Victoria Park, Bideford: Comprehensive Guide 2023

Victoria Park Bideford

In the heart of Bideford, Devon, England, Victoria Park has been a cherished urban park since its inception in 1912.

Established to celebrate Queen Victoria’s reign, the park boasts stunning flowerbeds, historical monuments, and a unique place in the Bideford community.

Victoria Park is a true gem in Bideford, serving as both a vital recreational space and a reflection of the town’s history. Its diverse facilities and attractions make it an essential destination for locals and visitors alike.

In this comprehensive guide to Victoria Park, we cover its history, what the park has to offer and everything you would find there today.

Key Takeaways
Victoria Park has a rich history dating back to Queen Victoria’s reign.
The park offers a diverse range of facilities and attractions, including sports facilities, an art gallery and museum, a café, family-friendly activities, and outdoor fitness opportunities.
Dogs are welcome in the park, but they must be kept on a lead at all times.
The local council maintains and conserves the park and encourages community involvement and support.
Victoria Park is an essential and beloved element in the Bideford community.

The History of Victoria Park, Bideford

Victoria Park, right in the middle of Bideford, has a history full of kings and queens, exciting sea adventures, and special memories of famous people. Let’s discover the amazing stories that make this park so special and fun to visit (besides the swings and pool!)

Queen Victoria

In 1912, Victoria Park was inaugurated to honour Queen Victoria’s reign, hence its name today. The iconic Grade II listed gates at the entrance were donated in memory of Geo. Oliver Peard’s wife, commemorate the queen’s legacy.

Richard Grenville and the Galleon Dudley

English naval officer and explorer Richard Grenville captured a Spanish ship, the Santa Maria de Vincente, in 1585.

He brought the vessel to Bideford, converting it into the English ship Galleon Dudley. This ship would later participate in battles against the Spanish Armada, adding to the park’s history.

Cannons from the Santa Maria de Vincente

In 1895, nine 16th-century cannons from the Santa Maria de Vincente were discovered near Bideford’s quayside. These cannons now reside in Victoria Park, serving as a popular attraction for visitors.

Although it is not confirmed whether the cannons were utilized during the Spanish Armada. But it doesn’t stop the kids from believing this when doing battle with pirates from the fort in the park.

WW2 & Princess Diana

In the park, a tree stands as a symbol of friendship and unity, planted in 1944 to commemorate the good relations between Bideford residents and the US Army personnel who were stationed in the town from 1940 to 1944 during World War II.

This tree serves as a lasting reminder of the bonds forged between the local community and the American soldiers who found a home away from home in Bideford.

Additionally, the park features beautiful rose beds dedicated to the late Princess Diana, a touching tribute to the beloved royal who touched the hearts of many around the world. The rose beds not only add to the park’s natural beauty but also serve as a space for reflection and remembrance, honouring Princess Diana’s life and legacy.

Time Capsule

In 2000, a Millennium Time Capsule was placed in the park, providing locals with the opportunity to contribute to its colourful history.

Victoria Park Gates

The park’s aesthetic features include the striking Grade II listed gates at the entrance, which pay homage to Queen Victoria and her reign. Meticulously designed flowerbeds enhance the park’s visual appeal and natural beauty. Nature lovers will find solace in the park’s abundant trees and green spaces.

Recreation Facilities

Victoria Park in Bideford offers a wide range of sports and Outdoor recreation facilities to cater to various interests. It’s one of the largest green spaces in Bideford.

Sports fans can join the Bideford Rugby Club and enjoy the park’s excellent rugby facilities, while cricket fans can find a home at the Bideford Cricket Club.

The park also hosts the Bideford Parkrun, a fun and inclusive event for runners and fitness enthusiasts of all levels. For a more leisurely pastime, the plush green grass in Victoria Park Bowling Club provides an enjoyable experience within the park’s beautiful surroundings. Or for some yoga in the sun instead.

Art Gallery, Museum & Cafe

The park is home to the Burton at Bideford, a renowned art gallery and museum that showcases the region’s rich artistic heritage and cultural history.

The Burton at Bideford art gallery is committed to promoting local, national, and international artists, offering a diverse range of exhibitions throughout the year.

Visitors can explore various mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed media, as the gallery seeks to provide an inclusive and engaging platform for artistic expression.

There are frequent local workshops and a mobile cabin to keep everything involved with the projects at the gallery.

The Bideford Museum, housed within the same building as the Burton at Bideford, offers visitors a glimpse into the town’s fascinating past.

With exhibits detailing Bideford’s history, from its early beginnings to the present day, the museum presents a comprehensive overview of the area’s social, economic, and political development. Interactive displays, artefacts, and archival materials engage visitors of all ages.

Both the Burton at Bideford art gallery and Bideford Museum are free to enter.

Also, Victoria Park includes Cafe du Parc, a charming café where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a snack and watch the kids play over at the cannons or run around by the trees.

Featured Places to Stay Near Bideford

Family-Friendly Activities

Victoria Park in Bideford offers a wide range of family-friendly activities, making it an ideal day out for visitors of all ages. Even if it’s to just have a family picnic on the grass

Among its many attractions are three distinct children’s playgrounds, a shallow paddling pool for youngsters to cool off during warm weather, and lovely trees and flowerbeds that create a perfect setting for leisurely picnics.

The Tarka Tots Nursery, located within the park, provides convenient childcare and preschool services for local families.

The park features an outdoor gym that allows visitors to work out in the fresh air at any time. Scenic walking trails cater to both casual strollers and avid walkers, while the beautiful bowling greens offer a more leisurely form of exercise.

Throughout the year, Victoria Park hosts a variety of special events featured in the Bideford Events Calendar. In April the park saw the fun fair next door in the carpark and the Bideford town band can be frequently heard playing there.

Adrenaline seekers will appreciate the park’s skateboard park, accommodating skaters of all skill levels. Clean and well-maintained restrooms provide convenience for visitors, while plentiful seating and designated picnic areas make it easy for guests to relax and appreciate the park.

The park also has the following facilities

  • Two playgrounds,
  • Full-size football pitch,
  • Rugby pitch,
  • Cricket pitch,
  • 1/3-sized basketball court
  • And public restrooms

Victoria Park Paddling Pool

One of the biggest draws for families is the children’s padding pool. It’s open every day from 10 am to 5 pm during the summer (in 2023 it opened on April 14th) and is reconditioned and maintained by the local council.

There is a poolside kiosk which opened in 2020 next to the paddling pool and is open daily. See their Facebook page here for the latest updates.

Dogs on Leads

Dogs are welcomed to the park, but over the past few years, the local town council has been more strict on keeping dogs on leads while being exercised in the park.

This is most likely down to one or two local residents not being happy about dogs enjoying the freedom of the park and one or two dog owners unable to keep a proper eye on their dog(s) when off-lead.

Signs are now plastered everywhere in the park. Dogs are very welcome, but keep them on a lead at all times. It has been known for £100 fines to be handed out in very recent times.

Note: The park is amazing to walk the dog through at dawn or dusk. Carry on up through to Bideford Quasyside and onwards to Bideford Long Bridge. Then on the way back, wander through the back streets such as Mill Street to make a 3-mile or so loop to and from the park.

dog in park

Parking at Victoria Park

There is loads of free and inexpensive parking nearby to the park.

Literally on its doorstep is the “Riverbank Long Stay” car park. This carpark overlooks the quayside and also hosts the local fair and events too throughout the year.

In the back streets such as Park Avenue (EX39 2QH) or Chanters Rd (EX39 2QN) parking is free for up to 4 hours and there is even another carpark over by the council buildings called “Springfield” (EX39 2QN).

There is an EV (Electric vehicle) charging point in the main Riverbank Long Stay carpark too. There is another nearby in Appledore as well.

In Summary… Victoria Park Bideford

The local council plays a crucial role in maintaining and conserving Victoria Park, focusing on ensuring continuous improvements and future developments. The district council actively encourages community involvement and support to preserve the park’s importance for future generations.

Victoria Park’s historical and recreational aspects, coupled with its community and cultural significance, make it an essential and beloved element in the Bideford community.

Continually evolving and developing, the park invites locals and visitors to explore and enjoy its various attractions and facilities. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience all that Victoria Park has to offer. Especially on a hot summers day with he family for a picnic under a tree.

Frequently asked questions About Victoria Park

Q: What are the opening times for Victoria Park, Bideford?

A: Victoria Park, Bideford is all year round and open daily from 7 am to 9 pm.

Q: Where is Victoria Park located in Bideford?

A: Victoria Park is situated in the heart of Bideford, Devon, England. The address is 39 Kingsley Rd, Bideford EX39 2QQ

Q: What are some of the main attractions in Victoria Park, Bideford?

A: Victoria Park features children’s playgrounds, a paddling pool sports facilities like football, rugby, and cricket pitches, an outdoor gym, and beautiful gardens.

Q: Is there a cafe in Victoria Park, Bideford?

A: Yes, visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee or a snack at the charming Cafedu Parc located within the park.

Q: Are there any historical features in Victoria Park, Bideford?

A: Victoria Park has a rich history, including the iconic Grade II listed gates, cannons from the 16th century, a tree planted in 1944 to commemorate relations between Bideford residents and US Army personnel, and rose beds dedicated to the late Princess Diana.

Q: What time is the paddling pool open in Victoria Park, Bideford

A: The children’s paddling pool is open from 10am to 5pm daily during the summer. It was open from the 14th of April 2023 and will be closed in the autumn.

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.

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