11 brilliant things to do in Barnstaple

A fountain in the centre of Barnstaple.

Marvel at the Grade II listed Willshire Fountain. - Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon

KATE WILLIAMS provides her round-up of great things to do in the regional capital of North Devon:

1. The Square 

Barnstaple is a traditional market town and offers a deep history for visitors to experience. Marvel at the Grade II listed Willshire Fountain and the 13th Century Medieval long bridge. In the middle of the town centre are Butchers Row and The Pannier Market, which were both built in Victorian times 

Marwood Hill gardens in North Devon in late summer.

Marwood Hill Gardens are a wonderful haven in which to relax and enjoy the impressive collections of plants, shrubs and trees. - Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

2. Marwood Hill Gardens 

This magical and very special 20-acre private garden with three lakes is set in a valley tucked away only four miles from Barnstaple. The gardens are a wonderful haven in which to relax and enjoy the impressive collections of plants, shrubs and trees and experience the views and peaceful atmosphere. The view across the valley from the Garden Tea Room is spectacular. Dogs on leads are welcome too. 

Family sheltering under an arch on the Tarka Trail, North Devon.

The Tarka Trail covers stunning countryside, beaches and clifftops throughout its route. - Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon

3. Tarka Trail 

Ideal for cyclists or walkers, the Tarka Trail is a 180-mile, figure eight route inspired by the route travelled by Tarka the Otter in the famous novel by Henry Williamson. Barnstaple is the hub of the trail which covers stunning countryside, beaches and clifftops throughout the route 

A modern design hotel bedroom.

The Broomhill Estate has seven boutique bedrooms, with decor inspired by cult films. - Credit: Broomhill Estate

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4. Broomhill Estate 

The Broomhill Estate offers accommodation with a real difference for the art lover. This art hotel has seven boutique bedrooms, with decor inspired by cult films such as Amelie and Clockwork Orange. The romantic and opulent rooms are stunning to really treat yourself and you can even get married there! There is also an amazing sculpture garden there too. 

The exterior of the Royal & Fortescue Hotel in Barnstaple.

The Royal and Fortescue is a classically smart boutique hotel. - Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

5. Royal and Fortescue Hotel 

Created within one of Barnstaple’s most beautiful architectural Georgian buildings, the Royal and Fortescue is a classically smart boutique hotel offering stunning contemporary accommodation with a warm and friendly ambience. Recently refurbished, the 48 luxury rooms are the perfect pad in which to relax and unwind. 

Plates of different types of fudge.

Bringing the joy to Joy Street, The Binge Box invites visitors to indulge in all things cake. - Credit: Lauren Hardman 

6. The Binge Box 

Located on Joy Street, The Binge Box is both a takeaway bakery and sit-in dessert shop where visitors can indulge in all things cake. The selection of homemade bakes includes cheesecakes, traybakes, The Binge Box ‘sell out’ brownies, cakes and fudge. Birthday functions and weddings are also catered for 

7. Lush 

Boutport Street is the home of Lush, a super restaurant which delivers fantastic food to suit everyone. From hearty pub-style food to delicious restaurant dishes, tapas and vegan, veggie and gluten-free options, Lush is open every day from 10 am Monday to Saturday, and on Sundays there is a tasty roast option. Or just pop in for a coffee…or cocktail 

8. Block 

Situated on Barnstaple’s Butchers Row, Block invites diners to ‘eat the world’ with a huge selection of globally-inspired dishes. Served up from Wednesday to Saturday, the menu includes dishes from North Africa, America, Asia, Tunisia and Japan. And if you don’t want to venture out, they do a takeaway service too 

An orange-walled interiors shop with shelves of items for sale.

Just Trio is a beautiful shop stocking the most amazing homewares from statement furniture to chandeliers, sourced from the finest suppliers. - Credit: Claire Ellery 

9. Just Trio 

Specialising in home styling products of the very best quality, Just Trio is stacked full of a vast range of furniture, decorative items, and giftware, including large statement furniture, chairs, mirrors, pictures, clocks, chandeliers, lamps and soft furnishings, as well as giftware. Sourcing products from the finest suppliers in the UK, Europe, and worldwide 

10. James Bishop Jewellery 

Founded in 2000 in a very small, shop, James Bishop Jewellery can now be found on the High Street, showcasing an array of stunning jewellery. Loving nothing more than a friendly chat, the small team is on hand to help. As well beautiful handmade custom pieces, the shop also offers wedding and engagement rings, and an alterations and repair service 

11. Banburys Department Store  

This long-established department store in the heart of the town is a must for visitors who like a little shopping. From ladies’ and men’s fashion, lingerie and beauty to homeware, including bedding and towels, kitchen equipment, dining and glassware, Banburys also houses a popular haberdashery and wool departments as well as a bustling restaurant.