The small port town of Bideford sits on the banks of the River Torridge, linked by the 13th century bridge to East-the-Water. The bridge was paid for by local wool merchants; the wealthier merchants provided large spans and the smaller businesses provided smaller ones, hence the 24 uneven arches. Visitors can stroll along the waterfront and see cargo boats, sailing boats and a few commercial fishing boats moored beside MS Oldenburg, the ferry to Lundy Island. It is hard to imagine it was once one of the busiest ports in England. From the quay, streets lined with local businesses and small supermarkets run steeply uphill. The historic Swan pub is known for its award-winning food.
Bideford continues to attract tourists and visitors, in the footsteps of writer Charles Kinsley who wrote his novel Westward Ho! here. The title was later adopted by the nearby seaside resort, not vice versa as you might expect. Visitors can use Bideford as a starting point for visiting the local sandy beaches, beautiful gardens at RHS Rosemoor, Dartington Crystal Factory and the Milky Way Adventure Park.
Barnstaple is a larger port and more commercial town on the River Taw, which eventually merges with the Torridge at Appledore. The 11th century castle motte can still be seen along with the 14th century St Anne's Chapel and the Georgian Guildhall. The bustling town is well-known for its Pannier Market and modern Green Lanes Shopping Centre. Holiday cottages in Barnstaple are within easy reach of the Tarka Trail cycleway, the South West Coast Path and the grand estate of Arlington Court.
Here is our selection of the very best holiday homes in and around the Bideford & Barnstaple area...