When the sea is calm and the sun is out how about visiting Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe’s hidden seaside?
These private beaches charge £2.50 for adults. Accessed by tunnels carved in 1823, you can step into a secluded area beneath the cliffs, where there is still an original bathing pool as well as lots of rocky outcrops and beach.
The tunneled entrance has historic signs and old news paper stories from the beaches.
We visited on a hot, still June afternoon and even dared a cooling swim in the cold water off the rocks, which was beautiful. Lots of seaweed in the rock pools is a testament to the clean waters and the beach was beautifully litter free too!
Most were bathing in the pool which no doubt warms up much more quickly than the open sea and is of course much safer as there are usually waves making rock swimming more hazardous!
The beach has a small snack bar and shop. There was a limited choice of eats so we headed back into town for lunch, (we could have re-entered on the same entrance fee). There are a good selection of places to eat along the front at Ilfracombe near North Devon Theatre, including a busy Weatherspoons with a rooftop sun-terrace, which is open if the weather is right.
Tunnels Beaches also has a very popular wedding venue and we are delighted to have had honeymoon couples stay at the lodges, as well as wedding guests. http://www.tunnelsbeaches.co.uk/weddings.html
Whilst in Ilfracombe it’s also worth a walk to the lovely harbour and to take a look at Damien Hirst’s scuplture – Verity, who looms over the harbour mouth. Follow this link to see the sculpture. http://www.damienhirst.com/verity