North Devon is famed for its surfer beaches and quaint country villages, but there is so much more that makes it the perfect holiday destination. From nature reserves to busy towns, this county allows you the chance to experience that slow Devonian pace of life without missing out on convenient and quality experiences and attractions.
In the heart of North Devon, you’ll find this charming village. With Barnstaple one side and a breathtaking coast the other, a stay in Braunton will put you in perfect stead to experience the best that North Devon has to offer. Our fantastic range of Braunton holiday cottages will leave you overwhelmed with wonderful options of where to stay and what to do whilst on a trip to this excellent UK holiday destination. Read our local's guide to Braunton below to discover for yourself!
Skip to section:
Walking and cycling
Food and drink
About the village:
Braunton is one of the busiest villages in Devon potentially due to its prime location between North Devon’s flagship town of Barnstaple and the sandy, surfer haven beaches of Saunton, Croyde and Woolacombe. For more adventures you could even head up to Ilfracombe (8 miles) to see the aquarium and impressive Damien Hirst statue, Combe Martin (13 miles) for the family-friendly dinosaur park, or to Exmoor (15 miles) to walk the beautiful moorland and visit popular Exmoor Zoo. However, with so many things to do locally, there’s little reason to venture far.
All around the South West, you’ll find long sandy beaches and North Devon’s are particularly breathtaking. Saunton (2.5 miles), Croyde (5 miles) and Woolacombe (7 miles) are the closest beaches and all offer something slightly different. Saunton is backed by sand dunes and has the fantastic Beachside Grill restaurant, Croyde is surfer-central in North Devon and Woolacombe is a well-catered for seaside spot from which you can walk to Morte Point, once notoriously used by wreckers but now a National Trust gem. Perhaps the best-known local beach is Westward Ho! (16 miles) that draws holidaymakers from all over and is a classic British holiday spot with arcades, go-karts, dining options, ice cream in the summer, fish and chips, rocks for rock pooling, a couple of independent shops, kids play park, and friendly ponies to meet the other end of the beach at Braunton Burrows Reserve. On a trip here you must walk to Crow Point, an iconic local landmark of the Burrows.
Most importantly, all of North Devon’s beaches have a friendly laidback atmosphere that suits families, groups or couples looking for a place to truly unwind while on their holidays. If you’d rather discover a beach that’s off the beaten track, take a look at our guide to North Devon’s secret beaches.
A Mecca for surfers, North Devon’s long beaches and high winds draw water sports enthusiasts from all over the UK who enjoy catching the massive waves that crash along this unique coastline. Croyde is renowned for fantastic waves and is especially good at low tide, but be warned, board breakers occur, and the waves can be fast so it’s great for experienced surfers. Meanwhile, both beginners and pros will find Woolacombe a great choice for a few hours on the water. Nearby is another good choice, and locally known for its arcades, restaurants and fish and chips, so makes the perfect full day out for those looking for a mix of beach activities. There are plenty of surfing schools dotted along this coastline if you’re looking for a new experience during your holiday or for more information on where to surf, read our blog post on the best places for surfing in North Devon.
If you want to discover more about surfing and why it is so popular in this area, be sure to pay a visit to the Museum of British Surfing. The Museum of British Surfing is a national registered charity responsible for looking after Britain’s rich surfing heritage that dates back more than two centuries.
The walking and cycling:
The Tarka Trail, named after the world-famous story by Henry Williamson of Tarka the Otter, is a 180-mile walking and cycling route and a great way for adventurers to investigate the area. It’s a figure of eight so you could choose to only follow the coastal track or country one. The trail runs past great visitor attractions like Crow Point, Valley of the Rocks and Haldon Nature Reserve, and through popular towns that include Bideford, Okehampton, Torrington, Barnstaple and, of course, Braunton.
If you ever bore of sandy beaches and rolling waves, then it’s less than 6 miles from Braunton into the centre of Barnstaple where you’ll find a popular pannier market as well as many big-name shops, a range of restaurants and cocktail bars. Catch a show at the Queen’s Theatre or at the local cinema, explore the heritage museum, go for a walk along the river or amongst 20 acres of garden at Marwood Hill Gardens.
We have large cottages for big groups as well as couples retreats and family-sized holiday homes, what are you looking for? From dog-friendly properties to cottages with special extras like wood burners and hot tubs, we have an excellent range of choices so be sure to investigate our Braunton accommodation.
Braunton itself has a busy village centre and is surrounded by rolling countryside giving you further choice between easy access to local shops and eateries or that absolute peace and seclusion of a cottage in the country. Browse our collection and find a Braunton cottage that will provide the perfect base for your North Devon holiday.
The food and drink:
In the centre of the village, you’ll find The Riverside, a relaxed eatery by the river; The Corner Bistro that provides a French-style atmosphere; and Siam Bistro, a Thai restaurant with authentic cuisine. There are further cafes and restaurants dotted throughout the village, so while you’re here, why not see what else you can find? Further afield you’ll discover the Williams Arms, a well-regarded traditional 16th century pub with a delicious carvery.
If you are looking for eating outside of Braunton then try Number Eight, a small fine dining restaurant across the river in Bideford; Everest Gurkha Chef, a family-run Nepalese restaurant found in busy Barnstaple; or The Coach House, a Michael Caines’ restaurant amongst beautiful surroundings in Kentisbury.
At only 7 miles away, you may like to take a trip to Ilfracombe on the coast. Its history as a holiday destination can be traced back to the Victorian era and there is beautiful waterfront architecture that reflects this heritage. It has a small dog-friendly beach where you can walk the dog, the Landmark Theatre, beautiful parkland, Ilfracombe Museum, art and craft shops, the Ilfracombe Aquarium, cafes, pubs, fish and chip shops, crazy golf and plenty of other fantastic entertainment options. If you are looking for a family-friendly escape then, with so much on offer, Ilfracombe would be another great place to consider for a wonderful holiday. Take a look at our cottages in Ilfracombe, including hot tubs, pet-friendly accommodation and family-friendly homes.
North Devon is overflowing with things to do and places to see. Everything from glorious beaches and bustling towns to nature reserves and adventure centres can be found in and around this locale and Braunton is in the centre of it all.
For a stay in this busy village, take a look at our collection of Braunton holiday cottages and find the perfect escape for your holiday to the South West.