During the early 1990s, the team of the popular English reality TV show Challenge Anneka relocated the redundant old wooden library from the Hermitage site, to 'Burnside' in the heart of the Slade Valley estate for use as a community owned centre.
Attractions, activities, shops, galleries and walks
In 1856 writer Mary Ann Evans (pen-name George Eliot) accompanied George Henry Lewes to Ilfracombe to gather materials for his work Seaside Studies published in 1858.
From 2001 there was an economic regeneration programme led by the Ilfracombe & District Community Alliance MCTI, a community interest company designed to encourage social entrepreneurship. After widespread community consultation this programme developed a community economic strategy for the next twenty years published in 2005.
Ilfracombe comprised two distinct communities; a farming community around the parish church called Holy Trinity, parts of which date from the 12th century, and a fishing community around the natural harbour formed between Capstone, Compass and Lantern Torrs. It is recorded that the lands by the church were part of the estate owned by Champernowne family, while those by the harbour belonged to the Bouchier family: Earls of Bath.
The flat green bowling enthusiasts have a centre at the Ilfracombe Bowling Club on Highfield Road.
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Other fires in Ilfracombe include: On 17 May 1985 the Beacon Castle was devastated by fire. On 5 August 1991 the Mount Hotel was destroyed by fire. On 24 January 2001 the Hotel Cecil; 14 January 2004 the arcade on the seafront near Susan Day Residential Home was destroyed by fire. On 17 November 2004 and 13 February 2005 the Cliffe Hydro suffered from fires.
In Fore Street, there is a table tennis centre with teams ranging in age from juniors to veterans.
"Fish from chefs corner was stunning."
The manor house at Chambercombe in east Ilfracombe was recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as being built by a Norman knight Champernon (from Chambernon in France) who landed with William of Normandy. It is also said to be haunted.
The parish stretches along the coast from the 'Coastguard Cottages' in Hele Bay toward the east and 4 miles along the Torrs to Lee Bay toward the west. The resort is hilly and the highest point within the parish boundary is at 'Hore Down Gate', 2 miles inland and 860 feet (270 m) above sea level.
Whatever the weather, experience the fun and fascinating journey from source of an Exmoor stream out into the Atlantic Ocean
The local swimming pool supports many activities - leisure swimming, competitive swimming and life saving classes for all age groups. It is the centre for large swimming club and separate still water life saving clubs, all of whom annually enter national competitions.
"Very pleased with the whole package."
"The Stripeys at this park are amazing. They engaged well with my son. They made time to engage with everyone. My praise goes out to them for being fun, approachable and always available. My son loved them. Fingers crossed we'll be back later this year. Hope the 3 same stripeys will still be there. Thank you for a brilliant week."
The first person to swim the 30½ nautical miles (56.5 km; 35.1 mi) from Ilfracombe to Swansea was Gethin Jones, who achieved the record on 13 September 2009, taking nearly 22 hours.
The town gradually developed into a tourist resort served by ferries along the Bristol Channel. The opening of the railway accelerated this development. The population grew until the First World War, then stabilised at 9,200, now 11,000. The economy suffered throughout the 1960s as UK holiday patterns changed, and suffered further through the closure of the railway line in 1970.
Ilfracombe's many restaurants, catering for all tastes!
The landmark of Hillsborough Hill dominates the harbour and is the site of an Iron Age fortified settlement. In the built environment, the architectural-award-winning Landmark Theatre is either loved or hated for its unusual double-conical design. The 13th century parish church, Trinity, and the St Nicholas's Chapel (a lighthouse) on Lantern Hill, have been joined by the Damien Hirst owned statue, Verity, as points of interest.
Ilfracombe /ˈɪlfrəkum/ is a seaside resort and civil parish on the North Devon coast, England with a small harbour, surrounded by cliffs.
From 1874, Ilfracombe was served by the Ilfracombe railway line that ran from Barnstaple, but this closed in 1970. Now, the nearest National Rail railway station is in Barnstaple and buses provide the public transport link from there to Ilfracombe. There are a number of regular bus services operating from Ilfrcombe. These include:
Ilfracombe Aquarium is an award-winning, all-weather, educational, family attraction located in the Old Lifeboat House alongside Ilfracombe's picturesque and historic harbour. The town is found on the dramatic North Devon coast 20 minutes drive from Barnstaple, 10 minutes from Woolacombe, set amongst the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
On the doorstep you’ll find Ilfracombe Aquarium where you can follow the journey of sea life from river through to rock pool and into the deep sea. If you like the sea, then why not take a trip on the Ilfracombe Princess and see if you can spot a seal pup or maybe even a dolphin! For the more adventurous try shark fishing or diving off the Coast of Lundy Island.
There was a wooden fortress overlooking the harbour, of this nothing remains except contemporary records and the area designated Castle Hill off Portland Street/Montepellier Terrace.
Ilfracombe Town Football Club, who play at Marlborough Park near Ilfracombe Arts College, compete in the Premier Division of the North Devon Football League after the 1st team who before competed in the Western League but then withdrew following a committee vote. The club has 2 men's teams, a ladies' team and 3 youth teams.
Hotels, guest houses, B&Bs, campsites and self-catering
"Staff were really friendly & helpful, this makes the holiday more special, it's welcoming. The local people were really friendly as well. All in all we had an amazing stay & we would recommend John Fowler, Thank you."
We are wheelchair friendly throughout. We cater for school groups, other extra curricular groups and provide outreach consultancy work. We pride ourselves on our customer awareness. We endevour to accommodate specific visitor requirements. Take a look at our testimonials to read what our visitors think. Any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Your query will get our prompt attention.
Ilfracombe Golf Club (located just beyond Hele Bay) was founded in 1892.
The South West Coast Path connecting Minehead in Somerset to Dorset, via Land's End, passes through the town from Hele Bay to Lee Bay via Ilfracombe Harbour.
Maritime activities include a popular yacht club and a rapidly growing Gig boat club with three boats, which now competes in the world championships. Most Mondays and Thursdays the local Ilfracombe Sea Cadets meet near the harbour, in what was the old rope making factory on Ropery Road. There is also a kayak and canoeing club and a large sub-aqua club.
You can book accommodation securely online by clicking on BOOK ONLINE NOW above but please note that some members prefer not to use online booking so please browse by type of accommodation from the full listings menu to view all providers and contact them direct by email or telephone or check their website by clicking BOOK NOW.
A tennis club is based at Bicclescombe Park which contains several tennis courts, bookable for a small fee by both tourists and locals.
Just a short drive away is Watermouth Castle where you can explore the Victorian splendour of the castle, see the dungeons and then let the children let off steam in Merry-go-land and Adventure Land.
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The town lies within the Parliamentary constituency of North Devon, and the European Region of South West England. The current Member of Parliament for North Devon is Conservative Peter Heaton-Jones. It was previously represented by Liberal Democrat Nick Harvey from 1992 to 2015. There are three electoral wards named Ilfracombe (Central,East & West). The ward strays outside the town boundaries a little and the total 2011 census figure is 11,509.
The three councils which govern activities in the town are Devon County Council, North Devon District Council, and Ilfracombe Town Council. The councils cover different areas of responsibility:
The town's first lifeboat was bought in 1828 but a permanent service was not available until the Royal National Lifeboat Institution built a lifeboat station at the bottom of Lantern Hill near the pier in 1866. The present station at Broad Street dates from 1996.