Barnstaple is an historic market town in north Devon with a mixture of Victorian and Georgian architecture, it's close to both lovely beaches and coastline as well as the Exmoor National Park.
The town itself is quite compact and due to its pedestrianised shopping streets, easy and safe to get around.
If you want to learn more about the town and area visit the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon and the Barnstaple Heritage Centre should be on your to do list. Walking tours are another good way of finding out more.
You can also step back in time at the Pannier Market, which was built in 1855 and remains beautifully preserved. It is home to a different market every day apart from Sundays. For example, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays are a must for fresh locally produced food, plants and flowers and lots more. Wednesdays are great for antiques and collectables.
Surfers will want to head to Bucks Mill Beach and Croyde Beach, which have developed as popular surfing spots in recent years. The long, golden sands at Cryode Beach also make it an ideal spot for families.
The Tarka Trail is a number of cycle paths and footpaths that cover the route used by Tarka the Otter, from the classic book of the same name by Henry Williamson. The figure of eight route is centred on Barnstaple. It covers 180 miles and takes in various landscapes including sandy bays, moorland, river valleys, woodland and cliffs. Walking routes vary from easy to more strenuous and cycle paths are traffic free and largely level. Bike hire is available.
Holiday cottages in Barnstaple are ideal for walkers keen to explore the area's natural beauty and families will enjoy the nearby coastline.