Back in Victorian times people liked coming to Ilfracombe for their holidays and that's still the case these days. Every summer tourists flock here for various reasons - it's a pretty town for a start, it's quaint, the surf is very good, and the setting is in many respects idylllic, rocky beaches, dramatic clifftops and the backdrop of the lush green hills of Exmoor. You can't help thinking of traditional childhood holidays, there's something rather Enid Blyton about it. Mind you, Ilfracombe is definitely 'on the up', popular with second home owners and city folk wishing to escape to Devon, away from the clamour; maybe Damien Hirst's enormous 'Verity' statue that stands in the harbour (on loan til 2032) like Ilfracombe's answer to the Statue of Liberty has gone some way to helping that, who knows? But certainly, within recent years the town has become a bit more modern, with several galleries and eateries opening up.
So, what can you do here? Why would you come here? Because it's lovely, why not?And actually, for a family seaside holiday destination, it's got a lot going for it. Three beaches, including a main one that's long and sandy, boat trips and wildlife cruises from the quay to spot seals and dolphins off Lundy Island, a fascinating aquarium that documents the marine life in the local waters, one of Britain's most haunted manor houses, and some very good places to eat, including Thomas Carr 1873 and just outside the town, Hele Corn Mill & Tea Room in a 16th century water mill.
Some dog friendly beaches.