This beautiful North Devon village by the sea, tucked away near the border with Cornwall, is an idyllic place to take a holiday. Surrounded by peaceful countryside, and right next to the magnificent North Devon coastline, Welcombe is a fantastic spot to enjoy stunning walks and breathtaking Atlantic sunsets.
Nearby Hartland Abbey & Gardens gives visitors access to its wonderful parkland grounds and picturesque valley leading down to the remote Atlantic cove. You can also easily join the South West Coast Path for blustery cliff top walks and to explore hidden coves, and large sandy beaches, such as Westward Ho!.
Lundy Island is just off the coast here, and is accessible by ferry from either Bideford or Ilfracombe. The crossing takes two hours each way, but for wildlife lovers, the effort is worth it as this remote island's habitat has been compared to that of Galapagos islands, and it is also a walker's paradise.
Other nearby activities include the 80 mile traffic-free Tarka Trail Coastal Path and Cycle Way that follows the journeys in the novel of Tarka the Otter, Tamar Lakes Country Park near Bude, and the Milky Way Adventure Park near Bideford.
A holiday cottage in Welcombe offers a great base for a tranquil break exploring the majestic beauty of the North Devon and Cornwall coastline.
A magic experience to enjoy while you’re on holiday in Cornwall, the Museum of Witchcraft is in the village of Boscastle and was the creation of Cecil Williams whose fascination with the subject started in childhood. He set up the Cornish museum in 1960, saying it was three miles from a prehistoric maze stone carved into a living rock face, ‘proof that from ancient times man and his magic making with the world of spirit were active in this area’. Today you can visit to explore the collections or enjoy seasonal events such as candlelit evenings and Halloween at the museum.
Part of English Heritage, Tintagel Castle is more a ruin than a castle these days, but nonetheless, it’s an exciting opportunity to get involved with the history, myths and exceptional scenery at this spot that’s inextricably linked to the legend of King Arthur. Set on a coastline that has inspired artists and writers for centuries, see ancient artefacts and explore the history of the castle and the legends that have shaped its story, as well as learning about its time as a royal stronghold, thriving trading post and the setting for romantic stories. Prices start at £7.90 for adults who are not members, and £4.70 for children.
A beautiful Georgian house dating back to 1753, Lawrence House is leased to Launceston Town as a local museum and civic centre, spread over three floors, with exhibits focusing on local history and the area’s links with Australia. When you visit you can learn about Philip Gidley King who sailed on the HMS Sirius, which accompanied the first fleet of convicts to Australia, see a display of costumes that date from the 18th century to the 1960s, discover the Victorian kitchen and let the kids play in the toy room. Opening times are limited so make sure you keep an eye on the website for further information.
For a fantastic, fun, all-weather family day out, Trethorne Leisure Park is sure to tick all your boxes. Comprising of a large indoor play area, perfect for rainy days, with a dropslide, ballparks, trampolines, climbing wall, assault course and much more, as well as outdoor space with crazy golf, paddle boats, slides, swings, sandpit and an adventure climbing frame. There's also an animal barn with ponies to ride, a cow to milk, and guinea pigs and rabbits to cuddle.
If you're looking for even more family entertainment afterwards, you'll find 8 lanes of ten pin bowling, a dodgems rink, and a games arcade right next door!
Rock climbing, coasteering, ecoasterring, wild swimming, sea kayaking – for the thrill seeker who wants to get that little bit closer to Cornish nature, Cornish Rock Tors has venues on the north and south coasts of Cornwall, so it’s a good one to keep in mind whether you’re visiting the area for the first time or after multiple trips. Suffice to say the excursions allow you to take in some of the most picturesque aspectsof Cornwall, getting to grips with the great outdoors and some of the most incredible scenery the UK has to offer. They even cater to hen weekends and stag parties, all the while endorsed by the National Trust and conservation organisations.
A 13th century traditional Cornish pub with open fires in winter and a beer garden with beautiful sea views and children’s play area for summertime. Open all day, all year round, serving tasty light lunches, cream teas and hearty evening meals along with a great selection of local ales and other beverages for all occasions.
The Bush Inn Crosstown, Morwenstow, Bude EX23 9SR (T: 01288 331242)
A picture perfect English tearoom surrounded by the beautiful wild flower gardens at Docton Mill, a great spot for a cream tea or slice of homemade cake after a few hours discovering the wonderful array of plants here. Also serves a good range of freshly prepared soups, pasties, salads and sandwiches.
Docton Mill Gardens & Tearooms Lymebridge, Hartland, Bideford EX39 6EA (T: 01237 441369)
Situated in a wild and beautiful bay with wonderful sea views, this family run pub and hotel was once the old customs buildings for the quay. Today the Wreckers Bar is a great place to enjoy a good pub lunch including excellent local fish, accompanied by a pint of local ale or cider. A good spot for refreshments after a day walking the South West Coast Path, or spent enjoying the pretty beach below.
Hartland Quay Hotel Hartland, Bideford EX39 6DU (T: 01237 441218)
A pretty tea garden by the sea run by local legend Margaret, who is as famous for her delicious home-made cream teas and pasties as she is for her sense of humour. Pretend to walk off the calories afterwards by strolling down to the beach or along the cliffs to Northcott Mouth. All seating outside, dogs welcome.
Margarets Rustic Tea Garden S W Coast Path, Bude EX23 9ED (T: 07747 537564)
Less the five minutes on foot from the centre of Bude, Summerleaze Beach is an easy beach to get to and enjoy for the whole day. There’s a river flanking the sandy beach and it’s sheltered by a breakwater, making it popular with families and surfers. You can book beach huts daily or weekly, and adding to its charm is a part man-made/part natural salt water sea pool to swim in at the foot of the cliff, that’s been welcoming swimmers since it opened in 1930. There’s lifeguard cover in the summer months, dogs need to be kept on leads from May to September, and there are toilets and disabled toilets close by as well as an RNLI shop, sandy play area, a beach café, and a large car park that leads directly to the sand dunes.
Three miles south of Bude, Widemouth Bay Beach is a long, open bay that’s popular with families and surfers, while at low tide there are hundreds of rock pools to explore. It’s a wonderful place to learn to surf or body board thanks to fantastic conditions and lots of local surf schools in the surrounding area. There’s free parking at both ends of the bay as well as viewing points. Dogs are welcome throughout the year on the south section of the beach, otherwise known as Black Rock, but on the northern part there are seasonal dog bans. It has a wild feel to it, which adds to its appeal, and there is lifeguard cover in the summer, but nonetheless do be careful when swimming.
(2)View all Reviews
Lovely clean beach.
Lovely clean beach. Dogs enjoyed it!
At the end of a narrow valley, surrounded by towering cliffs, backing into the village of Crackington, Crackington Haven Beach offers shelter from the elements but only by comparison to the exposed coastline. The beach is all rocks and shingle, and has a seasonal ban on dogs from Easter to October. There’s parking at the beach, so remember to take cash for pay and display, and there are two cafes, a pub, surf hire and toilet facilities close by. There’s also lifeguard cover in the height of summer.
In the shadow of Tintagel Castle, Tintagel Beach is small and often overlooked, barely accessible via a scrabble down the cliff path. To the north of the beach there’s a waterfall and to the south is Merlin's Cave, a 300ft long tunnel passing under Tintagel Island and castle that’s only accessible at low tide. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round, and the beauty of the place is its remoteness – just you, the beach and the sea, so there aren’t any facilities nearby basically.
Two miles from Tintagel, Trebarwith Strand Beach on the north Coast of Cornwall is easily accessible and is owned by the National Trust. A long stretch of sand, it’s backed by flat rocks and steep cliffs, but check the tides before you visit because people often get cut off in the summer months. Once there, there are caves to explore and rock pools containing a wealth of sea life. It’s been the setting for a number of films in its time, but these days it’s all about swimming (when lifeguards are on duty between May and September) and exploring. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round, and there are two car parks – the main one is a bit of a walk away, and a smaller one is closer to the beach. There’s also a handful of roadside parking spaces.