One foggy morning on our recent holiday to North Devon, I decided we’d go to Arlington Court, but with it not opening until 11, we decided to detour to Ilfracombe first.

How to fill an hour in Ilfracombe - Bubbablue and me

What can I say about Ilfracombe? Not a lot because there’s not that much there. An aquarium, the Anthony Gormley pregnant warrior sculpture, a lifeboat station and a land train. Other than that, not much.

We parked for an hour before having a look in the lifeboat station and checking out the lifeboat tractors which winch them out onto the water. First of all N wasn’t interested, but he loved the tractors, and being able to view the lifeboat from above. And not forgetting putting a donation in the money pot! Why do children enjoy that so much?!

lifeboat at Ilfracombe

lifeboat station at ilfracombe

looking at the lifeboat tractor at ilfracombe

The harbour is quite sweet, although small. There’s a little beach but N wasn’t keen to stop which worked for me. He bought an expanding ball with some of his holiday money (I’m sure the OH will call it tat), before we wandered along the pier.

harbour at ilfracombe

watching the harbour boats in ilfracombe

Ilfracombe harbour boats

I hadn’t realised the Damien Hirst sculpture was there but it’s really quite magnificent. I’m not sure I really feel at one with it, but it certainly makes a statement and I’m sure is a conversation starter. I was surprised N didn’t take more notice of it given he usually makes comments about people or statues who’re half naked (or in this case with a pregnant belly on show). He was more focused on the land train.

Anthony Gormley Pregnant warrior statue in Ilfracombe

N isn’t really that much of a train obsessive, but given the chance to ride on one, he’s there. Thankfully this one wasn’t expensive. After waiting a while to check if it would set off and have time to get us back before our car parking ticket expired, we joined the train.

riding on the ilfracombe land train

N loved it, although there aren’t exciting sights to see. The train takes you round the town, past the harbour and the town’s walls. You’re able to get off or join at other stops. For little children, it’s just the journey on a train that’s the exciting thing.

We did enjoy spotting the ice cream shops, the souvenir places and checking out the fish on offer in the fish and chip shops. N was intrigued to see lobsters. That’s not a food you see on offer at our local chippy.

It really was a fleeting visit, but just enough to experience another Devon town.

Have you ever visited Ilfracombe? Do you have train fans?

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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24 Comments

  1. I’ve never been to Ilfracombe but the RNLI station sounds like an interesting place to visit and the girls would have loved the train. That Gormley sculpture is certainly impressive! Glad that N enjoyed it all 🙂 #countrykids

    • It’s a funny little place, but there’s enough to keep young children interested for sure

  2. We love Ilfracombe, but never manage to get on the land train. Something, we need to try when we go back. xx #countrykids

  3. Looks like you saw quite a bit in a hour 🙂 I know what you mean about children making donations, they love it don’t they! x #countrykids

  4. We had a couple of hours to spare there a few years ago too! We went to the aquarium, very small but interesting nonetheless. The Tunnels Beaches are good too, lots of rockpools at low tide. #countrykids

    • Ah yes, our friends mentioned the aquarium as being good too. We didn’t make it to any tunnel beaches while we were on holidays. Obviously one for the next trip

  5. Illfracombe is so much prettier on a sunny day – much like everywhere else in Devon! Land trains are great when you’re looking around with kids. They pay less attention to the scenery than the ride but it means you get to enjoy the view #countrykids

    • That’s true. N is always happier when he doesn’t have to walk, and it avoids his moaning!

  6. Havent been there and it looks so pretty! I am thinking what the message of that scuplture is too. You are right that this is a nice stop over but for me I might have stayed longer because of the pretty boats =) #countrykids

    • I’m sure there was more to explore, but we didn’t have the time, and the weather wasn’t the best. Maybe next time we’ll see some more – like the tunnel beaches.

  7. Scatty Mum (Kate)

    I love the sculpture! She has long legs like me so obviously I look that fierce when pregnant 😉

    I had to chuckle when you mentioned how much kids love putting money in donation buckets etc, so true AND OH would probably agree with the ball being tat and it would mysteriously disappear within a week! #countrykids

  8. kristina

    the statue is Damien Hirst, not Gormley 😛

  9. You certainly found a great way to spend your hour. Looks like N enjoyed exploring the area. My son would have had many questions about that statue, especially since it looks like her skin is peeling off down her leg. #countrykids

  10. I haven’t been to that part of devon before. Looks great. I Love a nice harbour. Crazy to see it without water though. #countrykids

  11. I haven’t been to Ilfracombe in a long time, it’s great that you got the time to visit and explore. The new statue created a lot of hype when it was first unveiled as many locals weren’t fans of it! It’s great that you managed to squeeze in a ride on the land train before heading back to the car, the RNLI station looks like a great place to explore too!

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

    • Yes, I seem to recall it making the news. It’s not my cup of tea but it’s certainly a talking point.

  12. We used to go holidaying in Illfracombe when we were kids, so I have fond memories of the place, although the AG Sculpture wasn’t there then *I’m too old!!*
    It looks huge and slightly out of place & I know I’d still be answering questions now if my two saw it!

    • Lol, I was surprised N didn’t ask many questions either. I was expecting the ‘why is she naked’, but all he asked was why it was there.

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