One of the absolute gems, and a must-visit in our book, is the beautiful maritime fishing village of Clovelly, which grips onto the steep slopes of a 400ft cliff. Under half an hour away, it’s perfect for a day trip.
Once owned by the Queen and now under private ownership, Clovelly is lovingly maintained and has been heralded as one of Britain’s Prettiest Fishing Villages by many titles, including BBC Countryfile Magazine.
An enduring favourite, the lure of this quaint village, unchanged by time, draws visitors from across the world.
A thing of beauty
Loved for its cobbled streets, picturesque picnic spots and ancient working harbour, Clovelly’s high street tumbles down the steep incline to the sea, flanked by houses that hang on by their fingertips. Here, you’ll discover quaint listed buildings, little passageways and meandering lanes that lead off to hidden vistas, making the village a photographers’ paradise. Perhaps that’s why it’s the third most photographed high street in the UK.
Stuck in time?
Whilst many will visit for the dramatic scenery, Clovelly’s strong historic and cultural roots make it truly unique. Vehicles are not permitted; only man-powered sledges have a right-of-passage, and donkeys that used to carry loads up and down to the harbour can still be found walking the streets or taking children on rides around their meadow. So, if you do visit, get ready to step back in time.
Museum and so much more
No trip to Clovelly is truly complete without a visit to Kingsley Museum, so named after the author of The Water Babies. Here you’ll see Kingsley sitting at his desk in his study composing a letter to his bride-to-be, providing a fascinating insight into Clovelly of the past.
Other things to look out for include the Fisherman’s Cottage Museum, where you can open a door on family life in the 1930s.
Also, be sure to take a stroll around the pretty Clovelly Court Gardens – a perfect example of a real, working Victorian kitchen garden – and don’t forget to view the village’s unique history at the Visitors’ Centre; all included in the village’s modest admission fee. Add to that a village tour and boat trip around the coves and you’ll have more than enough to keep you occupied.
The backdrop to many movies and dramas, including The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Sense and Sensibility, and even Jeeves and Wooster, Clovelly’s postcard perfect looks have made it a firm favourite for artists, writers, poets and creatives through the ages; William Turner painted it, Rex Whistler featured it in much of his work, and Charles Dickens wrote about it.
Whilst the village remains the star attraction, with its many pretty shops, galleries, and craft workshops, Clovelly’s harbour, beach, and dramatic cascading waterfall, which crashes from cliff to sea and hides a cave that legend has it is the birthplace of Merlin, are not to be missed. Popular with both sunbathers and snorkelers, the small pebble beach is open to dogs all year round, and well worth the descent and steep climb home.
Food and drink
Famous for its herring, mackerel, lobsters, and crabs, Clovelly takes great care in sourcing locally sustainable produce. The annual Lobster and Crab Festival in September is just one of Clovelly’s trademark events which celebrates its sustainable links. We’d recommend popping along for beer tasting, cooking demonstrations, and of course – plenty of delicious lobster and crab dishes.
Alongside diving and day boat trips, Clovelly offers a unique chance to land your own fish and shellfish. You can even book a boat trip to Lundy Island to fish for mackerel or to swim with seals.
After that you’ll need some good English pub grub. Our favourites are The Red Lion’s bars along the quay with its Snug Bar, Harbour Bar and Harbour Restaurant. You can also enjoy a traditional pint in the 400 year-old New Inn Hotel, mid-way down the hill, before the return home.
Where to stay?
If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, where you can enjoy North Cornwall and North Devon, staying at one of Whalesborough’s luxury holiday cottages, located amongst 450 acres of rolling Cornish countryside that runs down to the sea, is hard to beat. Here you can relax in style, experience amazing spa treatments, take in miles of coastal, countryside or canal walks, and indulge in the luxury of the on-site heated indoor pool, swim-in spa, sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi.
And, if you’ve ever toyed with owning your own holiday home, why not take up a try before you buy break?
Whalesborough has three luxury holiday villas that are freshly available to buy, ready for Spring 2024. You can stay for a weekend, a week, or even longer, and if you go on to buy one of the gorgeous villas, you’ll get your money back, in full! Could there be any better reason to book a break this Autumn?
To book a plot viewing with Whalesborough’s Head of Sales, Lee Lewis, or to arrange a try before you buy break, please call 01288 361 940.