Friday 28 August 2020 / Clovelly, Bideford EX39, UK

An afternoon in Clovelly, Devon


Clovelly, Devon

If you love charming coastal villages, Devon and Cornwall are home to countless numbers of them. From the renowned artist refuge of St Ives, to the yacht haven of Dittisham, you might think that seeing one means you've seen them all - but you'd be very wrong. Each village has its own beguiling magnetism, from quirky decor embellishing the homes of residents, to the narrow, cobbled streets leading you to something unique around every corner.

Clovelly is one of those villages. Located in north-east Devon, Clovelly is the county's worst kept secret. It's hidden in a bay of the same name, accessible via a winding country road, and is totally worth the drive from wherever you're staying. We stayed in Bude, over the border in Cornwall, just a 30-minute drive away, so it was really a no-brainer for us to visit.

Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon

Visiting Clovelly

We parked up in the car park at the Tourist Centre - the only car park in Clovelly, and the gateway to the town. It's £7.95 per adult (correct as of August 2020), and that includes parking, entry to the village, and a free return visit within 7 days. You also get access to the museums and gift shops. 

Apparently (according to this TripAdvisor user) you can get in free to Clovelly if you park at the free National Trust car park in Brownsham and walk the South West Coast Path towards the parish. Due to high winds and rain, we thought it best to park up and take the short walk into the village.

You can also moor your boat at the quay if you have one. Quite obviously, we don't 😂

Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon

Things to remember

Bring a good pair of shoes. The walk through Clovelly to the harbour is all down hill on a VERY uneven cobbold street. Bring good trainers or walking boots with a grip. If it has been raining and you shoes don't have any grip, be prepared for a few emabarassing slips.

That brings me to my next point. You should probably avoid Clovelly if you don't feel like you are able enough to walk 400ft downhill and back up again. It's tiring, even for people who are fit and able. 

Stick to the left of the path. It makes it easier for everyone if you're all on the same side of the street on the way down, and the opposite side on the way up.

Have patience. Clovelly is very touristy, especially in summer. We visited just after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were eased, so it was fairly quiet. However, if you're reading this in the future, (hopefully) things might be back to normal again.

Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon

What we did in Clovelly

Of course, we walked all the way down to the harbour and back up again. We wanted to see the village from all perspectives to really enjoy its postcard-perfect beauty. We walked from the visitors centre all the way down to the end of the path on the sea wall, stopping every few metres to admire the buildings that line the main street (all of which are listed).

With the aim of upping our energy levels for the walk back up to the top, we stopped for a cream tea at the Cottage Tea Rooms. We sat in the garden at a picnic table overlooking the sea - it was incredibly picturesque - and ate cucumber sandwiches, followed by fluffy scones with jam and clotted cream. If you're visiting in summer, beware of the wasps (they appear to adore jam).

Afterwards, we stopped by the gift shop at the Fisherman's Cottage museum to grab some fudge and sweets to take back to my family. The museum itself is accessible via an entrance down a narrow side street. It depicts Clovelly's rich history as an important fishing port, which once had around 60 or 70 boats working the herring fishery. Located inside what was once a fishing family's home, the museum displays the simple home comforts, ornaments and fishing paraphenalia of the 1930s. It's a brief but insightful look into Clovelly's interesting background.

Clovelly, Devon

What we didn't do

For a parish of just under 500 people, there's a lot to do in Clovelly! Unfortunately, we suspected the rain would hammer down just as we were heading back up, so we weren't able to visit some of the other attractions on offer. These included:

  • Kingsley Museum - a museum dedicated to Victorian writer Charles Kingsley
  • Clovelly Court Gardens
  • A chartered sailing trip from the quay
  • Craft workshops in silk, soap and pottery
I hope this blog post has given you some insight and helpful tips for your visit to Clovelly! Comment below telling me what you most look forward to. You can find more information on the official website here.


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