About the Barnstaple Town area of North Devon
This historic market town has stood at the first crossing of the Taw estuary for over a thousand years. The original street pattern of the medieval town can be found between two tidal rivers, the Taw and the Yeo. The modern town now sprawls well beyond the old Norman walls. It is easy, when visiting the busy shopping centre in what was old Barum, to understand the town's relationship with its rivers, fords and bridges, and the old quays. In the 16th and 17th Centuries, Barnstaple was a pioneering port, a port of merchant venturers. Hundreds of wooden trading ships were built here at slipways on either side of the Taw: ships that traded with Portugal, Spain, France, Holland, Ireland and the Americas.
Nowadays Barnstaple, as the largest town in North Devon and Exmoor, is a popular shopping destination for both locals and holidaymakers. Most of the town centre is pedestrianised between 10am and 4pm. The famous Pannier Market and pretty Butchers' Row sell locally produced food, including meat, fish and game. There are shopping malls and outdoor cafes, street entertainers and guided walks, parks and gardens - and flowers everywhere. The riverside walk takes you past museums and fountains, a mosaic and a motte and bailey castle. Boutport Street, which encircles the eastern side of the old fortified town offers entertainments at a theatre, a multi-screen cinema, and a miriad of taverns and restaurants.
The Glasshouse at Clayton's
2 Cross Street, Barnstaple, EX31 1BA. Tel: 01271 323311.
Just a few yards off the centre of Barnstaple's High Street
and only 100 yards from the tidal estuary, Clayton's is
a popular bar with comfortable seating. Upstairs is The
Glasshouse, an excellent restaurant, and an outdoor area
where smokers can dine or drink under a large canvas awning.
Food is served in the bar, restaurant and terrace from 12.00 noon to 9.00pm (last orders).
James Duckett at The Old Custom House
The Strand, Barnstaple, EX31 1EU. Tel: 01271 370123.
'Best Restaurant' in the 2009 North Devon Food and Drink
Awards. A Gold Award in the 2009 Taste of the West Awards
for its use of local produce. The restaurant features in
the current Michelin and Good Food Guides.
Open: Tuesday to Saturday, lunch 12.15pm to 2.30pm (last orders), dinner: 7.00pm to 10.00pm (last orders).
Market Street, Barnstaple, EX31 1BX. Tel: 01271 378844.
Zena's Courtyard Restaurant is a popular venue for day-time shoppers meeting for lunch.
Just around the corner from the bustle of Barnstaple's Pannier Market, one can sit outdoors
Open: Monday to Saturday, 11.00am to 4.00pm and on Friday and Saturday, 6.30pm to 8.30pm (last orders).
Wetherspoon's: The Panniers
Boutport Street, Barnstaple, EX31 1RX. Tel: 01271 329720.
Boutport Street, the longest town centre street has a theatre,
a multi-screen cinema, 8 pubs, 6 restaurants and many cafes
and takeaways. Opposite the Queen's Theatre is the town's
most popular pub: The Panniers. Look out for Steak Tuesdays,
Curry Thursdays and Sunday Club.
Open: Sunday to Thursday, 9.00am to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 9.00am to 1.00am.
Wetherspoon's: The Water Gate
7 The Strand, Barnstaple, EX31 1EU. Tel: 01271 335410.
Barnstaple's newest pub and Wetherspoon's second in the town. This is a hot
nightspot as well.
Open: Sunday to Wednesday, 9.00am to midnight; Thursday, 9.00am to 2.00am; Friday and Saturday, 9.00am to 3.00am.
Lilico's Mediterranean Bistro and Bar
3 Bridge Buildings, The Square, Barnstaple, EX32 8LW. Tel: 01271 372933.
Popular bar, with a bistro in the basement. Lilico's is in The Square, where there are several
other pubs, bars and bistros.
Open: Monday to Saturday, 11.00am to 11.00pm.
Woody's Fish and Chips
94 Boutport Street, Barnstaple, EX31 1SX. Tel: 01271 321242.
"Probably the best Fish and Chip Restaurant and Takeaway in town". Popular with locals and visitors. Friendly, ethusiastic staff - good sized portions.
Open: Monday to Saturday, 10.00am to 9.00pm.
80 High Street, Barnstaple, EX31 1HX. Tel: 01271 378553.
Website: Pizza Express - Barnstaple
Pizza Express is in the centre of Barnstaple's High Street,
next door to Marks & Spencers and opposite the pannier market.
The building is partly Elizabethan, it used to be The Three
Tuns, once a very popular pub. The Three Tuns was marketed
as "the oldest tavern in the oldest street in the oldest
borough in Britain".
Open: Monday to Saturday, 11.30am to 11.00pm; Sunday, 11.30am to 10.30pm.
MacDonalds x 2
Eastern Avenue, Barnstaple, EX32 0NX. Tel: 01271 329700.
and Roundswell Retail Park, Barnstaple, EX31 3RY. Tel: 01271 329699.
Open: "24-7" - they never close.
The Old School Coffee House
6 Church Lane, Barnstaple, EX31 1BH. Tel: 01271 372793.
In the corner of a narrow cobbled lane leading off the churchyard, there stands this ancient stone building, with leaded windows and venerable old oak doors, pannelling and beams. Above the door, etched in stone, are the words: "This school for 20 poor maids was founded and endowed by Alice Horwood in 1659". This is the place to have your cream tea.