We think most would agree that the resort's main attraction is its beach. The wide expanse of undeveloped sands provides a fantastic space for kids for ball games, sandcastle building, and has some great rock pools worth exploring, whilst clean, consistent waves are popular with surfers, swimmers and notably kite surfers.
Over the years, The Promenade at Westward Ho! has changed considerably, and today is packed with amusements, restaurants, holiday apartments, fish and chips and traditional seaside fayre, and popular with visitors looking for a day or holiday by the sea.
There are plenty of wonderful walks, through the Northam Burrows Country Park or via the Southwest Coast Path, and its famous links golf course attracts the most serious golfers. It’s close proximity to the A39 means that the neighbouring villages, and local family attractions are all within easy reach. Here are just a few of our favourite suggestions for things to do, we are sure you’ll discover so much more.
Westward Ho! is one of North Devon’s best surf spots, where clear consistent conditions and a sandy, gently sloping shore makes it ideal for surfers of all levels. There are a number of surf schools and shops near the beach, offering equipment hire and lessons if you need a little guidance to catch your first wave. Unlike many beaches along the coast, where rocks and difficult access limit when it is possible to surf, the long, sandy beach at Westward Ho! makes it possible to surf at any stage of the tide, with loads of space for beginners to get to grips with this exhilarating sport. And it is manned by lifeguards from May to September, so many consider it to be one of the safest surfing beaches in Devon.
As this beach break is exposed, it is also a great destination for kite-sports. It does pick up a lot of swells, the waves can be large, and you’ll find when the wind blows in any westerly direction, the ocean then becomes alive with kite-surfers and windsurfers. There’s even a dedicated kite surfing area, just 200m north of the Burrows/Sandymere lifeguard hut, and its own annual Festival of Kites. Whatever your sport, just remember at low tide, it can be a very long walk to the water’s edge,which can offer a good workout in itself.
Close to the promenade, you’ll find The Westward Ho! Rock Sea Pool. This sea pool originally dates back to the Victorian era, when Westward Ho! first became a holiday destination. Allegedly, the Victorians used to travel miles to take a dip in the sea due to the reported health benefits of bathing in the ocean. So, with this in mind, they created an open water rock sea pool to create a safe bathing space. After being closed due to storm damage, the pool was restored and reopened again in 2015 (with the aid of a Coastal Community Grant), and today it is still a great addition to the resort and extremely popular in the summer months, with families and kids.
Westward Ho! is hard to beat for a walking holiday in North Devon. The Southwest Coast Path runs right through the village, and provides walks with stunning views along the coast and across miles of unspoiled countryside. Follow the path north and you will make your way through Northam Burrows Country Park before reaching the picturesque fishing community of Appledore, on the Torridge estuary. Head south and you will cross craggy cliff tops on your way to Bucks Mill, a spectacular rocky bay with waterfalls, overlooked by a steep, wooded valley. Continue along the coast and your next stop will be Clovelly, a lovely fishing village where a tangle of cobbled lanes descends to a working harbour, where you can enjoy a meal or a pint of local ale at the pub by the water. On the way back, you can cheat by walking back up the valley to Horn’s Cross, where you’ll find a regular bus back to the village.
Also, at either end of the village, some other lovely walks include heading south to the inland village of Abbotsham or north towards Northam, this pretty village set high above Westward Ho! has a great selection of good pubs and restaurants, including Memories, an award-winning restaurant.
If you wish to see Westward Ho! from an elevated position, then there is also a great walk up to the top of the Kipling Tors. You'll be able to look down on most of the resort, across to Appledore, the estuary, Lundy Island and Hartland Point.
Next to the beach, kids and families can choose from the Pebble Ridge Adventure Golf & Go Karts offering plenty of fun with family friendly go-karts, adventure golf, bumper cars, along with traditional fish and chips, fresh hot doughnuts and coffee. Ho!barts Family Entertainment Centre has all your usual arcade games, pinball machines, and toy cranes for hours of fun. Further a field is The Big Sheep, a farm themed attraction park with sheep racing, a roller coaster, a new combat zone. Then, just 10 minutes from Bideford, you’ll find The Milky Way, an adventure park that has won many many awards as a top all-weather family attraction, with indoor play, falconry, dodgems, roller coasters, and a Little Stars play centre.
And finally any self-catering holiday in Westward Ho! would be incomplete with visiting a couple of the neighbouring market towns and fishing villages. A couple of miles to the south, Bideford is a delightful town with a pedestrianised High Street packed with cafes, antique shops and opportunities to pick up fresh produce from the surrounding countryside. It’s also well worth taking a drive inland, where the glorious Devon countryside is scattered with sleepy villages which times seems to have forgotten. Further west, the Hartland Peninsula has a particularly rugged coast, with ancient woods, a historic abbey with stunning gardens, and a rocky quay where you can watch waves crashing against the cliffs.
The village is also a stone’s throw from some of the region’s top attractions. A few miles west, the Milky Way is a fun-packed adventure park with rides, dodgems, play areas and a wake boarding park. Nearby, the Big Sheep is a unique amusement farm park, where you can watch sheep races and meet newborn lambs.