Ilfracombe, Devon, UK
Twenty-four hours or a ten-day break. There's something for everyone! We were fortunate enough to be shown around by a couple of our family members who are locals. Always handy as they knew where to get the best ice-cream, the best viewpoints and some lovely walking spots.
Heading to Ilfracombe was a last minute decision but one which was well made. Being based in the Cotswolds, it's about fifteen miles to the motorway and then straight down into Devon (and onto Cornwall if you're wanting to see more of southern England).
Travel time should have been three and a half hours but it turned into five with the wonderful UK holiday traffic. Nonetheless we enjoyed the passing scenery and when we finally arrived into Ilfracombe the sun was shining and the sky was blue.
What is there to do in Ilfracombe? Like many quaint English towns, there seem to be more pubs than other public services! Ilfracombe has its fair share and you can easily spend a few hours meandering around the shops, cafes and ice-cream parlours. Watch the ships come and go in the harbour whilst fighting against the seagulls to hold on to your chips! No seaside visit in England is complete without a bag of fish and chips.
Ilfracombe is also famous for its Damien Hirst 'Verity' statue. A pregnant woman stands with the scales of justice behind her back. Having been in the town since 2012, it's been loaned by Mr. Hirst for twenty years so you've got until 2022 to see it there.
You can also visit Damien's The Quay restaurant to see more of his artwork and dine in a contemporary and stylish restaurant/cafe. With three floors, the service becomes more formal the more stairs you climb.
What else is there?
Of course, there is the traditional seaside arcade when you can gamble all of your spare change away. Enjoy putting 2p pieces into the slots in the hope of winning a Minion keyring, or better still, tickets for bigger prizes. A fantastic way to keep kids and adults entertained. Also an easy way to spend more money that you may have planned to so set yourself a limit if you're like me and can lose hours (and pounds) in there!
Taste the handmade fudge - chili infused for that extra kick - whilst walking around the town.
Visit Tunnels Beach by walking through the Victorian carved tunnels on to what were separate men and women's beaches.
Take the ferry to Lundy Island for a birdwatching and nature extravaganza. Stay overnight in the one hotel on the island. A real 'get away from it all' experience.
There are no end of beautiful scenic walks to fill your time. Follow the coastal path from one town to another. Alternatively, drive to different spots and get to see more of the area by walking between them. With plenty of cafes and restaurants along the way, it's a good chance to get some fresh area and perhaps spot seals and dolphins as you follow the cliffs. We walked to Baggy Point - part of the National Trust - and finished our trip with a lunch stop in Woolacombe.