Bideford is a small town located in the South West of England. The town lies on the coast at the head of the Torridge river and is in the North of the county of Devon. Bideford has a population of around fifteen thousand people but as this is such a popular area for tourism it can get a lot busier in the summer months. Bideford also has a port which many people make use of and there is also a famous arched bridge that stretches over the estuary. People have been coming to visit this part of England for many years mainly due to the stunning coastline and beautiful scenery.
If you are planning a visit to Bideford and want accommodation then you have a few different options. If you are looking for a hotel then there are quite a few to choose from, some of the larger more well established ones include The Royal Hotel, The Pines at Eastleigh Hotel and The Durrant House Hotel. These all have very good reputations for a high standard of rooms and facilities. There are also a few smaller hotels and plenty of bed and breakfasts to choose from. Another possibility is staying in a holiday home, there are plenty of these in the town itself and also in the surrounding area, these provide good self catering facilities. There are also some good caravan parks in this area that are a good cheap alternative.
If you are heading for Bideford and are looking for some shops then there is plenty to choose from. The town has some good tourist shops offering local arts and crafts and plenty of places where you can purchase local souvenirs. There is also a large shopping centre known as Atlantic Village, here there are around fifty shops ranging from sporting goods to book shops, this is a nice place to wander round and find some bargains. The town also has plenty of nice pubs and cafes which serve excellent food and drink. One think I would recommend is having a Devon cream tea, these are really good!
Bideford has plenty of interesting things to see and do. One place well worth a visit is Hartland Abbey and Gardens. This is a large stately home that is very interesting to look round, the gardens are beautiful and you often sea peacocks roaming about in the summer time. Another good family attraction is The Big Sheep. This was originally just a working farm but it has expanded to become a tourist attraction. Now they have a petting zoo, sheep racing and all kinds of other fun sheep and animal related goings on. Although this is mainly aimed at children there is plenty to keep adults entertained as well.
Bideford really is a lovely little coastal town. The scenery in this area really is spectacular, North Devon has some of the most impressive coastline anywhere in England. There are long stretches of sandy beaches and rugged cliffs and coves. There are also some really nice quaint little villages to explore. If you have never been to Bideford then you really are missing out, next time you are heading for Devon go and give this town a visit.
We have just come back from our lovely holiday in North Devon (hence not many reviews recently!). I thought I would take the opportunity to review some of the places that we visited during the week.
We actually stayed in a lodge in the forest, about 15 minutes drive from Bideford, but ended up spending a bit of time in the town, stocking up on supplies and sightseeing.
Car parking is quite straightforward in Bideford, with some long and short stay car parks. There is a large Morrisons store as you enter the town, which has a very large car park, but obviously you are limited to how long you can park. There is a short stay car park about 5 minutes walk away from Morrisons, which charges 90p an hour to park. There are also car parks to the rear of Victoria Park, with the long stay car park charging 60p for 1 hour or £1.50 for 4 hours.
We found Victoria Park a great place to spend our time as a family. First of all, it was free, which is an obvious attraction. The park has a large grassed area where you can play football, and two play areas, one for older kids and one for toddlers, with a good variety of equipment, such as swings, slides, climbing frames and seesaws. There is a large paddling pool near to the play area which has a changing area nearby, and is a really good place to spend a morning lazing by the pool. The toilets in the park are surprisingly good for public loos!
As for the town itself, it is located by a large river, which leads to the sea. You can get a ferry here which takes you to Lundy island, which is a haven for wildlife, and particularly famous for puffins. The town holds a pannier market two days a week on a Sunday and Tuesday. You can also hire bikes and kayaks to explore the area more thoroughly.
There is a good variety of shops in the town, ranging from major high street chains, to smaller independent shops and gift shops. The streets off the main high street are winding and quite steep, with lots of interesting nooks and crannies to explore.
The town has lots of places to eat, which suits a variety of tastes and budgets. There is a traditional chip shop, a Wimpy, a fast food chicken place, as well as smaller cafes in the back streets, which are real gems. One of our favourites was Velvet and Vanilla, which was a cosy cafe, nestled in a back street, which offered lovely afternoon teas on tiered plates piled high with sandwiches, cakes, and other delights. The scones were delicious, with lashings of jam and cream. The kids enjoyed delicious cupcakes, and a tiny version of our afternoon tea.
Bideford is a good base for exploring the local area, which has lots of attractions to suit holidaymakers. There are good beaches at nearby Instow and Westward Ho, and an adventure park at the nearby Milky Way. There is a farm attraction called the Big Sheep which is very popular with families. Further afield, there is an excellent beach at Saunton Sands, where many people go surfing. There are also many gardens open to the public in the local area.
The local woodland is home to a variety of wildlife, and we saw lots of birds on our holiday, and even some bats in the evening!
Bideford is a good base for a family holiday, and I would definitely go again. The people are warm and friendly and you are made to feel welcome wherever you go.
We managed to arrive in bideford by accident. We were going somewhere else but got lost so decided to look round bideford instead.
Parking was easy to find with the car park located net to the park. The car park was for both short and long stay.
Shortly after we arrived we encounted a short heavy rain shower so dived into the local ourist information to take cover. Here there is a massive selction of leaflets for the area.
When it stopped raining we moved on into the town to look in some shops. At the top of one of the hills (beware these hills can be quite steep) we found the pannier market. Inside the hall there were a variety of stalls. My favourite one been the book stall which had loads of books and the lady on the stall even knew what she had and where it was.
On the lower level of the pannier market was a row of different types of shops. Here we found a shop that sold lovely drinks such as apple juice and lemon fizz. Oppsite the pannier market was a very intresting antique shop thats worth a browse.
In the backstreets at the bottom of the hill we came across a pasty shop that did steak and stilton pastys (among other flavours). These were delicious and I would recommend them.
After shopping it was time for dinner. We decided on trying some chips to go with our sandwhiches. The chip shop we went in was opposite the river. We sat and ate these on the quay side while watching boats being repaired.
After dinner we walked over the old bridge to where the bideford railway station used to be. This is on the taka trail which is very popular with cyclists. Here we sat and had a cup of tea in one of the railway carridges.
Now that we were fed and watered we walked over to the park and had a look in the museum which is sited here. This museum is free and also has a cafe and art gallery in the entrance.
After looking round the museum we made our way back to our car drove back to where we were staying. Luckily we didnt get lost on the way back.
Well I have to be honest I cannot believe that no one has reviewed Bideford as of yet, I live about 10 miles away so I will give you an insight of Bideford as a local. Bideford is a small port town in North Devon, located on the river Torridge if you are interested.
It is small town with the main road running along the course of the river, there are usually ships on the quay with sailors working away, and fishers who are coming or going, which is quite nice. The town does not have the best shopping facilities in the world with few shops such as a Woolworths and that is about it, however there are some lovely little local shops, which are good for buying gifts and the like. The main park in the town is Victoria Park, which has two play areas, a football pitch, art gallery and an old fort type bit. There is also a skate park attached to the park that caused controversy when built but it provides a good place for teenagers to hang out. It is busy in the summer as is everywhere in Devon, but it is dead in winter with very little atmosphere, so it is best to visit in Summer (but not too many people can visit in Summer because it wrecks it for us locals (just kidding....sort of)). Overall the town itself is very nice, quite quaint however it is a little small and quite dull during the day but can be nice to escape the hustle and bustle of day to day life (not that there is much of that in Devon) and have a Hockings.
The nightlife in Bideford is not that bad for North Devon, there are a range of restaurants (there is something for everyone from fish and chips to Indian) which provide some good food for a evening meal located throughout the town, a majority on the quay and you are never far away from a restaurant. There are also a range of clubs in Bideford, for people who want to dance the night away, Caesar's Palace is the biggest and possibly the best, with two bars, two dance floors and good theme nights, however it can become crowded, however if that doesn't take your fancy there are others such as Quigley's, Tavern and others, as well as plenty of traditional pubs.
-------------------------Getting Around the Town--------------------------
Well as it is quite small this should not be a problem as you could walk from one side to the other in 30 minutes or so. There are also plenty of buses, which can take you to other towns such as Torrington and Barnstaple as well as a bus to Westward Ho! the seaside town. The beach here is very nice and popular with some surfers, kite surfers and dog walkers, as well as beach goers. The beach is good for walking as it is a couple of miles long. However that is off topic a bit, but it is an easy town to get around and it is fun to explore (if you haven't been there before)
I am not personally a fan of Bideford as it is too small to provide enough to entertain me, even the nightlife becomes dull after a short time, because you can easily do all the main clubs without being overly rushed. However this is probably because I live near and am there every week or so, but if you have never been there and like touristy towns it is a fun day out, I mean day after the first day there is little to do other than having an ice cream and as much as this appeals it probably won't fill the day. If you do fancy visiting there are plenty of places to stay in town although none of these are that luxurious but they do the job, and are quite reasonable.