Things to do in North Devon in the Winter
Everyone knows that the Great British Weather has a certain reputation, but even if the weather isn’t favourable whilst you’re here, there is plenty to do in the North Devon area in the winter, from walks followed by a cosy pub to indoor attractions and shopping.
Take the scenic Tarka line between Barnstaple and Exeter, jump off at one of the many countryside train stops and enjoy all the scenery on offer. Nearly all of the train stops are conveniently located near a country pub (many of which you can find details through this website). The train runs 7 days a week all year except Christmas day and Boxing Day.
There’s also the Woody Bay steam train which is open for parts of winter, including February half term, as well special events such as Remembrance Sunday and Santa Events. Run by the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Trust, this attraction will take you back a few years!
There’s a variety of places in the area where you can do that little bit of shopping, whether it’s browsing big brand outlets or picking up something from a local producer at the market.
Barnstaple Pannier Market, a historic indoor market, has a variety of stalls from fresh vegetables and fudge to crafts and ornaments. It’s located next to Barnstaple’s famous Butcher’s Row, where you can get local meat and fish as well locally baked bread and more.
Atlantic Village outlet shopping is located just outside of Bideford and has stores like Nike, Procook, Marks and Spencer and Mountain Warehouse. If you have the family with you, it’s good to know that the shopping centre is conveniently located next to Atlantis Bowling and has cafes such as Costa for that afternoon beverage.
Barnstaple high street has those regular shops you may be looking for, as well as some independents, and Green Lanes has your big brand names.
Dartington Crystal is a great attraction whatever the weather, you can see glass blowing in action, tour the factory and grab some bargains at the factory shop! It is located just outside of Torrington and has plenty of onsite parking. You could always tie this in with a trip over to RHS Rosemoor, only a few miles away from Dartington Crystal. (Note that factory tours and glass blowing demonstrations are on only during the week).
Cobbaton Combat Collection has a huge indoor collection of military items from guns and uniforms to armoured vehicles and tanks which can be seen in their venue not far from the a361. This is a great day out for military fanatics, history buffs and adventurous children alike.
Art and Galleries
If you’re interested in a little modern art, why not check out Damian Hirst’s Verity as well as his small gallery, both of which are in Ilfracombe. Verity is a 66 foot tall bronze statue that ‘stands guard’ on Ilfracombe harbour. It’s certainly modern art and has mixed reactions from the public, but we definitely recommend a visit followed by a day out in Ilfracombe for a walk along the picturesque harbour.
You could also go to Broomhill Sculpture Gardens which features over 300 sculptures in 12 acres of woodland. Well recommended for featuring the work of talented artists in the most ‘magical surroundings.’
The South west coast path covers 630 miles of beautiful coastal land, so you’re bound to find a stretch perfect for you! Baggy Point is probably the most famous of all the walks in and around this part of North Devon and it’s a very simple one to navigate; you can walk straight across the beach from the resort and up to the very tip of Baggy Point where you’ll find some of the best views in the county.
Dogs can go on Croyde beach from the end of September until 1st May, for those of you brining you furry friend and staying in our Waggy Tails cottages!
Another local favourite walk is just around the Bay at Morte Ho where you can park up and go on multiple walking loops to Lee Bay, Bull Point or Morte Point and circle your way back to Morte Ho for a cream tea or pasty in this cute little village.
Historical Sites and Houses
Arlington court is open every day from mid February and has many festive weekends throughout December.
Clovelly is open all year and whilst a few of the smaller independent shops have restricted opening, you will be able to see all of the sites there as well as all the attractions like the fisherman’s cottage, chapels and of course the harbour, famous for its crab and lobster.
North Devon is a truly special place and Croyde Bay Resort can be your base for enjoying the area, winter or summer.