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


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Clovelly Reviews

Below are the latest reviews of Clovelly.

Based on 1579 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

Kathy N avatarKathy N
11 months ago
Unique place, definitely worth a visit. Great views. You have to park and pay to go down to the village as no cars allowed, unless you stay at the hotel. If you don't fancy walking back up, there's a land-rover which will take you back to the car park for a small fee.
John Anglin avatarJohn Anglin
9 months ago
Fantastic day out with plenty to see and do. Took time to do some activities at the top (pottery painting) and looked at the local craft shops. Beautiful walk down (would advise sensible shoes as very steep) with great views of the harbour. Spent some time around the harbour for some good food and fantastic views.
Briga Honda avatarBriga Honda
3 weeks ago
I read the reviews of people moaning how expensive it is to enter. And yes, it was 8.75 adult ticket in april 2023. Is it worth it. Definitely, yes. Car park was free, so the way i see it, i paid for the car park (most car parks cost at least 4 quid for a few hours) and lets say 4.75 to enter the village. With the ticket, you get to see fishermans house, chapel, gardens,donkey stables and a museum. It's incredibly beautiful on a nice day when the sun is shining. It is very steep indeed, easy to go down, but takes some time to go back up. There is land rover service, but it is seasonal. I visited tea room, food was reasonably priced. Got an ice cream (seriously delicious) from old post office. Explored all the small narrow streets and admired architecture of all the cottages. Met some friendly locals who live there and met few beautiful cats too. 10/10 worth a visit.
Harry Green avatarHarry Green
11 months ago
Worth doing to see if you're like a mountain goat. Pebble or mini cobbles are slippery when wet. Friends people in the village considering how many tourist frequent the place. Landy ride back up the hill is worth the money and avoids a trip the A&E!
Darran Neagle avatarDarran Neagle
10 months ago
Beautiful, scenic, charming, busy, large free car park with visitors centre and small cinema showing a short video on life in Clovelly. Paid for entry. Couple of pubs, cafes on the way with a few open house museums which are worth a look. Easy walk down not so easy back up there is a shuttle service for an extra charge if you need it. Queen elizabeth fountain outside the visitors centre to mark her diamond jubilee most ignore it, there is one more to mark queen Victoria but it was not accessible
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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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