The beautiful village of Woolacombe lies on your doorstep when staying at Sunnycliffe. This stunning village, which is best known for its golden sands beach is home to an array of pubs and restaurants, as well as several independent shops. Voted as one of the best family resorts in the UK, the village, which sits between Morte Point and Baggy Point has something to offer all its visitors, including crazy golf, unrivalled coastal walks and horse riding on the beach. It is however, the water sports that many associate with Woolacombe, with surfing being the most popular.
Woolacombe has a great laid-back attitude during the day, which becomes livelier in the evening as live music can be heard playing in some of the bars. You can also head to Barricane Beach, which lies next to the main beach, here you can relax and watch the sunset whilst enjoying a traditional Sri Lankan curry from the beach café.
When not spending time on the beach many of the holiday villages on the outskirts of Woolacombe offer activities such as pottery painting, which day visitors are more than welcome to participate in.
Heading in the opposite direction from Woolacombe when staying at Sunnycliffe brings you to the pretty clifftop village of Mortehoe. This stunning place, which is mostly managed by the National Trust is renowned for its walking and history with smugglers. The village itself has some lovely places to eat, including a take away restaurant and a deli, there are also a couple of small shops, and often the village hall holds craft fayres. For any walkers staying at Sunnycliffe the trek to Morte Point is well worth considering. From the path you will see some stunning views of the local coastline, as well as seeing why this part of North Devon was notorious for smugglers and ship wrecks.
Only a few miles from Woolacombe is the Victorian harbour town of Ilfracombe, which is a great place to pay a visit when staying at Sunnycliffe. The resort has plenty to offer its visitors, including an aquarium, a theatre, a cinema, many different restaurants and cafés and a wonderful harbour where you can see ‘Verity’ the bronze clad statue given to the town by contemporary artist Damian Hirst. From Ilfracombe you can also set sail for Lundy on the MS Oldenburg, which runs from Easter through to the end of October, outside of these times guests can travel in style with helicopter rides to the small island available. For special occasions The Olive Room in Ilfracombe has recently won a Michelin star and is run by Thomas Carr.
Surrounding Ilfracombe are several pretty villages that are also well worth a visit, these include Lee Bay where you can play in the rock pools or walk the South West Coast Path, Georgeham where you will find two excellent pubs and Combe Martin with its lovely beach and family friendly atmosphere.
The village of Braunton is home to Braunton Burrows, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Burrows are a wonderful place to walk with Saunton Sands behind you and the Taw estuary in front, they are also home to several rare plants and plenty of wildlife. Walkers and cyclists can also take advantage of the Tarka Trail, which begins in Braunton and goes all the way to Meeth on the edge of Dartmoor. This well-loved, mainly traffic free pathway is a great way to see the local scenery and there are some great spots to stop off along the way such as Fremington Quay and Instow.
Braunton is situated at the start of North Devon’s beautiful golden coastline, so you will find plenty of surf shops in the village, as well as a great collection of independent stores selling everything from arts and crafts to fresh fruit and veg. There are also many different restaurants in the village, including small, romantic bistros and family friendly pubs.
From Braunton you can head back to Woolacombe along the coast road taking in the delights of Saunton with its wonderful beach, backed by the burrows before reaching Croyde, which is a mecca for surfers. Alternatively, if you carry on heading away from Woolacombe you will soon come to Barnstaple, North Devon’s largest town and home to a pannier market, a multi-screen cinema and a theatre.
The stunning Exmoor National Park is less than a 30-minute drive from Sunnycliffe. This large area made up of purple, heather clad moors, rugged cliffs, rivers and woods is a great place to spend a day enjoying the peace and quiet, or looking out for some of the native wildlife, such as the red deer and the Exmoor ponies. Some of the best places to stop off when exploring Exmoor National Park are Lynton and Lynmouth with the historic water powered Cliff Railway and the unusual Valley of the Rocks, Dulverton where you can sit beside the river enjoying a traditional cream tea and Porlock, which lies beside the sea and has some wonderful walks to discover.