Directions and public transport?
Clovelly is just off the A39, 10 miles west of Bideford. Exit the M5 at Junction 27.
Nearest train station: Barnstaple.
Buses run from Barnstaple and Bideford to Clovelly.
Nearest airport: Exeter.
At the Visitor Centre car park, which is included in the entry fee.
The small Beach and Fisherman’s car parks are reserved for permit holders only.
Admission charges. What it covers?
For this year’s entrance fees, click here
Discount for families of 2 Adults and 2 Children. Under 7s have free entry.
Visitors can only gain access to the village on foot.
Your entrance fee to Clovelly covers:
- Parking at the Visitor Centre
- A 20 minute audio-visual film which tells the fascinating history of Clovelly
- Two museums; Kingsley Museum and Fisherman’s Cottage
- Clovelly Court Gardens
For the best possible experience, we strongly recommend that you first watch the audio-visual show of the history of the village at the Visitor Centre, then browse the shops and craft centre before strolling down the street to the working port.
Why we charge?
Clovelly is a privately owned village and the same family has been the custodians for over 300 years. The volume of people wishing to visit the village each year brings ever growing wear and tear to all areas. The challenge is to keep Clovelly timeless, whilst remaining a living, breathing, working village. Built on a 400ft cliff, with no access for modern transport, and also open to the general public add greatly to the costs.
We wish to share with you a few, often overlooked hidden costs, that your entrance fees go towards, helping us to maintain the village for future generations.
· Exterior decoration costs – £207,000 over the last 2 years
· Building upgrades and modernisation required for the village to look after its visitors – £412,700 over three years
· Resurfacing of the car parks and signage over last 3 years – £170,000
· Cliff stabilisation to stop loose rocks falling and protect visitors and residents – £182,200 over the last 4 years
· Stonework in the village – £76,000 over 3 years
· Upkeep of the Harbor wall and quay over the last 4 years – £50,000
· Upgrading village glazing, insulation, drainage etc. to ensure it is retained for future generations – £330,000
· Clovelly Court Gardens and glasshouses improvements – £30,000 each year
These are all ongoing programmes. Every year the village faces growing challenges to maintain this historic site, we hope this demonstrates the need to charge an entrance fee.
Are there any group discounts?
For this year’s group charges and guided tour charges, click here
- group rates are one of the lowest entrance fees in the West Country
- guided tours can be booked
- group rates for cream teas at the Visitor Centre or New Inn
- packages constructed individually for you
- a Land Rover service (Easter to October), for which there is a small charge, takes you back to the Visitor Centre.
- for the driver, there is ample parking and a generous allowance for refreshment at the Visitor Centre.
For the best possible experience, we strongly recommend that groups first watch the audio-visual show of the history of the village at the Visitor Centre, then browse the shops and craft centre before strolling down the street to the working port. If a guided tour is booked, groups will be taken to see the secret jewels of Clovelly often missed by visitors.
What are the opening times?
Open all year except for Christmas. Summer: 09:00 a.m. to 06:30 p.m. For other opening times, please contact Visitor Centre reception: 01237 431781.
During winter months, Clovelly Estate Company staff advise visitors that the independently operated businesses situated in Clovelly are open at the discretion of each shop owner.
Our visitors often tell us that the added peace and tranquillity of visiting Clovelly during off-peak times affords a more intimate look at life in Clovelly and its community who live in this unique fishing village.
Is there disabled access?
Please note that the High Street in Clovelly is not suitable for wheelchairs, however the Visitor Centre, donkey stables, craft workshops and Mount Pleasant are all accessible as are Clovelly Court Gardens and make an enjoyable outing in themselves.
If you feel unable to manage the steep cobbled street, please ask the Visitor Centre Reception to book a seat on a Land Rover to take you down to the harbour and back up, for which there is a small charge. The service is available from Easter to October.
WCs for the disabled are available at the Visitor Centre and Clovelly Court Gardens.
How steep is the street? How long will it take to walk down and up? Can we bring a children’s buggy?
Our famous cobbled street is 20% steep and can be slippery, so do wear sensible footwear.
You should allow around two to three hours for a visit to include lunch or a cream tea. Why not break the stroll back up the hill with refreshments stops, as well as visits to the gift shops, museums, craft workshops and donkey stables.
Visitors with prams and buggies may well find it a struggle. Most of the young families who live in Clovelly rely on baby slings and child carriers to walk up or down the cobbles.
When is the Land Rover service available?
Our Land Rover Service is available Easter to October, for which there is a small charge.
The walk down through Clovelly village to the harbour is hugely enjoyable, but if you do not wish to walk back up, you can take a fare-paying Land Rover service back to the top.
Are dogs allowed?
Dogs on leads are very welcome. Dog litter bins can be found on the street and at the harbour. If you have not brought dog litter bags, please ask the Visitor Centre reception to give you some.
What is there to do at the Visitor Centre?
The award-winning Clovelly Visitor Centre was built in 1988 and has a number of modern-day facilities to keep the village unchanged. There is a popular cafeteria, souvenir shop and a wide range of gifts including books, jewellery and delicious Clovelly fudge.
The building is modelled on a traditional Devon long-barn and houses a ‘Picarooner’ fishing boat, unique to Clovelly, suspended from the ceiling and a Victory ship model on display.
Before setting off down the street, we recommend that you make the most of your visit by watching the 20-minute audio-visual film telling the fascinating history of Clovelly. Visitors tell us that it adds hugely to the enjoyment of their visit.
Where are Clovelly Court Gardens?
Opening times: 1st April to 30th September, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Wheelchair accessible and WC for the disabled.
The entry charge to Clovelly Village includes free admission. If you just wish to visit the gardens there is a small entry charge. You’ll find them to the right at the top of the village, following the path to All Saints Church.
Clovelly Court Garden is a classic example of a lovingly restored Victorian walled kitchen garden, including magnificent lean-to glasshouses with their original manual levers.
Peaches, apricots, nectarines, vines, citrus fruit, figs, cucumbers, peppers, chillies, aubergines and tomatoes can be bought, in season, together with cut flowers and pot plants from the nursery.
Espalier fan and cordon fruit trees line the walls enclosing the garden, which also shelter vegetables grown to organic principles and in rotation, ensuring sweet tasting and wholesome produce for sale. The Red Lion and the New Inn are both supplied with the fruit and vegetables from the gardens.
The unique maritime microclimate of the garden is produced by the effects of the warm Gulf stream flowing past Clovelly, which with its enviable sheltered position in the Bristol Channel allows the growth of tender and exotic plants.
You’ll find that there’s always something to see and enjoy.
What is there to do at the Harbour?
When you arrive at the harbour and the Red Lion hotel, you can enjoy a stroll across the pebbled beach past the Lifeboat House and along the shore. You’ll be rewarded with stunning sea views and the sight of a picturesque waterfall pouring over the cliff face.
There is a cave behind where legend tells that Merlin, the Arthurian magician, was born. The source of the waterfall is slightly more prosaic! The stream once flowed down the village street, but was then diverted when mains water arrived in the village and now emerges here as a waterfall.
From the quay you can take a boat trip around the bay, a booked chartered fishing trip or voyage to Lundy Island.
Why does walking through the village feel like stepping back in time?
Imagine life without cars? Well, in Clovelly you can.
In this picturesque village, you’ll enjoy a unique experience of a bygone age, a time when people lived a more tranquil way of life.
Are the shops open all year?
During the winter months, the Visitor Centre reception will advise you that the independently operated businesses in Clovelly are open at the discretion of each shop owner.
Visitors often tell us that the added peace and tranquillity of visiting Clovelly during off-peak times affords a more intimate look at life in Clovelly and the community who live in this unique fishing village.
Are there still Clovelly donkeys?
The Clovelly donkeys are a must-see part of any family visit to North Devon. You’ll find their picturesque old stables below the Visitor Centre and just beyond the craft workshops.
Mention Clovelly to most people and they’ll straight away say ‘donkeys’. They carried the fishermen’s heavy baskets of herring up the narrow cobbled street from the harbour, as well as other heavy loads for the villagers.
Today the donkeys enjoy a more restful existence, giving rides to visiting children in the summer. Donkeys can be seen by the Victoria Fountain from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm during the summer months. Make sure you pose for a photograph with them – the donkeys love the attention and your children will be entranced and enthralled.
Why are there sledges outside the houses?
The impossibility of having vehicular access to the cobbled street led to the every day use of sledges as a matter of practicality. Goods to be delivered to residents, businesses and The New Inn, are all pulled down the hill from the upper car park. Refuse is pulled down the hill by sledge to a waiting vehicle at the harbour. Sledges are made and maintained by residents and business owners in the village. Each sledge is unique and a vital piece of equipment for Clovelly families, which is used to bring shopping home, as well as furniture, etc.
Do people live in the village cottages?
Clovelly is a privately owned village, with full time occupation of cottages a condition of tenancy. There are no holiday homes in Clovelly. The strong and vibrant community of Clovelly residents take great pride in our unique village. Houses are occupied by families who live and work in the area and many have had a long association with the village as fishermen, residents, estate workers or they work for the village businesses, some going back for many generations.
There are 83 houses and circa 300 residents. The numbering of the houses is unusual in that it starts from the top down the left-hand side of the street (known as ‘Down-a-long’) and then from the harbour up the other side of the street (known as ‘Up-a-long’) so that the first and last numbered cottages are both at the top of the high street.
Can we visit any of the village cottages?
Clovelly is a ‘living’ village with a thriving community of residents living in the beautiful white-washed cottages situated along the famous cobbled street, but there is one fascinating cottage which is well worth a visit and will offer you valuable insights into Clovelly’s rich fishing past.
The Fisherman’s Cottage is packed with fascinating information and old photographs that give a vivid picture of Clovelly’s fishing heritage.
Inside you can see how a Clovelly fisherman and his family lived in the 1930s. The parlour is decorated with domestic treasures of the period, including simple cottage furniture, colourful pictures and religious engravings, and china and ornaments. The tiny kitchen is plain but full of period charm. Upstairs there are two bedrooms, one small and the other still smaller, a sail loft, and an attic complete with straw mattresses.
If you walk along the side alley by the Kingsley Museum cottage, just a few yards down from the New Inn, you’ll see the pretty little Fisherman’s Cottage, a very special North Devon attraction.