Video of North DevonAccommodation plotted on a map (opens new window)About the area

About the Bideford coast and country area of North Devon

- these are the lands and communities that abound the tidal estuary of the River Torridge.

Bideford, the town "by the ford" as the name implies, straddles the estuary at its lowest fording point. Originally a Saxon town, its famous 24-arched Long Bridge was paid for by the Norman Bishop of Exeter in the late 13th century. Bideford and Barnstaple were rival merchant ports from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Bideford continues to this day as a freight and fishing port and Appledore, downstream on the west bank, still has an active, now high-tech, shipyard and well-used quayside. On the east bank lies Instow, with its golden sandy beach, seafood restaurants and North Devon's Yacht Club. Westward Ho! (yes, there really is an exclamation mark in the name) sprawls along the seaward side of the peninsular bordered by the Torridge to the east and north, and Bideford Bay to the west. Westward Ho! was created as a Victorian seaside resort in the 1850s following the popularity of the historical romance of the same name written by Bideford's celebrated author, Charles Kingsley.

atlantic village on shopping bag logo
Admission Free

Atlantic Village

Clovelly Road, Bideford, EX39 3QU. Tel: 01237 473901.

North Devon's largest discount shopping outlet with themed leisure attractions. Family day out.

Opening Times: 1 Jul-31 Aug, Mon-Sat, 0930-2000, Sun, 1100-1700; 1 Sep-30 Jun, 0930-1800, Sun, 1100-1700. Closed 25 Dec.
Admission Charges: Free
Dogs admitted: No.

awaiting photograph
Admission Free

Bideford Railway Museum

Bideford Station, East-the-Water, Bideford. Tel: 01237 423585.
Website: Bideford Railway Museum

Restored railway station; museum in rebuilt signal box, vintage rolling stock, refreshments in railway carriage. Brake van rides along relaid railway commencing Easter 2001.

Opening Times: Easter-31 Oct, Sun, Tue, Thu, Bank Hols, 1400-1700; Nov-Easter, Sun, 1400-1700.
Admission Charges: Free
Dogs admitted: Yes.

art exhibition at the burton
Admission Free

Burton Art Gallery & Museum

Kingsley Road, Bideford, EX39 2QQ. Tel: 01237 471455.

Art Gallery & Museum Permanent collection of oil and watercolour paintings, North Devon slipware, porcelain, pewter and Napoleonic bone model ships. Local artefacts include items from local industry and a model of Bideford's long bridge. Gift shop and restaurant. Tourist Information Centre is located in entrance hall.

Opening Times: All year, Mon-Sat, summer, 1000-1600, Sun, 1100-1600. Closed 23 Dec-4 Jan.
Admission Charges: Free
Dogs admitted: No.

the signal box at instow
Admission Free

Instow Signal Box

Sea Front, Instow, Bideford, Devon.

Unique c1872 signal box, complete with original levers and equipment. Now with re-laid track and working signal. Instow Signal box, with most of its equipment still intact, has survived to become the first such building in the country to acquire listed building status (Grade II). Even better, is the fact that it is open to the general public throughout the year (Sunday afternoons), thanks to Devon County Council and an enthusiastic group of volunteers. You can now step into the past, where the safety of passengers was paramount, and picture yourself as a Signalman, even to the extent of pulling a lever and operating a signal!

Opening Times: All Year, Sundays, 1400-1700, weather permitting.
Admission Charges: Free
Dogs admitted: Yes.

ms oldenburg alongside the jetty at lundy

Lundy Island

Shore Office, Ilfracombe, Devon. Tel: 01271 863636.

Beautiful island owned by the National Trust, 3 miles long, 24 miles out in the Bristol Channel. Lighthouse, castle and tavern. Ideal for walking and bird-watching - no roads or cars.

Opening Times:
Sailings from Mid March until the end of October from either Bideford or Ilfracombe. Timetables are available from the Lundy Office.
Admission Charges: Adult: £32.00 Child: £17.00 Infant: £5.00 Family (2+2): £75.00 Discounts for Over 60s, Students, National Trust members.
Dogs admitted: No.

ship's wheel and binnacle

North Devon Maritime Museum

Odun House, Odun Road, Appledore, Bideford, EX39 1PT. Tel: 01237 422064.
Website: Maritime Museum

All aspects of North Devon's maritime history illustrated by models, photographs and paintings. Interpretation centre for the area and museum. Video film show. Research room.
Opening Times: 1 May-30 Sep, Mon-Fri, 1100-1700, Sat-Sun, 1400-1700, but closes for lunch: 1300-1400. Easter-30 Apr and 1-31 Oct, daily, 1400-1700.
Admission Charges: Adult: £1.50 Child: £0.30 Concession: £1.00
Dogs admitted: No.

blurry photo of the burrows at northam
Admission Free

Northam Burrows Country Park

Northam, Bideford, EX39 1LY. Tel: 01237 479708.
Website: Northam Burrows

Northam Burrows Country Park is a 253 hectare grassy coastal plain at the mouth of the Taw/Torridge estuary; it is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and forms an integral part of the newly designated United Nations Biosphere Reserve.
For school and party bookings ring Bideford 01237 479708.

Opening Times: All year, daily, at any reasonable time.
Admission Charges: Free
Dogs admitted: Yes - must be kept on lead.

tapeley house and gardens

Tapeley Park Gardens

Instow, Bideford, EX39 4NT. Tel: 01271 342558.
Website - temporarily off-line

Devon home of the Christie family of Glyndebourne. Overlooking estuary to sea. Beautiful Italian garden with many rare plants and woodland walk.

Opening Times:
26 Mar - 31 Oct, Sun-Fri, 1000-1700.
Admission Charges: Garden: Adult: £ Child: £ Concession: £. Groups (minimum 5 persons): Adult: £ Child: £ Concession: £.
Dogs admitted: Yes - on a lead.

sheep racing at the big sheep

The Big Sheep

Abbotsham, Bideford, EX39 5AP. Tel: 01237 472366.

*Gold Award Winners for Tourism Excellence in SW England, (2010-2011) The BIG Sheep is a unique family fun day out suitable for all ages and can be enjoyed whatever the weather brings. Sheep racing, lamb bottle feeding sessions, Ewetopia indoor playground, Eweston station train ride, Twister chair-o-planes ride, Safari tractor rides, Battlefield Live combat area, and much more...

Opening Times: 1 Apr-30 Oct, daily, 1000-1800. Please telephone for winter prices and openings.
Admission Charges: Summer Season: Adult: £10.95 Child: £10.95 Child under 3ft tall: £4.00 Group of 4 or more: £10.45 each.
Dogs admitted: No (Free basic kennels available on a first come first served basis) .