My sister and brother in law were visiting the UK for a family wedding and whilst there were over they came down south to spend a few days with us. As they have seen quite a lot of Somerset (where we live) we decided to take them even further south and headed to North Devon for a sisters and hubbies long weekend break.
Devon is in my top 3 favourite countries in the UK. It’s green rolling hills, wind turbines, breathtaking coastlines, big open spaces and quaint seaside villages all just make it dream destination within the UK.
I’ve always loved when the journey to a place is just as fun as the destination and the drive to Woody Bay was no different. Our route was almost all on A roads which meant we got to drive through the villages, we could see the coastline changing with every mile we got closer and we also had to go through the Exmoor National Park. We stopped off in one of the look out places to admire the Exmoor heather and ponies and of course take lots of pictures. Growing up whenever we drove to the coast (which was a casual 6-hour drive!) we always had a competition on whoever saw the ocean first meant they got the first ice cream. And whilst it was a rather chilly day we weren’t going to skimp out on the tradition and stood there in the spitty rain, with coats on eating our ice creams.
We were staying in Woody Bay which is just outside of Lynton and Lynmouth which are two twinned villages. Lynton is at the top of a cliff and joined with Lynmouth by a funicular railway. Basically a vertical train. It’s still got all of the charms of the 19th century when it was built to help connect the two towns. I loved the harbour in Lynmouth with all the boats sitting on the mud whilst the tide was out. Both villages had lovely little pubs and a lot of chippies because fish and chips are obviously a must by the sea.
We had a theme for railways on this trip as we also went to the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway and travelled on a steam train on a short track through the rolling hills. This has been a restoration project for volunteers within in the area and whilst there is only a short section of the railway operational it amazing to see how it’s been lovingly restored. The stations, the train and the museum all take you back to yesteryear. We really enjoyed this and it felt great experiencing something people have put so many hours into bringing back to life.
We were off the beat and track and the coast roads to get to our accommodation did cause a few white knuckles at times but the end result was worth it. We were so secluded that it was a little piece of paradise. There is low light pollution in this area so at night the stars were unbelievably bright. I don’t think I have seen the night sky so bright since being at my house in Australia. Our host was super attentive and their flat was so well designed and styled. They had thought of everything right down to backpacks for hikes and even more importantly wine on arrival. The winner though for this place was the view. Especially at sunrise and sunset.
Down the road from the flat was a walk that took you right to the beach. Obviously pebbled we are in England remember. I don’t even know if I can find the adjectives to say how gorgeous it was. From waterfalls to huge boulders and sheer cliffs I could have spent all my days there. My sister and her husband being the crazy ones that they are even got in the freezing, ‘September in England’ water and had a swim.
Other gems within this area that are worth exploring are Ilfracombe and Woolacombe. There was a festival going on in Ilfracombe when we were there so it was a buzz with activity, people and bunting. The harbour area was really pretty and certainly worth exploring with lots of boutique shops and boats to look at. There is also rumoured to be the oldest operational lighthouse in the UK here on Lantern Hill. We could have spent even longer here and will be certainly going back to explore. I really want to do a boat trip to Lundy island which you can do from the harbour here.
We got to Woolacombe late in the afternoon and did my favourite thing- we walked barefoot along the beach and even better this one was sand!. Way too chilly for a swim (even for my sister!) so we wandered up and down the beach watching the sunset. This beach is one of the most beautiful beaches I have come across over here and can’t wait to get down there this summer. We finished off the perfect walk with wine and beers in a pub overlooking the beach. If it was a bit warmer it would have been just like we were in Australia.
North Devon is full of great places and I’ve only covered a small portion of what it has to offer in this post. I’ve put some links below where you can find more information and things to do whilst visiting. It was the perfect long weekend break with my family and I can’t wait to go back and explore further.