Croyde Bay from Baggy Point

North Devon Beaches

If you’re visiting North Devon, you really have to visit at least one of our fantastic beaches, among them Instow, Putsborough, Croyde, Saunton, Woolacombe and Westward Ho! – to name but a few!

North Devon is blessed with wonderful sandy beaches, and Saunton is the daddy of them all! The golden sandy expanse of Saunton Beach is 3.5 miles long with dunes and a shallow fall that takes the tide far out, making it popular with surfers, swimmers, windsurfers and other water enthusiasts. Walk along to Crow Point and wave across the estuary to us at Instow!

As you exit the car park and start out towards Croyde, don’t forget to stop awhile to overlook the beach from the coastal road. You can enjoy the golden sand or take a surfing lesson, and don’t forget to stop in the village for an ice cream.

Woolacombe lies a little further north and offers a three-mile stretch of golden sand where you can watch the waves and enjoy the surfing.

Head back south of Instow to Westward Ho! (not only the only place with an exclamation mark in its name, but a pebble ridge behind one of the finest sandy beaches in England), for more golden sand and something rare at North Devon’s beaches – a free car park!

All of these amazing beaches are within easy reach of us at Instow.

Appledore with a view over Instow


This historic fishing village sits directly across the estuary from Instow. Take the seasonal ferry across in summer or go for a short drive or bus journey.

Appledore has been an important shipbuilding centre for centuries and the quay is dotted with boats of all kinds. Choose the right day to visit and you can watch the pilot gig rowing boats setting off to race.

The village is home to numerous artists and craftspeople and hosts the annual Appledore Book Festival in September, an independent event that attracts world-class authors and speakers.

Stroll around the narrow streets to see quaint fisherman’s cottages, with a choice of pubs and a view looking back towards the “sunny side” Instow.

Bideford Quay is a short distance from Instow


Bideford is a historic harbour town with independent shops, local produce and a lovely riverside quay. This attractive town lies two miles up river from Instow and is within easy reach off-road for walkers or cyclists, using the Tarka Trail access at the bottom of our garden.

The Pannier Market, fortnightly farmers’ market and traffic-free lanes provide some retail therapy, or you can sit and watch the world go by at a pavement cafe. Walk along Bideford Quay to Victoria Park where you can enjoy ‘Cafe OnBoard’ – a quirky boat that has been converted to a cafe.

For out-of-town shopping, ‘Affinity Outlet’ is located just outside the town.

Lundy Island boat rides from Instow

Take a boat trip to Lundy or go fishing

The North Devon coast offers some of the best sea fishing in the country. Try your luck on a trip to Lundy Island, or enjoy a fishing trip on the Estuary.

On a fishing trip along the North Devon coast you could come across sea mammals, seabirds, basking sharks or even giant sunfish.

If the fishing isn’t great, you’ll still enjoy the bird life on the River Torridge where you might meet herons, egrets, ducks, swans, shags and cormorants and, if you’re really eagle-eyed, the occasional kingfisher or otter – this is Tarka country after all. Or take the MS Oldenburg to the magic Kingdom of Lundy as seen above docked at the pier next to Rat Island on Lundy.

RHS Garden Rosemoor in Torrington near Instow

RHS Rosemoor Gardens

This beautiful 65-acre Royal Horticultural Society garden is a 20 minute drive from the apartment.

Open 364 days of the year, you can take a stroll around the extensive gardens for just an hour – or whole a day! The annual RHS Rosemoor Flower Show takes place in August and is well worth a visit.

Take a picnic, or enjoy cake and a coffee or lunch at the award-winning Garden Kitchen restaurant or the Shepherd’s Rest. The Wisteria Team Room at Lady Anne’s house is the perfect place for a cream tea.

And, of course, make sure you pop into the garden centre for a suitable present for your own garden!

Instow is close to Barnstaple


Barnstaple is the major town in North Devon approximately seven miles along the Tarka Trail from Instow, or an eight mile drive.

This ancient town was once a major port but little evidence of this remains. A traditional Pannier Market is popular with visitors and the attractive, partly pedestrianised centre features an array of large and local shops of all kinds.

The Museum of North Devon has been expanded and reinvigorated in 2019, and is well worth a visit.

Clovelly harbour near Instow holiday apartment


This picturesque fishing villages has been in private ownership by the same family for over 400 years! Consequently, the village’s originality and character has been preserved, and Clovelly is still a working fishing village.

The pretty cottages tumble down the steep cobbled hill to the harbour where there is no vehicular transport, other than donkeys and sledges.

Clovelly is a ten mile drive from the apartment.

Cricket at Westleigh village


A pretty village a mile up river and just the other side of Tapeley Park from Instow.

Westleigh is in an elevated position above the river and here you can find the Westleigh Inn and the Parish Church of St Peter.

Cliffs at Hartland Quay

Hartland Quay and Hartland Abbey and Gardens

Visit Hartland Quay, where the Atlantic Ocean dramatically meets the spectacular North Devon cliffs. Have a pint at the Hartland Quay Hotel and enjoy the magnificent contorted rock layers, as well as sand, rock pools and rocks to climb over – but watch the tide to avoid being cut off! It’s a dramatic place to watch the waves crash against the cliffs and shore, particularly if you visit during stormy weather.

The Abbey is now a private home which you can visit in season, along with its beautiful gardens and grounds. As well as being a location for the BBC’s Antique Roadshow, Hartland Abbey has featured in numerous dramatic productions, including Sense and Sensibility, The Night Manager and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society.

Great Torrington near Instow apartment

Great Torrington

This friendly and welcoming historic market town was the site of one of the last English Civil War battles, in 1646.

Torrington is a ten miles drive from the apartment, and home to RHS Garden Rosemoor and Dartington Crystal, where you can take a ‘factory experience’ to see the hand blown glass being produced, or visit the visitor’s centre to purchase a piece of finished crystal ware.

There are numerous shops and a refurbished Victorian Pannier Market as well as cafes, restaurants, pubs and a local Arts Centre.

Why not cycle up the Tarka Trail which follows the River Torridge all the way to Torrington? Stop along the way to view the wildlife and spot an otter, and have lunch at the Puffing Billy.

Ilfracombe Harbour near Instow


The North Devon town of Ilfracombe is home to Damien Hirst’s 66-foot tall stainless steel and bronze sculpture, named Verity (“truth”). The statue is on loan to the town for twenty years and stands at the entrance to the harbour looking across the Bristol Channel to South Wales beyond.

The distinctive Landmark Theatre is a 483-seat venue offering a diverse programme of events, including music, drama, comedy, dance, film, festivals and much more.

Ilfracombe has a range of small shops, cafes and some very good restaurants.

Exmoor view

The National Parks

Exmoor National Park lies just half an hour to the east of Instow and offers 267 sq miles of unique landscape with wild moorland, farmland, woodland, valleys and high cliffs where it meets the Bristol Channel. The British native Exmoor ponies are a highlight of any visit and you can find them grazing freely on the moor. Explore Exmoor for pubs and tearooms, or find tranquility and perfect peace while spotting wild red deer or dark skies full of stars.

Dartmoor National Park is an hour to the south of Instow and is a beautiful and wild place to explore, with imposing granite outcrops and wooded valleys as well as wild open moorland. Enjoy the birds and butterflies, or spot the iconic Dartmoor ponies grazing in the stunning scenery. Climb Haytor for spectacular views across Dartmoor and South Devon, or follow the 18-mile Templer Way trail.