Bideford is a bustling market town and port situated on the River Torridge in North Devon. Historic buildings, including a covered Pannier Market dating back to 1883, blend seamlessly with modern shops, bars and eating places to provide a great day out for people of all ages. It was dubbed ‘The Little White Town’ by novelist Charles Kingsley who lived in the area, and its quiet lanes and relaxed atmosphere continue to attract year-round tourism. The town enjoys a mild climate with average summer temperatures reaching 20°C, and winters bringing occasional frosts with temperatures mainly hovering around 5°C.
Things to do in Bideford
- Lundy Island: A granite outcrop lying off the Devon coastline, Lundy Island is accessible by boat for day trips or longer stays. The island is a bird-watcher’s paradise, with other popular activities including walking, climbing, diving and fishing.
- The Big Sheep: Voted Devon Attraction of the Year 2013/14, this animal themed entertainment park includes live shows, rides and sheep races. Located just outside Bideford, in the village of Abbotsham.
- Hartland Abbey and Gardens: Historic house and gardens set in a beautiful location with access down to a rocky cove.
- Tarka Trail: Footpaths and cycle paths around North Devon that were mentioned in the famous book, Tarka the Otter.
- Ultimate Adventure Centre: Activities include high ropes, climbing wall, mountain boarding, coasteering and kayaking.
- Westward Ho! beach: Long sandy beach near Bideford with surf schools, shops and eating places.
- Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum: An impressive stately home owned by the National Trust.
- Cobbaton Combat Collection: Military museum.
When to go to Bideford
The most popular months to visit Bideford are July and August, thanks to temperatures of around 20°C and low rainfall when compared with the rest of the year. Bideford Heritage Day also attracts visitors during the summer months. The low season starts in November and continues until the spring, when temperatures start to rise to around 16°C during May. Bideford hosts a special New Year’s Eve celebration when people, some in fancy dress, from surrounding towns and villages congregate on Bideford Quay to listen to music and watch the firework display.
- Nearest Airport: Exeter International (62 miles), Cardiff International (148 miles).
- Local transport: Barnstaple Railway Station (7.5 miles), Stagecoach South West bus service, A39 Atlantic Highway.
- Currency: GBP
- Language: English
- Religion: Christianity