Ilfracombe is a historic town that is now the largest resort in North Devon.
The name is derived from Anglo Saxon Alfreinscoma meaning literally meaning valley of the sons of Alfred. However there had been settlement in the area as evidenced by the Iron Age fort on the main hill Hillsborough.
During the middle ages, the settlement was in 2 centres, one of which was around the 12th Century Church of "Holy Trinity", although the tower is older and is noted for its beautiful stained glass. The other centr was around the natural harbour between the Capstone, Compass and Lantern Torrs. The port was one of the most important in the Bristol channel and supplied boats to fight the Spanish Armada.
Ilfracombe first came to prominence as a resort with the Victorian development of tourism as a concept. The town was noted for its warm climate and famous visitors included the future Kaiser Wilhelm and his cousin the Prince of Wales.
Ilfracombe has continued to develop as a resort due to its good beaches, good views and a busy harbour with pleasure boats. It has a number of beaches and one is called tunnels beach, so named as it is reached by walking through tunnels in the cliff.
There is a town museum, a restored 16th Century Corn mill and the Landmark theatre certainly lives upto its name with its twin conical towers.
Ilfracombe is one of the ports with boat trips to Lundy Island, which visitors undertake to enjoy the beautiful site of the nature reserve and its bird colonies.
Other attractions include Chambercombe Manor which is nearby, which is a rambling authentic Norman manor house with a cobbled courtyard.
Ilfracombe will continue to attract visitors and it is also a good base to explore the rest of the North devon coast.