Bideford is a lovely town flanking the River Torridge, with a collection of white-washed and pastel houses and holiday cottages and a distinctive, 24-arched bridge spanning the river and dating from the fifteenth century. Once a significant port town, handling cargo of tobacco and cotton shipped from the New World, the town is sleepier nowadays, with the long, tree-lined quayside providing a tranquil place to sit and watch the world go by. There is a regular indoor Pannier’s market and craft market providing the finest of the local produce and artisan work. The MS Oldenburg makes the trip out to Lundy Island from Bideford’s quayside, whilst walks or bike rides can be enjoyed along the river to nearby Appledore.
Bideford’s Burton Art Gallery and Museum provides a different experience; a place to relax, unwind and enjoy various permanent and temporary displays. Local pottery is showcased in the Gallery; the history of the changing shape of the town’s famous Long Bridge since the twelfth century is chronicled and local trades such as saddlery and glove making are explained whilst crafts, jewellery and artwork by renowned artists from the South West of England are exhibited, together with seasonal workshops and educational sessions for children.
Places of interest nearby include the Big Sheep, one of Devon’s main all-weather family attractions just two miles west of Bideford at nearby Abottsham. Here all the family can enjoy sheep shearing demonstrations, sheepdog trials, animal feeding sessions, duck trials, horse whispering, sheep racing and a whole variety of innovative and hands-on animal attractions. Ewetopia is a massive indoor play area ideal for rainy days, there are outdoor laser games, and the Ultimate High, a high ropes centre adjacent to the Big Sheep ideal for older children with energy to burn.
Part two of this blog coming soon! To see our selection of self catering holiday cottages in Bideford, please click here.