Westward Ho! is a pretty coastal village on the north coast of Devon. It is famous as the only place name in Britain which includes an exclamation mark. The beach is two miles long and comprises of golden sand and a unique pebble ridge. The water is Blue Flag status quality - ideal for surfing and kite surfing. There is so much to do in Westward Ho! and the surrounding area, making it an ideal holiday location.
A Brief History
Westward Ho! is a relatively new village, created in 1863 to increase tourism in the area. Charles Kingsley, an author born in Devon, wrote a novel called Westward Ho! in 1855. The book was a bestseller and local entrepreneurs formed The Northam Burrows Hotel and Villa Building Company to build hotels and villas along the beach front to attract sea bathers and tourists.
The town became more residential on the closure of its holiday camps, when flats and houses were built - although a couple are still open today.
Points of Interest
The grasslands at Westward Ho! are part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and can be found teeming with birds and wildlife. The railway line closed in 1917 but the remaining flatbed now forms part of the South West Coast Path.
Westward Ho! is home to the eldest golf club in England and Wales, the Royal North Devon Golf Club, and Marwood Hill Gardens - an approximate 30-minute drive away - boasts over eighteen acres of beautiful landscaped gardens.
Milky Way Adventure Park at nearby Clovelly has plenty of attractions, shows and rides for all ages - just under 10 miles away. Entrance to the park is cheaper if you book online.
The Big Sheep is another local attraction - great for all the family and in all weathers. There are events throughout the year, especially during school holidays... and at Appledore, there is the North Devon Maritime Museum, plus a ferry ride to Instow across the River Torridge.
Something completely different is available under 15 miles away at West Putford – The Gnome Reserve and Wildflower Garden. This four acres of land is infested with pixies and gnomes and you are encouraged to join in!
There is the usual array of gift and beach shops within Westward Ho!'s small shopping area, which also includes an art gallery and a Tesco Express.
Where to Eat
Pier House, to the west of the village, is a bistro which offers fabulous views over the sea and beach. The Village Inn is close to the beach and also the North Devon Golf Club, which is renowned for its home cooked food. A very popular tea room is the Tea on the Green located in the centre of the village, a bit like stepping back in time. For something different there is Morans, which is in the heart of Westward Ho! and has great views and a fantastic Thai menu.
The Lobster and Crab Feast takes place each September, at Clovelly - approximately 20 minutes' drive from Westward Ho! Visitors can expect live music, cookery demonstrations, craft stalls and activities and attractions for children as well.
There are three car parks in Westward Ho!; the first is a short stay and is located just at the entrance to the beach off Westbourne Terrace, holding approximately 37 cars. The next one is in the centre of the village and holds over 130 vehicles, and the last is the long stay at Seafield near the Pier House.
ATMs and Banks
There are a couple of ATMs in Westward Ho!: one available on Nelson Road, the main thoroughfare through Westward Ho!, and the other at Westbourne Terrace off Golf Links Road, along the sea front.
There are public facilities at the slipway, Maritime station and car park, near the beach and also at the village square. To the west of the village, following the path past Pier House, is another set of public facilities - and finally there is another at the Burrows Centre Country Park.
Image credits to: The Pier House, Clovelly Lobster and Crab Feast, and visitdevon.co.uk