Things To Do Near Bideford




Updated on

Bideford, on the west bank of River Torridge, is a picturesque town with many sights to see and a rich history. 

It’s often touted to be the prettiest town in North Devon- no wonder a few scenes of the movie, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, was shot in Bideford. Even the famous author Charles Kingsley based his novel Westward Ho! on a small seaside town in Bideford. 

For ages, Bideford has been a popular holiday destination for tourists across the world. Perhaps, you must be wondering what attracts people to this small port town, right? 

Be it theme parks, beaches, islands, or enchanting gardens, Bideford town centre is home to some stunning attractions. Assuming you’ve already planned a trip to Bideford, here’s a list of the 11 best things to do near Bideford for an enjoyable vacation. 

11 Things To Do Near Bideford

1. Fly Falcons At North Devon Falconry

Bet you’ve never flown Falcons in your life, that’s why you mustn’t miss this golden opportunity to fly Falcons when in Bideford. The North Devon Falconry has trained Harris Hawks that you can fly in the morning. 

After the lunch break, you’ll get the opportunity to fly a variety of Falcons. Amid them, the fastest stooping Falcon in the world, the Peregrine Falcon, will also be present. 

Not to forget, North Devon Falconry allows visitors to fly owls. So, before you leave this bird shop, make sure you seize the opportunity of flying strikingly beautiful, yet fierce predators. 

2. Explore Old Trains At Bideford Railway Heritage Centre

If antique things fascinate you, Bideford Railway Heritage Centre is another destination that you must visit. The old railway line from Barnstaple to Bideford is currently a part of the popular Tarka trail. 

Explore the beautiful Devon countryside and the banks of wildflowers along the estuary as you go on this popular walking trail. You can also adventure along the trail on 2 wheels by hiring a bike.

3. Take A Stroll In RHS Garden Rosemoor

Need a break from city life and spend some time in nature? Take your whole family to RHS Garden Rosemoor. 

At this enchanting garden nestled in the beautiful Torridge Valley, you’ll come across 2 stunning rose gardens. One is the Queen Mother’s Rose Garden which is planted with modern roses, while the other is the Shrub Rose Garden featuring traditional roses. 

If you wish to explore the exotic variety of plants, step into the Exotic Garden. There, you’ll find tree ferns like musa basjoo (hardy bananas), woody plants like cornus capitata (evergreen Chinese dogwood), and evergreens like Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’. 

But don’t just stop at these 2 gardens; there are plenty of other gardens that are worth your time. A few notable ones are the potager and cottage garden, croquet lawn, Lady Ann’s Arboretum, and the Bicentenary Arboretum.

4. Adventure Along The Tarka Trail On Two Wheels

Walkers can explore the Tarka Trail on foot, while cyclists can set out on 2 wheels on the Tarka Trail. 

Start your journey from the south west section of the trail because that is meant for cyclists. However, you’ll come across a few walkers because it’s a shared trail between the 2 types of explorers. 

Inspired by the Tarka, the Otter’s journey, this 180-mile long trail offers plenty of attractions to feast your eyes on. From dramatic sea cliffs to the unspoiled countryside, the Tarka Trail has lots of hidden gems. 

5. Check Out The Clovelly Court Gardens

Anyone who’s fond of plants must check out the Clovelly Court Gardens. This outstanding kitchen garden in North Devon is home to an incredible variety of fruits such as grapes, lemons, oranges, and other plants. 

You’re also allowed to take home a few plants from the amazing display, which makes it the perfect place for a gardening enthusiast. Irrespective of whether you’re visiting Clovelly Court Gardens in summer or winter, it remains open all year long between 10 AM and 4 PM. 

6. Milky Way Adventure Park

Prefer an adventure park where all the family members can enjoy to their heart’s content? The Milky Way Adventure Park promises a fun-filled experience like no other. 

Then grab a seat at the Cosmic Typhoon, which runs at 40 mph and gives stunning views of the the beautiful North Devon Coastline from the top. 

Set out on a Ziggy’s Blast Quest with your children and hit as many asteroids as possible. Jumping Jupiters, Droid Destroyer Dodgems, and Laser Shooting Target, to name a few, are other top attractions that will keep you hooked. 

Finally, head over to the North Devon Bird of Prey Centre, where you can see a fascinating variety of birds, including European eagle owls.

7. Relax At The Victoria Park

Victoria Park, originally opened to celebrate Queen Victoria’s reign, serves as the perfect place to relax for families. The carefully tended flower beds lend beauty to the park throughout the seasons. But let us tell you that the park appears most beautiful during spring and summer. 

At Victoria Park, there’s something for every age group. The dedicated children’s play area allows children to play and have fun until they get tired.

You can also take a dip at the open-air paddling pool for lots of family fun or if you’re into skating, the skateboard park offers you the opportunity to showcase your skills. 

8. Spend A Day At The Big Sheep 

Almost all parents flock to The Big Sheep Farm and Theme Park with their children on school holidays.

Start your day with big adventures and big screams, we’re talking about roller coaster rides. Fly through the air by grabbing a seat on The Twister and then hop on the train for a magical family ride. 

Set out on the swan lake pedalos and tractor rides to take a break from adrenaline-pumping rides. And climb the tractor safari to catch a glimpse of alpacas, llamas, donkeys and many more animals. 

When your legs get tired, check into the EWEtopia indoor playground, where you can relax, while your children play. 

9. Take A Dip At Westward Ho! Beach

This sandy beach is named after Charles Kingsley’s historical novel Westward Ho!

Backed by a pebble ridge, this long sandy beach offers the best of both worlds- nature and sand rock pools. Westward Ho! Beach is popular among surfers, so you might as well join them, but if you’re in no mood for surfing, splash around in the water. 

Like most beaches, RNLI lifeguard service is also available at the beach, so you can take a dip without worries. 

10. Sail Bristol Channel On Appledore Sails

Sailing at sea on a yacht has been on the bucket list for most of us, so check this off your bucket list by booking a boat for your family on Appledore Sails. 

You can book the 31-foot ocean yacht for 4 hours, 24 hours, a weekend or longer than that. Moreover, set out on sail to a child-friendly estuary, the Bristol Channel or beyond that. 

And if you’re heading to Bideford for your anniversary, you can book the whole boat.

11. Walk Your Dogs On The Instow Beach

Where the River Torridge meets the Taw Estuary is a sandy beach known as Instow Beach. 

This beach has been quite popular among artists, of course, because of the lovely views it offers. You can windsurf and kite surf at this beach or take long walks with your better half and furbaby. 

Yes, this beach allows dogs, so you won’t have to leave them at the hotel. 

Children will also love this beach, as it offers plenty of space to play, including building sand castles or taking part in beach volleyball. The good news is that this beach is accessible by wheelchair and no one will be left behind. 

A variety of food outlets at the beach means you need not bring any foodstuff or go anywhere searching for them. 

Offering an expanse of bright water with sails of catamarans, the Instow Beach is photo-worthy as well. So, charge your phones when coming to Instow Beach to capture its scenic beauty. 

Summing It Up

Whether you simply wish to explore the beautiful countryside or enjoy roller coaster rides that get your adrenaline pumping, Bideford has almost everything you’re in search of. 

Nature lovers can explore the enchanting gardens of North Devon, whereas historic sites will appeal to architects. Moreover, planning a whole day at the beach, an adventure park or an island like Lundy Island would be the best bet if you have family members who love outdoor activities.

Nearby Bideford are many art galleries, like the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon and Braunton and District Museum where you can explore the artwork of local artists. But irrespective of whether you’re heading to Bideford with family, friends, or solo, rest assured you’ll have the best vacation ever! 

About The Author


Reviewed by