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Ilfracombe (England)

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A seaside harbour town in North Devon.

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    4 Reviews
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    • More +
      20.07.2010 14:34
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      A Great Place To Visit

      Ilfracombe is a small town located in North Devon. Although this town only has a population of around ten thousand, it can get very busy in the summer months when tourists flock to the area. Ilfracombe is a seaside town and markets itself as such, it has a nice little harbour which is always a busy little place. There is plenty to see and do in this town and it's somewhere that has always had an excellent reputation as being a good place to go on holiday to.

      If you are looking to stay in Ilfracombe there really is a great selection of hotels available. There are plenty of small guest houses although some of these have become a little run down over the years. If you do book one of these make sure you do your research first and pick a nice one. There are some excellent larger hotels in Ilfracombe as well. Some of the best ones include the Westwood Hotel, Montpellier, The Elmfield Hotel and the Hampton's Hotel. These are all four star hotels and have excellent reputations. Ilfracombe also has a few nice campsites in the area and a few caravan parks, these are good as a cheap alternative.

      In the town there is plenty to keep people busy. There are a nice selection of shops to look around, some are very touristy shops that sell local tat, other are more upmarket and sell local arts and crafts. You also have all the standard shops you would expect in a town of this size. There are also a few arcades located down near the seafront, these are great fun and a good place to spend some of your spare change. Ilfracombe also has a nice selection of cafes and pubs, most of these serve excellent food and the service is always good.

      One of the most famous attractions in Ilfracombe is 'The Tunnels'. Here you go through a tunnel under the cliff to a secret beach. This beach is an excellent place to go swimming in the sea due to the fact that there is a large pool which is protected from the waves, this makes the conditions calm and great for young children. There are also lots of small rock pools to explore that are often teeming with marine wildlife.

      There are many other places near to Ilfracombe that are well worth visiting. Woolacombe is one of Britain's most beautiful sea side towns, it has a long sandy beach and is a great place to go surfing. Combemartin is another lovely little town that is well worth a visit. Then you have Lynton & Lynmouth which are both stunning little villages with amazing scenery, if you go here make sure you visit the famous 'Valley of the Rocks'.

      Overall Ilfracombe really does have something for everyone. The town has been a popular tourist destination for many years and I see no reason why it won't carry on being for many more. It's a great spot for both young and old and really does offer something for everyone.

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        17.05.2009 23:55
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        A town worth stopping off to see

        Ilfracombe is a place you must visit if you are in North Devon there is something for everyone the view is absolutely georgous over the harbour and there are lots of places to eat along side the harbour scrummy cream teas and lots of places to get fish and chips!
        One place you must see is rolys fudge pantry where they make fudge in the shop the smell is mouth watering!! The fudge is absolutely delicious and there is a variety of flavours. There are also a few games arcades just a short walk from the harbour they are a little dated but good enough to keep kids amused for an hour or so! The high street isnt great but there are a variety of bank machines and little convenience stores.
        There are also quite a few gift shops along the high street brilliant for buying traditional devonshire gifts to take home.

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          29.09.2008 23:25
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          Overall I think iIfracombe is a nice place to live but could be improved.

          I used to live in Ilfracombe it is quite a nice place to live. Ilfracombe attracts a lot of tourists in the summer because of nearby beaches, tourist shops etc. Ilfracombe has a has quite a big harbour where you can get boat rides to see different things one of the main attractions is getting the boat to Lundy island I personally have never done it but have been told its definItely worth going to.

          Ilfracombe high street is a bit disappointing really you have a few shops but nothing major. You can pick up lots of touristy gifts and there are a couple decent clothes shops but that's it really. If you're after clothes you can get the bus to a nearby town called Barnstaple.

          Devon is well known for its cream teas and scones, so if you're after these then definitely come to ilfracombe as there's plenty of little cafes you can buy this and sit outside and enjoy the fresh air.

          Ilfracombe night life isn't great. There is one main club you can go to called whispers which is extremely cheesy. There is no dress code there so often people turn up in tracksuits and very underdressed. But you will probably have a laugh. A lot of the Ilfracombe locals go there or there are many pubs you can go to which normally gets packed.

          In Ilfracombe there is a cinema that has recently been refurbished and a theatre called the landmark which is quite a big attraction, you can also host venues there i.e. wedding receptions. In the summer Ilfracombe hosts Victorian week which I always like to go to as people walk round in all the old costumes which is nice as everyone gets involved and in the spirit of things.

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            28.11.2003 19:16
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            Skip this first bit to be able to read the review with capital letters intact. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. Ilfracombe is a seaside harbour town near to Barnstaple in North Devon. It can be reached by leaving the M5 at junction 27, and following the A361 until it terminates at Ilfracombe. Ilfracombe is not a suitable place to visit if you are a lover of sandy beaches, as the sand is mainly shingle. However, the rocks are fantastic and a haven for sea life, which is great fun for the kids. Ilfracombe has been famous for over 150 years as a seaside resort, and still seems to be a very popular choice for tourists and holiday makers each year. I have visited Ilfracombe both as a small child with my parents, and now with my own family. Every time we holiday Devon, we always set aside a day for a visit. There are various car parks throughout the town and the harbour area, and we normally park down on the harbour, and then stroll around the town and the beaches. Boat trips are available from the harbour area. We took one to see the seals, which took us up to Woolacombe Bay, which was priced at £7 per adult and £3 each per child. It must have been our lucky day as the kind gentleman running the trips said that we did not have to pay for the children that day. The trip took nearly two hours, and although we only saw one seal, it was well worth the money to see people turning green and throwing up into plastic bags. There are also trips to Lundy Island running from the harbour which is some 11 miles away. The island is a wildlife sanctuary and is home to seals and seabirds. The harbour is a haven for pubs and restaurants. We went into a pub opposite the harbour and had four basket meals for only £10. The food was wonderful and the portions were ample. Ilfracombe is famous for its abundance of gift shops. There are many of them scattered along the walk down to the harbour. We went into every one of them. Two children with nearly £100 each burning a hole in their pockets is not a good idea on holiday!! There are some very reasonably pric
            ed shops along the front, and we found a great one selling soft cuddly toys, which were half the price of other shops. Amber left here clutching a huge cuddly gorilla, which she had paid £9.99 for, and I know I have seen these in other shops, priced at over £20. If you are visiting Ilfracombe, you MUST go to Fudgies shop. The shop specialises in wonderful flavoured ice cream cornets, with the obligatory flake if you want it, or a fudge stick, which delighted our children. The gentleman who runs this shop is really friendly and he sells the best Cornish pasties I have ever tasted, which he makes himself on the premises. However, it is advisable to visit in the morning, as the Cornish pasties sell out by lunch time. Not only do Fudgies sell original Cornish Pasties, but also cheese and onion, chicken and mushroom and steak and ale, amongst others. The most original thing about the pasties is that they are stuffed fit to burst with filling, and the filling is even in the crust. Absolutely gorgeous! We also visited Maddies chip shop, which according to all the advertising outside, was voted in the top 100 chippies in England. This award must have been given some time ago. Although we only bought chips, they were perfectly ordinary. The coastal paths in Ilfracombe are spectacular and it is possible to walk to Lynton and Lynmouth from here, and Woolacombe, as well as other coastal towns and seaside resorts. If you are a keen fisherman, Ilfracombe is ideal. As well as fishing trips running regularly from the harbour, it is possible to fish from the shore during the winter months. There is also the obligatory crazy golf course on the way to the harbour, situated on the promenade, which was quite busy the day we visited. The tunnels beach can be accessed from the Bath House, through tunnels carved by hand, in the cliffs. For some reason you are charged to visit this beach, which has a wonderful rock pool, giving the chil
            dren hours of fun. Tickets can be bought for the beach from Café Blue, which is a wonderful place to stop for a snack, but I must admit we cheated. As the tickets are priced at £5.50 for a family of four, we accessed the beach by walking down onto the bay next to the Landmark Theatre and clambered over the rocks. This took about half an hour and can only be done at low tide, but I?m sure many other people would not pay just to visit a beach! Any leaflet that you pick up relating to the tunnel beaches will tell you that once you have paid your entrance fee, there is a free childrens play area, boules, table football and table tennis. The fact is, all these are actually situated within the Café Blue and not on the tunnels beaches. Runnymeade Gardens are situated in front of the Landmark Theatre and these have a bandstand set in the middle. In the summer the Gardens are full of wonderful flowers, and are a lovely place to sit with an ice cream, with a dollop of clotted cream on the top. There is a 13th century chapel and lighthouse situated at the top of Lantern Hill, which is accessed from a path on a steep incline. This is open to the public and overlooks the harbour area. Hele Bay is on the outskirts of Ilfracombe and is a quiet cove. Here again, there are an abundance of rockpools, although the day we visited it was very windy and at high tide. Hillsborough is a nature reserve just along from Hele Bay and is reached only by a very long hike! The views from here are wonderful of Ilfracombe though. Larkstone Gardens and the swimming pool are adjacent the rugby ground in Ilfracombe, just before you reach Hele Bay. Bowls and croquet can both be played here. The High street in Ilfracombe is well signposted from the harbour area. Although there are not many big stores, there are some wonderful little olde worlde shops and we spent an afternoon wandering up and down. The Landmark Theatre is relatively new and
            can seat 483 people. As well as a theatre, there is also a cinema and the Tourist Information Centre housed within the complex. The café bar in the complex is open throughout the day. Ilfracombe has its own museum, which is situated near the Landmark Theatre and is open during peak season from 10 am to 5pm or off peak from 10am to 1pm. There is something for young and old in the museum. The children will enjoy the birds, butterflies and bats and the adults will enjoy the costume displays including ?Granny?s Attic? which is a display of all things Victorian. Admission charges are £1.50 per adult and 50p for children. Ilfracombe is also famous for its many festivals held throughout the year. The Victorian Celebration, which takes place in June is one I would love to visit as the townsfolk don 19th century costume and there are street fairs amongst other things going on. Ilfracombe has an aquarium down on the Harbour, which is a new attraction and costs £9.00 for a family of four. Although the aquarium is worth a visit, I do think it is slightly overpriced. I would recommend Ilfracombe as a great day out. There is plenty to do and lots of interesting places to visit, for both adults and children. Although the beach is not great, there are plenty of rock pools and rocks for the kids to keep them amused. I have been visiting Ilfracombe for about thirty years now and intend to visit again in the next few years. The tourist information centre for Ilfracombe can be contacted on 01271 863001, if you would like information on hotels and guest houses in the area.

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