Things to do in Ilfracombe

About Ilfracombe

The must-see attractions in Ilfracombe include the picturesque Ilfracombe Harbour, the thought-provoking Verity statue by Damien Hirst, and the historic Tunnels Beaches. Nature enthusiasts should not miss the panoramic views from Hillsborough Nature Reserve, while history buffs will enjoy Chambercombe Manor and the Ilfracombe Museum.
For family fun, visit the Ilfracombe Aquarium, explore the interactive exhibits at the Ilfracombe Museum, and enjoy the attractions at Watermouth Family Theme Park & Castle. The beaches offer kid-friendly activities such as rock pooling and sandcastle building.
Ilfracombe's best outdoor activities include hiking along the South West Coast Path, visiting the Valley of Rocks, and taking boat trips for dolphin watching. Furthermore, the town's lovely beaches provide ample space for swimming, kayaking, and surfing.
Indoor enthusiasts can enjoy the Ilfracombe Aquarium, discover local heritage at the Ilfracombe Museum, and browse art at the Ilfracombe Art & Craft Society's Gallery. For leisure, indulge in the town's cozy cafes and eclectic restaurants.
The best Ilfracombe tours include guided walks exploring the town's history and architecture, boat excursions along the coastline, and audio tours that take visitors through hidden cultural spots and picturesque landscapes.
The most popular museums in Ilfracombe are the Ilfracombe Museum with its diverse local collections and the Shipwreck Treasure Museum that houses intriguing maritime artifacts.
On rainy days, audio tours of Ilfracombe's galleries and cultural landmarks provide a captivating experience. Self-guided museum tours are also enjoyable indoor alternatives, offering insightful encounters with local history and art.
Short and sweet tours in Ilfracombe include enlightening visits to local art galleries, self-guided heritage trails within the town center, and enjoyable explorations of the Ilfracombe Harbour and its vicinity, all of which can be completed in an hour or less.

Best Things to Do In Ilfracombe

Delve into the charm of Ilfracombe, a coastal haven of activities and sights bound to enrich any visitor's experience.

Ilfracombe: Ilfracombe Museum

What is it?
A treasure trove of curiosities from natural history and maritime to domestic nostalgia.
Why you should go?
Ilfracombe Museum beckons with its quirky collections that thread through different aspects of local and global history. Housed in the former laundry of the Ilfracombe Hotel, the museum lures the curious with exhibits ranging from Ilfracombe's seafaring tales to exotic specimens from across the world. Interactive displays engage all ages, making it one of the most interesting places to visit in Ilfracombe.

Ilfracombe: Hillsborough Nature Reserve

What is it?
A scenic hillside reserve offering panoramic views and diverse wildlife habitats.
Why you should go?
Hillsborough Nature Reserve, often referred to as 'the sleeping elephant,' provides walkers with sweeping vista points that overlook the harbor and town. Celebrated for its geological and biological significance, the reserve is a sanctuary for varied flora and fauna. Outdoors enthusiasts will find its crisscrossing trails a perfect addition to their Ilfracombe activities, fostering both adventure and tranquility.

Ilfracombe: Capstone Hill

What is it?
A promenade leading to a hill with sweeping seaside views, ideal for a leisurely hike.
Why you should go?
Capstone Hill stands as a prominent feature of Ilfracombe's skyline, promising an accessible climb culminating in magnificent views over the town and Bristol Channel. The hill's gentle slopes are perfect for all levels of walkers and provide a picturesque sunset spot. It's also a key vantage point during the town's many festivals, adding to the list of fun things to do in Ilfracombe.

Ilfracombe: Wildersmouth Beach

What is it?
A secluded cove offering quiet contemplation and the soft sounds of the sea.
Why you should go?
Wildersmouth Beach is an Ilfracombe gem, tucked away within walking distance from the town center. This pebble beach draws those in search of a peaceful spot to enjoy the seaside away from the crowds. It's an idyllic setting for photographers and couples, with rock pools and the timeless rhythm of the waves enhancing the experience. Its tranquil charm ranks Wildersmouth Beach amongst the top things to see in Ilfracombe.

Ilfracombe: Ilfracombe Art & Craft Society's Gallery

What is it?
A vibrant gallery showcasing the works of local artists and craftspeople.
Why you should go?
Located in the heart of the town, the Ilfracombe Art & Craft Society's Gallery celebrates the creative spirit of the area. Visitors can admire and purchase a variety of artworks, from paintings and jewelry to textiles and ceramics. The rotation of displays ensures there's always something new to behold. The gallery is a must-visit for those looking to take a piece of Ilfracombe's culture home with them.

Ilfracombe: The Ilfracombe Aquarium

What is it?
An engaging showcase of local marine wildlife housed in a quaint harbor-side building.
Why you should go?
Plunge into an underwater journey at The Ilfracombe Aquarium, an ideal stop for families and marine enthusiasts alike. Providing an intimate look at the aquatic life, from the source of the River Torridge to the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, this educational attraction offers an up-close experience with local fish and invertebrates. The detailed exhibitions and passionate staff turn every visit into an informative adventure, making this one of the top things to do in Ilfracombe.

Ilfracombe: Chambercombe Manor

What is it?
A historic 11th-century manor purported to be one of Britain's most haunted houses.
Why you should go?
With its tales of ghosts and its rich tapestry of history, Chambercombe Manor presents an unmissable experience for history buffs and the supernaturally curious. This Grade II listed building, nestled in lush garden settings, invites visitors to step back in time and explore period-furnished rooms that tell the story of centuries past. Chambercombe Manor is a treasure of heritage and lore, ranking high among the things to see in Ilfracombe.

Ilfracombe: Ilfracombe Harbour

What is it?
A bustling and scenic hub offering a window into Ilfracombe's maritime heritage.
Why you should go?
Ilfracombe's Harbour is the town's beating heart, where salty sea air and the sight of bobbing boats create a mesmerizing ambience. As the starting point for many Ilfracombe activities, it offers not only a picturesque strolling area but also the launchpad for boat excursions to nearby islands and wildlife spotting trips. The backdrop of the rugged coast underscores the natural beauty that Ilfracombe proudly boasts.

Ilfracombe: Runnymede Gardens

What is it?
A tranquil green oasis offering leisurely walks with views of the sea and Verity statue.
Why you should go?
Runnymede Gardens is a delightful escape for visitors seeking serenity and natural beauty. The meticulously maintained paths lead through a variety of vibrant plant life, providing a peaceful setting for relaxation. Frequented for picnics, live music events, and simply enjoying the outdoor atmosphere, the gardens are among the best places to visit in Ilfracombe for a restful break from seaside explorations.

Ilfracombe: Hele Corn Mill & Tea Room

What is it?
A charming, operational 16th-century watermill with an adjacent tea room serving fresh scones.
Why you should go?
Hele Corn Mill & Tea Room is a delightful attraction that combines history with culinary pleasure. The mill is one of the oldest working watermills in the UK, offering guided tours that dive into its milling heritage. After learning about traditional flour making, one can indulge in the renowned tea room's delicious, freshly made scones and other baked goods, making it one of the most fun things to do in Ilfracombe.

TOP-5 tours in Ilfracombe for first time visitors

  • Embark on a journey through the picturesque harbor, a quintessential thing to see in Ilfracombe, with tales of maritime history whispering through the ages.
  • Explore the enigmatic Tunnels Beaches, one of the best things to do in Ilfracombe, where audio tales recreate the Victorian bathing experience.
  • Discover the splendor of Ilfracombe's art scene with a tour dedicated to local galleries and the famous Damien Hirst's sculptures, blending culture with seaside charm.
  • For fun things to do in Ilfracombe, join a storytelling adventure that guides you through the town's lush green spaces and hidden trails.
  • Engage in Ilfracombe excursions focusing on gastronomic delights, savoring the flavors of the sea while learning about the town's culinary traditions.

Fun things to do in Ilfracombe with kids

Ilfracombe presents a plethora of family-friendly activities that are sure to captivate the imaginations of children and adults alike. At the top of the list is the Ilfracombe Aquarium, where the vibrant marine life of North Devon is displayed in a series of fascinating exhibits, offering a hands-on, interactive experience for kids. Following up the aquarium visit, the fun continues at Watermouth Family Theme Park & Castle. This storybook castle comes alive with a blend of attractions including traditional fairground rides, animated displays, and meticulously maintained gardens with water features that provide entertainment for the entire family. Lastly, for a more laid-back day, The Ilfracombe Beach presents a perfect spot for sandcastle building, paddling, and beachcombing. This seaside adventure allows families to relax by the waves or explore the rock pools teeming with coastal creatures. Each attraction captures the essence of what to do in Ilfracombe with kids, guaranteeing delightful memories for family holidays.

Things to do in Ilfracombe with family

When it comes to family escapades in Ilfracombe, choices abound that cater to young and old. Begin with an educational outing to the Ilfracombe Aquarium, where engaging presentations bring the local underwater ecosystems to life. Marvel at the array of species that dwell along the Devonshire coast, a highlight being the hands-on touch pool where curious minds meet marine creatures. Next, step back in time at Watermouth Family Theme Park & Castle for a day filled with enchanting attractions. The park offers a complete package, from nostalgic rides to interactive play areas, amid a setting rich with history. For an al fresco experience, the Tunnels Beaches provide safe bathing in tidal pools, fascinating Victorian hand-carved tunnels, and ample space for picnics, making for an ideal family-friendly outing. Each location encapsulates the best Ilfracombe activities for families, ensuring a vacation that is as diverse as the charming seaside town itself.

Free things to do in Ilfracombe

Ilfracombe, nestled along the North Devon coast, offers an array of complimentary activities for those seeking to soak in the local culture and landscapes without any expense. First among the free things to do is a visit to the Ilfracombe Harbour, where families can enjoy the bustling port atmosphere and perhaps catch sight of the boats returning with the day's catch. Scenic walks along the South West Coast Path present awe-inspiring views of the dramatic coastline, and the opportunity to spot local wildlife. Another splendid free activity is exploring the town’s historic architecture, such as visiting the St. Nicholas Chapel perched atop Lantern Hill, which provides a magnificent vantage point for panoramic photographs. Ilfracombe’s dedication to art is evident with its outdoor gallery of Victorian and modern sculptures, including the striking Verity statue by artist Damien Hirst. Each of these free attractions captures the essence and beauty of Ilfracombe, making them ideal for travelers on a budget.

Cheap things to do in Ilfracombe

Ilfracombe's charm isn't just in its picturesque scenery; it's also a hub for budget-friendly ventures. Top among the cheap things to do in Ilfracombe is exploring its historic streets where a rich Victorian legacy mingles with contemporary street art, providing a delightful, cost-effective way to spend an afternoon. For nature enthusiasts, the thrill of hiking up to Capstone Hill is unbeatable; this prominent peak offers sublime panoramic views of the town and coastal landscapes at no cost. Meanwhile, the Ilfracombe Seafront provides a leisurely locale for a stroll along the Promenade, admiring the view of the Atlantic and the iconic Verity statue by Damien Hirst. With its array of low-cost attractions, Ilfracombe proves that adventure and exploration don't have to come with a hefty price tag, making it a perfect destination for travelers watching their spending.

Things to do in Ilfracombe for couples

Ilfracombe offers a romantic backdrop for couples seeking to create memorable moments together. Embark on an intimate journey with a scenic coastal walk along the South West Coast Path, where breathtaking views and quiet coves offer a serene setting for a private picnic or sunset watching. For an artistic twist, couples can immerse themselves in the cultural side of the town by visiting local galleries or taking in the grandeur of Damien Hirst's Verity statue. This seaside town's mix of natural beauty and art creates a charming atmosphere perfect for lovebirds. Additionally, the historic Ilfracombe Harbour presents an opportunity for a leisurely amble or a cozy cafe experience, where one can enjoy a hot beverage overlooking the tranquil waters. Each of these destinations provides a unique and enchanting experience, solidifying Ilfracombe as a haven for couples looking to explore and deepen their bond.

Things to do in Ilfracombe at night

Ilfracombe transforms as the sun sets, offering nighttime experiences that are both unique and captivating. An evening walk along the Ilfracombe Harbour allows visitors to observe the serene moonlit waters and enjoy the cool night air, providing a tranquil end to the day. As the night comes alive, the town's local pubs and eateries buzz with activity, welcoming couples and groups alike to sample local ales and cuisine. Seasonal ghost walks and historical tours become an intriguing option for those interested in a spine-tingling adventure, where the town's darker history and ghostly tales are brought to light. Ilfracombe's nocturnal ambiance complements its daytime charm, giving visitors a full spectrum of activities to enjoy around the clock. These attractions underscore Ilfracombe as a destination with a nightlife that is both enjoyable and diverse.