Best Places to Visit in North Devon for Photography

photography of dog digging at saunton sands beach huts

Are you looking for the best places to visit in North Devon? 

Whether you’re planning your next holiday, or perhaps a local trying to find new places to visit or things to do in North Devon, this guide aims to show you the most photogenic spots in this district.

Whether you’re an avid landscape photographer, smartphone snap connoisseur or just want to enjoy the views, there is something for everyone!

From beautiful calm bays, beaches with epic surf, quirky towns, and cosy tea rooms there are lots of places to go and things to do in North Devon! 

Here is what this guide will cover. Click to jump ahead.

Firstly, when is the best time to visit North Devon?

North Devon, like most other tourist destinations, sees the most visitors during the summer school holidays between July and August.

However, you can visit the North Devon district all year round.

If you want fewer people around, visit North Devon in May or September. However, good weather is never guaranteed.

Don’t worry when it rains, there are still plenty of beautiful places to visit and things to do in North Devon.

If you’ve got more time on your hands it would be rude not check out Cornwall too. Find out more in this article Best Places to Visit in Cornwall for Photography

national trust baggy point and woolacombe places to stay
© Sean Michael Pritchard

Where should you stay in North Devon?

There is so much to see but it is a relatively small area, so for a more relaxing break, stay in one place and go on day trips to the best things to do and local places to visit in the North Devon district.

Ilfracombe and Woolacombe are the two of the best places to stay in the North Devon district.

Both are coastal communities, yet they are quite different. Ilfracombe has a beautiful harbour and bustling centre, whereas Woolacombe has an expansive beach which attracts surfers from far and wide.

Best places to stay in or near Ilfracombe, North Devon include:

Watermouth Lodges, located just outside of Ilfracombe, is a woodland getaway by the sea. The holiday park is positioned over Watermouth Harbour set on twelve acres of lush woods and provides the ideal holiday retreat in North Devon.

There is so much to see and do in the area, and Watermouth Castle is only a short distance away. Each guest is provided a welcome Pack that includes necessities as well as a handful of locally sourced goodies!

A distinctive building with individually designed rooms and expansive views in the heart of North Devon. The rooms at Wildercombe House come with the choice of a bath, walk-in shower, or wet rooms, as well as double, king, or super-king beds.

Every morning, breakfast is offered with full English selections or lighter continental alternatives, using local ingredients where possible.

The Earlsdale provides first-rate hospitality and contemporary accommodation exclusively for adults only.

Famous architect W H Gould created the opulent Victorian Villa in around 1885, granting it a prominent location and beautiful valley vistas.

Rooms are beautifully decorated, and every booking includes breakfast. There is also the added bonus of private parking available! 

Best places to stay in or near Woolacombe, North Devon include:

This Guest House is primarily located in the open countryside. However, Woolacombe’s magnificent beach is only a 5-minute drive away.

There are several cosy rooms with ensuite conveniences, including one on the first floor with no steps.

On arrival, tea and homemade cake are offered! A homemade breakfast is also included in the price of your stay.

Eight chic, modern bedrooms with en suite bathrooms each include white Egyptian cotton sheets, welcome boxes, and free Wi-Fi.

Additionally, you can stay in the self-contained apartment, which can accommodate up to 6 guests and has stunning views of North Devon.

A luxurious four-star hotel with breath taking sea views, the Watersmeet Hotel is situated in one of the West Country’s most desirable coastal areas.

The hotel has its own private steps that go down to the sandy beach and overlooks North Devon’s rocky coastline.

If you are looking to stay inland, Braunton is an excellent little town in the North Devon district.

It has lots of things to do on your doorstep and is perfectly located near to the best beaches in North Devon.

Best place to stay in Braunton, North Devon: 

Each of the bedrooms have been elegantly and uniquely designed. It is also a dog friendly hotel, and they are welcome to stay for an additional fee.

Now that you know when to visit and the best places to stay, the next part of this post will guide you on the best things to do and places to visit in the North Devon district! 

Just don’t forget to pack your compact travel camera!

At a glance, here are the best photogenic places to visit in North Devon. Click a link to skip ahead:
  1. Woolacombe 
  2. Croyde 
  3. Saunton Sands
  4. Crow Point
  5. Ilfracombe
  6. Lundy Island
  7. Appledore 
  8. Clovelly
  9. Broadsands Beach
  10. Valley of the Rocks

woolacombe beach and town north devon district travel photography
© Sean Michael Pritchard


Between Morte Point and Baggy Point is Woolacombe Beach. This large stretch of pristine sand is well known for its excellent water quality.

Voted the Sunday Times Beach of the Year in 2021, this was just one of several awards Woolacombe beach has received in the past. With fantastic surf and a breath taking coastal walk, it truly has something for everyone.

The coastal path provides the best views of the beach, and while you’re there, keep an eye out for wildlife like swimming seals as well as rare sea birds.

There are several photo opportunities in the town itself, including the recognisable beach huts.

Getting to Woolacombe:

From Ilfracombe: 12 minute drive 

From Croyde: 15 minute drive

croyde bay places to visit in north devon
© Sean Michael Pritchard


Considering Croyde’s reputation as a premier surfing location, its unspoiled attractiveness may come as a surprise.

This little coastal village has an antique charm where surf shops, cafés, and a fantastic ice cream shop meet thatched houses and historic village shops.

Everything you need for a day at the beach, can be purchased or rented here, including surfboards and wetsuits.

Especially on a clear day, the walk to Baggy Point is highly recommended because of the breath taking vistas.

The sunsets in Croyde are spectacular so grab a takeaway and head to the beach to watch the sun go down.

Getting to Croyde:

From Ilfracombe: 20 minute drive 

From Woolacombe: 15 minute drive 

saunton sands surfing waves vacation
© Sean Michael Pritchard

Saunton Sands

Saunton Sands is a long, straight stretch of golden sand.

This beach is well-liked by families and surfers because of the broad stretch of water that is great for swimmers and beginner surfers.

Dogs are welcome here year round! The Braunton Burrows are the main drawcard at this North Devon location.

This dune system, which is situated behind the beach and is recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is one of the most distinctive and magnificent in the country.

Getting to Saunton Sands:

From Ilfracombe: 20 minute drive 

From Woolacombe: 20 minute drive 

places to visit in north devon crow point at sunset
© Sean Michael Pritchard

Crow Point

At the southernmost tip of Braunton Burrows Nature Reserve in North Devon is Crow Point. It is a pristine refuge for wildlife.

This stretch of shoreline is where two rivers converge at an estuary that empties into the ocean.

You will find several exposed wooden structures that provide excellent photographic focus points, along with the wreckage of a wooden boat that is laying in the sand.

This is one of the best places near Braunton in North Devon to watch the sunset. 

Getting to Crow Point:

From Ilfracombe: 30 minute drive 

From Woolacombe: 35 minute drive 

ilfracombe north devon district travel photo
© Sean Michael Pritchard


Many visitors now refer to Ilfracombe as the “new St. Ives” due to its steadily expanding status as North Devon’s foodie and cultural centre.

In addition to being a destination for connoisseurs, the town is home to a number of well-known landmarks.

These include the aquarium, unusual tunnel beaches, and Damien Hirst’s artwork Verity.

With its charming historic harbour, cute pastel-coloured cottages and 14th-century church located on Lantern Hill it has plenty to offer everyone.

Getting to Ilfracombe:

From Woolacombe: 12 minute drive 

things to do in north devon puffins on lundy island
© Sean Michael Pritchard

Lundy Island

Just a short boat ride from the North Devon Coast. One of the best places to visit while on holiday in North Devon is the lovely Island of Lundy.

There is a lot going on for such a little Island. Lundy is well recognised for its great walks and for being the ideal location to watch puffins and other rare seabirds.

In the height of the season, there are also a tonne of activities run by wardens, including rockpool rambles, snorkel safaris, guided hikes, and guest talks.

If seeing the puffins is what you are most interested in, make sure you check out this post about Skomer Island in Wales for some puffin photography tips!

Getting to Lundy:

From Ilfracombe: 2 hour boat ride on Lundy’s own ferry and supply ship, the MS Oldenburg. Departing from Ilfracombe and Bideford, it transports tourists to Lundy from the end of March to the end of October.

best places to visit in north devon appledore village sunset photography
© Sean Michael Pritchard


North Devon’s little fishing community of Appledore is located where the Taw and Torridge rivers converge before flowing into the Atlantic at Bideford Bay.

Appledore, which served as a significant shipbuilding hub for centuries, is now the location of the North Devon Maritime Museum.

A charming mix of closely spaced brightly painted houses complemented with hanging baskets lines Appledore’s network of winding pathways.

Getting to Appledore:

From Ilfracombe: 40 minute drive 

From Woolacombe: 45 minute drive 

inspiration for clovelly village in north devon


The Queen of England originally owned the charming, historic, fishing town of Clovelly, which is one of a kind. Since then, Clovelly has been privately owned and its original character has been preserved.

The village is clinging to a 400-foot cliff and the only traffic here is donkeys! Its narrow, winding high street descends steeply to the C14th quay and the old fishing harbour.

Only little alleyways and meandering paths that branch off to provide the possibility of discovering further gorgeous gems break up the descent past flower-filled cottages.

There is a small entrance fee to Clovelly which includes parking and a donation toward the upkeep of this unique private estate.

Getting to Clovelly:

From Ilfracombe: 55 minute drive 

From Woolacombe: 55 minute drive 

broadsands beach in devon aerial photo

Broadsands Beach

This is a little-known cove tucked away on the wild North Devon coast between Watermouth and Combe Martin. Despite being called Broadsands, the beach is really more shingly than broad or sandy.

In general, Broadsands beach is well protected. Despite the lack of lifeguards, it is also regarded as one of the best swimming beaches on this coast. There are several nooks and even a few caverns in this cove, making it a terrific place to explore.

It is important to keep in mind that high tide affects the accessibility to the beach, so be sure to check before you go. Also note that there are 240 steps to climb down to the beach as well. 

It’s not the most accessible beach in the North Devon district, but that’s what makes it a hidden gem!

Getting to Broadsands beach:

From Ilfracombe: 10 minute drive 

From Woolacombe: 25 minute drive 

valley of the rocks photography

Valley of the Rocks

The Valley of the Rocks, which was created during the last Ice Age, is only one mile from Lynton.

This location is ideal for watching the sunset in the North Devon district. Scramble along the rocks and walk along the coastal walkway to soak in the sights.

It’s an astonishing natural feature of a valley full of rocks, anyone interested in geology will be delighted! You might even stumble across some wild goats roaming here. 

Getting to the Valley of the Rocks:

From Ilfracombe: 35 minute drive 

From Woolacombe: 40 minute drive 

Final thoughts

There is so much to see and do, it was hard to narrow down the best places to visit in North Devon.

If you’re still looking for a coastal escape have a read of the Best Places to Visit in Pembrokeshire for Photography.

Don’t forget to take your camera and take lots of photos to remember your visit. Do you want to improve your photography skills? Take a look at these best photography courses.

Want to buy a print to remember your time on the North Devon coast?

Check out my online store to find some perfect photography wall art of North Devon to remind you of your holiday!

DISCLOSURE: I may earn a small commission from some of the links above. For the benefit of the doubt, please assume all links might be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

aerial view of green and brown devon coast

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