Nearby villages to Crooked Lake Cottage include Bideford (6 miles), Clovelly village (7 miles), Appledore (8 miles), Westward Ho! (6 miles), Instow (9 miles) and Bude (21 miles)
This is the closest large town to Crooked Lake and has all the usual supermarkets, but also a fantastic array of local independent shops, pubs, cafes and takeaways. There is a wonderful park - home to three children’s play areas (for toddlers up to older children), a splash pool with cafe (open during summer months) and an art gallery. A favourite for us - is the cafe on the boat! Great for food and drinks in a rather unique setting. Also, don’t forget Atlantic Village on the outskirts of Bideford on the A39, with over 35 outlet stores offering discounts of up to 50% off well-known brand retail prices. But for more retail therapy, check out www.northdevon.com/things-to-do
Clovelly is a world-famous fishing village built under a 400-foot-high cliff. The cobbled streets are traffic free except for the donkeys! It really is worth the walk up and down to experience the stunning views and the peace and tranquillity. The village has been owned by the same family since 1738. The donkeys carry goods up the hill and sledges bring stuff down. It is also still an active fishing port and has a RNLI Lifeboat stationed here. There are some excellent events that take place every year, including Clovelly Seaweed Festival (May), Clovelly Lobster & Crab Fest (Sept), Clovelly Herring Festival (Nov) - find out more at www.clovelly.co.uk
Further up the coast along the A39 towards North Cornwall, the Hartland Peninsular boasts an incredible landscape in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The peninsular is also home to the Shipwreck and Smuggling Museum, Hartland Point and Lighthouse, Hartland Abbey & Gardens, Hartland House Spa, plus fabulous food and drink at The Docton Mill Gardens and Tearooms.
This is a great trip by either boat or helicopter. Lundy sits about 11 miles offshore into the Bristol Channel, it is 3 miles long and is about a half mile wide. There are three lighthouses of which two are still working, a castle, a church, a shop and lastly a good tavern. The boat trip on the MS Oldenburg either from Bideford or Ilfracombe is an excellent way to get to Lundy. Remember Lundy is famous for its nesting Puffins.
Appledore is a very old fishing village close to the mouth of the River Torridge. Walk the narrow streets and you will discover many art and craft galleries, with lots of nice places to eat, including a first-class deli, and of course this is home of the famous Hockings Ice Creams not to be missed. Three places to visit are the marine museum, the lifeboat museum and the Gallery marine, which is run by Audrey Hinks. The Hinks were boat builders and were renowned for building replica sailing ships including the Golden Hinde and the Matthew.
Westward Ho! Is well worth a visit, with a truly great beach for the family but also for the surfers. If you want to learn to surf (or even kite surf), this is the place to give it a try. Get in touch with the North Devon Surf School (https://www.northdevonsurfschool.co.uk) based in Westward Ho! for more information on lessons available for all ages and levels of experience.
For families, the beach is especially nice as it has repeatedly been awarded a Blue Flag and is patrolled by lifeguards in the main holidays. It is also home to the rock pool, which has been in existence for 120 years and has been recently been renovated. Find out more at www.westwardhodevon.com
It takes 20 minutes to get to Instow, where you’ll find a good sandy beach and a promenade lined with good quality pubs, bars and restaurants serving excellent local ales and locally-sourced meals. Johns of Instow (the most amazing deli and cafe), the Instow Arms, and the Waterside Gallery are a few of the favourites. This beautiful North Devon village proudly sits on the estuary where two rivers, the Torridge and Taw meet. Opposite Instow, across the estuary is Appledore, which you can enjoy a trip on the historic Appledore-Instow ferry, which takes visitors back and forth from April through to October.
Great Torrington has loads of history with a notable Roundheads & Cavillers battle in 1646 - be sure to visit the 1646 exhibition. Henry Williamson also wrote his world-famous book “Tarka the Otter” here in the 1920’s. Today, it is home to a wealth of independent local shops, a pannier market, good quality pubs, RHS Rosemoor Gardens and Dartington Crystal (see our attractions page to find out more about these).
North Devon’s largest market town has a historic pannier market dating back to 1855 and is still very much in use day with regular food events, and various markets taking place on a daily basis. There is a multi-screen cinema, a large 700 seat theatre, plus plenty of shops, supermarkets, restaurants, pubs and cafes. On the outskirts of the town there is a leisure centre and a trampoline park.
Known as ‘Little Switzerland’ because Lynton is at the top of the cliff whilst Lynmouth is at the bottom by the sea. The two resorts are joined by the water powered Victorian Cliff Railway and are home to a great selection of shops and tearooms. In August 1952 extreme rain caused a torrential flood, which washed away most of Lynmouth and did great damage to the village, this is remembered in the Lynmouth Flood Memorial www.visitlynton.co.uk/about/lynmouth-flood
Dulverton is a typical Exmoor village full of great pubs, tea rooms and craft shops; spend a pleasant hour or two walking beside the river before enjoying a traditional cream tea. North East of Dulverton the River Barle is crossed by a “clapper” bridge, which dates back to 1000BC, this is the oldest and longest example. There is a great walk from here, which can be found on the following site - www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk