10 towns and villages to visit in North Devon | Woolacombe Bay


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10 lovely towns and villages to visit on your holiday in North Devon

Market towns, fishing villages, beautiful beaches, breath-taking scenery, local cuisine, and plenty of historic attractions to explore, it is clear why Devon is a popular holiday destination. Whether you are with your family, your other half, or just by yourself, it’s easy to turn your holiday in Devon into one of the most inspiring and memorable ever.

To help you plan your trip, we’ve compiled a list of 10 beautiful towns and villages to explore in North Devon. Pick your favourites and head off on a day trip – you’ll be amazed at what you can find!

The towns and villages listed are all within an hour's drive from our Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks, starting with the nearest and finishing with the furthest village.

Woolacombe village

Located only a 20-minute walk (or a 5-7 minute drive) from Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park, Woolacombe village is full of places to visit. Woolacombe is actually a village not a town, but there is plenty at this coastal resort to rival the other seaside towns in the area! You will find cafés, shops, restaurants, a local church, and even an amusement arcade here to keep the kids entertained. If you are residing in either Twitchen House or Easewell Farm for your holiday, then Woolacombe village is roughly a 35-40 minute walk.

Read more about this beautiful beachside village in the visitors guide to Woolacombe

view over Woolacombe town and beach
Woolacombe village and beach

Mortehoe village

Situated less than a mile away from the busy and vibrant Woolacombe Beach, at a 5-minute drive or a 20-30 minute walk, you will get to a beautiful hidden cliff-top village on the north coast of Devon called Mortehoe. This village is host to some epic views and has an air of calm.

Use your time there to visit St Mary’s 13th Century church and the Mortehoe Museum. Or if you fancy something more adventurous, you can get involved in the fun water sports activities on offer.

Read more in the visitors guide to Mortehoe

Mortehoe view and church in North Devon

Ilfracombe town

If you are planning a holiday in North Devon, Ilfracombe is a must-visit town. Only a 10-15 minute drive north of Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks, you can immerse in what is often regarded as the culinary and cultural core of North Devon. Visit spectacular Tunnels beaches, Watermouth Family Theme Park, or Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, among other popular family attractions and historic sites.

Read more in the visitors guide to Ilfracombe

Sandy beach, church and harbour at Ilfracombe in Devon
Ilfracombe harbour

Braunton village

How about heading South to explore Braunton village? Approximately a 20-minute drive from Woolacombe will take you to the largest village in England and one of the busiest villages in Devon. It is also the famous archaeological site of Braunton Great Field. At Braunton Village, there are plenty of public footpaths and bridleways to access beautiful scenery and wildlife.

If you are holidaying in Devon and visiting Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks during May, add this village to your day trips list to see an annual carnival which usually takes place at the end of the month.

Braunton village and church in Devon

Croyde village

A 20-minute drive north towards the west-facing coastline of North Devon and you are in the village of Croyde with its popular beach for surfers of all levels. Hence, if you are keen to learn some new water-based skills and have fun in the sea, Croyde is a perfect place for you.

The village hosts an annual surfing and music festival at the end of June, and there is an outdoor market for you to explore on every Tuesday during summer months.

Read more in the visitors guide to Croyde & Saunton

Croyde village and beach near Ruda holiday park in Devon
Croyde beach

Barnstaple town

Barnstaple is a river port and the largest town in North Devon and is situated less than a 30-minute drive from Woolacombe village. It is well known for The Pannier Market and Butcher’s Row, the architecture of both taking you back to Victorian times.

The Pannier Market, which hasn’t changed much in the last 150 years, hosts food markets and a general market, sells things like fresh local produce, flowers, prints, and a lot more, as well as hosts fairs on Saturdays.

However, if you are after high street retail chains and a cosy cafe or bar, you will find that in Barnstaple town centre, too.

While you are in the area, make sure to visit Exmoor Zoo to see the only pair of black leopards in the UK.

Pretty view of Barnstaple water front by Taw river
Barnstaple riverside

Lynton and Lynmouth villages

Some of the most beautiful villages to see on your holiday in North Devon!

These twin villages are located 40 minute drive away from our Devon holiday parks at Woolacombe Bay. They are only 500ft apart from each other, Lynton being located above Lynmouth (literally) at the top of the huge hill. To get there, you’ll need to take the Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway, a journey on which breathtaking views are guaranteed.

Interesting fact: Lynmouth is known as Little Switzerland. This name was given to it by the poet Robert Southey in 1799 when he thought that there was something Alpine about the village.

Fishing boats at Lynmouth in North Devon and Exmoor
Lynmouth harbour

South Moulton town

Visit South Molton if you are spending your day in Exmoor National Park and want somewhere to stop by for a delicious meal. Just like Barnstaple, it’s a market town and has a reputation for great quality food as the majority of cafes and restaurants use locally-sourced ingredients.

If you don’t mind an early start to the day and an approximately 50-minute drive each way, South Molton is well worth a visit. Add Quince Honey Farm, Factory, and a Bee Shed (yes, you can go inside) to your “must-do” Devon holiday list.

Bee keeping at Quince Honey Farm in South Moulton
Quince Honey Farm

Bideford town

If you fancy a day of shopping, Bideford might be for you. Bideford is located on the west bank of River Torridge which is approximately a 50-minute drive from Woolacombe. This historic port town is perfect for a family day trip as it has an outdoor playing area for children, shops, and a retail outlet where you can find high street brands for a bargain, as well as its own Pannier Market for some fresh local produce.

Bridge and river Torridge in Bideford in Devon

Westward Ho! village

Westward Ho! is a seaside village near Bideford and it takes about 50 minutes to drive there from our holiday parks at Woolacombe. Its name came from a Charles Kingsley book, which was written in Bideford, titled Westward Ho!, and then became a bestseller.

Apparently, the village was named Westward Ho! in order to develop tourism in that area - how could you not visit the only town in the UK, and one of the only two in the world, that has an exclamation mark as part of its formal name? The second one is Saint-Louis-du-Ha!- Ha! in Canada.

Beach and sea front at Westward Ho!
Westward Ho!

We hope you enjoy exploring these beautiful towns and villages on your holiday in Devon!

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