The Seahorse is arguably the most child and family friendly pub anywhere, there is an area set aside specifically for young children with a TV tuned permanently to cbeebies or similar, and dotted with all sorts of books and toys and small seating.
They also welcome bookings for kids birthday parties, in fact my kids have been to them there and had a great time.
The pub hosts Karaoke every week. It is a large pub with helpful staff and the only drawback from my point of view is there are no real ales.
The Lamb Hotel has been closed twice in the last two years, but has recently been sold by Enterprise breweries and reopened under new ownership. Update It has been closed again for the last couple of weeks for “a refit and change of management” and is scheduled to re-open today (Friday 13th September) Therefore the following information may no longer be accurate, pending a further visit.
The decor is modern with some quite bold wallpaper but it is not too overpowering in this large open space. There is a large upstairs room which can be used for functions as well as providing extra restaurant space during busy times, like Sunday lunch time.
The food served is good and reasonably priced. I had a very nice pint of Otter for £3 there is usually a choice of two local real ales. I was there while they had a live band playing. The venue intends to host regular music on Friday nights.
Buddy’s in the High Street is one of the largest pubs in town. The downstairs bar is trendy and aimed at younger customers, and “career” drinkers; with cheap lager, no real ale, and a noisy ambiance; dance music, and laser lighting.
There are bottled beers, but the pub thrives on its reputation for selling cheap lager.
There is no beer garden and nowhere, except the narrow High Street, for smokers.
It has attracted criticism from some locals because of smokers and drinkers outside from quite early in the day.
There are large TV screens for showing major sports events, and seating on several levels. There is no parking but it stands in the centre of town.
Upstairs is a separate venue called Buddy’s Live Lounge which plays host to irregular live music, as well as other functions. It has two stages and a quite large capacity of about 150 people. (Only the Pavilion and Landmark are larger for live music.)
The Boat House,
1-4 The Promenade,
The boat house was formerly known as The Wheelhouse and is an integral part of the promenade of shops on the sea front on Wilder Road which is designed to represent a paddle steamer. It is currently run by local landlord “H” and features live music, mainly during the tourist season. With a seating area outside this is a great place to sit and enjoy the sea views on warm days.
There is usually a choice of two local ales but, on this occasion, I was limited to Yelland, at a very reasonable £3. Service is warm and friendly. Decor is mainly traditional with nautical leanings.
I picked a bad time to take this as it was raining.
George and Dragon,
4 Fore Street,
The George and Dragon is officially Ilfracombe’s oldest pub having been one since it was built in 1360. The Prince of Wales next door is the older building but has not been a pub for as long.
It is a small and cosy place with plenty of beams and old features. Outside on sunny days there is space to sit and almost no traffic as the road is close except for access.
Apart from a small selection of decent real ales (I had an Exmoor at £3) the pub also serves excellent food.
There is a notice on the bar that requests customer snot to use mobile phones and this is enforced fairly strictly. Although I was allowed to use mine as a camera and notebook, actually taking a call would have had me asked to leave. As this is the only pub in town that I know of which has such a rule it means that if you do want a quiet pint this is where to go.*
Dogs are welcome as are children; the kids menu is good as well.
*Mobile reception in this part of town is dreadful anyway. A woman asked me (in a welsh accent) where she could find a mobile signal, I told her Cardiff.
Prince of Wales,
2 Fore Street,
The entrance to Rodney Lane at the bottom of Fore Street about 1890. The right hand building is the Prince of Wales public house and next to it, the labour exchange.
The Prince of Wales on Fore Street is the second oldest pub in Ilfracombe, although the building is older than the George next door it was not always a pub.
There are low beams which are original and very quaint unless you bang your head on them. A photograph on the wall depicts the pub in about 1890 at which time it was smaller, and set back from the street.
There were two ales one was Doombar but I had the other one which was very nice and £3.10 but I have forgotten what it was so will have to go back and check.
The Prince has a terraced garden at the rear, there are quite a few steps.
There is also a cash machine here but it charges for withdrawals which I object to. However the nearest one is at the top of Fore Street so you may prefer to pay the extra if you don’t want to struggle up the hill.
The Britannia Hotel sits overlooking the harbour with superb views of the boats and Verity from the beer garden.
The Britannia is a full hotel with about twenty rooms, but it is included here because of the two bars. The classic pub set up of lounge bar with tables and chairs,and public bar with bar stools and pool table. There is a fireplace with wood burning stove that sits between the two in an archway.
There is also a restaurant room which can be hired out for wedding parties and such like, and the pub runs a carvery at the weekend.
I had a pint of beer (£3.25) and totally forgot to write down what it was. So now I have to go back there and check. Service is warm and welcoming, dogs are permitted.
The hotel itself is family friendly with several suites and likewise well behaved children are allowed in the bar.
The Chill bar is an intimate bar and music venue at the junction of High Street, Fore Street, and Portland Road. It is downstairs from the Rock Cafe which is owned by the same couple, Lawrence and Isabel.
The venue has had a number of names including “One-Fy-Five” (a reference to the street number) and “Cravings”. Some years ago it had a reputation as a bit of a chav pub but Lawrence’s introduction of rock bands most Saturday nights and open mic most weekdays has changed that.
At the time of writing there are open mic nights on Tuesday and Wednesday (acoustic) and on Thursday (full band)
No draught ales, sadly, although there are usually one or two reasonable bottled beers. A tad more expensive than average for the town but not ridiculous, and you rarely have to pay to see a band.
Decor is classy-chic, and music orientated, with pressure sensitive leather stools and a “stage” area with star cloth and in house PA.
This bar runs a strict over 21 policy and no dogs. Service is very friendly and warm with Lawrence a stylish larger-than-life presence.
The Ship and Pilot,
10 Broad Street,
The Ship and Pilot is a very substantial building from the outside although the bar is quite cosy and intimate inside, with friendly service.
The most outstanding thing about this pub is its excellent selection of real ales and ciders. The local brewery, Wizard Ales, is represented as well as several others from the region. They have won numerous accolades for their ales.
The Ship hosts occasional beer and cider festivals during the high season, and has live music from time to time.
There are also large TV screens to show major sporting events. Dogs are allowed, and there is an outdoor seating area in front of the pub which is lucky enough to be located in a partly pedestrianised street. Parking is limited although at the time of writing there is an unofficial free car park close by, this will hopefully be redeveloped in the near future.
Sandpiper Inn, The Quay, Ilfracombe, Devon, EX34 9EQ 01271 865260
Hosts Kevin and Karen Prideaux
The Sandpiper Inn stands close to the harbour. The main bar features a bowling lane, pool and darts, and there is also a function room upstairs which hosts a regular open mic night on Thursdays, and occasional live bands.
There is a small selection of proper beers, I had a pint of Doombar for a pretty standard £3.20. Service is friendly and welcoming.
The pub also enjoys a small patio area upstairs which can be accessed from the street and from the function room.