Visiting Clovelly

Welcome to a different world!

Clovelly is a unique village once owned by the Queen of England and from Elizabethan days until today, it has been in private ownership, which has helped preserve its original atmosphere.  Clinging to a 400 foot cliff in North Devon, it has no vehicular traffic on its steeply cobbled street, just donkeys and sledges.  The man-powered sledges transport all goods to the village, from groceries to furniture. Donkeys used to be the main form of transport for centuries, but now mainly give children rides during the summer or can be seen posing for photographs in the street.

The cobbled street tumbles its way past gleaming white cottages festooned with flowers down to the ancient fishing harbour and C14th quay where you can take a boat trip along the coast. Clovelly also has its very own lifeboat.  It is a descent broken only by little passageways and winding lanes that lead off to offer the prospect of further picturesque treasures.

There are many literary connections;  Charles Kingsley lived here, Charles Dickens wrote about it, William Turner painted it and Rex Whistler featured it in much of his work.  Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), lived here as a child and returned many times as an adult. His description of the village has hardly changed after all this time.

There are two museums, craft workshops for silk and pottery and an extensive souvenir shop in the Visitor Centre, where there is also a must-see film show of the village history before you walk on down to visit the Craftyard and then down the cobbled street to explore the village.

Clovelly has two hotels: the 400 year old New Inn, in the heart of the village and the C18th Red Lion on the quay, which provide delicious lunches, dinners and Devon cream teas.

Ask at the Visitor Centre for directions to Clovelly Court Gardens; a classic example of a restored Victorian walled kitchen garden including magnificent lean-to glasshouses sheltering Mediterranean fruits and vegetables. The unique maritime microclimate of the garden allows the growth of tender and exotic plants.

There is much to see and do as well as events like the “Seaweed Festival” in June, “Maritime Festival” in July,  “Lobster and Crab Feast” in September and the “Herring Festival” in November.  

Your entrance fee to the village covers the following:

  • an audio-visual programme introducing you to Clovelly’s fascinating history
  • two museums – the Kingsley Museum and the Fisherman’s Cottage
  • Clovelly Court Gardens
  • Parking (visitors with motorhomes are welcome)

A substantial part of your fee contributes to Clovelly’s ongoing building maintenance programme. All restoration work is carried out to rigorous standards, with slate being replaced with slate, and oak with oak. It is an expensive process, but it ensures that the village retains the unique charm and character that captivates so many of our visitors.

Admission charges 2017 and opening hours

Adult: £7.25

Child: £4.40  (ages 7 to16)

Family: £18.40 (2 adults, 2 children)

Children under 7 years of age, free

Season ticket per calendar year:  £20 per person

Open all year except for Christmas. Free entry on Boxing Day.
Summer opening hours:  9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For other opening hours, please contact Visitor Centre reception:  01237 431781

Clovelly Village Tours

Jana Edwards runs Clovelly Village Tours. She is a mine of information about village history and traditions, and an enthusiastic guide for interested visitors. Join one of her tours and you’ll gain valuable insights into what makes Clovelly such a unique place to visit in North Devon. She loves sharing her knowledge, and you are bound to go away enlightened and enthused. Judged by the Trip Advisor comments, taking a Clovelly Village Tour is a MUST.

Charges: £5 per person. Under 10s free.  Discounts for groups of 15+
To book your tour call Jana on 0797 413 4701 or email

View the video

The Land Rover Service (available Easter to October)

The walk down through Clovelly village to the harbour is hugely enjoyable. However, the village street is steep and cobbled. If you walk down you can take the fare-paying Land Rover service back to the top.   If you are infirm, please ask the Visitor Centre reception to book a seat in the Land Rover to take you down and back up, for which there is a small charge.

Clovelly is just off the A39, 10 miles west of Bideford. Exit the M5 at Junction 27. Nearest train station is Barnstaple. Buses run from Barnstaple and Bideford to Clovelly.

Stagecoach South West timetable

Please note that the High Street in Clovelly is steep and can be slippery - so do wear sensible footwear. The street is not suitable for wheelchairs, however the Visitor Centre, donkey stables, craft workshops and Mount Pleasant are all wheelchair accessible and make an enjoyable outing in themselves.

Dogs are welcome on leads.

Clovelly Visitor Centre, nr Bideford, Devon EX39 5TA
Tel: 01237 431781, Fax: 01237 431644