Top Questions About Bideford, Answered 2023

Bideford Mill Street

Below are the answers to the top 15 or so questions about Bideford, let’s get started!

Is Bideford worth visiting?

Absolutely! Bideford is a charming town with a rich history and a friendly atmosphere. Known for its picturesque river views, great pubs, cafes, and fish & chip shops along The Quay, this lovely town in North Devon is worth exploring.

Bideford is also home to the historic Pannier Market and the Atlantic Village outlet, offering shopping opportunities for locals and tourists.

Why is Bideford famous?

This is Instow beach, looking over at Appledore, just north of Bideford Town Centre

Bideford was once Britain’s third-largest port with strong maritime connections.

Today, it is more widely known as a thriving shopping centre, with various independent shops and a historic Pannier Market that boats over 30 independent traders

Does Bideford have a beach?

Learning to Surf at Westward Ho!
Learning to Surf at Westward Ho!

Yes, Bideford is near the popular Westward Ho! beach, which caters to tourists’ needs with seaside shops, toilets, and a range of food outlets. Westward Ho! is well-suited for families and is a favourite spot for swimmers.

Additionally, dogs are permitted on both the North end of the beach in the summer and over on the Northam Burrows side of the beach all year round and on the whole beach from October to April.

You can learn more about all the beaches around Bideford in this guide.

Does Bideford have shops?

Bideford Pannier Market
Bideford Pannier Market

Yes, lots and lots of shops! Bideford boasts a lively town centre full of charm and character, offering a range of independent shops, eateries, and the historic Pannier Market filled with local crafts.

Combine this with the busy High Street and the winding Mill Street in the town centre, and the new Affinity Devon shopping centre to the southeast of the town makes a great combination and Bideford an attractive shopping destination.

What day is Bideford market?

The Bideford Pannier Market operates on Tuesdays and Saturdays, trading between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.

On other days, the space is used for arranged specialist markets and events, while Butcher’s Row and the Market Place Shops are open from Monday to Saturday.

What is the nearest station to Bideford?

Though Bideford does not have a train station, nearby Kingsley Road is just 111 meters away (a 2-minute walk), while Bideford Quay is 342 meters away (a 5-minute walk).

For train connections, the nearest railway station is Barnstaple, which is approximately 10 miles (16 kilometres) from Bideford.

For railway enthusiasts, the Bideford Railway Heritage Centre is below and is just across the Long Bridge that Bideford is so famous for.

Does Bideford have a harbour?

Yes, Bideford is a bustling historic harbour town on the Torridge River in North Devon.

Cargo ships continue to load and unload at the quay, just as they have done for centuries. Bideford’s harbour plays a significant role in the town’s economy and character.

The Quayside is also home to a bronze statue dedicated to Tarka, the famous Otter.

What is the prettiest harbour in Devon?

Clovelly Village
Clovelly Village

One of the most picturesque harbours in Devon is Clovelly, a stunning village famous for its flower-strewn cottages cascading down a cliff to the ancient working port.

This charming destination is a favourite among visitors for its Instagram-worthy scenery and timeless atmosphere.

Featured Places to Stay Near Bideford

Is Bideford a seaside town?

Bideford Quay

Although Bideford isn’t directly located on the coast, it is close to several beautiful beaches in the area. Westward Ho! The beach is nearby, while Grey Sands, Instow, Sauton Sands, Croyde and Woolacombe serve as additional options for visitors.

The historic harbour town of Bideford has plenty of coastal charm, making it an ideal base for exploring North Devon’s seaside attractions.

What time is Bideford Carnival?

The Bideford Carnival typically begins at 6 pm, with fireworks in Victoria Park at 9:40 pm. The celebration brings the community together and features a lively parade, various entertainment, and family-friendly activities.

What’s on in Bideford next week?

There is always something going on in Bideford! From community workshops, say a Bideford library, to art expeditions in the Burton Art Gallery to festivals either on the quayside in the local area.

There are regular marathons throughout the tear, the Eat Festival, Bideford Fest, Stepping Out, Pigstock Festival, a Bike Show, a “Here for the Music Festival” over at the Big Sheep, the world-renowned water Festival and how can we forget the Soapbox Deby that happens every June.

Find out what the annual Bideford events & festivals are here

What day is the Croyde market?

Croyde Beach Market
Croyde Beach Market

Croyde Market operates on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Located opposite Croyde Beach and next to Ruda Campsite, this fun market offers a variety of stalls with unique and locally crafted products for you to explore.

Do check their Facebook page for the latest times. They start from May 31st in 2023.

Where is the Tarka Trail in Bideford?

Tarka Trail Camping
Tarka Trail Camping, is situated right on the cycle path.

The Tarka Trail, a 180-mile (290 km) cycling and walking route, passes through Bideford along the banks of the Torridge River.

Cantered around the market town of Barnstaple, the Tarka Trail follows the routes explored by the eponymous otter in Henry Williamson’s novel “Tarka the Otter.” This scenic route provides a great opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers to experience the beauty of North Devon.

Remember. you don’t have to do all 180 miles in one go, you can hop on and hop as you please.

Is Bideford a nice place to live?

Happy People

Bideford is known for its warm and friendly atmosphere, making it an attractive place to live.

The town offers a mix of history, shopping, and leisure activities, along with easy access to the stunning North Devon coastline. However, Bideford has a relatively higher crime rate compared to other small towns in Devon, which might be a concern for some potential residents (but much lower when compared to other parts of the UK).

Considering the available amenities, social life, and breathtaking surroundings, Bideford is still a fantastic place to call home.

What is the private village near Bideford?

The private village near Bideford is Clovelly, a charming and unique historic village that clings to the cliffs above Bideford Bay.

Owned by the same family for over 800 years, Clovelly is famous for its cobbled streets, flower-filled cottages, and picturesque harbour. Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee to enter the village, which aids in its preservation and upkeep.

Is parking free in Bideford?

Car parks in Bideford generally apply charges between 8 am and 6 pm every day, including all bank holidays except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

There are several car parks available in Bideford, such as Queen Street, The Pill, New Road, Chudleigh Road, and The Quay. It is advisable to check their respective fees and time restrictions before parking.

If you look for it, just outside the busy areas of the town centre, there is lots of free off-street parking if you don’t mind the short walk back to the quayside/ centre of Bideford.

There is a huge carpark next to Victoria Park (see below). Also, there is free on-street parking around the back of the park as well.

Is Bideford a town or village?

Bideford is larger than a village and hosts various events and annual festivals making it an attractive destination for both locals and tourists.

Located in North Devon. It has a rich history and a thriving community that offers a range of amenities, such as shops, eateries, and leisure activities.

And Finally…

Bideford is a lively and diverse town in North Devon with plenty of history, scenic beauty, and local attractions.

With its close proximity to beautiful beaches and the picturesque harbour village of Clovelly, Bideford is a fantastic place to visit and live, offering a range of activities and experiences for all ages, families, couples and those just passing through.

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!