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Ilfracombe & North Devon Delights

Ilfracombe & North Devon Delights

The perfect destination from which to explore North Devon.


The perfect destination from which to explore North Devon.


Ilfracombe has something for everyone with its picturesque historic harbour of quaint pastel coloured houses, 14th Century chapel perched on Lantern Hill and Damien Hirst’s statue Verity standing guard at the entrance surrounded by dramatic clifftop scenery and is directly on the South West Coast Path. With its stunning beaches and coves including the famous Tunnels Beaches, great eateries, numerous art and craft galleries, independent shops, activities and attractions galore it truly is the perfect destination from which to also explore North Devon and Exmoor.



Bideford sitting alongside the River Torridge in North Devon was once an important port and is only a few miles from the beaches of the Atlantic Coast, with the impressive new Torridge Bridge up river and the recently enhanced quay Bideford  still retains its old charm. It is equally well known for its great shopping, large number of lively pubs, variety of places to eat and popular night spots.

If you wish to enjoy Bideford at a more sedate pace you can stroll around the town exploring the narrow streets with brightly coloured shops selling everything from local fudge, arts & crafts, fresh local produce and general goods to the latest fashions and sportswear. There are cafes, restaurants and takeaways serving food to suit every palette and a choice of traditional inns or theme bars where you can eat or drink in or al-fresco. Take a "turn" around Victoria Park  and enjoy the excellent colourful floral displays or sit by the quayside and watch the world go by.

RHS Garden Rosemoor

Rosemoor is an internationally renowned collection of gardens in North Devon. Lady Anne Palmer created the original garden of 8 acres in 1959 and developed it over a 30 year period. Lady Palmer gave it to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in 1988, together with an additional 32 acres. It is surrounded by over 100 acres woodlands; with the River Torridge running along the western border. Highlights include the fragrant Rose Garden, with about 2000 roses, the Arboretum, the brightly coloured Hot Garden, The Exotic Garden, The Herb, Fruit and Vegetable gardens and the Alpine House to name but a few. Rosemoor has given its name to a veriety of Clematis. 


Lynton & Lynmouth

Set amongst the spectacular scenery of an area known as 'England’s Little Switzerland' is Lynton, a small Victorian town with a selection of shops, tea-rooms and cafés. The town boast few buildings of particular note but the Town Hall is worth a second glance, as is the strangely named Valley of Rocks Hotel. The Lyn and Exmoor Museum is housed in St Vincent’s Cottage. It has some interesting exhibitions of Exmoor life, including information about the local lifeboat and the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway. Lynmouth, situated below Lynton, on the coast is a pretty harbour nestling beneath the cliffs. It is a quiet retreat where one can wander between the quaint fishing cottages that line the narrow street down towards the quay and the distinctive Rhenish Tower. The steep gradient between the two villages had always been a deterrent to visitors and a hard climb for the locals and in 1890 the unique water operated cliff railway was opened to connect them.


Set between the foothills of Exmoor National Park and the Somerset coast, Dunster is probably the largest and most intact medieval village in England, a national treasure! Dominated by Dunster Castle, Dunster has a wealth of history to discover, including the iconic Yarn Market, the remains of a Benedictine priory, a working Watermill, Packhorse Bridge and Iron Age settlements. It has such a fascinating history, Time Team Dig Village chose it as its first village to investigate! Winding cobbled streets between higgledy-piggledy thatched cottages, cute shops, tea rooms, cafes and galleries all provide plenty of interest. 


Exmoor National Park on the Bristol Channel coast of south west England straddles two counties, with 71% of the park located in Somerset and 29% located in Devon. The total area of the park, which includes the Brendon Hills and the Vale of Porlock, covers 693 square kilometres of hilly open moorland and includes 34 miles of coast. It is primarily an upland area with a dispersed population living mainly in small villages and hamlets. The largest settlements are Porlock, Dulverton, Lynton, and Lynmouth, which together contain almost 40% of the National Park population. 

Before it was a park Exmoor was a Royal Forest and hunting ground, which was sold off in 1818. Exmoor was one of the first British National Parks, designated in 1954, under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, and is named after the main river that flows out of the district, the River Exe.



Barnstaple is a pleasant town, nestling in the valley of the River Taw, seven miles from the mouth of the river and is the administrative, commercial and agricultural centre of North Devon. It was the first town with Borough status in the country to celebrate its 1000 year anniversary. 

It is the main town of the district and claims to be the oldest borough in the United Kingdom being granted its charter in 930 AD by King Aethelstan - the grandson of Alfred the Great. By the time of the Domesday Book Barnstaple had its own mint (coin). Its size and wealth in the Middle Ages was based on it being a staple port licensed to export wool and its importance is still obvious in the town's name. The wool trade was further aided by the town's excellent port, with five ships being sent in 1588 to aid the fight against the Spanish Armada. Today it still remains a thriving market town with a traditional market, a partly pedestrianised centre and features many fine buildings and attractive narrow streets and alleys.

Pannier Market

Enjoy the charm and friendly atmosphere of one of Britain's largest indoor markets. There's something for everyone. Largely unchanged in over 150 years, Barnstaple's historic Pannier Market has a wide range of stalls, with everything from fresh local produce, flowers and crafts, to prints and pictures, fashion and much more. Ideally located on the bustling High Street, the market is a must-see attraction for all visitors to the town. The market boasts two café's each offering varied menus at great prices and a relaxed atmosphere, where you can sit and watch the world go by. Open all year round from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm, there really is something for everyone on every day of the week, except Sundays and bank holidays. And if the market is not enough, there is a great mix of national and independent shops and other attractions nearby.

Hartland Abbey & Gardens

Built in the 12th C, Hartland Abbey survived as a monastery longer than any other in the country. In 1539, Henry VIII gifted the abbey to the Keeper of his Wine Cellar and the house still remains in the family. The impressive interiors span Medieval, Queen Anne, Georgian, Regency and Victorian periods.

Walk under a huge tree rhododendron to woodland gardens of camellias, azaleas and hydrangeas, the Gertrude Jekyll designed Bog Garden, Fernery and 18thC Walled Gardens. Now restored after decades of neglect, visitors can experience these romantic gardens as they were a century ago; massed tulips, spring bulbs, mixed borders, roses, tender and rare plants, organically grown vegetables and fruit flourish within the shelter of the mellow stone walls and rebuilt glasshouses. Walk to the Summerhouse, the Gazebo and the beach with views to Lundy Island 

Day 1

Our journey to the west country is via the M6 & M5 motorways, comfort stops will be made en-route and we are due to arrive at the Carlton Hotel, Ilfracombe, late afternoon. Dinner in the hotel.


Day 2

This morning we head to the historic harbour town of Bideford, explore the quirky little shops and the riverside quay before our visit to the enchanting RHS Garden Rosemoor. Nestled in the Torridge Valley, the Rosemoor gardens are eye catching at any time of year with several gardens to explore, including the fragrant rose gardens, the brightly coloured Hot Garden, the Foliage Garden, Stone Garden and Exotic Garden to name but a few. Dinner at the hotel.

B, D

Day 3

Day at leisure in Ilfracombe, known as the jewel in the North Devon Coast, discover the quaint quayside and harbour, whitewashed villas, lovely beaches and enjoy the coastal paths. Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Day 4

Full day tour, firstly visiting Lynmouth, site of a horrific flood in 1952, here you can visit Lynton the clifftop village, via the unique Victorian water powered funicular cliff lift, before heading up Porlock Hill on our way to Dunster. We return to Barnstaple through the dramatic scenery of the Exmoor National Park. Dinner at the Carlton Hotel.

B, D

Day 5

We spend this morning in the charming market town of Barnstaple, a visit to the Pannier market is a must, as well as exploring the pretty little alleyways, courtyards and Georgian buildings. We have time for lunch in one of the many bars or cafes before we make our way to the stunning Hartland Abbey & Gardens. Many films and TV programmes have been filmed here, including the Sense & Sensibility TV mini-series and Enid Blytonfs Malory Towers. Dinner at the hotel.

B, D

Day 6

We leave North Devon for our return home to Cumbria, arriving home early evening.


B=Breakfast Included, D=Dinner Included

Carlton Hotel

The Carlton Hotel sits within one of the most picturesque coastal towns in North Devon. Discovered by the Victorians it has been a favourite destination with visitors ever since, but hasn’t lost its small town charm.

With fresh food, locally sourced The Brasserie at The Carlton is the perfect setting to enjoy a meal, freshly prepared in the kitchen using some of the best local produce around. Brasserie is a French term referring to an establishment where the food is good, but simple and served in a relaxed setting, which typifies the ambience of the in-house restaurant. An informal dinner menu is served seven days a week, with a lighter all day and lounge menu to complement our dinner offer.

The Carlton’s hotel rooms are stylish, contemporary and restful and have been designed to the highest specifications. As standard, all rooms include flat screen TVs, fast Wifi, personal fridge/mini bar, ironing facilities and wardrobe safes, along with opening windows.

Bathrooms are ensuite and designed to a high specification with many benefiting from under floor heating to ensure the ultimate cosy bathroom experience.  Whether showering or indulging in a bubble-filled bath, the fully tiled finishes ensure efficiency of cleaning and even higher standards of hygiene.

The Carlton has a number of accessible rooms, spacious and customised, with provisions for carers to stay in the room (or adjacently). We are a family friendly hotel and can provide extra beds to ensure the family unit stays together in comfort.


Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Appleby The Sands Appleby
Aspatria Car Park beside Spar Aspatria
Brough Monument Bus Shelter Brough
Carlisle Entrance to Sands Centre Car Park Carlisle
Cockermouth Monument Main Street Cockermouth
Dearham Commercial Corner Dearham
Distington Outside Prospect Works Distington
Egremont Conservative Club Egremont
Flimby Railway Station Flimby
Harrington Galloping Horse bus stop Harrington
Keswick Bell Close Car Park Keswick
Kirkby Stephen Market Square Kirkby Stephen
Maryport Outside Coop Maryport
Penrith Sandgate Bus Station Penrith
Shap Village Hall Shap
Tebay Old Services Car Park Tebay
Thursby Bus Stop Thursby
Waverton Bus Stop Waverton
Whitehaven Bus Stop Tangier Street Whitehaven
Wigton Old Bus Station Wigton
Workington Lay By opposite Grahams Travel Jane St. Workington
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