Ilfracombe is an Victorian resort with a real seaside flavour.
Once a thriving port, Ilfracombe still has a small fishing fleet but it was tourism that made Ilfracombe grow. Holidaymakers originally came across on passenger ferries from ports on the Bristol Channel and the arrival of the railway, which closed in 1970, made it a fashionable Devon resort.
The main historical event in the town was the 'Great Fire' in 1896 which destroyed many buildings. An event that was repeated with fires in 1980's and in 2006, although these were more confined and controlled.
Ilfracombe is very much a family holiday destination and there are good beaches at Tunnels Beaches, so-called as in the Victorian era Welsh miners were employed to dig four tunnels to allow easy access to the beaches.
Things to do in Ilfracombe include taking a boat trip. There are seasonal sea cruises on the historic paddle steamers MV Balmoral or the PS Waverley. The Waverley has been operating in Ilfracombe since 1887. For a day out you can visit by Lundy Island by taking the MS Oldenburg, which is the supply vessel for this lovely island.
Today, Ilfracombe has a wide range of shops in the High Street and in the summer a 'land train' operates to take visitors down to the harbour and the sea front. There are some steep hills away from the town centre and harbour areas.
Annual events at Ilfracombe include a Victorian pageant in June and the Ilfracombe Carnival in August.
Ilfracombe has a cinema and there are shows and events all year round at the modern Landmark theatre on the sea front.
For walkers, the South West Coast path runs through the town and you can have pleasant walks up to Capstone Hill from the seafront and further along the coast. You might like to walk up Lantern Hill by the harbour which has St Nicholas's Chapel that is used as a lighthouse. It may be the oldest working lighthouse in the country.
One recent addition to Ilfracombe is Damien Hirst's controversial statute 'Verity', erected in 2012, that stands by the harbourside.
Ilfracombe Golf Course The local cliff top golf course.
Arlington Court 6.9 miles A lovely house with a collection of carriages.
Ilfracombe Museum Ilfracombe's local museum to explore.
Coastal walks Lots to see, take your pick of which direction to go in.
Hele Corn Mill A charming watermill to visit.
The beach at Croyde 7.7 miles A lovely and popular beach.
The Embassy Cinema Take in a film during your stay.
Landmark Theatre Enjoy a night out at the theatre.
Watermouth Castle 2.2 miles Have a good day out at this family theme park.
Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park 5.4 miles See the dinosaurs come alive ! and enjoy the animals.
Berrynarbour, a pretty village to visit with a good pub, between Combe Martin and Ilfracombe.
Towns Near Ilfracombe To Visit - straight line distance:Combe Martin (3.98 miles) Mortehoe (4.29 miles) Woolacombe (4.72 miles) Croyde (7.34 miles)