Discover | Ilfracombe
The Coastal town of Ilfracombe, with its variety of shops, excellent restaurants and rugged scenery is the ideal base from which to explore the outdoors in North Devon.
With the largest natural harbour on the North coast, Ilfracombe is a haven for marine and watersports enthusiasts. It’s also home to Damien Hirst’s infamous bronzed statue, Verity. Standing sword aloft, representing truth and justice; an imposing image, particularly if you enter the harbour by boat.
The town, of some 11,000 people, centres itself around this bustling working harbour. Fishing boats moor along the quayside and anglers cast a line to fish from the pier. From here you can take a boat trip to explore the sea life or join MV Oldenburg to visit Lundy Island, eleven miles from the coast of North Devon. The last ocean going paddle steamer in the world, The Waverley, can also be boarded in the Summer months to take an Exmoor coastal cruise or travel across the Bristol Channel to visit Wales.
Experienced scuba divers can explore the sea bed around Ilfracombe or dive Lundy’s Marine Nature Reserve.
With the beaches of Hele Bay nestled on one side and the cove of Raparee on the other, Hillsborough rises dramatically to 447 feet above sea level. From its peak you can take in the breathtaking views of the distant Hangman Hill in Combe Martin to the East, the Harbour and Capstone Hill to the West and the hills of The Carin and The Torrs. The Carin is a nature reserve, ideal for walking and discovering its many public footpaths, or cycling and taking the route of the old railway and joining the National Cycle Network (route 27) to Mortehoe.
The Torrs walks (owned by The National Trust) feature truly fantastic views along the coast and following them will bring you down into the neighbouring village of Lee, with its rocky beach being particularly favoured by canoeists. You can also join the stunning coast path and walk on to Woolacombe from here.