North Devon short break
Barnstaple, North Devon
- The Royal and Fortescue Hotel
Relax in style at this elegant and stylish hotel in the heart of historic Barnstaple.
- Hartland Abbey and gardens
This 12th-century monastery, a family home since 1539, and its restored gardens are worth a visit.
- Surf's up…
Perhaps explore the coast from Croyde to Lynton and Lynmouth, watch watersports and ride the cliff railway.
- Surprising North Devon
Discover amazing surfing beaches, scenic walking and cycling trails, heritage railways, and a lively arts scene.
- The Tarka Trail
Walk or cycle part of the old railway route from Barnstaple to Bideford, stopping for tea at the old station at Fremington Quay.
- No fly
- Breakfasts included
Relax in style at the elegant and stylish Royal & Fortescue Hotel (3Q), in a charming Georgian building in the heart of historic Barnstaple
Sometimes overlooked in favour of the south of the county, North Devon offers it's own wealth of breathtaking attractions, thanks to its rich history and outstanding natural beauty.
- All breakfasts and dinner on your first night
- Unlimited tea and coffee-making facilities in your room
- Orientation walk
- Porterage at your hotel
- Cancellation rights
The Royal & Fortescue Hotel, Boutport Street, Barnstaple, EX31 1HG
Once an ancient coaching inn, called 'The Fortescue Arms', the hotel earned the right to include 'Royal' in its name after the Prince of Wales (later Edward 7th) paid a visit. The 3-star Royal & Fortescue Hotel boasts a restaurant, coffee shop and the brasserie next door which has an amazing, ornate Tudor ceiling. All 49 elegantly-styled and comfortable bedrooms have a television, direct-dial telephone, hairdryer, tea and coffee-making facilities and free Wi-Fi. Guests can enjoy complimentary use of the indoor and outdoor pools, sauna and gym in the leisure club at the hotel's sister property, the Barnstaple Hotel, a 20-minute walk away.
All 49 bedrooms feature a television, telephone, hair dryer and tea and coffee-making facilities
Tea coffee making facilities
Food and Drink
Enjoy fine dining in the Lord Fortescue restaurant, great food in the lively 62 The Bank Brasserie next door to the hotel and coffees and more in the hotel's Coffee House, which is open all day.
North Devon's main town, Barnstaple, is the oldest borough in England having been granted the honour by Alfred the Great's grandson Athelstan, the first king of all England (895-939 AD). Barnstaple's wealth grew in medieval times when, as the only port in the South West, it became an important trading centre. In 1588 Barnstaple sent five ships to Plymouth to help defeat the Spanish Armada, then by the early 17th century, wine, tobacco and spices were added to the goods imported here, while local pottery joined wool leaving for the New World from the town's Great Quay. The town's fortunes suffered during the Civil War in 1642, when it changed hands four times. By the 18th century, industry had replaced the import and export business and brought the railway – and holidaymakers – to the town. Barnstaple is home to a 13th-century bridge across the River Taw, an historic working Pannier Market, the tiny artisan food shops of Butchers' Row, a thriving theatre and many independent shops and restaurants as you'll discover on this stay. Within easy driving distance you'll find the lovely villages of the Tor/Torridge estuary – Instow has a quaint cricket pitch with a thatched club house set within the sand dunes, while arty Appledore, opposite, has an interesting churchyard filled with 'drownded mariners'. Along the coast south of Barnstaple you can visit Westward Ho! – named after local author Charles Kingsley's book – the quirky car-free village of Clovelly, and enjoy amazing views from Hartland Point.
Glorious sandy surfing beaches line the coast at Saunton, Croyde, and Woolacombe. Ilfracombe on the top 'corner' of the county has a beach accessed via tunnels and a restaurant owned by sculptor Damien Hirst where you can see some of his work, as well as his controversial statue on the harbour. Further along the coast you'll find picturesque Lynton and Lynmouth, connected by a cliff railway, while a little further on at Parracombe you can take a trip on the heritage Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, and enjoy a cream tea in the old Woody Bay Station.
Historic houses in North Devon include Arlington, home to round-the-world sailor Francis Chichester's ancestors and Tapely Park, near the bustling market town of Bideford with its medieval bridge across the River Torridge. Hartland Abbey, built in 1157, was a monastery up until 1539 when it was the last monastery to be Dissolved by Henry VIII. The King gave the Abbey to the Sergeant of his Wine Cellar at Hampton Court, William Abbott, whose descendants, to Sir Hugh and Lady Stucley, live here today. Gardeners will love the 65-acre RHS Rosemoor Gardens near Great Torrington, known as the 'cavalier town' due to the part it played in the Civil War. Not far away you can visit the Dartington Crystal works and have a go at glass-blowing!
If you love to walk or cycle take to the 30 mile-long Tarka Trail (Henry Williamson, based the novel Tarka the Otter here, between the Taw and Torridge rivers), or explore the rugged landscape of Exmoor.
At 10am on your first full day in Barnstaple you can look forward to a guided orientation walk to help you get your bearings.
Included on 4 nights itinerary