One tourist hotspot nearby to our North Devon beach accommodation is the lively harbour town of Ilfracombe, packed with things to see and do and areas of natural and manmade beauty to marvel at. Before you visit, here are ten interesting facts about Ilfracombe which will help you further enjoy your stay: 1) It has existed since the Iron Age, when the Dumnonii tribe of Celts built a fortified settlement on what is today the local landmark Hillsborough Hill. 2) It is just 35 miles across the Bristol Channel from Welsh city Swansea. This has made it popular for many channel-crossing challenges such as a recent kitesurfing challenge. The first person to swim the entire distance from Ilfracombe to Swansea was TV presenter Gethin Jones, who swam it in 2009 in around 22 hours. 3) It is home to a Damien Hirst sculpture, Verity, which visitors can see on Ilfracombe pier. Despite its controversy, it has creating a talking point for residents and visitors alike and stands to guide ships into the harbour. 4) Ilfracombe has had its own devastating fire, dubbed ‘The Great Fire of Ilfracombe’. The fire took place on 28 July 1896 and started at 12.40am in the basement of an ironmongers, with the flames not being completely extinguished until the following morning. In total over 35 houses and businesses were destroyed. Today the fire is remembered today in the town’s museum. 5) It is close to several of North Devon’s top beaches, including Croyde, Woolacombe and Saunton Sands. 6) It is the third largest town in North Devon, after Barnstaple and Bideford, with a population of over 10,000. Small by national standards, this number does increase at summer time, when the area becomes popular with tourists. 7) St Nicholas’ Chapel on Lantern Hill is reputed to be the UK’s oldest working lighthouse. Built in 1361, the building has stood as a beacon for over 650 years. 8) It was the home of two of the passengers of the Titanic. Alice Phillips and her father Escott departed for the fateful journey from Southampton in 1912; while Alice survived the tragedy, being rescued on boat 12, her father was lost at sea. 9) The South West Coastal Path passes through Ilfracombe, and allows walkers to follow the entire South West coastline. Starting from Minehead in Somerset, it continues through North Devon and Cornwall to Land’s End, where it then follows the south coast until it reaches Dorset. In Ilfracombe, the path passes through the town from Hele Bay to Lee Bay, passing through the harbour. 10) It was home to author Henry Williamson, author of popular novel Tarka the Otter, after which the Tarka Trail is named. He lived between 1895 and 1977, and resided in a small cottage in Ilfracombe.
“Thanks for a lovely cottages very cosy. Easy to find way to places. Lovely and warm cosy bed. Thanks for a nice quiet place to stay and great to have access to the donkey field and woods down the lane for easy walks. Pool great and very warm. Woolacombe and Saunton Sands great for open space.
Great location to Explore North Devon.Thanks again
Tescos not far away.
Sawmills very good for food.
We had a brilliant week here at Smythen Farm, with beautiful views. The children enjoyed the swimming pool which was lovely and warm. The play area was a great hit as was the visit from Bill and family to drop off Easter Eggs. We were made to feel very welcome by Bill and Catherine and nothing was too much trouble.
Watermouth Castke was a good day out and you can return for £2.50 each. Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park was a good day out. My favourite da
“Had a fantastic stay in Seaview cottage, Catherine and Bill were both lovely and extremely helpful. The games room and the pool were used a lot by both families as the weather wasn’t too good. We all loved the donkeys and the ponies too.
The beaches at Woolacombe were beautiful and the girls went on a beach hack from Mullacott riding stables which was fantastic. The staff were really helpful and friendly and the horses were all very well behaved and suitable for
“This our 3rd – we have bought each of our children and grandchildren since 2010. Each time we have had a wonderful time, the kids love the freedom and we love the views and the quiet.
Keep up the good work Bill and Kathryn , I am sure we will be back – ypu have a great place here, the new pool and games room are great.
Thank you for a lovely week
Honey Pot is a beautiful, compact cottage ideal for couples with a small child. Honey Pot is dog-friendly and fully equipped for a comfortable break in North Devon.
Primrose Lane cottage is a dog-friendly, compact cottage which has just been fully-refurbished to a high standard. Boasting a double bedroom, Primrose Lane cottage can sleep up to 3 with a put-up bed suitable for children.
Buttercup Cottage is an ideal cottage for families, especially those with fury members as its dog-friendly. Located in the courtyard, Buttercup cottage can sleep 4
Located in the courtyard, Honeysuckle Cottage is dog-friendly and ideal for families of up to 4.
Sea View cottage is a superb, dog-friendly holiday cottage with stunning view across the North Devon coast. Ideal for families of 5, Sea View has been fully refurbished to a high standard. The bedrooms have the amazing view across the Sterridge valley and the Bristol Channel to Wales
Sunalways Cottage is a spacious, family-friendly cottage sleeping 5 with beautiful views of the Sterridge valley. The vaulted ceilings give a large bright spacious living area
Fisherswood Cottage is a large and spacious cottage with beautiful vaulted ceilings. Sleeping up to 5 guests, Fisherswood Cottage has recently been refurbished to a high standard throughout.
Forest View Cottage is a large, spacious cottage ideal for large families. This cottage is dog-friendly and can sleep up to 6 guests.
Meadow Sweet is dog friendly and the largest cottage at Smythen Farm. Book this cottage early as its well sort-after for large families or 2 families sharing. Meadow Sweet boasts stunning views across the Sterridge Valley.