There has been a port here since at least the 12th Century and a settlement for much longer. Today the predominant use is for leisure and tourism but this is still a working harbour with fish and seafood landed daily with the tide. Enjoy the spectacle of a proper working boat or watch the gig crews practise their sport.
Trips to Lundy Island, coastal cruises, fishing, sea-life safaris and diving are all available along the quay. Try a trip on the Ilfracombe Princess and see seals, porpoises and sea birds nesting on the cliffs. Try your hand at mackerel or deep sea fishing on Blue Fin. Enjoy an unforgettable experience as you step aboard Ilfracombe's only RIB and take an exhilarating tour of North Devon's amazing coastline on the Ilfracombe Sea Safari or a half hour sea tour on the Hampshire Rose, a former RNLI Lifeboat.
Along the Quay and in the surrounding streets there are restaurants, cafes, tea gardens and pubs, many with outside eating and drinking areas giving the feel of a continental pavement culture. Small shops abound selling gifts and other more quirky goods as well as more general stores. There are a number of take-aways including several fish and chip shops. Try an ice cream! You can buy everything from locally made ices to Italian style Gelato.
Overlooking the harbour is St Nicholas Chapel on the top of Lantern Hill built in 1361 and housing England's oldest working lighthouse. Ilfracombe Aquarium is a fun, family day out, an all-weather attraction. The working RNLI lifeboat station is also open to the public and houses Ilfracombe's Mersey class lifeboat Spirit of Derbyshire. Damien Hirst's 'Verity', a 20m tall bronze statue of a pregnant women, overlooking the harbour entrance, is Ilfracombe's newest attraction, a 'must see' for visitors and locals alike.
The harbour is also the venue for events such as Sea Ilfracombe, a celebration of Ilfracombe's maritime past and present and Rescue Day which showcases the work of the emergency services such as the RNLI. Birdman, A full day family event with live music, bars, food and silly people jumping into the water.