating with its many artefacts on Ilfracombe and North Devon and it is also like a mini Natural History museum with its pickled bats and two-headed kitten and children and adults alike will love opening all the drawers and cupboards to discover what lies inside.
No trip to Ilfracombe is complete without a trip to Tunnels Beaches, a unique network of tunnels which were hand carved by Welsh minors in the 1820s to lead to two beaches and a natural tidal bathing pool, as the Victorians loved to come to Ilfracombe to “Take the Waters” . Read all the hilarious etiquette and amusing stories. The Tunnels have featured on BBCs Coast and more recently on Tales from the Coast by Robson Green (I did share it on our facebook page, so I hope you got the chance to see it, as it was excellent.) It has been voted 3rd best rock-pooling beach in the UK and it is also a unique, bespoke wedding venue and is now so popular, there are weddings there most days in the summer.
We have a great little Dotto train in Ilfracombe and it departs just along the road from The Collingdale at the Swimming Pool car park. So why not take a tour from here and do a lap of the town ending up at the harbour.
That’s just a few of the highlights of Ilfracombe and all within walking distance of The Collingdale, so you can leave your car and just go explore …. More ideas to follow :0)