Top 15 Best Things To Do In Ilfracombe, UK

best things to do in ilfracombe uk

Once a fishing village from the Saxon times, Ilfracombe turned into a luxurious seaside resort when it was established in 1874. A small harbour surrounded by cliffs, it is covered with award-winning beaches. That’s not all as Ilfracombe is also home to various art galleries, amusement parks, churches, aquariums, and so much more. There are plenty of things to do and places to visit in this fine place. For those planning to stay the night, there are several glamping spots and Airbnb vacation rentals in Ilfracombe.

Some of these attractions are within walking distance, and there are various events throughout the year. Not sure where to start with so many interesting sights? Scroll down and find out about the best things to do in Ilfracombe, UK.

1. Cairn Nature Reserve

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Composed of 15 acres (6 hectares) of historic forest and grasslands, Cairn Nature Reserve has a variety of winding, walking paths that all move around the reserve. It also has a peak that stands 520 ft (158.4 m) above sea level and is worth the climb as the peak showcases some amazing views of the area.

Thanks to the reserve’s fantastic biodiversity, visitors will find that there are over 250 different species of flowering plants as well as different species of orchids and, depending on the year, visitors will find different sets of these plants and orchids in full bloom.

Cairn Nature Reserve

Address: Ilfracombe EX34 8EW, United Kingdom

2. The Landmark Theatre

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

LAST MINUTE GIFT IDEA! NAME A SEAT AT THE THEATRE Show your support for your local theatre in the most iconic way...

Posted by The Landmark on Friday, December 24, 2021

From afar, you’d think The Landmark Theatre is a nuclear power plant but that’s not the case. This Ilfracombe attraction is, in fact, a performing arts theater that was built to replace The Pavilion Theatre, a Victorian-era building partly destroyed in a fire in the 1980s.

Based on that, you can expect to see a wide variety of shows, stage plays, music concerts, and so much more. What is being featured regularly changes so do keep an eye on the theater’s website or Facebook page to keep yourself updated.

The Landmark Theatre

Address: Ilfracombe EX34 9BZ, United Kingdom

Website: The Landmark Theatre

3. Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church - - 873227
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Richard Croft used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Holy Trinity Church is an Anglican parish church that is under the care of the Diocese of Exeter. What was once an Anglo-Saxon church was enlarged to its current size in 1322 and is built with random rubble slate walls, limestone dressings, and wagon roofs.

The church is not only a place of worship as it has several monuments that each commemorate a certain aspect of English history. Some of these monuments include a small brass cross that commemorates the 6 men of the parish who died in World War 1 and the churchyard itself serving as the final resting place of 19 British soldiers who died in the same World War.

Holy Trinity Church

Address: Church Hill, Ilfracombe EX34 8EE, United Kingdom

4. Ilfracombe Art And Craft Society

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

We love this piece by our new artist Elliot Parry. Local artist Elliot works on slate with pens and acrylic creating...

Posted by Ilfracombe Art & Craft Society on Tuesday, March 1, 2022

If it’s great art you’re looking for, then Ilfracombe Art And Craft Society is one of the places to visit in Ilfracombe. This art gallery has had its doors open for 40 years and proudly showcases various local art pieces and craftwork created by talented local artists.

These art pieces vary from landscape painting to studies of beautiful North Devon and Exmoor. For the craftwork section, visitors will be delighted to know that they’ll find a varied collection as well, from stained glass work to handcrafted glass sculptures.

Ilfracombe Art And Craft Society

Address: The Gallery, 9/10 The Promenade, Wilder Rd, Ilfracombe EX34 9BD, United Kingdom

Website: Ilfracombe Art And Craft Society

5. The Ilfracombe Aquarium

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Ilfracombe Aquarium on Saturday, September 4, 2021

One of the many fun Ilfracombe activities you can do with your kids is visiting The Ilfracombe Aquarium. This award-winning aquarium proudly showcases a glimpse of North Devon’s underwater ecosystem. As such, the exhibits display a wide variety of aquatic life that mostly inhabit the waters of North Devon, and these exhibits are carefully and beautifully designed to recreate the natural habitats of these animals.

For the little kids, there are also complimentary children’s quizzes being offered, which gives the kids a chance to interact with these exhibits while learning about these wondrous animals and their beautiful ecosystems.

The Ilfracombe Aquarium

Address: The Quay, Ilfracombe EX34 9EQ, United Kingdom

Website: The Ilfracombe Aquarium

Opening hours: Sat - Thu: 10:30am - 3pm (closed on Fri)

Price: 3.94 - 5.26 USD

6. Chambercombe Manor

best things to do in ilfracombe uk | chambercombe manor
Source: tom.gpi on Instagram
Posted by Chambercombe Manor on Sunday, 3 October 2010

Originally owned by the Champernon family, this infamously haunted manor used to be a farmhouse. Known for its paranormal hauntings, the bedroom had a skeleton in it when it was discovered! It is also possible to spend the night there investigating the hauntings. Volunteer guides are available to share their spooky stories of the manor and its history. Chambercombe Manor is a chilling getaway with a twist!

Chambercombe Manor

Address: Chambercombe Lane, Ilfracombe, EX34 9RJ

Website: Chambercombe Manor

7. Hele Corn Mill & Tea Room

best things to do in ilfracombe uk | hele corn mill & tea room
Source: helecornmill on Instagram
Posted by Hele Corn Mill & Tea Room on Thursday, 10 March 2016

Not too far from Hele Bay Beach sits Hele Corn Mill & Tea Room, a water mill which had been milling flour since the 16th century. They have a wide array of cakes to choose from and the outstanding Devonshire cream tea. It is recommended to check opening dates online before going down. This is a nice and warm place to settle with a cup of tea after a long day of exploring the town.

Hele Corn Mill & Tea Room

Address: Watermouth Road, Ilfracombe EX34 9QY

Website: Hele Corn Mill & Tea Room

8. St. Nicholas Chapel

Lantern Hill, Ilfracombe
Source: Photo by user Nilfanion used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Serving as a chapel and a lighthouse, it is said to be the oldest lighthouse in the country. It maintained a light from the middle ages to guide ships into the harbour. To visit, you will need to wear comfortable shoes for there is a steep hill to climb. It will be worth the effort for you will get an amazing view of Ilfracombe. Be sure to check out the gorgeous view from the altar window.

St. Nicholas Chapel

Address: Ilfracombe Harbour, Ilfracombe EX34 9EQ

Website: St. Nicholas Chapel

9. South West Coast Path Walk: Ilfracombe and the Torrs

England’s longest footpath, this route travels through a long wooded valley to the Torrs known as “The Seven Hills”. The paths are well maintained and marked and there are small cafes all over.

The route may be rugged, steep, and challenging, but the walk is worth the amazing views and sights. Observing the amazing cliff over the harbour along the stunning coastline is sure to leave a lasting impression.

South West Coast Path Walk

Address: Ilfracombe Quay, EX34 9EQ

Website: South West Coast Path

10. Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway is a water-powered funicular railway joining the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth. It has two cars which could hold up to 40 passengers, joined by a continuous running cable. The railway is now classified as a listed monument. Enjoy stunning views and great snaps as you ride even along the steepest part.

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

Address: The Esplanade, Lynmouth, North Devon, EX35 6EQ

Website: Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

11. Tunnels Beaches

Hand carved in the 1820’s, Tunnels Beaches is Ilfracombe’s award winning beach. The tunnels are the only way to get to the beautiful area of the coastline. The development of these tunnels transformed Ilfracombe from a fishing village into a seaside resort. It also holds wedding events upon the beachfront, making it a popular spot for wedding vows and pictures.

Tunnels Beaches

Address: Bath Place, Ilfracombe, Devon, EX34 8AN

Website: Tunnels Beaches

12. Watermouth Family Theme Park

If you’re wondering what to do in Ilfracombe for the whole family, check out The Watermouth Family Theme Park. It was built to resemble a castle. The gardens are well maintained and it’s a great place for families! The Castle’s Great Hall has a collection of magnificent suits of armour, classic handcarts, and sporting trophies. See magical fairytales come to life as you descend down into the depths of the castle to the Dungeon Labyrinths. Have a go at Crazy Snooker and plunge down the mighty Snake Tube Slide.

Watermouth Family Theme Park

Address: Watermouth, Nr. Ilfracombe, EX34 9SL

Website: Watermouth Family Theme Park

13. Ilfracombe Sea Safari

Only 5 spaces left on our 4 hour sea safari round Lundy Island tomorrow leaving at 12 noon. ONLINE OFFER ONLY, enter ISS10 when booking online to get 10% off your trip.

Posted by Ilfracombe Sea Safari on Friday, 30 May 2014

Experience the sea safari along North Devon’s coastline and Lundy Island! Ride on the huge Humber RIBs that will take you along the coast. Come across cute sea creatures like dolphins, seals, and porpoises. The beautiful backdrop of the coastline gives multiple opportunities for taking pictures. The crew is knowledgeable and the vessel has exceptional stability and safety on trips.

Ilfracombe Sea Safari

Address: Ilfracombe Pier, Capstone Road, Ilfracombe EX34 9EQ, England

Website: Ilfracombe Sea Safari

14. Active Escape

Located along the North Devon Coastline is Active Escape. It provides adventure activities for coasteering, coastal rafting, stand up paddleboarding (SUPs), and other adventure challenges. The activities are thrilling and fun, and the staff are highly qualified with their safety knowledge. This is ideal for a family day out or for larger parties.

Active Escape

Address: Watermouth Cove Holiday Park, Berrynarbor, Ilfracombe , EX34 9SJ

Website: Active Escape

15. Eat: Quay!

Ilfracombe New Quay
Source: Photo by Flickr user Wapster used under CC BY 2.0

Time for some food! The Quay provides a fresh seafood menu with a stunning view of the sea and harbour! Quay is owned by British artist Damien Hirst, and his art is all over the place. It is a lovely setting with excellent food, a friendly atmosphere, and wonderful staff. Overlook his sculpture, Verity, while having fish.


Address: 11 The Quay, Ilfracombe, England

Website: Quay

And a checklist of things to bring

Before you head over to Ilfracombe and try out all these things to do, here’s a checklist of useful things to bring. Bring along:

  1. Your camera to capture ghosts in the haunted house, picturesque views of cliffs, the amazing beaches, and more.

  2. Good walking shoes to climb up to see the gorgeous view and catch the breeze.

But lastly, your heart might be left behind, as Ilfracombe is not a place like any other.

Frequently asked questions about the best things to do in Ilfracombe, UK

1. Which are the best attractions to visit in Ilfracombe?

Ilfracombe is home to many great attractions that are sure to be a lot of fun to visit. Some of these great attractions are Ilfracombe Art And Craft Society, The Ilfracombe Aquarium, Cairn Nature Reserve, Hele Corn Mill & Tea Room, and Lynton & Barnstaple Railway.

2. Which are the best activities in Ilfracombe?

There are a plethora of fun activities around Ilfracombe and some of the best are checking out Chambercombe Manor, visiting St. Nicholas Chapel, enjoying a good show at The Landmark Theatre, bonding with your family at Watermouth Family Theme Park, and going on a thrilling adventure at Active Escape.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Roselle is a 3D Artist originally from Singapore. She is currently living as a Digital Nomad in Bali with her Husband. She plans to continue her journeys to Thailand, Vietnam and more. She has been...Read more

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