North Devon Delight
Well, our summer break wasn't quite what we would have normally planned this year but then again, in the middle of a pandemic nothing is quite the same!! I'm not going to lie though, being desperate for some European sun and having to settle for a UK break didn't fill me with masses of joy at first. Having said that, I actually loved our little getaway and the hidden gems in North Devon that we visited, so I thought I'd share our finds.
This was our first beach trip and was actually the loveliest day. Westward Ho's a town near Bideford which was about 15 minutes away from where we were staying in Hartland, so ideal for the kids as long journeys become pretty painful these days!! The beach there is absolutely huge so great for walking, running or just relaxing whilst the kids play around in the sand and rock pools nearby. We were really lucky with gorgeous sun when we went but despite the sun there weren't huge numbers of people meaning you could be easily socially distanced from the next family.
Parking wise there's plenty but if you do have to go to the car park further from the Main Street then you either have to walk the long way back round to get to the main walkway onto the beach, or you have to go over some pretty big rock mounds to get there which - we learnt carrying all our bags for the day and with kids - can be a bit tricky! Despite this though it's definitely worth a visit for fun on the beach, in the sea, a quick nip into the arcades and some Devonshire ice cream of course!!
We ventured to Combe Martin knowing from research it would be a great place to take the kayaks out and we weren't disappointed. It was quite a lot further from Hartland - taking us an hour to get there - but it was absolutely worth it. Having parked in the centre of town, it was just a short walk onto the beach meaning you were also close to shops, restaurants and toilets if needed.
The beach was small but not crowded at all which was great, and it was more sheltered because of its bay location, so not as windy as you would normally expect on the coast. There was plenty to do too. You could just relax on the beach or wander along the path to right and go crabbing in the rock pools. Not only that but a dip in the sea and kayaking was fabulous there, so if you're in North Devon I would absolutely recommend a visit here!
I'd heard a lot about Clovelly before going there - namely about the steepness of the town and effort getting to the bottom and back up again - but the charm of the village and history was a real draw for me, so my mum and I headed there one lunchtime for a little wander and look around.
Now, if you're not keen on exercise Clovelly probably isn't the place for you as the walk to get down to the seafront and back up again is quite something. With beautiful cobbled streets and quaint houses and shops along the way though, I absolutely loved meandering to the sea front. We also had the opportunity to go into the Fishermans cottage which was fascinating as it was shown and set up as it would have been in the past with pieces of clothing and photographs of previous residents of Clovelly - some that had lived in the village their whole lives. So for a bit of pretty and a bit of history, Clovelly is a lovely visit. I personally wouldn't recommend going with young children though (I left mine at our holiday cottage with family)!
Hartland Quay & Point
Hartland Quay was just 5 minutes from where we were staying and offered the most spectacular views of the ocean. It may have been a more autumnal day when we visited, but that didn't matter as we were able to wander down towards the beach where there were a lot of rock pools to do some crabbing with the kids.
Having had lunch at the Hartland Quay Hotel we decided to venture afterwards to Hartland Point so we could check out the Lighthouse and fly our kites. Now, if you're not keen on heights then the narrow path to get to the point at which you can see the Lighthouse maybe isn't for you, but if you don't mind heights then it's actually a spectacular walk and view, and if you're lucky like us, then you might see seals in the cove on your way there.
The Lighthouse itself stands beautifully at the front of Hartland point and although you can't get close, you can still see it in all it's splendour from afar. The kids loved seeing it, and on the way back we had a little fly of the kites we had brought with us to Devon. The kite flying was so much fun and Hartland Point definitely provided a fabulous backdrop............just don't accidentally let the whole thing go when it's your turn (like I did!)!!
All in all we had a fabulous time away together in Devon and would thoroughly recommend it there for individuals or families alike. There was more we could have visited and done if we had had more time so I don't think you'd ever be short of places to go.