Find an exciting blend of numerous cultural and historical attractions with modern activities and water sports in this former river port along the River Taw.
The bustling town of Barnstaple is the principal town of North Devon. See the museums and art galleries, ride the cycle paths and row along the river. Shop in big-name stores and individual boutiques and relax with a cream tea at one of the many local cafés.
Visit Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum. Stroll through the formal Victorian gardens and nature reserves and stop in time to watch the live feed of the estate’s colony of lesser horseshoe bats. Visit the carriage museum to see the collection of horse-drawn carriages. Arlington Court also holds numerous events throughout the year, such as Christmas wreath making and Easter egg hunts. Check ahead to see what’s on and visit at the right time.
Cycle 30 miles (48 kilometers) along the Tarka Trail, which takes you through the beautiful North Devon countryside. Find the information boards to learn more about the trail’s history and the wildlife you can see here. Download the audio trail guide mp3 for even more information. Play the tracks at the right stops and you’ll have your own personal guide as you travel.
Head to Exmoor Zoo to see over 160 species of animals from all over the world. Follow the zoo trail to make sure you see all the exhibits. The zoo offers a large range of daily activities, such as timed talks and feedings. Book in advance to try a number of special activities. Experience a day in the life of a zookeeper or take a tour with a professional photographer. Bring children to the meet-and-greet sessions where they can feed and handle some of the animals. You can even feed a range of carnivores by hand, including wolves and big cats.
Barnstaple is easily accessible, with good train and bus links. The town is a little over 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Exeter International Airport. Find other nearby airports in Cardiff and Bristol. The town hosts numerous events, such as markets and public bands, so check ahead before you visit to see when these are on.