Get inspired to visit Clovelly Devon with our specially curated collection of photos to inspire your visit.
Clovelly Devon might just be England’s best-kept secret. I mean, somehow I managed to avoid visiting for a whole 25 years as I grew up in England but boy am I glad I stumbled on this tiny, picturesque village upon doing more research into places to visit in England.
With more than a 1000-year-old history, Clovelly is considered a highlight when it comes to places to visit in North Devon and a spot that simply cannot be missed. For those looking for a fairytale town with cute fishermen’s cottages, quaint streets and impeccable sea views then make sure Clovelly Devon is at the top of your UK bucket list.
Due to its small size, you won’t need more than a morning here, but there are plenty of places to visit and experiences to be had. On a bright, summer’s day, there isn’t a more picturesque spot in the area.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to visit Clovelly village as well as my specially curated collection of photos to inspire your visit.
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A Brief History of Clovelly Village
Located in the Torridge District of North Devon in South West England, Clovelly is a small fishing village with a rich history. Its history goes back all the way to the Iron Age, but one of the very first recorded events goes back to 1066, after the Norman conquest when William the Conqueror acquired the Manor of Clovelly and it was listed in the Doomsday Book.
Later the village was passed onto the Cary family and Clovelly, Devon remained in their hands for about 600 years as a mainly agricultural settlement.
In the 16th Century, George Cary turned Clovelly into a fishing village. He had a stone breakwater built out into the sea creating a harbour. This is one of the only harbours on this part of the North Devon coast so naturally, many fishing boats found refuge here. To meet the demand he started building fish cellars, warehouses and cottages that would later go on to connect the harbour with the upper part of the village.
In 1738, Clovelly UK was acquired by the Hamlyn family and to this day it is owned by them. They are responsible for the village we see today and it’s mainly Christine Hamlyn who is responsible for beautifying the village that we see today.
Currently, Clovelly is owned by The Hon John Rous.
Everything You Need to Know to Visit Clovelly Devon
↠ Probably one of the biggest things to know before visiting is that due to being privately owned you’ll need to pay an admission charge to visit Clovelly North Devon. The entrance fee is £8.50 for adults, £4.95 for children ages between 7-16 and children under 7 visit free. For more on ticket prices make sure to check the official Clovelly website here.
Tickets can be purchased at the visitor centre at the entrance of the village.
Tickets are valid for 7 days so if you’d like to revisit just make sure to hold onto your ticket.
↠ To get to Clovelly Devon you’ll need to get onto the A39, the main road that runs through North Devon. At the Clovelly Cross roundabout, you can turn off towards Clovelly village. The best way to get there is by using Google Maps or another maps app to guide you. Clovelly is about 11 miles from Bideford and about 20 miles from Barnstaple.
Once you reach the village just follow the road signs to the main visitor car park. The entrance to the village is on the other side of the car park. It’s all very obvious once you arrive. From here you can descend down the main path to the village.
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↠ You can access Clovelly by public transport. There is a direct bus to Clovelly from Barnstaple and Bideford.
↠ Clovelly is a town that has been built throughout the centuries into the side of the steep North Devon cliffs. Due to this the main street in Clovelly is very steep and while down isn’t too much of an issue, it’s quite a steep trek along the cobbled street to get back up to the car- a perfect morning workout in itself.
For this reason, Clovelly isn’t suitable for wheelchair users or those with mobility issues. You can however enjoy the visitor centre and upper part of the building as well as book a seat on a Land Rover at an additional charge that can take you down to the harbour and back up again. The service is available from Easter-October. To book this enquire at the visitor centre.
↠ The streets in Clovelly are mostly cobblestone so make sure not to wear heels or any other footwear that’s challenging to walk in. Flat sandals, flat boots or trainers/sneakers are best.
↠ Make sure to bring enough clothing for the season. The weather here can change pretty quickly so make sure to bring layers and waterproofs in case the weather changes. If it’s raining the cobblestones can get quite slippery.
↠ Come early to avoid the crowds. Clovelly Devon can get very busy, especially on weekends, bank holidays and in the summer high season. Make sure to come as they open at 9 am to avoid the crowds, especially if you want to take photos with nobody else in them.
Read more: The Prettiest Beaches in North Devon
Top Things to Do in Clovelly
For such a small little village, Clovelly Devon has quite a few things to do to keep you occupied for the morning. Keep reading to find out what to do while there.
↠ Walk down the main street – Historic Clovelly’s main street is beyond picturesque. With the beautiful New Inn Hotel, quaint fisherman’s cottages and the cobbles, there are no better spots for pictures in Clovelly.
↠ Explore the village – Clovelly isn’t big but there are a few side streets you can go down and explore. Make sure not to keep just to the main street and instead take some of the cute side streets to further enjoy other pretty nooks and cottages in town.
↠ Go for a swim – Ok, so you might need to wait for a seriously warm summer’s day for this one but if the weather is cooperating, there’s no better spot for a quick dip. Make sure to watch out for fishing boats and the lifeboat too. The harbour itself can be a little polluted so to swim it’s actually better to follow the rocky beach out a little before getting in.
↠ Visit Clovelly Harbour – One of the most scenic points of the village make sure not to miss visiting and walking down along the quay for the best view back up to the village.
↠ Visit St. Peter’s Chapel – The only tiny little church in the village.
↠ Visit the Kingsley Museum – Learn more about the history of Clovelly and the great Victorian writer Charles Kingsley. Clovelly and North Devon were huge inspirations for his work and life.
↠ Discover Clovelly life at The Fisherman’s Cottage Museum – Discover what family life would have been like in Clovelly in the 1930s. Explore the main parlour, kitchen and bedrooms of a Clovelly family home. There are also many photographs on the walls showing Clovelly’s fishing heritage.
↠ Have a Devon cream tea – Pop into any one of the cafes on the main street or the New Inn for a delightful Devon cream tea. There’s no better setting for it.
↠ Visit Clovelly Court Gardens – Right at the top of the village, Clovelly Court Gardens are a lovely addition to the village. Here you can walk around the gardens, see the old Victorian greenhouses and check out all the fruit and vegetables that grow here too.
↠ Visit the Clovelly Donkeys – Donkeys were once an essential part of life in Clovelly. They were used to carry goods from the harbour up the steep streets to cottages and beyond. Today sleighs have replaced the donkeys but there are still a few you can visit at the top of the village at the Donkey Farm. You can also Adopt a Donkey to help fund their happy retirement.
↠ Have a Full English Breakfast at The Red Lion – The most iconic pub/inn on Clovelly Quay, having breakfast at the Red Lion is the perfect way to start the day. If like us, you plan to start the day early, you can come to The Red Lion for a late breakfast that’ll help fuel your ascent back up to the car park.
Opt for their vegan/vegetarian full English breakfast or a lighter local dish and enjoy the spectacular views of the harbour.
More Photos to Inspire Your Clovelly Devon Visit
Clovelly really is one of the most picturesque villages in England and there’s no better way to inspire your visit to Clovelly, Devon. Here are a collection of my favourite pictures from our recent summertime visit to Clovelly village.
If you want to take good photos, make sure to also get there early!
Are you ready to explore the best places to visit in North Devon? Let me know your questions and comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
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