Category Archives: Beaches

Visit to Tunnels Beaches July 2013

Review of a visit to Tunnels Beaches

One adult and three kids July 2013

Yesterday, which was a Sunday, I decided to take the kids to Tunnels Beaches. I hadn’t actually got around to going there myself since moving here and, since I have been recommending it to people, I thought it was high time I checked it myself.

One rather important fact is that you have to pay to get onto the beach.
It cost £8.50 for me and three kids. (Adults £3 kids £1.50) there are season ticket options and various other prices that you can check on their website.

The tunnels were excavated over a hundred years ago to allow access to the beaches which are otherwise in an inaccessible cove surrounded by cliffs.

tunnels3The small rocky tunnels are adorned with lots of information about the history of the beaches, and bathing. There is more info about Victorian bathing machines, and all sorts of other stuff.

tunnels4There are actually two main beaches although one, known as the gentlemen’s beach is often closed for weddings. In earlier times, gentlemen and ladies were required to bathe separately hence the two beaches.

The ladies beach has the tidal pool which is surely one of the main attractions here, and one of two reasons why it is worth paying.

tunnelsbeachfromcoastalpathA long low wall links from one side of the beach to the other enclosing a fair sized section of seawater which remains after the tide has gone out. On sunny days this can warm up quite a bit more than otherwise at low tide and has the added advantage of being free of waves, and therefore ideal for mucking about in inflatable boats, and rubber rings.

The other nice thing about the beach is that it is patrolled by a lifeguard during high season. Litter is cleared daily so this is also probably the cleanest and safest beach anywhere in the region.


Panorama shot of the beach. Click for higher resolution.
(copyright this website. Samsung S3 panorama setting)


tunnels6The downside however is that there is no sand
This is the case in all of Ilfracombe’s beaches. The rocks are mainly slate and it just doesn’t make good sand. You have to travel to the west facing coast, Woolacombe, Croyde, Saunton etc for the best sand.

tunnels7Another downside is of course that you have to pay to get in.

Is it worth it?

Well I would say, if you have small children and you want to be able to relax a bit more, knowing they are safe, then yes.
You will still need to keep an eye out but there are far fewer ways they can get into trouble than on a more open beach. There are toilets here, and a cafe, as well as an indoor play area (separate charge for this)

It is also worth it at least for one visit to explore the history and see the tunnels so can tick it off the tourist list.

If you just want to explore the rock pools or lie on the shingle, topping up your tan then it is definitely not worth it. There are just as good rock pools at Wildersmouth beach and any of them is fine for catching the sun, and none of the others charge to get in.

Wildersmouth is right by the Landmark so has similar facilities, and the Harbour beach is also well provided with the added bonus that the food outlets are a bit cheaper. There is even a reasonable amount of actual sand.