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Avast me hearties! It’s the Clovelly Maritime Festival

Pirate-themed adventure is the name of the game for those attending the Clovelly Maritime Festival. where snorkelling, street theatre &music await.
Clovelly is packed with pirates on the third Sunday in July, when the Clovelly Maritime Festival draws visitors from far and wide. The usual admission charges to this historic village apply, but youngsters under 16 get in free when attending in pirate, mermaid, salty sea dog or fish wife costume. With pirate tales, underwater adventures, coracle sailing and storytelling, this is one family day out you really won’t want to miss.

Organised in aid of the , this family fun day takes over the steep cobbled streets of Clovelly. The narrow main street drops 400 feet (120 metres) as it descends in shallow steps to the pebble beach, harbour and quay where most of the action takes place. Just in case you were wondering, there is a Land Rover service back to the car park if you don’t feel up to the climb.

The street is lined with whitewashed fisherman’s cottages which have stood the test of time. Made from wattle and daub, some with thatched roofs, many of the cottages are listed buildings. They are part of the unique charm of this lovely village near Bideford, North Devon.

Pirate adventure is part of the Clovelly Maritime Festival

Still serviced by donkeys pulling wooden sleds, this historic village is the perfect setting for the pirate-themed Clovelly Maritime Festival. Street theatre, Punch and Judy shows and maritime entertainment will provide all sorts of fun and entertainment from 10am to 5pm.

Live music drifts up from the harbour, with lively sea shanties, pirate jigs and songs about smugglers, voyages and pressgangs. Just the sort of thing you would expect from a historic maritime festival in Devon, in fact.

Snorkelling, Star Gazy Pie and street theatre!

Street theatre performances usually include tales of mermaids, shipwrecks, and of course pirates, to keep pint-sized youngsters fully entertained with their imaginations in overdrive! There’s also plenty of craft activities for youngsters.

For adults, celebrity chefs drop in to demonstrate local maritime cuisine such as how to make the traditional Star Gazy Pie – a Westcountry creation made of pilchards with their heads peeking out through the pastry lid. Once the staple catch of Clovelly fishermen in times past, the abundant shoals of pilchards are sadly no longer found here.

Underwater explorers will want to attend the Clovelly Maritime Festival when the tide is high in the harbour. In past years the Marine Biological Association has offered educational experiences and visitors can go snorkelling to see what lies in these calm waters. If you prefer, you can take to the water in a coracle and paddle around the harbour.

Things to do in Clovelly

Down on the seafront there are plenty more stands and activities. See local chefs demonstrating seafood recipes, browse the arts and crafts stalls or just sit on the beach and enjoy this beautiful location.

For lunch and refreshments, head to one of Clovelly’s historic pubs. The misleadingly named New Inn, which actually dates back to the 17th century, will be offering homemade cream teas and lunchtime specials while the Red Lion on the waterfront has its usual fine menu. There’s also a spit roast providing hot rolls throughout the day so come hungry!

If you’re looking for other things to do to make the most of your visit to Clovelly, there’s an informative Visitor Centre and shop near the car park and entrance. You can visit the and the historic where you can watch an interesting 15-minute video about the history of Clovelly. There are also several craft workshops and shops to make your day complete.

Thousands of people visit Clovelly every year – and you may be one of them. Let us know what the village is like (the good and the not-so-good!) by sharing your comments in the box below.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

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