10 free things to do in North Devon

Hours of time can be spent building sandcastles on North Devon's beaches!

Hours of time can be spent building sandcastles on North Devon's beaches! - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Looking for a day out which will cost nothing? These North Devon activities are loads of fun and won’t cost a penny...

Whether you live in North Devon or you’re visiting on holiday, it’s always great to find activities which won’t cost a lot.

But luckily, there is plenty to see and do in the region which doesn’t cost a penny.

Here is our guide to things to do in North Devon for free...

Visit Verity

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Stood at the end of Ilfracombe Harbour, Damien Hirst’s statue Verity is one not to be missed. The bronze, pregnant giant holds her sword aloft, making her taller than the Angel of the North. Walk up to her feet and marvel at her height, and even capture that all-important Verity selfie.

Head down the Tarka Trail

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Whether you walk, run or cycle, you can explore the whole thing in one go, or in bite-sized chunks. There are plenty of cycle hire stops along the way, as well as ice-cream vendors, pubs and cafes to keep you fuelled. It’s the perfect way to get out and explore the area for free, without facing the dreaded traffic.

Build sandcastles on the beach

Whether you’re fond of Woolacombe’s expanses or Saunton’s dunes, nothing beats the fun you can have with a bucket and spade. Rowing boats, dragons, castles and mermaids are just some of the creations you can come up on the beach – just use your imagination. Why not compete to see which family member can come up with best creation? The winner gets treated to an ice cream…

Take a picnic in the park!

Pack up some sandwiches, cakes, biscuits and some cans of fizzy pop and head down to one of North Devon’s parks. Rock Park in Barnstaple offers grass and plenty of impressive trees to sit under; Victoria Park in Bideford has a shallow pool for youngsters to play in, or lay a picnic blanket on the green in Westward Ho! and look out over the blue ocean.

Go crabbing at Appledore

Crabbing lines are readily available to buy for a couple of pounds, but they can provide hours, if not days, of fun. Appledore holds its World Crabbing Contest every year – so get your practise in now! Choose your bait of choice – we go for bacon – drop your line over the side and see who can hook the most crabs.

Explore Exmoor

We have one of the country’s finest national parks on our doorstep – from the granite tors to the sweeping coastal heathlands, you could ramble for weeks and still not see it all. There are quaint countryside villages to explore, challenging hikes, hidden coves and plenty of cycle paths and bridleways to keep you amused.

Wildlife watching on the burrows

The Braunton Burrows is a haven for wildlife – but how many different species of plants and animals can you spot? Pick up a wildlife guide from a charity shop or bookshop and head out on one of the many footpaths. See how many birds, plants, insects and animals you can spot in one trip – you might be surprised.

Brush up on history

There are a number of different museums around North Devon – and many of them are free. The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon has a host of collections where you can learn all about Barnstaple’s past. See our guide to North Devon’s top museums here.

Walk at Watersmeet

Visit this dramatic river gorge and see how the water has carved itself between the ancient woodland. There’s a lovely little National Trust tearoom, and you can browse the shop as well as head out for walks. Take a short circular walk through the woods or hike out to the seaside village of Lynmouth.

Try out bodyboarding

Pick up a couple of body boards and it’s a worthy investment – you could spend hours chasing the waves, racing towards the beach on your belly. It’s an exhilarating rush, and one that if carried out safely, will keep you coming back for more. Make sure you always stick between the red and yellow flags, and stay within easy reach of the shore.

Need more inspiration?

If you’ve exhausted this list, then check out our 20 things to do in North Devon here.

Or why not enjoy our top walks on the South West Coast Path, or top places for a North Devon picnic as well?

Don’t forget to tweet us your suggestions of free things to do in North Devon to @northdevon24.

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