When you're on your group holidays in North Devon, you should make the time to visit Clovelly, because there's nothing quite like it anywhere else in the UK, and possibly in the world. What's unique about this historic fishing village is that it's been privately owned since Elizabethan times - hence there's an admission charge via the Visitor Centre at the top of the hill. What? You have to pay to see a village? we hear you cry! Well, yes, you do. Clovelly is a huge draw to tourists and maintaining the village, set on the side of a 400ft cliff, is far from cheap, so all those entry fees are put to very good use and are vital to the quintessential character of the place.
And, it's lovely, it really is. There's no vehicle access to the village so make sure you wear sensible shoes; the main street is cobbled, and lined with centuries old flower-hung cottages that seem to almost tumble down to the 14th century quay and the picturesque harbour. Stroll around and browse the little shops, the galleries and museums, stop for a bite to eat in one of the bars or restaurants, amble up the clifftops, or along the beach to the waterfall - just behind it is a cave where they say Merlin the magician was born. Saunter along the Hobby drive that winds its way through the woods, take a chartered fishing trip out to sea and catch mackerel for your supper, sign up for one of the workshops at the craft centre and try your hand at pot making, soap making, candle making or rag rugging.
Discover the history of Clovelly on a Village Tour, learn about the famous donkeys who were an important part of working life in the village; in times gone by they carried the heavy baskets and pulled sledges laden with goods and essentials from the harbour up the hill to the carriers carts. These days the donks live contentedly in the stables where you can go and say hello to them; in the summer they come out to give rides to younger children.
That cobbled street isn't the easiest with a buggy or pram so a baby carrier or a sling might be a better option. At the top of the village are Clovelly Court Gardens, worth including in your visit if you have time.
Open all year except for Christmas. Winter 10.00 am-4.00 pm Summer 9.30 am-6.30 pm
T: 01237 431781 All information correct at the time of writing