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Woolacombe is a seaside resort on the coast of North Devon, England, which lies at the mouth of a valley. The beach is 3 km, sandy and gently sloping, making it ideal for flying kites. The waves are gentle when the tide is out but become more vigorous when the tide is in. This provides different types of fun. The beach has a blue flag and is a popular destination for surfing. It is considered a tranquil area. An occasional bus service runs from the town to IlfracombeCombe Martin and Mortehoe.

The winter population is very small (around 1,000, if not smaller), however, during the summer many people come to the town for a holiday.

Get in

A few buses a day operate from Ilfracombe and Barnstaple Monday to Saturday only. Hitching sometimes works, but don't hinge your hopes on it.


  • The quintessential British seaside resort.


  • Go to the beach, it gets much quieter past Mill Rock, although dogs are allowed past this point. If the waves at Woolacombe are a bit rough for the kids, head around the corner to smaller Barricane, which is more sheltered. Alternatively, if the waves are too blown out to surf on, a quick wander over to Coombesgate (near Mortehoe end) or over to Puttsborough (nearer Croyde) may each provide results. Lifeguards are only on Woolacombe main beach though.
  • Take a stroll towards Morte Point and Bull Point Lighthouse. If you don't want to walk back you can catch a bus at Mortehoe but check timetables first.


  • Handmade fudge is the villages fudge and sandwich shop
  • Many surf shops available in town for all your beachwear needs!


Breakfasting in town is a local's favourite; either The Beachcomber Cafe (actually on the beach) or Electric Cafe/Restaurant provide fantastic options coupled with great views!

  • 1 The Beachcomber Cafe, The Esplanade, EX34 7DJ, ☏ +44 1271 871644. (updated Dec 2017)
  • 2 Bar Electric, Beach Road, EX34 7BP, ☏ +44 1271 870429. A more gourmet experience can be found at Bar Electric, which provides a great lunchtime menu, as well as Asian evening cuisine by one of Nobu's own. (updated Dec 2017)

Big Chief Waffles is a small but fantastic waffle shop (always seems to have good music coming from it!)

  • Big Chief Waffles, Barton Road, EX34 7BA. (updated Dec 2017)


  • 1 The Red Barn, Barton Rd, EX34 7DF, ☏ +44 1271 870264. A true surfers pub (even with old surfboards hanging from the ceiling), they have different live music on certain nights and it is also open in the day time. (updated Dec 2017)
  • The Marisco Dirty Disco. Open W-Sa in the high summer, with top name DJ's popping in for sets occasionally. Acts such as Shy FX, DJ Hype, and Roots Manuva have all played here, believe it or not. A great night (if not memorable) to be had on every excursion. (updated Dec 2017)
  • 2 The Tides Inn, Beach Rd, EX34 7BP, ☏ +44 1271 871420. Beer, food and stunning views. 


  • 1 Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park, Sandy Ln, EX34 7AH, ☏ +44 1271 870343. Self-catering family holiday facilities. 3 miles of blue flag beach. Lodges, apartments, caravan holiday homes, touring caravans and camping. 
  • 2 Woolacombe Bay Hotel, South St, EX34 7BN, ☏ +44 1271 870388. (updated Dec 2017)
  • 3 Watersmeet, Esplanade, Mortehoe EX34 7EB, ☏ +44 1271 870333. Upscale Edwardian hotel with great dining. No dogs. B&B double £300. (updated Jul 2020)
  • 4 Woolacombe Beach Retreats, South St, EX34 7BY, ☏ +44 1271 870388, ✉ enquiries@woolacombebayhotel.co.uk. (updated Mar 2021)

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