Skip to main content
4 min.

Looking for Devon’s most beautiful village? Do visit Clovelly!

Clovelly is a true gem, probably one of the most iconic villages in the whole United Kingdom.

Ok, you might have already realized that I’m in love with Great Britain and all its lovely fairytale villages and the countryside, but Clovelly is really special.

Suddenly a hot gleam of sunlight fell upon the white cottages, with their grey steaming roofs and little scraps of garden courtyard, and lighting up the wings of the gorgeous butterflies which fluttered from the woodland down to the garden.

Charles Kingsley
Visiting Clovelly

About Clovelly

Clovelly is a fishing village, one of those that make you think more of a movie set with a real inhabited place, so much everything is taken care of down to the smallest detail.

Much of its appeal lies in the steep, narrow winding cobblestone alleys heading to the fabulous Bideford Bay, also known as Clovelly Bay, and the beauty of the small 16th century whitewashed cottages decorated with geranium and fuchsias baskets scattered everywhere.

The cobbled streets are so steep that for many years donkeys were the only transportation. Nowadays, they use wooden man-powered sleds, and for bigger deliveries, I guess some Defenders are allowed to drive through a sideway reaching the impressive quai, as I saw a few parked there.

Clovelly is actually an estate originally owned by William the Conqueror. It stayed within the Royal family until 1242, when the Giffard family acquired it. Today the owner is John Rous, one of the family’s indirect heir.

Visiting Clovelly

Strolling around Clovelly is magic and is what I heartily recommend. Do take your time, pause, breath, and admire the surrounding scenery. But do also enter tiny lovely museums and shops and enjoy the donkeys!

Clovelly Donkeys

The first thing you’ll notice entering the village is pretty sweet donkeys in their stables. They’ve always been Clovelly main transport, to move goods from and toward the harbor and help locals in their daily life and even nowadays they’re essential not to forget the past and of course as a cool tourist attraction…

You can even adopt one if you wish, for one year. If you decide to do so (I didn’t, and I now regret it!), you’ll get a proper adoption certificate and have your name written on the door of your donkey’s stable.

The Fisherman’s Cottage

The Fishermans’ Cottage is just a few meters down from the New Inn and a must-see to understand fishermen’s daily life back in the 30s.

It’s, of course, built-in beach stones and cob, and besides the original traditional furnishing, it also preserves plenty of historical painting and pictures. I loved it!

The Kingsley Museum

Right next to the Fisherman’s Cottage, this tiny museum is dedicated to Charles Kingsley, author of “Westward Ho!”, the novel set in and around the village, influencing the first visitors to spend their holidays in North Devon.

Guided tours

As always, I recommend a guided tour to understand local history fully. At the Visitor Center, you can book the so-called Jana’s Village Tours

Jana is really a great guide! You can even phone her and book ahead +44 797 413 4701.

Clovelly admission fee

Being private, to access Clovelly, you have to pay a ticket, and I found it an excellent solution to preserve its beauty and authenticity.

You can get an admission ticket (7,75£ per adult) right at the entrance, allowing you to visit from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., getting back once within one week.

The ticket also includes parking. You don’t need one on Boxing Day, and just so you know, you can’t access the village on Christmas.

The Visitor Centre is quite big, on two floors and there you also get a big gift shop, a movie theatre with loop video showing Clovelly over the time, toilets and a coffee shop.

You actually enter on the upper level, park the car, get your ticket, and access the village through the lower level.

Visiting Clovelly

If you feel like spending a memorable day in Clovelly, you could also book fishing or boat tours and various handcraft experiences. I didn’t, but I saw some related brochures at the Info Point.

Sleeping in Clovelly

There are no holiday cottages or proper hotels, but you can still find a few accommodations, bars, and restaurants.

I can recommend the central New Inn to feel almost like a local. I actually stayed right in front, at the Hamlyn’s hostel, but could enjoy breakfast at the Inn, and trust me, and their scones are really yummy!

Another option is The Red Lion, with a stunning sea and harbor view. Reviews are great, and it seems that all bedrooms are different, but I didn’t get to sleep there, so I can’t confirm.

Enjoy Clovelly!

P.S. Recently, Clovelly was the set of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” The movie is nice and touching, but I recommend reading the book!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.

Leave a Reply