Top Ten tourist attractions
If you are visiting Ilfracombe for a week then you might want to know the best and most popular attractions that you can easily reach from the town.
The criteria for selection are that the attractions are; broadly within easy reach of Ilfracombe, represent good or at least reasonable value for money, are generally popular, and are likely to appeal to most people.
Obviously the list is subjective and relative depending on the age groups, and interests of the visitors. As such I will be including a little more than ten attractions.
NOT IN ANY ORDER
- Watermouth Castle
- Situated on the outskirts of Ilfracombe, in Berrynarbor this imposing 19th century castle houses a slightly eclectic mix of animatronics, models, Victoriana, etc. The dungeons contain some moderately grisly displays that may frighten younger children. Outside in the attractive grounds there are various areas including Gnomeland, and Fariground rides, which will appeal more to younger children.
- Tunnels Beach
- You have to pay to go onto this beach but it does boast a tidal pool with lifeguard cover, daily cleaning and no dogs, rock pools, play hut (additional charges apply), cafe and beach shop.
- Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
- Close to the village of Combe Martin, a short drive from Ilfracombe, is the Wildlife and Dinosaur park; featuring a range of animal exhibits, including lions, wolves (made famous by the "Wolfman" documentaries featuring Shaun Ellis) as well as animatronic dinosaurs and other attractions.
- Chambercombe Manor
- An 11th century manor house which, it is claimed, is one of the most haunted houses in England. The house boasts many original features and antique furniture from various periods. The grounds are free to visit, although donations are welcomed.
- Walkers Chocolate Emporium
"It's just a shop" exclaims one detractor on a popular tourist ratings site. Well what did you expect from the word "emporium"?
Anyway, it is not just a shop, there is a life-sized chocolate man and a number of other exhibits related to the subject of chocolate. Also they make the stuff on the premises and sell a wide range of chocolaty things to satisfy even the most ardent chocoholic.
- Ilfracombe museum
- An eclectic collection of natural history, such as butterflies, bats, skulls and bones. There is a Morse code machine and brass rubbing that the kids can get involved in, and a local family history section, as well as a gift shop and much more besides. Great for a rainy day.
- Ilfracombe aquarium
- This small but well managed aquarium displays aquatic life in various sections representing a river system, from the small fast flowing bubbling brook at the top of the watershed, right down to the harbour area and out into open ocean. All laid out so that you walk in a logical order following the river downstream to the sea.
- Bicclescombe Park (FREE)
- The largest park in Ilfracombe, with landscaped grounds, a children's play area, Victorian flower beds, sensory garden, a restored corn mill, tennis courts, and a pond AND lake. And it's all free. There is also a tea rooms which obviously isn't.
- Hele corn mill and tea rooms
- 16th Century Grade II listed water mill, now a working museum with guided tours. A fully restored Blackstone mill is used to grind corn and there is a fully working 1920s National Engine. There is also a gift shop and tea rooms. All weather attraction.