Ideas for having fun while staying in Barnstaple, Devon

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Published:
7:00 a.m. March 28, 2022



KATE WILLIAMS offers her round-up of the great things to do in the regional capital of North Devon:

1. Square

Barnstaple is a traditional market town and offers a deep history to visitors. Marvel at the Grade II listed Willshire Fountain and the long 13th century medieval bridge. In the middle of the town center is Butchers Row and The Pannier Market, both of which were built in Victorian times


Marwood Hill Gardens are a wonderful haven in which to relax and enjoy the impressive collections of plants, shrubs and trees.
– Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

2. Marwood Hill Gardens

This magical and very special 20 acre private garden with three lakes is set in a valley nestled just four miles from Barnstaple. The gardens are a wonderful haven in which to relax and enjoy the impressive collections of plants, shrubs and trees and experience the views and peaceful atmosphere. The view over the valley from the Garden Tea Room is spectacular. Dogs on a leash are also welcome.


Family sheltering under an arch on the Tarka Trail, North Devon.

The Tarka Trail covers stunning countryside, beaches and cliffs along its route.
– Credit: Neville Stanikk/VisitDevon

3. Tarka Trail

Ideal for cyclists or walkers, the Tarka Trail is a 180-mile figure-eight route inspired by the route Tarka the otter traveled in Henry Williamson’s famous novel. Barnstaple is the hub of the trail which covers stunning countryside, beaches and cliffs all along the way.


A modern design hotel room.

The Broomhill Estate has seven characterful rooms, with décor inspired by cult films.
– Credit: Broomhill Estate

4. Broomhill Estate

The Broomhill Estate offers accommodation with a real difference for the art lover. This art hotel has seven charming rooms, with decor inspired by cult films such as Amélie and A Clockwork Orange. The romantic and opulent rooms are magnificent for really having fun and you can even get married there! There is also a beautiful sculpture garden.


The exterior of the Royal & Fortescue Hotel in Barnstaple.

The Royal and Fortescue is a classic and elegant boutique hotel.
– Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

5. Royal Hotel and Fortescue

Established in one of Barnstaple’s finest Georgian architectural buildings, The Royal and Fortescue is an elegant and classic boutique hotel offering stunning contemporary accommodation in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Recently refurbished, the 48 deluxe rooms are the perfect setting to relax and unwind.


Plates of different types of fudge.

Bringing joy to Joy Street, The Binge Box invites visitors to indulge in all things cake.
– Credit: Lauren Hardman

6. Frenzy Box

Located on Joy Street, The Binge Box is both a take-out bakery and a dessert shop where visitors can indulge in all things cake. The homemade baking selection includes cheesecakes, traybakes, brownies, cakes and fudge. Birthday parties and weddings are also catered for

7. Lush

Boutport Street is home to Lush, a great restaurant with fantastic food to suit all tastes. From hearty pub-style fare and delicious restaurant fare, to tapas and vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, Lush is open daily from 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and on Sundays there has a tasty roast option. Or just drop by for a coffee… or a cocktail

8. Block

Located on Butchers Row in Barnstaple, Block invites diners to ‘eat the world’ with a huge selection of globally inspired dishes. Served Wednesday through Saturday, the menu includes dishes from North Africa, America, Asia, Tunisia and Japan. And if you don’t want to go out, they also do a take-out service.


An orange walled interior shop with shelves of items for sale.

Just Trio is a beautiful boutique with the most amazing homewares, from furniture to chandeliers, from the best suppliers.
– Credit: Claire Ellery

9. Just Threesome

Specializing in the finest quality home decor products, Just Trio offers an extensive range of furniture, decorative items and gift items, including large decorative furniture, chairs, mirrors, paintings, clocks, chandeliers, lamps and upholstery, as well as gift items. Sourcing products from the best suppliers in the UK, Europe and around the world

10. James Bishop Jewelry

Founded in 2000 in a very small shop, James Bishop Jewelery now sits on the High Street, showcasing a stunning range of jewellery. Loving nothing more than a friendly chat, the small team is here to help. In addition to beautiful handmade custom pieces, the boutique also offers wedding and engagement rings, as well as alterations and repairs.

11. Banburys department store

This long-established department store in the heart of the city is a must for visitors who like a little shopping. From women’s and men’s fashion, lingerie and beauty to housewares, bedding and towels, kitchen equipment, catering and glassware, Banburys is also home to a haberdashery and popular wool departments as well as a lively restaurant.

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