Picturesque Clovelly village on the North Devon Coast is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the UK with its pretty harbour and award-winning visitor centre with a cafe and souvenir shops. The village is a real step back in time with an abundance of old inns, craft and gift shops, and quaint wattle and daub cottages leading towards the pier. The admission entrance fee to the village includes parking, an audio-visual introduction to Clovelly’s history, access to the two museums (the Kingsley Museum and Fisherman’s Cottage) and access to Clovelly Court Gardens.
Clovelly’s famous cobbled High Street is steep and sometimes slippery so sensible footwear is recommended. The visitor centre, donkey stables, craft workshops and Mount Pleasant however are all accessible to wheelchairs and dogs on leads are welcome. Village tours are also available for a small charge and a Land Rover service operates from Easter to October. Find out more at the visitor centre. Clovelly is 10 miles west of Bideford, and is easily reached just off the A39.
Things to Do & See
Clovelly is a special place with lots to do and experience including Cottage Tea Rooms serving Devon cream teas. Visit the Craft Workshops, and take a walk around some of the village’s open cottages including the Fisherman’s Cottage. Enjoy a boat trip from Clovelly harbour and take a tour of the Kingsley Museum housed in the former home of author Charles Kingsley who wrote “The Water Babies” and “Westward Ho!”. Walk to Mount Pleasant to sit atop the hill and enjoy spectacular views, or relax on the quayside which dates back to the 14th century.
Traffic free Clovelly’s narrow cobbled streets are built from pebbles hauled up from the beach, and add to its charm and character. Old inns, craft shops and tea rooms line these narrow streets, along with picture postcard fisherman’s cottages. Due to the sharp inclines of the cobbled streets donkeys have always been the main way of getting about, hence the famous Clovelly donkey present on many gifts and souvenirs. Practical footwear is recommended on the pebbled narrow and often steep streets of the village which can be slippery.
Start your tour of the village in the award-winning Visitor Centre modelled on a traditional Devon long barn featuring the audio-visual film introduction lasting around 20 minutes as well as souvenir shops and a cafe. The walk through the village down to the harbour is fairly steep, so for a small additional fee you can take the Land Rover service back up to the top. Dogs are welcome in the village if kept on leads. Head down to beautiful Clovelly Harbour for scenic boat trips and fishing trips. Boat trips and evening charter are available for fresh lobster and herring fishing in season or you can book a boat trip from Clovelly to Lundy Island.
Famous Victorian Clovelly resident, Charles Kingsley, attracts many visitors to the village. A novelist, parson, social reformer and Christian socialist, Kingsley arrived in Clovelly aged 11, and often returned as an adult. He wrote Westward Ho!, his novel on the crisis within Christianity and the clash between Catholic Spain and Protestant England whilst in Clovelly. Kingsley was instrumental in the Christian Socialist movement, influenced by the appalling conditions of the urban poor in Victorian Britain. Charles Kingsley’s books are sill incredibly popular today and his life and work are explored in the Kingsley Museum.
Clovelly offers easy access onto the South West Coast Path and magnificent coastal walking in the area. Hobby Drive winds along through woods from the village and offers superb views of the harbour and Bideford Bay. Walking the other way along the South West Coast Path you can walk all the way along this dramatic North Devon stretch of coastal cliffs to Hartland Point, taking in the little carved shelter called Angel’s Wings then on to the dramatic headland – Gallantry Bower, to Mouth Mill Cove once popular with smugglers then on to Hartland Point with its famous lighthouse.