Ilfracombe is situated at the North Devon coast and is probably the most vibrant down in the county. From lovely beaches and country side walks to dozens of exciting historical buildings and plenty of modern entertainment, it's impossible to get bored here! Ilfracombe and surroundings offer a mind boggling number of activities, from swimming to horse riding, fishing, cycling, scuba diving and much more.
Ilfracombe's landmark, Hillborough Hill, dominates the harbour and is home to a fortified settlement that goes back to the iron age. Another landmark it St Nicholas' Chapel on Lantern Hill – these days it's a visitor centre, but it served as both a chapel, a lighthouse and a residential home before. Speaking of landmarks – Landmark Theatre is always worth a visit for its creative productions.
Culture & attractions in Ilfracombe
Hillsborough Nature Reserve contains some amazing cliffs and cliff walks facing the Atlantic ocean. The reserve is not only an important place for dozens of bird and animal species, the Braunton Burrows part was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for the rich and unique flora, fauna and geological formations in the area.
Since the Victorians discovered the beauty of Ilfracombe, plenty of annual events have been inaugurated to keep visitors entertained at all times. There are several beer and food festivals throughout the year, although the biggest celebration in town is the Carnival, which takes place in mid- to late August each year.
Each June, the Victorian festival serves as a reminder of the town's past and sees a great street fair, competitions and a real Victorian style ball.
Must-do highlights in Ilfracombe
If after all that relaxing, you feel the need to check how strong your nerves are before returning home, pay a visit to Chambercombe Manor, which is famous as one of Britain's most haunted houses. The manor is set in an eerily secluded valley and includes eight rooms of period furniture, although the most exciting part is the Haunted room. The mansion was first mentioned in the Domesday book and is set within lavish gardens with ponds and woodland walks. To learn more about its scary history, join one of the Haunted House tours.
With a no less exciting history, the Tunnels of Ilfracombe offer a unique access to the beaches and are an experience that visitors of any age will love. Learn how the tunnels were carved in the 19th century and go rock pooling with the kids!
For some action, why not hire quad bikes to explore the fields, or take in the landscape without motors on horseback? Other exciting activities that are not based in or around the beaches and ocean include paint pall and clay pigeon shooting.
If you prefer a slower pace, Ilfracombe is located perfectly for long walks, especially along the coast. Torrs Walk is a scenic walk that leads directly from Ilfracombe's centre past cliffs and sandy beaches to Lee Bay.
At the harbour, you have a wide choice of different boat trips, including half day tours to Lundy Island, which is one of Britain's largest nature reserves and home to a grey seal colony as well as dolphins, sharks and puffins.
Eating & drinking in Ilfracombe
As Ilfracombe is one of Devon's most popular holiday destinations, you can choose from a wide variety of restaurants, bars and pubs.
The Manor House Café is most fabled for its all day breakfast menu and rustles up a great fry up that is sure to warm you up before and after a day in the outdoors or at sea.
Having a meal at Combe Cottage feels like eating at your grandmother's house, minus any family drama – expect a warm welcome and large servings of home cooked local produce.
Accommodation in Ilfracombe
There surely isn't a shortage of hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation in Ilfracombe, but one of the best ways to enjoy the town and countryside is by renting your own holiday home.
This doesn't have to mean that you'll compromise in terms of luxury – 19 Meadow View VIP for example is a luxury lodge just outside Ilfracombe with views of the countryside and sea and luxurious furnishing.
For a larger party, the Sea Foam House right at Ilfracombe's harbour has space for up to 8 guests and features a furnished patio and two separate lounge areas.
So that's our round up of things to do on a weekend in Ilfracombe. Have you ever been there? What would you recommend doing if someone went there for the weekend? Please share you experience with us…