The market town, which sits beside the River Taw, has flourished ever since. The town possesses a wonderful mixture of Victorian, Medieval and Georgian architecture.

The free-to-enter Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon tells the stories of the people and landscapes of the region. Collections include everything from local geology, archaeology, social history and contemporary artworks. The Long Bridge Wing includes a temporary exhibitions gallery to allow the team here to borrow important objects from national and regional museums. 

This popular park with river views was donated to the public by Victorian benefactor William Frederick Rock and opened in 1879. It has a number of listed structures, including a grand obelisk at the entrance. These days, there is also a skatepark and adventure play area with swings, slides, sandpit and several climbing frames. 

The town has a fabulous 1930s cinema with a bar and four modern screens, loads of legroom and comfy seats. The well-preserved building, which still has many original features, was designed by the Bristol-based architectural practice of W.H.Watkins, responsible for cinemas in Plymouth, Bristol and Exeter. Scott Cinemas bought the building in late 1999 and embarked on an extensive programme of work to convert the ground floor into three auditoria. 

Largely unchanged for 150 years, Barnstaple's Pannier Market has a wide range of stalls, with everything from fresh local produce to arts and crafts. As well as general market days, there are antiques and collectables on Wednesdays, plus craft markets on Thursdays. A multi-million-pound regeneration project was launched recently, part of which aims to allow the pannier market to host community events. 

This 180-mile, figure-of-eight loop is inspired by the route travelled by Tarka the Otter. You can explore unspoiled countryside, dramatic sea cliffs and the longest, continuous cycle path in the UK. The trail starts in at The Square in Barnstaple and runs along the River Taw. You can cycle or walk from Barnstaple to Instow Beach and travel up the Torridge Estuary, towards Bideford.