15 Best Things To Do In Ilfracombe, England

15 Best Things To Do In Ilfracombe, England

By will

Ilfracombe, in North Devon, is a beautiful coastal town full of interesting sights and activities. From exploring the harbour and beaches to enjoying fine local cuisine, there is something for everyone in this charming English town. Here are 15 of the best things to do in Ilfracombe that will make your visit an unforgettable experience.

From admiring the views from the Landmark Theatre to climbing to the top of Capstone Hill, there’s plenty to explore.

You can also visit the Tunnels Beaches, sample local delicacies at the Cobbles Cafe, and take a stroll along the promenade.

There’s also lots to learn about the town’s history at the Ilfracombe Museum, and you can even enjoy a pint at the Harbour Inn.

Whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to have a great time in Ilfracombe.

Explore Ilfracombe Harbour

Ilfracombe Harbour
Photo by Ian Capper

Take a stroll along Ilfracombe Harbour and you’ll be mesmerized by the stunning views of the rugged coastline and the picturesque fishing boats bobbing in the crystal-clear waters.

Not only is the harbour idyllic, but it’s also a great spot for seeing some of the area’s wildlife. From the harbour wall, you can spot seabirds such as Razorbills, Guillemots, and Gannets, which are often seen gliding and diving into the sea. You can also spot the occasional seal, which can be seen basking in the sun or playing in the waves.

Ilfracombe Harbour is a great place to enjoy a peaceful day out, and you can even take a boat tour to explore the coastline from the water.

There’s also a good selection of restaurants and cafes nearby, so you can grab a bite to eat while you take in the views.

Visit the Tunnels Beaches

Tunnels Beaches - Ladies' pool - Ilfracombe
Photo by Rob Farrow

Discover the unique experience of Tunnels Beaches, where you can explore the caves and admire the stunning views of the sea. Constructed by hand in 1823, the beaches feature four manmade tunnels leading to a series of sheltered coves.

Take a trip to the beach, and you’ll find a secluded and tranquil paradise that can be accessed via a set of steps carved into the cliff. The tunnels are a great way to explore the beach and admire the views of the harbour and bay.

The beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the rock pools that can be found at the bottom of the cliffs. With the crystal-clear waters of the sea, you can even take a snorkelling adventure and explore the colourful marine life. The water is also great for kayaking, paddle-boarding, and other water activities.

On the beach, you’ll find a range of amenities, from picnic tables and BBQs to a café and shop. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful spot for a summer holiday or an adventure-filled day out, Tunnels Beaches is the perfect place to visit in Ilfracombe.

Take a Stroll Along the Promenade

Capstone Point from the Promenade, Ilfracombe
Photo by Gary Rogers

Stroll along the promenade to soak up the stunning views of the harbour and bay in Ilfracombe. On one side, you’ll be met with the natural beauty of the rugged North Devon coastline, while the other will be home to the quaint seaside village.

At the end of the promenade, you’ll find a charming lighthouse that helps guide ships in the nearby harbour. Here, you can take a break from your stroll and sit back and watch the boats come and go.

As you continue your stroll, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a variety of shops. From clothing boutiques to gift stores, there’s something for everyone here. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even take a seat on the pier and enjoy the fresh sea air. Make sure to keep an eye out for the local wildlife, as you’re likely to spot some seabirds and marine life in the area.

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With so much to explore, the promenade in Ilfracombe is a must-visit for anyone looking to enjoy the best of the town.

Learn About Local History at Ilfracombe Museum

Uncover the stories of Ilfracombe’s past at the local museum and gain a deeper appreciation for the area’s rich heritage.

Ilfracombe Museum is the perfect spot to learn about the town’s history, from its origins as a small fishing village to its more recent transformation into a popular tourist destination.

Visitors to the museum can explore a wide range of exhibits, including archaeological finds, photographs, and artifacts that tell the story of Ilfracombe and its people.

The museum also houses a library and archive where visitors can learn more about the town’s past. With knowledgeable staff on hand to answer questions, Ilfracombe Museum is an ideal place to immerse yourself in local history.

The museum also offers a range of activities, from guided walks to lectures and workshops.

Special events are often held throughout the year, such as the popular Ilfracombe Summer Festival, which celebrates the town’s heritage with music, art, and performances.

By taking part in these activities, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of Ilfracombe’s culture and customs.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Ilfracombe Museum is a great way to experience the town’s fascinating past.

Enjoy the Views from the Landmark Theatre

Take in the breathtaking views of Ilfracombe from the Landmark Theatre, a unique venue offering a range of entertainment for every taste.

The theatre, built in 1891, is one of the oldest in Devon and is a Grade II listed building. It’s also one of the few surviving examples of a multi-purpose theatre, as the building is used for both film screenings and live performances.

Whether you’re catching a movie or a show, you can enjoy a spectacular view of Ilfracombe’s coastline while you sit back and relax.

The theatre is also known for its state-of-the-art projection and sound systems, which are amongst the best in the country. With both Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround Sound, you can enjoy a truly immersive experience in the comfort of your own seat.

You’ll also be able to take advantage of the theatre’s thirty-metre wide screen, which is perfect for a truly cinematic experience. Whether you’re an avid moviegoer or just want to enjoy the views, the Landmark Theatre is sure to delight.

Go Shopping at Ilfracombe High Street

Discover the delightful shopping opportunities of Ilfracombe High Street, where you can find something for everyone in a vibrant atmosphere.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for a friend or just want to treat yourself, this bustling high street offers a variety of shops, from independent boutiques to well-known brands.

You can browse through a range of clothing, jewelry, homeware, and souvenirs that’ll bring back memories of your stay in Ilfracombe.

Take a break and enjoy a bite to eat at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the area, such as the award-winning seafood restaurant, The Quay.

For those with a sweet tooth, there are plenty of bakeries and sweet shops to satisfy your craving.

After you’re done shopping, relax and unwind with a stroll along the harbor, which provides stunning views of the coastline.

Ilfracombe High Street is a great place to explore and enjoy a unique shopping experience.

Experience the Wildlife at Wildersmouth Beach

Head to Wildersmouth Beach to experience the stunning wildlife that this area has to offer.

Located close to Ilfracombe, this beach is a great place to spot a variety of sea birds and other wildlife.

This beach is known for its remarkable rock formations and its clear water, making it an ideal spot for swimming and snorkelling.

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The views from the beach are spectacular, and you can often spot dolphins, seals, and other marine life enjoying the warm waters.

Wildersmouth Beach is also a great place to explore the local flora and fauna, with plenty of interesting plants and wildlife to be found.

Enjoy a picnic on the beach or take a walk along the shore to experience the unique beauty of this area.

The beach is a great place to spend a few hours, and you’ll be sure to find plenty of wildlife to entertain you.

Take a Boat Trip to Lundy Island

From Wildersmouth Beach, you can take a boat trip to Lundy Island, a stunningly beautiful destination off the coast of England.

Lundy Island is full of amazing sights, sounds, and wildlife, making it a great place to explore.

The boat trip to Lundy Island is an experience in itself, offering panoramic views of the coastline and plenty of opportunities for whale watching.

I had the chance to take a boat trip to Lundy Island on a sunny day, and it was a truly amazing experience.

I was able to see a variety of seabirds and other wildlife, and the views of the island were absolutely stunning.

The boat trip was an adventure, and I was able to get up close and personal with the island’s amazing wildlife.

It was a truly unique experience that I will never forget.

Discover Watermouth Castle

Perched atop the rocky promontory of Ilfracombe, Watermouth Castle stands as a testament to centuries of English history. Located on the stunning North Devon coast, the castle is a popular tourist attraction and can be explored by visitors of all ages.

Watermouth Castle was built in the early 19th century by the Basset family, who owned the estate for over a century. Today, the castle is open to the public and offers guided tours as well as a range of activities for visitors to enjoy.

The castle is home to a number of fascinating attractions, including the Watermouth Family Fun Park, which features a variety of rides and attractions, as well as an aquarium and a miniature railway. Visitors can explore the castle grounds and gardens, or take a boat trip to Lundy Island.

For those looking for a more educational experience, the castle is also home to a museum, which houses an extensive collection of artifacts and documents. No matter what your interests, Watermouth Castle is sure to provide a unique and memorable experience.

Take a Trip to Combe Martin Beach

After a day of exploring Watermouth Castle, head over to Combe Martin Beach for a relaxing day of coastal fun. Located just 3 miles from Ilfracombe, Combe Martin Beach is a hidden gem along the North Devon Coast.

The beach is made up of a mix of sand and shingle, and is surrounded by tall cliffs. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic, game of beach volleyball, or just sitting back and enjoying the views.

Plus, you can explore the nearby rock pools for a glimpse of the local wildlife. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax or for some outdoor adventure, Combe Martin Beach has something for everyone.

Visit the Verity Statue

Just off Combe Martin Beach lies a stunning monument to the sea – the Verity Statue.

Standing tall and proud, this 20-meter-high sculpture is a sight to behold. It’s created by sculptor Damien Hirst, and it depicts a pregnant woman looking down into the depths of the sea with outstretched arms.

Its subtle curves and smooth lines have earned it many admirers, and it’s a great spot to take a break from the beach and take in the stunning views.

At the base of the statue are two bronze doors that open up to a chamber filled with symbolic objects. Inside are several bronze panels depicting scenes from mythology, as well as the words of the Magna Carta.

The chamber also contains various artifacts from the sea, including a mermaid’s comb and a ship’s bell. It truly is a unique experience to explore the Verity Statue and its many secrets.

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Enjoy a Pint at the Harbour Inn

Tucked away in Ilfracombe, England, the Harbour Inn is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a pint with friends. This quaint pub is situated right next to Ilfracombe’s historic harbour, offering stunning views of the ocean and the rugged cliffs of North Devon.

Inside, the pub has a cozy atmosphere and a great selection of local ales and ciders. It’s the perfect place to spend an evening and catch up with friends over a refreshing drink.

The Harbour Inn also serves delicious, freshly prepared food, with an extensive menu of traditional English pub fare. The generous portions and generous servings of meat and vegetables make this spot a great place to refuel after a day of sightseeing.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely dinner or a quick snack, the Harbour Inn has something for everyone. What’s more, the friendly staff are always on hand to ensure you’re having a great time.

So, if you’re in Ilfracombe, be sure to stop by and visit the Harbour Inn for a great time!

Check Out the Cairn Nature Reserve

Come explore the beauty of Cairn Nature Reserve, tucked away in Ilfracombe, England! Located just a few miles outside the town, this nature reserve is home to a variety of animals, plants, and birds. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and learn about the local ecology.

The reserve features several walking trails, a large pond, and plenty of wildlife to observe. You can also explore the nearby beach, which is adjacent to the reserve.

The best time to visit Cairn Nature Reserve is during the spring and summer when the flora and fauna are in full bloom. The area is surrounded by stunning views and is a great spot for bird watching. There’s also a small cafe to enjoy a cup of tea or a snack while you take in the views.

The staff at the reserve are knowledgeable and friendly and can give you tips on where to spot rare species. A visit to Cairn Nature Reserve is an unforgettable experience, so don’t miss out!

Sample Local Delicacies at the Cobbles Cafe

Experience local delicacies at Cobbles Cafe, located just a few miles from Ilfracombe. This cozy cafe is renowned for its delicious homemade pies, pastries, and other tasty treats.

The menu features a range of local specialties, from savory dishes like Devon cream tea and fish and chips, to sweet treats like clotted cream scones and Devonshire jams. The cafe also serves a selection of quality teas and coffees, as well as a selection of alcoholic drinks.

The cafe is a great place to meet with friends and family and enjoy a leisurely meal. The atmosphere is relaxed and intimate, and the views of the nearby coastline are stunning. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and they’re always happy to share their recommendations.

Whether you’re looking for a light snack or a full meal, Cobbles Cafe is the perfect place to sample local delicacies in Ilfracombe.

Climb to the Top of Capstone Hill

Climb to the top of Capstone Hill and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the North Devon coast. This popular tourist spot is located just outside of Ilfracombe, and it offers a unique opportunity to explore the rugged terrain of the English countryside.

The climb is relatively easy, and there are plenty of benches and picnic tables along the trail for visitors to relax and take in the scenery. At the summit, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the Bristol Channel and Lundy Island. On a clear day, the views extend to Wales, Exmoor, and the Quantocks.

With its stunning views, Capstone Hill is the perfect spot to watch the sunrise or sunset. In addition to its scenic beauty, the hill is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including foxes, badgers, and birds. There’s also a large population of rabbits, so be sure to keep an eye out for them as you explore!


I had a wonderful time exploring Ilfracombe, England!
From the gorgeous views of the harbour to the delicious delights of the Cobbles Cafe, there was something for everyone.

I’m so glad I got to visit the Tunnels Beaches and go to the top of Capstone Hill.
Ilfracombe is an incredible place with a lot to offer.

I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a unique and enjoyable experience.
Whether you’re looking to relax or explore, Ilfracombe has it all.

So come and visit – you won’t regret it!

About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.