Clovelly, North Devon

This village an amazing picturesque fishing village that epitomises the beauty of North Devon

Clovelly, North Devon

Clovelly, a scenic, time-honoured fishing hamlet, holds a unique charm and has an intriguing past, including being previously under the ownership of England’s Queen. From the Elizabethan era to the present day, Clovelly’s private ownership has allowed for the preservation of its authentic ambience.

Perched precariously on a 400-foot cliff, Clovelly foregoes the usual vehicular traffic for the charm of donkeys and sledges. A steep, cobbled pathway, known as either ‘Up-a-long’ or ‘Down-a-long’, meanders down to the historic fishing harbour and the quay from the 14th century. The descent reveals a charming landscape of cottages adorned with flowers, interspersed with quaint alleyways and winding lanes that offer more picturesque surprises. This historic village is a treasure trove of visual delight and exploration.

The famous cobbled street, painstakingly built from stones brought up from the beach, is a testament to human effort. Man-powered sledges are still used to transport goods, ranging from groceries to furniture, to the village. Although donkeys were once the primary mode of transport, they now delight children with summer rides in the meadow or pose for photos in the streets.

Famous literary and artistic figures, such as Charles Kingsley, Charles Dickens, William Turner, and Rex Whistler, have all left their mark on Clovelly. The village was home to Kingsley, served as inspiration for Dickens, was immortalised in the paintings of Turner, and was a frequent feature in Whistler’s works.

Numerous attractions and activities await visitors. You can watch a film detailing the village’s history, browse through a wide variety of souvenirs in the Visitor Centre, or observe skilled artisans crafting exquisite silks and pottery in the revamped stable yard. Take a guided tour of the village and visit two museums – the Kingsley Museum and the Fisherman’s Cottage – to delve deeper into Clovelly’s history and traditions.

Accommodation options in Clovelly include the 400-year-old New Inn, nestled in the village centre, and the 18th-century Red Lion located on the quay. Both offer scrumptious meals and traditional Devon cream teas. The Quay Shop on the harbour is perfect for grabbing take-away food to savour on the quay, while watching the harbour activities. Scenic boat trips along the breathtaking coastline are also available.

Once a thriving fishing port known for its herring and mackerel, Clovelly still retains fishing as a vital part of its identity. Today, its lobsters and crabs are renowned, being shipped to destinations as far as France and Spain. The coastline, once notorious for smuggling, wrecking, and piracy, has had its own lifeboat since 1870, providing safety to the seafaring community.

Clovelly also hosts a variety of annual festivals, such as the Seaweed Festival in May, Maritime Festival in July, Lobster and Crab Feast in September, and Herring Festival in November, all included in the admission charge.

For those not up for the climb back, a paid Land Rover service is available to transport visitors to the top of the village. There, you can explore the beautifully maintained Clovelly Court Victorian kitchen gardens, complete with vibrant herbaceous borders and restored Victorian glasshouses, located near the 13th-century All Saints Parish Church.

The village offers awe-inspiring vistas and lengthy cliff-top walks. The Hobby Drive, built post-Napoleonic wars to employ returning soldiers, meanders through woods, offering stunning views of the Clovelly harbour and Bideford Bay. On the other end, a walk along the dramatic North Devon cliffs towards Hartland Point presents stunning views of Angel

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Clovelly Village
Clovelly Village

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Clovelly Reviews

Below are the latest reviews of Clovelly.

4.4
Based on 1826 reviews
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Opening Hours:
Monday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Address: Clovelly, Bideford EX39 5TE, UK

Shiv Kalia avatarShiv Kalia
a month ago
Cute little place to visit on the last day of our holiday. You have to pay to enter and see the sights, which I'm on support for, but as we weren't there for long (being a Sunday and most places are closed) and couldn't really see all the sites, the entrance fee felt a tad expensive – next time I recommend making a day of it to get your full value.Just note most of the walk down is a cobbled street so make sure you have practical shoes, and the walk up can feel a bit steep.Wonderful sights mind and can see it being a real attraction in the summer.
Diana Trubeckaja avatarDiana Trubeckaja
2 months ago
Unique and world famous ancient village is a wonderful way to spend a day out. Traffic free street. No dog restrictions. Shop all have unique and exclusive handmade products. Short steep cobbled street is 20% steep and can be slippery, so do wear sensible footwear. The village clings to a 400-foot cliff.
Simon Wheeler avatarSimon Wheeler
a month ago
Lovely traditional coastal village, with plenty of history. Just felt the £25 entry fee, for a family of four, was a too much, as it’s certainly not unique. Be prepared for a decent bit of exercise on the walk back up the hill to the visitors centre car park!!
Jeffrey Allen avatarJeffrey Allen
3 weeks ago
A very interesting and pretty old village with a long steep cobbled street, not recommended for the old or infirm, however there's transport down and up, offered at extra cost from the visitors centre. Be aware that entry is £9.50 p/p, which includes car parking (20/04/24).
This place is unique and so famous. Dogs are very welcome.any shops and restaurants. The walk is very steep and can be slippery. We didnt pay any money so I dont understand why some reviews talk about an entry fee. Walk along the beach to see a lovely waterfall
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Location

The address for Clovelly, North Devon we have is: Clovelly, Bideford EX39 5TE, UK. Use the map below for a closer view. Do check with your host for a definite location.

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Author Matt Ogborne
Matt Ogborne
About the Author

Welcome to Bideford.com! 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.

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