Why you should visit Clovelly this summer
- Credit: Archant
Clovelly is a beautiful old fishing village in North Devon which is always popular with visitors. We've found all the great reasons you should visit this summer to make your holiday truly perfect.
The South West, and more specifically Devon, is filled with beautiful spots and secret paradises that are truly breath-taking. Everything from dramatic and barren coasts, to quaint fishing villages and bustling towns can be found in our amazing county. But one location in particular tops the list time and time again, featuring on just about every prettiest village article where Devon makes an appearance.
With a population of around 450 people, Clovelly is an old fishing village perched upon a 400ft cliff top in the Torridge district. As you enter, it'll feel like you've stepped back in time with hanging baskets on every wall, cobbled stones, and not a vehicle in sight - in fact, you're more likely to see a donkey than a car on the High Street!
To help you find out more about this magical place, we've listed all the great reasons to love Clovelly so you can plan your memorable visit this summer.
One of the biggest things that sets Clovelly apart from the rest is that it is privately owned. Since 1738, the Hamlyn family and their descendants have watched over the village, making decisions on behalf of the area and working in its best interest. The current owner, John Rous, inherited the land in 1983 at the age of 33 and since then the estate has flourished. It was his decision to build a visitors centre, gift shop, and restaurant to encourage visits from holiday goers.
Due to its private nature, there is a small fee for entry if you want to visit Clovelly and the surrounding woodland. Around 150 000 people visit every year but ticketing means the village will never feel too crowded or busy, regardless of if you visit in the height of summer or the dead of winter. As of 2021, an adult ticket costs £8.25, under 16s £4.80, and under7s can enter for free. You can book yours at clovelly.co.uk
For the cost of entry, you receive free parking, entry to the Court Gardens and both museums, an audio/visual experience, and access to all the walking routes around the village and further afield. All the money raised goes towards their tree planting and conservation initiatives so it's well worth the money.
Snap a Selfie
Unsurprisingly, Clovelly is always winning accolades. MyLondon, Countryfile Magazine, The Telegraph, and our own Devon Life have recently featured them in the best village and best fishing village lists this year alone (always in the top few if not the very top spots). This year they were also selected as the third-most photographed high street in the country, which is pretty impressive given the first and second places went to Carnaby Street in London and Stockbridge in Edinburgh.
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No matter your style, Clovelly has just the picture-perfect spot for you. We personally love snaps of the resident donkeys - the only traffic you'll need to be on the look out for when you cross the street.
Dining in Style
After your drive over to Clovelly, the best place to start is the Bay Tree Café at the Visitors Centre. Modelled after a traditional Devon long barn, its a relaxing and friendly place to begin your day with delicious coffee and freshly made treats. You can head back there for a spot of lunch or a classic cream tea later too. You can also pop to the Cottage Tea Rooms for tasty meals and awe-inspiring views.
Clovelly's best restaurant is The Harbour which prides itself on seafood that's as fresh as you could possible hope for, as well as seasonal produce and game from the local area. The menu is, therefore, always changing but you are guaranteed to find something you'll love no matter the time of year.
In the evening, you can relax with a pint at the Snug and Harbour Bar which has great views of the harbour and bay below. You may recognise the venue from a scene in The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society starring Lily James. It's everything you could hope for from a classic bar with wood beams, a roaring fire in winter, and friendly staff who are more than happy to share a story or two if you have the time.
Sleeping in Luxury
With only 80 cottages in the whole village, you're not spoilt for choice in places to stay on your visit to Clovelly. However, what you do have is the Red Lion Hotel which is a beautiful 18th-century inn with a four star AA rating. Rooms are airy and stylishly furnished to make your country getaway even more special and each of the 17 rooms promises a beautiful sea view. They sum it up pretty perfectly on their website:
"To wake up to the sights and sounds of Clovelly’s ancient fishing harbour and the sounds of the sea at the Red Lion Hotel is a unique and unforgettable experience."