Nearby to Barnstaple you can find some of the best beaches that North Devon has to offer at Croyde, Saunton and Woolacombe. However, if you’re looking for something different to an afternoon on the sand, then you might want to head to Watermouth Castle.
The castle here is perfect for the entire family, incorporating landscaped gardens and a historic castle for the adults to enjoy strolling around. As well as this, the children will enjoy spending time in the maze, the theme park’s rides and play areas meaning that no matter what group of family or friends visit this attraction, everyone will go home happy!
On the outskirts of the town centre you can visit ‘Let’s Go!’ a family entertainment centre that incorporates activities that include 10 pin-bowling, indoor ice-skating and karaoke pods. With so much to do all in one location you’re sure to enjoy an afternoon here.
For a prehistoric adventure you might want to consider a day at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park. An attractive day out for all the family, the park has opportunities for the family to meet the lions as well as try their hand at falconry and swimming with sea lions. The Dinosaur show has some very life-like dinosaurs that come to life using some fantastic technology to give you that real Jurassic Park feeling!
In the town centre there is the Tarka Tennis Centre, an indoor and outdoor facility that is one of the best in the country for people to enjoy a game of this wonderful sport. Barnstaple also has its own multi-screen cinema and the Queen’s Theatre has regular shows that the whole family can enjoy. If you head off in the direction of Bideford then you can find the family attractions of The Big Sheep and The Milky Way, both of which are popular days out for children of all ages, and adults too!
You might want to visit Rock Park to spend an afternoon lazing around on the grass or alternatively stroll through the streets of Barnstaple enjoying the history of streets such as Butcher’s Row and the Pannier Market.
You could head down to the local beaches, though you will have to pay to park at Saunton or in most of the car parks throughout Croyde or Woolacombe.
Barnstaple has a number of brilliant restaurants and takeaways that you can enjoy both throughout the town and nearby.
If you’re looking to enjoy something in the middle of town, then you might want to consider going along to The Bank, a lovely restaurant that sells a huge variety of dishes at more than reasonable prices throughout the year. With a wide selection of hotels and pubs throughout the town and local villages also selling some fine food at more than reasonable rates you can be assured that you won’t go hungry while taking a holiday in Barnstaple.
There are also a wide range of restaurants near Barnstaple that sell food from around the world, all cooked with the freshest ingredients and to the best standard. In the centre of town, Giovanni’s is a fantastic Italian restaurant and The Fulham Chinese restaurant is a favourite for many locals and visitors alike. If you travel just outside of town to Han Court, you’ll find a wide selection of brilliant Cantonese dishes.
Barnstaple has its own railway station which can be reached from Exeter. The station in the county’s capital is linked to National Rail stations all across the country, so if you plan on coming to Barnstaple by train, it’s simple to plan your trip.
Barnstaple is also well connected by road. After leaving the M5 at Junction 27 you head along the A361 until you find the town – easy! The nearest airport to Barnstaple is in Exeter, from which you can travel either by car or train to reach the town itself.
The neighbouring town of Bideford is a delightful port town that has ships working in its harbour on regular occasions. Like many of the villages nearby, including Braunton and Croyde you can get the real feel of the South West from experiencing these small towns that are dotted through the North Devon countryside. Wander through the streets browsing the small shops and galleries to take in some of the finest locally handmade crafts.
As you head along the river towards Bideford you can enjoy the small villages of Fremington and Instow that both have a charming, traditional feel about them. Instow on the estuary has delightful views of neighbouring Appledore across the river and its own beach that has some fine sand dunes.
Nearby to Barnstaple you’ll find some of the finest beaches that North Devon, and indeed the whole county, has on offer. With Saunton offering miles of sand for you to enjoy, as well as some of the best sand dunes that you will find throughout the region, it’s sure to prove a popular day out for all the family if you head along to this beach for an afternoon or the entire day.
Croyde beach sits in a delightful position just around the bay and with all the facilities you could need just in the village, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular beaches throughout the region during the summer months.
Another beach that sits right by the side of the village, Woolacombe is a long stretch of sands that extends all the way down to Putsborough – another beach that can become quite popular during the summer months.
All of the beaches here, due to their location that is exposed to the waves of the Atlantic Ocean are renowned for their good surfing conditions. While this can make the beaches popular during the summer season, because of the size of the beaches, as well as the number of them, you’ll find somewhere that you can enjoy the waves. You can also be assured that you won’t find any better conditions in Devon for catching the waves.
Take a stroll through the historic town centre and pannier market that is so full of history. As you browse the interesting market stalls that hold goods created by local arts and craftsmen as well as the huge variety of both local and national retail shops that line the High Street you’re sure to be inspired to take something home that will make you remember your holiday in Barnstaple.
If you’re staying in North Devon then you would certainly be a fool to miss the opportunity to visit some of the best beaches throughout the South West. Croyde, Saunton and Woolacombe are all impressive stretches of sand that have been popular with families and surfers for years and years.
A walk along the Tarka Trail is another must for anyone who’s looking to gain a real experience of North Devon. Follow the trail to either Braunton, Bideford or beyond to explore some brilliant countryside and views of the Taw and Torridge rivers.
Every year the delights of Barnstaple Carnival appeal to both the locals and visitors to the area as they flock to the roadside to see the brilliant floats designed by local people who have a passion for putting on a wonderful show.
In North Devon you can be sure that one thing will be celebrated in a big way - New Year’s Eve! With both Barnstaple and neighbouring Bideford holding events that see people line the streets of the towns wearing fancy-dress costumes you can be sure that if you plan a holiday to the area during this time, you’re going to have a wonderful time!
There are a number of other events that take place throughout North Devon every year, so check out our calendar to see exactly what you should take in whilst you’re enjoying getaway in Barnstaple.