North Devon is chock full of postcard-worthy places, from stunning beaches, dramatic coastlines and wild open moorland. But in between all of the varying landscapes, are little chocolate box villages that bring North Devon to life.
Each and every village has something new to offer and many of them hold a special place in my heart for it is where I spent my time growing up. For the ultimate countryside experience, it is worthwhile to visit the villages that make up the area, so here are 7 of the prettiest villages North Devon has to offer.
Appledore holds a special place in my heart as it is a place where I spent a lot of time growing up, as it is my mums., best friends, hometown. Located about 10 minutes from Bideford, Appledore sits on an estuary that overlooks the village of Instow (see below).
Appledore is full of higgledy-piggledy kinds of houses that are full of colour. Many of the cottages have the wackiest of names and overlook where the river meets the sea. It’s a place full of tradition, family and Devonshire charm.
Walk along the quay, eat a Hocking’s ice-cream and people watch from the Coffee Cabin. If you go in the evening you’ll find kids jumping off of the quay and people with buckets and nets to go crabing. It is a locals village and one that holds many happy memories for me.
Instow lies opposite Appledore and has a beach, rather than a quay. Instow is only small but, because it is the only beach that allows dogs, it is a locals favourite. It is another place where I spent a lot of time growing up and is one of my favourite spots to walk along, on a nice evening.
Instow is home to a couple of great restaurants, The Boathouse is extremely popular as is the Instow Arms which has a fantastic beer garden that overlooks the beach. There is also Johns, a cafe and deli selling local produce and amazing home-made food. Their brownies are out of this world.
Braunton is my partner’s favourite village and is one that he’d like us to live in one day. It’s pretty, has a lovely community atmosphere and is in a good location – just 10 minutes from Barnstaple and 10-15 minutes from Croyde and Saunton.
Braunton is a good village to explore in the evening, as the nightlife can be quite good. I’d start by treating yourself to a Squires, award-winning fish and chips that are popular with both locals and tourists alike. Then, hop on over to a pub (The George and The Aggi are popular), or alternatively head on over to SQ for rooftop cocktails and live music.
Located about 5 minutes up the road from the touristy Croyde, is the cute little village of Georgeham. Georgeham is a residential village and not built for tourists like the nearby Croyde, but it is worth visiting for its local pub, The Rock.
With a great menu and beautiful outdoor seating, it is a traditional village pub through and through and well worth a visit if you are in the Croyde area.
Lee is somewhere I only discovered this summer as it is somewhat of a local secret. Tucked down narrow, winding roads, Lee is on the way towards Ilfracombe and is a small little village that has one pub and not much else, bar the secluded pebble beach.
The bay is very calm, so it is a very popular option for paddle boarders and kayakers as well as local families with little kiddies. Its the perfect spot for peace and tranquillity and, because of its location, it will remain a hidden gem. Visit here and you’ll know more than some locals!
Lynton & Lynmouth
Lynton and Lynmouth is my favourite spot in the whole of North Devon and if you wanted to find out a bit more about it, here is a more detailed guide on everything you need to know.
Located on the edge of Exmoor, Lynton and Lynmouth are sister villages that are connected by a water-powered cliff railway. In Lynton, you can walk to The Valley of the Rocks, a dramatic coastal walk, whereas Lynmouth is my favourite village to explore, people watch and enjoy dinner with a view.
Ride the cliff railway, eat fish and chips on the harbour and go souvenir shopping in the quaint little shops. It’s my favourite place to be to have a wander and explore and it comes with stunning scenery to boot.
Saving the best until last is the beautiful village of Clovelly. Clovelly is a historical little harbour village and is one of North Devon’s most famous locations.
Known for its cobbled streets, donkeys and historic charm, Clovelly is like stepping back in time. About 15 minutes from Bideford, it is easily located and is best visited either first thing in the morning (fewer tourists) or after 5 pm when it is free to get into the village (before 5pm it is £7.50 p/p).
Clovelly is full of character and beauty and is an absolute must for any North Devon itinerary. Try a Devonshire cream tea in the Cottage Tea Room and Gardens or have a drink at the Red Lion which is down on the harbour. If you have room try Kelly’s Ice-Cream; white chocolate and raspberry is divine!
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