The former home of literary great Charles Kingsley, who named it ‘Little White Town’, Bideford is an area steeped in history. Once the third largest port in Britain, throughout the 16th century the town thrived as a trading area; it’s even rumoured that Sir Walter Raleigh brought the first shipment of tobacco to these shores.
Bideford is home to a wide range of cafés and shops to visit during your North Devon holidays. Enjoy rummaging through the charming antique shops and local independent traders that you’ll find in the towns shopping streets. Bideford Pannier Market is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays with a further great selection of independent traders selling a wide range of products from their stalls. On the outskirts of the town is the Atlantic Village outlet shopping centre, where you can find the same brand names as on the high street with up to 50% off the price. Also on site is Atlantis Adventure Park to keep the little ones entertained throughout the day.
Quench your thirst with some local ale in one of Bideford’s historic pubs that have retained much of their old charm with low ceilings and visible beams. The town enjoys a thriving nightlife with the pubs getting particularly busy on Friday and Saturday nights.
One of the busiest nights of the year is New Years Eve with Bideford renowned for being one of the best places to celebrate the occasion in the UK. Thousands kitted out in fancy dress flock to the town centre for live entertainment and fireworks on the Quay with a local tradition of running along Bideford long bridge; this is a great time of year to visit the town.
Bideford quayside has been redeveloped in recent years and is now a stunning place to sit back, relax and admire the stunning water fountains at high tide. From the Quay you can also hop aboard the HMS Oldenburg and enjoy a trip to the beautiful Lundy Island.
the Tarka Trail is a great way to explore the surrounding towns and villages
The Tarka Trail passes through Bideford and runs alongside the River Torridge on a former railway track. Popular with both cyclists and walkers, the Tarka Trail is a great way to explore the surrounding towns and villages, with Instow being one of our favourites. The picturesque sandy beach is the perfect spot to enjoy a Hockings ice cream.
There are some fantastic family days out to be had in and around Bideford with The Big Sheep and The Milky Way being ever popular with visitors and locals alike. However, if you’d prefer to spend a day on the beach enjoying the sun, head down to Instow or Westward Ho! which are both a short drive or walk away from Bideford.