25 Best Things to Do in Barnstaple

25 Best Things to Do in Barnstaple

A treasure trove of award-winning floral displays, Barnstaple is a former river port in North Devon. It is the largest city and the economic and cultural centre point of the local government district- North Devon. The city's commercial importance dates back to the 14th century, Barnstaple was a thriving Victorian market town at one time. One of the oldest boroughs in England, this lovely city is full of historical and cultural monuments and places. There are several things and places for you to do and explore in this splendid city, from castles to beaches, Barnstaple has it all. This English borough offers sweeping views of the English countryside. Once you visit this delightful town, you will want to stay in its glorious beauty of forever. Here are some of the best things to do in Barnstaple, Canada.

Stop At The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon

Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon
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Located in the Square, Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is a local museum in Barnstaple. It showcases the history and culture of the North Devon in which Barnstaple is located. It has been a Grade II building since 1998. The museum has two floors on which it houses a variety of exhibits and memorabilia from prehistoric times to the Victorian era. The museum provides insight into local history and culture. The staff is amicable and will answer every question about the displays. The entry is free, and the museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm on all days of the week except Sunday. Visit the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon to know more about the fascinating history and culture of this quaint English town and its district.

Appreciate Nature At Heddon Valley

Heddon Valley
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Located on the West Exmoor Coast, Heddon Valley is a river valley or a combe that offers stunningly incredible views of the landscape. Fun fact, legendary Romantic poets like Wordsworth and Coleridge loved the scenery of Heddon Valley. The best way to experience and witness the true beauty of this green space is just to take a walk in the luscious greenery. The spectacular trails in the woodlands and coastal area will win over your heart. There is a gift shop on the premises as well where you can buy gifts and souvenirs to remember your time at the splendid Heddon Valley.

Surf At Saunton Sands

Saunton Sands
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Just a 20 minute drive away from the Barnstaple, Saunton Sands is a surfing and family-friendly beach located in Saunton. This beach is worth going the extra mile for. The beach has a backdrop of the magnificent UNESCO-designated North Devon's Biosphere Reserve. Surrounded by dunes, Saunton Sands is 4 miles long. Due to its extended size, it is popular among surfers. There are many food outlets, including cafes and restaurants, where you can grab a quick bite or a meal. It also has beach shops for you. The beach is flat, which makes it perfect for walking in. Walk over the rocks to take in the breathtaking beauty of this incredible English beach.

The Stunning Arlington Court

Arlington Court
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Located 5 miles North East from Barnstaple in Arlington, Arlington Court is an unexpectedly stunning country house of neoclassical style. Built from 1820 to 1823, the country house and its parks and gardens are listed as Grade II  in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. The house also has a collection of memorabilia and original Victorian furniture and antiques. Along with all the stunning history, the Arlington Court has acres and acres of stunning gardens and lovely parks. The estate even has a splendid lake amidst the luscious greenery. You can stroll around and appreciate the architecture of the country house and take in the beauty of nature surrounding the wondrous monument. The entry fee is £12, and it is open from 10 am to 5 pm. There is a small cafe on the premises too where you can grab a bite or two after exploring the Arlington Court.

Visit The National Trust Carriage Museum

The National Trust Carriage Museum is located in the Arlington Court. The Carriage Museum is a hidden gem, and it displays probably the most significant collection of English carriages in all of UK. Various people from different classes owned the carriages. The carriages on display include carriages owned by Queen Victoria, earls, middle-class people, and many more. Visit the National Trust Carriage Museum in Arlington Court to gaze at the impressive collection of authentic English carriages.

The Glorious Queen Anne's Walk

Queen Anne's Walk
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Completed in 1713, Queen Anne's Walk was the meeting point for all the merchants in the town. Designed by the architect William Talham, Queen Anne's Walk is a Grade I listed building in Barnstaple. This colonnade is a symbol of wealth in the 16th and 17th century. You can also see the impressive statue of Queen Anne on the building. The magnificent estate now houses a lovely seafood restaurant that serves delicious seafood along with vegan and gluten-free options.

Feed and Interact With Animals At Exmoor Zoo

Exmoor Zoo
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A conservation centre located in Exmoor, Exmoor Zoo is an award-winning zoo and an essential part of the North Devon community. It was formerly a farm, and in 1982 Danny and Lynn Reynolds and the family took over the farm and made it what it is today. The zoo also has a wide variety of trees and shrubs. There are several different animals for you to see in Exmoor Zoo such as Black Leopard, Panthera Pardus, Squirrel Monkey, Singing dog, Cheetah, Green Tree Python, and much much more. There are many activities for you to participate in as well that include feed wallabies, hold a snake, eat a spider, meet a bird, and more. You can spend a fantastic day at the Exmoor Zoo feeding and interacting with the animals in open and spacious accommodations.

Go To The Penrose's Almshouses

Built in the 17th century, Penrose's Almshouses are located in Litchdon Street in Barnstaple. Almhouses are houses that offer shelter to needy people, and they are owned and operated by charitable organisations. Penrose's Almshouses were built to honour the memory of a Mayor of Barnstaple, John Penrose. The building was listed as Grade I in 1951. The courtyard of the house has a water pump from the 17th century. The old water pump is also of historical importance and is listed as Grade II since 1999.

Ride The Tarka Line

The Tarka Line
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Popularly known as the North Devon line, Tarka Line is a scenic railway line operating between Barnstaple and Exeter, the cathedral city. The railway line was named after the Henry Williamson novel set in North Devon called- "Tarka the Otter". It opened in the 19th century in 1854. This local railway is an incredible way to reach Exeter with gorgeous views of the lush countryside. The trains are dog-friendly, so you take your pooch with you to enjoy the scenic beauty. The train stops at different stops including pubs where you can enjoy locally brewed ale.

Sweeping Views From Barnstaple Long Bridge

Barnstaple Long Bridge
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Barnstaple Long Bridge is a bridge from medieval times that links Barnstaple and Tawstock. It is 159 metres long and is one of the longest medieval bridge in the UK. This ancient monument is listed as Grade I and offers sweeping views of the River Taw.

Adventure At South West Coast Path

South West Coast Path
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One of the most challenging national trails in the country, South West Coast Path covers an area of 630 miles and runs through Somerset, through the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, to Poole Harbour in Dorset. The trail is full of greenery and luscious nature everywhere coupled with breathtaking views of the landscape. Visit the South West Coast Path if you want to add some adventure to your itinerary.

Shop At Pannier Market and Butchers' Row

Pannier Market and Butchers' Row
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Pannier Market and Butchers' Row is the vibrant, beating heart of Barnstaple. This Victorian Pannier market has small stalls that sell local produce and local crafts, antiques and much more. The market has been operating since 1675. There is a cafe in the market as well where you can enjoy delightful cream teas after shopping.

The Amazing Broomhill Sculpture Garden

Broomhill Sculpture Garden
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Located only 3.5 miles away from Barnstaple in Muddiford, Broomhill Sculpture Garden is an exciting place with lots of hidden treasures. It houses South West England's largest permanent collections of contemporary sculpture. The garden is beautiful, and it is in a quiet and beautiful wooded valley alongside a babbling stream which makes it much more serene. The sculptures in the garden are fascinating and thought-provoking as well. The Broomhill Sculpture Garden is dog-friendly so that you can bring your pooch here as well. Visit this place to gaze at amazing sculptures in a unique atmosphere.

Best Cafes In Barnstaple

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Barnstaple has plenty of cafes where you can just sit down and drink a cup of coffee or tea with a light meal. Some of the best cafes in town are- The Cream Tea Cafe, Treat Time, Driftwood Coffee Shop, Fremington Quay Cafe, and The Boutport Cafe. Located in Barnstaple, these cafes serve delicious, and wholesome food made local produce with a relaxed atmosphere.

Best Restaurants In Barnstaple

Barnstaple food
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Barnstaple offers fantastic English food for you to satisfy your hunger. The town provides delectable food with an exceptional dining experience in restaurants located all over the city. Some of the best restaurants in the town are- Block, New Inn Public Houses, Pyne Arms, The Castle Inn, and The Southgate. All these restaurants serve some of the best food in town and also offer various vegan and vegetarian options for you to choose from.

Where to Drink

You just cannot miss pubs when you're in England. Like all the other English towns, Barnstaple has some fantastic pubs and bars where you can grab a drink at the end of the day. Some of the best places to drink in Barnstaple are- Royal exchange and Heanton Court. Visit these places to eat mouth-watering pub food with the drink of your choice.

Best Hotels in Barnstaple

Barnstaple has plenty of fantastic hotels that will ensure that your stay is as comfortable and worthwhile as possible. You can choose from budget hotels to luxury hotels, Barnstaple offers it all. Some of the best hotels in the town are- The Park Hotel, Barnstaple Hotel, The Imperial Hotel, Royal & Fortescue Hotel, and Yeo Dale Hotel.

Stroll Around

Barnstaple river
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Walking is one of the best ways to explore any city. Barnstaple is a lovely picturesque town with lots to uncover at every turn, and this makes it perfect for exploring it on foot. You can stroll around the city to take in the scenic glory of the charming town and discover what the city has to offer while gazing at the magnificent architecture of the city. You can find the town's little secrets like St Anne's Chapel,  that you wouldn't have known if you were exploring the city in any other way like every other tourist. Long walks with clean air and beautiful streets of Barnstaple will refresh your mind and body.

Visit The Barnstaple Castle

Barnstaple Castle was a wooden castle built in the 11th century. However, by the 14th century, the castle was in ruins, and the site was excavated in 1927 and 1975. Today, only the motte remains at the place surrounded by trees. The motte is an essential landmark of Barnstaple. Visit this site to witness a piece of history of what probably was a stunning piece of architecture in the past.

St Anne's Chapel

Located in the middle of Barnstaple, St Anne's Chapel is situated in the middle of the pedestrianised streets in the graveyard of the parish church. The chapel is a stunning piece of the 14th-century Gothic-style architecture. It was restored in 2012, and now it is an integral part of the community of Barnstaple.

Barnstaple is a lovely picturesque town, and it is filled with English culture and history. The city has everything, from beaches to museums, and it caters to everyone, you will find something for you to do in this delightful town. What are you waiting for? Visit this town to experience the English way of life yourself. Do not forget to tell us your favourite thing from the list and make sure to do all these things when you visit Barnstaple.

Take a Scenic Stroll at Castle Hill Gardens

The area is wonderful, with a variety of stunning mystical follies, temples, and lakes interspersed throughout.

Your attention will be drawn to the ochre-colored home with the Castle on the hill behind it as soon as you arrive at Castle Hill.

Castle Hill Gardens has a location for every season in their spectacular historic home and garden.

Whether you decide to pack a picnic, plan a wedding, reserve a business event, watch an outdoor theater show, or take a stroll around the lovely grounds, the home exudes a timeless beauty.

You'll want to enjoy the day at Castle Hill Gardens since there is usually so much to see.

Be Adventurous and Try Xtreme Coasteering

The goal of coasteering, a newer adventure sport, is to get wet by swimming, leaping, and climbing over rocks.

It is the ideal way to take in the breathtaking natural shoreline that the UK has to offer.

Xtreme Coasteering provides both land-based and water-based activities, such as surfing, paddle coasteering, boarding, and rock climbing.

It is Xtreme Coasteering's responsibility to transport you into the untamed Atlantic Ocean or up the treacherous cliffs in North Devon while putting your safety first.

You will travel alongside their guides with some of the greatest breathtakingly beautiful rocky coasts and remote beaches the region has to offer.

Get Entertained at Queen's Theatre

In Barnstaple's Town Center, there is a historic reception house with 655 seats called Queen's Theatre.

The facility's former name was The Queen's Hall.

Different types of genres are presented in Queen's Theatre.

At the Landmark Pavillion, they hold the Ilfracombe Beer and Gin Festival each year, in addition to their Summer Season of comedic and dramatic productions.

Audiences may enjoy the diverse program from two convenient levels of seating, including classic plays, musicals, ballet, symphonic concerts, and comedic performances.

Walk Around the Rock Park

William Frederick Rock gave the park as a public gift, and it was inaugurated on August 12th, 1879.

There are many listed buildings at Rock Park, including an obelisk near the park's entry, a lodge, and several old light posts.

There are several old light posts, including one that was built in the Free Baroque style not long after the park's founding.

There are pathways for strolling along the River Taw, a children's playground, a skate park, an outdoor gym, and a refreshment stand.

Every Saturday at 9:00 A.M., the park hosts the five km-long Barnstaple Parkrun, which is run on the Rock Park's pathways.

Dine at the New Inn

The New Inn is not far from the historic Barnstaple, which is surrounded by markets, several independent shops, well-known high-street retailers, and other essential facilities.

There are miles of beautiful sandy beaches nearby, as well as a variety of local attractions.

There are several handcrafted appetizers, main dishes, and desserts to tempt your taste buds, all produced with the finest ingredients from Devon's abundant larder.

If you enjoy trying new things, their menu board is always changing to include seasonal fresh meats, seafood, veggies, fruits, and unique specialties.

Relax in attractive surroundings with a full bar, wine selection, and well-kept ales that have earned The New Inn three consecutive listings in the Good Beer Guide.


Barnstaple, an ancient river port in North Devon, is a treasure of honorable flower displays.

This charming city is full of historical and cultural landmarks and locations, and it is one of the oldest boroughs in England.

It's a place worth visiting to take advantage of everything it has to offer, including the stunning scenery, delectable cuisine, unusual experiences, and warmth.

Get your travel plans made, and head to Barnstaple!

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