Visiting Ilfracombe, Devon

Friday, 29 March 2019

So this post is little (read: three months, oops) overdue but it was such a beautiful break away I have been meaning to write this post for a while now so I can share some of our recommendations and tips with you incase you're heading down that way any time soon.

We booked our trip to Hele Bay, Ilfracombe after looking for somewhere to get away for New Years - because neither of us are huge NYE fans and we really just wanted to shut ourselves away somewhere for a few days, eat lots of nice food and go on nice walks. Devon was our first choice as it's around three hours drive from where we live (and a nice scenic drive at that, very little motorway driving involved) and we stayed at a Hoseason's location; Beach Cove Coastal Retreat.

Beach Cove Coastal Retreat consists of a small number of one-bedroom (so perfect for couples) beach-hut style accommodations which are all located right on the beach front. You can see them in their pretty pastel colours all along the wall in the picture below.

We arrived at night so had no idea just how close we were to the seafront. Unfortunately, the cabin we had been booked into seemed to be overrun by cluster flies (don't Google if you don't like creepy crawlies) which apparently were lured in by the abnormally mild winter we'd had here and also they love the water so there wasn't much they could do in terms of keeping them away. The staff at Beach Cove were super helpful though and came in and got rid of as many flies as they could but as soon as one disappeared another three buzzed in from somewhere else. 

Luckily, we ended up being relocated to another property on the site which didn't have any flies whatsoever so we were able to finally settle in for the night. Waking up the next morning was incredible, we'd not seen the view but we could hear the crashing waves as we slept so we knew we were close. I enjoyed my favourite breakfast of avocado toast and a cuppa whilst enjoying all the dog walkers taking their fluffs for a stroll along the sand early in the morning. 

It's a very quite part of Devon, with only a handful of attractions in the area (one being Exmoor Zoo which we loved and would 100% recommend if you're in the area) so if you like a lot to do this might not be the place for you. We decided to hike up the large hill next to the retreat into the small fishing town of Ilfracombe which was a stunning cliff top walk with amazing views over the retreat where we stayed. At that time of year my fitness levels are at their lowest and I did struggle a little (it was mortifying, there were elderly people walking their dogs who were overtaking me...) with the steeper parts of the hill but it was well worth it for the view at the top over the town/bay.

We ended up eating in Ilfracombe on New Years Eve at a restaurant that I'd booked way back in August (as it was tiny and I imagined it would get booked up so quickly). I was right, it was full from 7pm and that's because the food was insanely good. Seventy One is a family run restaurant and hands down the three courses I had there were probably three of the best I've ever had anywhere. If you visit Ilfracombe then you simply must check it out for dinner.

The bay is a great area to walk around too, we didn't know before we visited but it's actually where the artist Damien Hurst is from and there's a huge statue he commissioned which is located on the fishing pier, probably not the sort of thing you'd imagine in a quiet Devon town but definitely worth a look at. He also has a restaurant on the seafront too I believe so if you're a fan that's worth checking out. As we were out of season a lot of the attractions such as the aquarium and a lot of the shops were all shut for the winter but I can imagine in the peak of summer it's a lovely place to visit.

On our way home we passed Stonehenge so spent our New Years Day there which was interesting. It was busy even on New Years Day and there were a lot of tourists so I think it's safe to say whenever you visit expect it to be crowded. There's a bus which runs up to the site itself but we chose to walk up to the stones which is well sign-posted from the visitor centre.

I hope you've enjoyed this post about our visit to Devon - if you have any questions then feel free to comment below and let me know if you're planning to visit anytime soon too!

Post a comment