Bideford to Instow (and vice versa)

Sunset at Instow Beach
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Bideford and Instow are picturesque towns in North Devon, England.

Bideford, a historic market town, features a medieval bridge and charming waterfront. Instow, a serene coastal village, offers a beautiful sandy beach and Victorian-era houses.

Both towns are surrounded by stunning countryside and provide access to outdoor activities.

They serve as excellent bases for exploring North Devon’s attractions, including Exmoor National Park and the Atlantic coastline.

Bideford and Instow provide a delightful blend of history, natural beauty, and tranquillity for visitors.

We will show you the different ways to get to these places.

Bideford to Instow


Nestled along the beautiful estuary of the River Torridge in North Devon, England, lies a delightful journey from Bideford to Instow.

Bideford and Instow attractions offer a captivating blend of history, natural beauty, and coastal beauty.

As you do the Bideford to Instow travel, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views, serene landscapes, and a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Whether you’re drawn to Bideford’s historic market town ambience or Instow’s peaceful coastal village vibe, the journey between these two destinations promises a memorable experience filled with idyllic landscapes and enchanting discoveries.

Bideford to Instow by Car

The car journey from Bideford to Instow takes approximately 8 minutes, covering a distance of 3.7 miles.

The fastest route is via Barnstaple St/B3233 and B3233. Starting from Buttgarden St, head south toward Lower Meddon St, then turn left onto Torridge Hill.

At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto New Rd/A386, followed by the 3rd exit onto Bideford Long Bridge/Old Bideford Bridge/B3233.

Continue on Old Bideford Bridge/B3233, then take the 1st exit onto Barnstaple St/B3233 at the next roundabout.

Stay on B3233 for 1.8 miles, and finally, turn right onto Down Rd to reach Instow.

Enjoy the short and scenic drive from Bideford to Instow.

While visiting Bideford or Instow, don’t miss out on the top 9 places not to miss out on when travelling to Bideford.

Bideford to Instow by Train

Bideford does not have a train station, so the nearest train station is Barnstaple.

From Bideford, you can take a bus to reach Barnstaple and then continue your journey by train to Instow.

To begin, you can catch a bus from Bideford to Barnstaple.

The bus journey takes approximately 30 minutes, but it is important to check the current bus schedules for the most accurate information.

Once you arrive at Barnstaple, you can proceed to the train station, which is conveniently located nearby.

The train journey from Barnstaple to Instow is relatively short.

The train ride takes around 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the specific train service. Instow has a small train station, making it easily accessible for travellers.

Travelling from Bideford to Instow via train and bus provides a convenient and efficient way to reach your destination.

Make sure to check the latest bus and train schedules to plan your journey accordingly and ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience.

Other Transport Options


Travelling from Bideford to Instow via taxi or private vehicle takes approximately 10 minutes, covering a distance of 3.7 miles.

  • The route includes heading south on Buttgarden St, turning left onto Torridge Hill, and then taking New Rd/A386.
  • At the roundabouts, follow signs for Bideford Long Bridge/B3233 and continue onto Barnstaple St/B3233.
  • Afterwards, take B3233 and turn right onto Down Rd to reach Instow.

For specific cost information, it is advisable to check with local taxi companies or consider prevailing fuel prices for private vehicles.


Travelling from Bideford to Instow on foot or by bike is a scenic and enjoyable option.

By walking, it takes about 1 hour and 7 minutes to cover the 3.3-mile distance. Start from Grenville St, head north on Bridge St, and follow B3233 to Instow. Exercise caution while walking.

By bike, it takes approximately 21 minutes to cover the 3.4-mile distance. Follow the same route as walking, but prioritize safety and adhere to cycling regulations.

Both walking and biking allow you to appreciate the natural beauty of the area while travelling between Bideford and Instow.

Why go to Instow?

Instow is a serene and stunning village located at the estuary where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet.

Instow Beach
Instow Beach

With its beautiful sandy beach, stunning coastal views, and tranquil atmosphere, Instow is an ideal destination for relaxation and outdoor activities.

Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks along the beach, partake in water sports, explore nature reserves, and appreciate the village’s welcoming ambience.

Instow offers a peaceful seaside retreat and a chance to immerse oneself in the natural beauty of the Taw-Torridge Estuary.

Featured Places to Stay Near Bideford

Instow to Bideford

Instow to Bideford is a short and beautiful journey in the United Kingdom.

Instow, nestled at the estuary of the Taw and Torridge rivers, offers a peaceful setting with its sandy beach and stunning coastal views.

From there, travellers can venture to Bideford, a charming town known for its historic charm and bustling quayside.

With narrow streets, traditional buildings, and a vibrant atmosphere, Bideford invites visitors to explore its shops, cafes, and riverside promenade.

The journey from Instow to Bideford or Bideford to Instow travel provides a delightful opportunity to experience the natural beauty and rich heritage of this coastal region in the United Kingdom.

Things to do in Instow

Instow is a beautiful village nestled along the estuary where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet.

Despite its small size, Instow offers a range of delightful activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Instow Ferry Point

Here are some of the top things to do in Instow:

  • Relax on Instow Beach: Soak up the sun and enjoy the breathtaking coastal views.
  • Engage in Water Sports: Try sailing, paddleboarding, or kayaking in the calm waters of the estuary.
  • Explore the Taw-Torridge Estuary: Discover nature reserves, marshlands, and scenic trails.
  • Indulge in Local Food: Enjoy fresh seafood and traditional dishes at Instow’s charming eateries.
  • Discover Instow’s History: Take a stroll through the historic streets and admire the traditional architecture.

Things to do in Bideford

Bideford offers a range of delightful activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Here are some of the top things to do in Bideford:

  • Wander the Bideford Quay: Take a stroll along the quayside, enjoy scenic views, and browse shops and art galleries.
  • Pay a visit to Burton Art Gallery and Museum: Immerse yourself in art and heritage exhibitions.
  • Enjoy Outdoor Activities: Hike the Tarka Trail or explore Northam Burrows Country Park.
  • Discover History at the Bideford Heritage Centre: Learn about Bideford’s maritime past and trade connections.

In Summary

Explore the beautiful towns of Bideford and Instow in North Devon, England.

With historic beauty, waterfront views, serene beaches, and Victorian-era houses, these towns offer a delightful blend of history, natural beauty, and tranquillity.

Use Bideford and Instow as your base to explore attractions like Exmoor National Park and the Atlantic coastline.

Enjoy a short scenic drive, convenient train and bus journeys, or even walking and cycling routes to reach Instow.

Immerse yourself in the peaceful coastal atmosphere, relax on the beach, try water sports, explore nature reserves, savour local food, and embrace the natural beauty of the Taw-Torridge Estuary.

Experience the beauty of Bideford, the serenity of Instow, and the wonders of North Devon.

If you are planning to go to Appledore, we also made a travel guide from Bideford to Appledore.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How far is Tarka Trail from Bideford to Instow?
A: The Tarka Trail from Bideford to Instow is approximately 4.5 miles. This scenic walk follows an old railway line route, passing by the river Torridge, through an old train tunnel, and onward to the Beam Weir.

Q: What is Bideford known for?
A: Bideford is known for its ancient Long Bridge, spanning the Torridge River with its 24 arches. Originally built in the 13th century, the bridge has evolved into a sturdy stone structure and is a prominent landmark of the town.

Q: Where is Instow Beach?
A: Instow Beach is located in North Devon, approximately 2 miles north of Bideford. It is situated 25 miles from Bude and 48 miles from Exeter. Access to Instow can be reached by various routes, such as the A39 from North Cornwall, passing Bude and crossing the River Torridge.

Q: Is Instow worth visiting?
A: Instow comes highly recommended by 97% of travellers. This beautiful coastal destination offers a serene beach, stunning views, and a peaceful atmosphere. It has received positive ratings on Tripadvisor, with many visitors enjoying their experience.

Q: What does the name Instow mean?
A: The name “Instow” derives from the Anglo-Saxon language and means “St John’s Holy Place.” In Anglo-Saxon, “stow” denotes a holy place, and the name is found in various locations across Devon that had a church, such as Churchstow, Christow, and Virginstow.

Author Matt Ogborne
Matt Ogborne
About the Author

Welcome to! I’m Matt, a seasoned explorer and avid fan of Bideford and the broader North Devon area. With over a decade of consistent family visits, virtually every weekend, I’ve immersed myself in the rich history and vibrant culture Bideford & North Devon.

On this site, you’ll find a wealth of knowledge amassed from my adventures here. From in-depth local guides to engaging blog posts about Bideford. Whether you’re looking for recommendations on things to do or guidance on where to stay we have you covered. Join me as we delve into the heart of Bideford, North Devon – a town that’s more than just a destination, but an experience waiting to be discovered.

Do you want to see your favourite Bideford attraction, place to stay, event or activity listed here? Contact Us!