The small, historic port town of Bideford is situated on the estuary of the River Torridge, famed for its lovely old bridge that links the town to its neighbouring village, and the beautiful countryside and coastline that lies within a stone's throw of the town. Bideford is also well-known for its steep coastline that levels out into some of the finest blue flag sandy beaches in the country.
This thriving market town and busy port boasts a wide range of shops, amenities, pubs and restaurants to cater for the needs of visitors of all ages, whilst there are several charming villages nearby that are worth visiting, including Appledore, Instow and Clovelly.
Bideford itself is renowned for its New Year's Eve celebrations, where visitors and locals alike don extravagant fancy dress costumes and head to one of the many Inns on the quayside to see in the New Year. The town is close to the start of the Tarka Trail, popular among walkers and cyclists, which winds its way through the unspoilt North Devon countryside.
If you fancy a day out during your stay, nearby attractions include the Northam Burrows Country Park, the Big Sheep Theme Park, and RHS Garden Rosemoor, and of course there are some stunning beaches including Westward Ho! and Saunton Sands.
A holiday cottage in Bideford offers a great base for exploring the picturesque Torridge Estuary and this special part of the North Devon coastline.
Just a few miles from the beach in North Devon’s Tarka country, Bideford Bicycle, Surf Board and Kayak Hire does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, meaning they have everything you need to really get out and enjoy the area. They are open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm, so pop in and find the right pieces of kit for you!
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With activities designed for families and groups, The Ultimate Adventure Centre creates outdoor activity experiences on the outskirts of Bideford in North Devon. This includes everything from laser tag to coasteering and surfing. Activities are mostly suited to those aged eight years and over, however, some can be arranged for those aged five and above as well.
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Royal North Devon at Westward Ho! Was founded in 1864 and is the oldest course in the country. It regularly features amongst the top golf courses in the world, and stretches to over 7,000 yards. The course welcomes visitors and green fees start at £65 for 18 holes Sunday to Friday.
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Enjoy £5 off 18 holes with your Toad Hall Cottages Discount Card
Established in 1976, Skern Lodge is about education and learning through adventure. An outdoor activity centre in North Devon, it’s set in 22 acres of grounds with tidal waters in the estuary. There’s a wide variety of activities and it’s always about safety first, so pop along and enjoy, surrounded by the beautiful Devon countryside.
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Popular with the locals, this wood fired pizza restaurant has a friendly atmosphere and is the ideal place to stop for a quick and delicious meal - watch the chefs prepare the dough in the open kitchen and then enjoy pizzas hot from the oven.
The Italian Kitchen, 21 Bridgeland Street, Bideford, Devon, EX39 2QE (T: 01237 478623 )
Serving excellent food this country pub sits on top of a hill with the sea just over the brow. Sit inside on cooler days or when the sun's out enjoy the sun terrace. Plenty to keep small people entertained too, with a games room and lots of space to explore.
The Pig on the Hill, Pulsehill Road, Westward Ho! EX39 5AH (T: 01237 459222)
By the small seaside town of Westward Ho! is a comparatively huge and sandy beach, extending two miles north of the town. To the north it is is backed by a pebble ridge and behind that is Northam Burrows Country Park. You can access the beach from a number of places; via steps and a slipway in Westward Ho!, or by the ridge itself. Dogs are banned from most of the beach from May to September, but they are allowed north of Sandymere all year round. There are two small car parks by the sea front and plenty of parking behind the beach in Northam Burrows Country Park. Toilets are available in various locations and there are cafes and shops close by in Westward Ho! itself. The area is popular with surfers and happily there are lifeguards on hand in the summer months as well.
A long straight sandy beach backed by the Braunton Burrows, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Saunton Sands Beach is popular with surfers and families alike thanks to the long stretch of tantalizing water. Suited to beginners and intermediate surfers, the waters are comparatively gentle (although obviously you should always be careful), and it is famed for having featured in Robbie Williams’ Angels music video. Restaurants, cafes, shops and toilets are all within easy reach of the beach, dogs are permitted all year round, and it is the only beach in North Devon to have a Landeez all terrain wheelchair so that everyone can have full enjoyment of it.
Bucks Mills beach is situated in a rocky secluded cove at the bottom end of the ancient fishing village of Bucks Mills. No public toilets, no shops or other facilities, just a lovely place. Car parking is available at Bucks Mills car park EX39 5DY.
Very popular with swimmers and more experienced surfers, and of course sunbathers in the summer months, Croyde Bay is rated as one of the best surfing beaches in the world. Lifeguards operate from May to September for peace of mind, and there are beautiful rock pools at either end of the beach. Dogs are allowed on the beach although there are restrictions in summer months, and toilets are close by. The beach is popular with swimmers, and you can hire equipment for activities such as surfing, fishing and canoeing close by. Restaurants are within easy reach, and you access the beach via a slipway and beach car park with disabled parking, so it’s an extremely welcoming beach for all visitors.
Rumoured to be one of the finest beaches in the South West, Putsborough Sands stretches three miles north to Woolacombe and has been voted Best Beach in Britain, fourth Best in Europe and thirteenth Best in the World multiple times. Clear, gentle water make swimming in the summer months inviting, while the rock pools are wonderful sources of entertainment for budding adventurers. There's a beach shop and a café, toilets close by, and the location is famed for its excellent sunsets. Popular with surfers, especially long-boarders, Putsborough is the only beach in the area to have some protection from south and south-westerly winds thanks to the landscape, but if you’re heading into the water keep in mind that there’s no lifeguard cover. Dogs are allowed on the beach and there’s plenty of parking with easy access via a long, sloping path.