Meet anemone, wrasse, crabs, octopi and more at the harbourside Ilfracombe Aquarium. And stay in town for a world of curiosities at Ilfracombe Museum, including objects from natural history and archaeology, art and photography, costume and domestic history.
Have a go at pretty much whatever you like at Rock and Rapid Adventures, including archery, axe-throwing, coasteering, climbing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, mega-SUP and rafting. Dry off and catch the latest films at the Embassy or theatrical entertainment at The Landmark.
Head back into Jurassic times at the Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, complete with lions, wolves, sea lions, primates, meerkats, penguins and dinosaur play park. Meet amphibians, arthropods, mammals, birds and reptiles at Exmoor Zoo and get up close and personal on an Animal Experience.
Ride the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway through Devon’s stunning countryside, the only steam railway in the UK with Victorian railway carriages designed in the 1890s. Don’t forget to get an overdose of cute at Pennywell Farm, with goat-milking, pig-racing, pony-pampering, pond-dipping and deer-feeding.
Head down to Ilfracombe Swimming Pool for a dip in the 25-metre pool and keep your fitness up in the 30-station gym. Swim with the seals at Lundy Island with Ilfracombe Sea Safari. Or walk just one minute to find the Ilfracombe Tunnels Beaches, hand- carved tunnels leading to unique sheltered beaches and a Victorian bathing pool.
Bring your bikes and ride (or walk) the Tarka Trail, a 180-mile, figure-of-eight loop taking in unspoiled countryside and dramatic sea cliffs on the UK’s longest continuous cycle path. Play the clifftop course at Ilfracombe Golf Club with inspiring views over the sea to the Welsh Coast and Lundy Island, or practise at Woolacombe Driving Range.
Enjoy traditional seaside fun with crazy golf in the town centre. Drive just ten minutes to Woolacombe, boasting one of Europe’s most stunning sandy beaches. Or just head for the harbour where Damien Hirst’s statue stares out towards Wales, to waste an hour or two over fish and chips, ice cream and the sunsets that hang over Cheyne Beach.
Vulture some culture at historic landmarks such as Arlington Court, an intriguing Regency house with a fine collection of horse-drawn vehicles set in a picturesque garden. Tour Exeter Cathedral and enjoy the best view in town from the roof. Or come in September for the maritime festival, with music and a sizzling seaside kitchen.
Stay on-site and say the word for fitness classes, personal training and sports massage. Unleash your inner artist at Paint n’ Spin and create your own unique statement piece on canvas, paper or even a clock. Or enjoy cobweb-busting beach
gallops on lovely horses with Mullacott Riding School.
Get down to Active Escape for all manner of seaside activities, including coasteering along nature’s very own assault course, stand-up paddleboarding or giant-party SUP. Take a tour of Ilfracombe with a difference with Easiglide Segways. Or book an Off- Road Land Rover Experience, quad-biking or axe-throwing at Keypitt’s.
Enjoy a wide range of massage therapies in the relaxing therapy rooms with space to chill after your treatment at Little Birds Therapy Centre. Head to Wildwood Spa for a back-to-nature escape in luxurious surroundings. Relax in the heated infinity pool and bathe in the freestanding stone bath.
Sit back and watch the world go by on an evening drinks cruise with Ilfracombe Coastal Cruises, or head out during the day for a smugglers’ caves cruise, an Exmoor cliffs and waterfalls cruise or a seals and lighthouse cruise. At night, get your red paint out for The Chill Bar and The Vivid Cocktail Bar.