Activities Guide – Getting to know the area or just needing a new idea? Full List of Ideas with Links

Getting to know the area, or just needing a new idea?

We hope something here will catch your eye.   We have kept it brief as we know you’ll search online for more details, opening times, locations and what’s on. Check out our website Blogs too at: The Gallery Lodges 

Please note that with any equipment hire or outdoor sports activity you should always check the operator has the correct licence where they require one. Our ideas list is not an endorsement for the businesses.

Activities Around the North Devon Coast

Beaches and Beach Car Parking: Saunton Sands, Braunton Burrows, Crow Point (setting for Ann Cleeves crime novel and TV series), Croyde Bay, Putsborough, Woolacombe, Tunnels at Ilfracombe, Lee Bay, Northam Burrows and Westward Ho! Keep an eye on the high and low tides with Devon Tides

Coasteering Surfing Croyde Bay; Woolacombe Surf Centre; Rock and Rapids; Skern Lodge; Xtreme Coasteering ; Croyde Surf Academy.

Coast Path Walks: Highlights include Baggy Point to Putsborough, MorteHoe to Bull Point, Ilfracombe to Lee Bay, Valley of the Rocks nr Lynton, on the South West Coast Path.

Cycling: Tarka Trail from Braunton to Instow and beyond; Route 27 to Georgeham, Woolacombe or Ilfracombe; Crow Point and Braunton. For a perfect introduction to the area how about these Guided Bike Rides: with e-bike hire included Tour de Lanes in the Braunton area or for adventures on West Exmoor try which includes tours at the National Trust Doone Valley every Friday.

Cycle Hire Waterside Bike Hire, has good reviews and hybrid bike options, based just outside Braunton at Chivenor. Tarka Trail Cycle Hire based at Barnstaple railway station . Braunton Village centre has South Fork bike shop for repairs, parts and accessories.

Dunes: Braunton Burrows for walking, habitat for rare plants, remote beach access. Braunton Countryside Centre for local walks, talks and nature including online events.

Exmoor National Park: from Combe Martin to Lynton and Lynmouth, dark skies at night, beautiful nature, hiking and ancient oak woodlands.

Harbours and fishing quays: Ilfracombe, Bideford Quay, Appledore Quay, Instow Sailing Club, Lynton and Lynmouth, Clovelly, Crow Point with Vellator in Braunton, Bucks Mill.

Kayak hire: Surfside, Combe Martin; Outdoor Shop, Combe Martin; Watermouth Cove, Combe Martin; Woolacombe Surf Centre; Ultimate Adventure Centre, Bideford (also high ropes and mountain boarding).

Lighthouses: Foreland Point, Bull Point, Hartland

Park run: Woolacombe Dunes, Barnstaple Rock Park Run

Surfing hire: Surfed Out at Braunton; Saunton Surf Hire, Saunton; Ralph’s at Croyde, Surfing Croyde Bay. Surf conditions: Your surf hire firm will also advise you on weather conditions and safety.

Surf & SUP lessons: Croyde Surf Academy, Surf South West, Surfing Croyde Bay, Surf Saunton. Saunton is a more spacious beach for beginners. Some surf schools operate classes form both beaches. The Wave Project have accessible surf opportunities and there is an accessible Changing Places toilet in Ruda carpark at Croyde.

Woodland Walks: Chapel Woods, Knowle; Brownsham, Hartland; Heddons Mouth, Exmoor.

Quad bikes  4×4 and archery: Keypitts nr Ilfracombe

Rainy Day Trips and Indoor Places to Visit

Braunton Village: Museum of British Surfing, Braunton Museum, Countryside Centre, shops and cafes, Paint-a-Pot, Hands On Treatment Centre, with flotation tank, massages, Bowen and more.

Barnstaple Town: shopping, cafes, Scott Cinema, Heritage Centre, Museum, North Devon Theatre, Pannier Market, Leisure Centre with swimming, Pilates, squash.

Bideford Town: Pannier Market, shopping, cafes, quay, Burton Art Gallery & Museum

Appledore: art galleries, fishing village, annual art festival and book festivals, maritime museum, lifeboat,

Instow: good places for coffee and eats including the very popular John’s of Instow delhi and cafe and The Boat House. Insotw has a yacht cub, and has a different atmosphere to Braunton and Croyde. Good for a drive out with a visit to Appledore too, or cycle there on the Tarka Trail.

Quince Honey Farm: bee-keeping demos, honey factory, sensory garden

Ilfracombe: North Devon Theatre, Embassy Cinema, Chambercombe Manor – haunted, Lifeboat station and harbour, small aquarium and museum

Arlington Court: stately home, NT Arlington; mobility scooter hire, seasonal events

Hartland Abbey: house and grounds, Hartland Peninsular

Broomhill Art Gallery: small indoor gallery, outdoor sculpture park and restaurant

Film and Theatre: With theatres in Ilfracombe and Barnstaple there might be something to entertain you! Outdoor theatre events at National Trust Arlington Court and Marwood Hill Gardens. Cinema at and two outdoor events at Baggy Point Croyde this September organised by the NT. Further afield Rosemoor also has theatre events in the Summer.

Dartington Crystal, crystal glass makers nr Torrington

Rock and Rapid: indoor climbing wall nr South Molton

Stay in and Watch: for local tales from the sea

Train Journeys

Barnstaple to Exeter: Tarka Line, shopping, Exeter cathedral, catacombs, food
Woody Bay Station: ( narrow-gauge restored railway
Lynton and Lynmouth: Cliff Railway and woodland walk.
Bicton Park: mini woodland railway, countryside museum and palm house
Exeter to Exmouth scenic railway
West Somerset Railway


Marwood Hill, nr Braunton does a lovely morning coffee or afternoon tea in the garden
Arlington Court, nr Barnstaple NT property with seasonal events
Broomhill Sculpture Gardens, nr Barnstaple, also has fine dining options.
RHS Rosemoor, nr Torrington, mobility scooter hireo9 is
Docton Mill, Hartland
Hartland Abbey, Hartland
Castle Hill, nr South Molton
Tapeley Park, nr Instow
Clovelly Court Gardens (and traditional fishing village), Clovelly between Bideford and Hartland

Boat Trips

Ilfracombe Sea Safari –
Wildlife Cruises –
Ilfracombe boat trips
Fishing Boat trips from Ilfracombe harbour –
Lundy Island on MS Olenburg from Bideford or Ilfracombe, English Heritage; Swimming with Seals, snorkelling and diving trips: trust  information on diving
Rib powerboat rides – Skern Lodge, Appledore
Appledore and Instow Ferry
Up the River Torridge – otter country;  Summerlands Tackle, fishing River Torridge

Golf Courses
Saunton Golf Club
Ilfracombe Golf Club
Mortehoe and Woolacombe 9 hole
Portmore Nr Barnstaple
Royal North Devon nr Westward Ho!

Tramper Hire

Countryside Mobility, The NationalTrust and Rosemoor offer all terrain mobility scooters and have created some more accessible paths and routes.

There is a large wheel chair available at Saunton Sands

Long Days Out with Driving

Dartmoor and Tavistock
Porlock, Porlock Weir and Dunster Castle
Bude and beaches
Simonsbath  and the Lorna Doone Valley on Exmoor
Knightshayes NT garden and house nr Tiverton