Wouldn’t it be Clovelly?

July 25th 2013

Clovelly, Devon

While in Devon, I pestered my parents to drive us somewhere new – funny, as a kid it was always me doing the grumbling about car rides – and I picked Clovelly somewhat randomly from a guidebook. It’s about an hour’s drive from Lee on Devon’s north-west coast, past Appledore and Westward Ho! (Doesn’t this part of the world have the best place names?) My mum knew it vaguely as being where the famous Hovis advert was filmed but otherwise we were surprised to turn up and find that it’s an entirely private village, with a £6.50 fee payable to enter. Nearly every building in the village is listed so the fee mostly goes towards maintenance using traditional craftsmanship, upkeeping the tourist facilities and entry to a couple of the small museums.

Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon

Stepping inside past the customary gift shop, we were greeted with a stunning view over the rooftops to the sea and harbour below, and a cobbled walkway winding down through the village. There are no cars in most of the village (just for guests of the single hotel) and most deliveries are made up and down the cobbles by sledge.

Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon

It’s amazingly pretty, full of whitewashed cottages with picture gardens, a quaint pub, gift shops, ice cream and sweet shops and the sea sparkling beyond.

Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon

Even better – Clovelly is full of cats! I suppose it’s kitty paradise with fresh fish on tap and no car traffic. We spied 7 or so lounging on the low walls or catching some shade on windowsills, all happy for a stroke.

Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon

The harbour at the bottom is still a working fishing port. Plenty of boats were coming and going and kids were jumping off the jetty into the turquoise water.

Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon
Clovelly, Devon

On the walk back up we noseyed into the Charles Kingsley museum, a cottage done out how it would have been at the time he was writing The Water Babies.


At the very top there’s a little courtyard of shops including two beautiful craft studios: Ann Jarvis’s silk studio and Clovelly Pottery, housing the work of potter Clive Pearson. I bought a vase for my collection and was very tempted by the beautiful silks, bearing unique patterns based on artists’ sketches of the village, too.

I’d definitely recommend a trip to Clovelly if you’re in the area – it’s a lovely, unique place to spend an afternoon. Find out more on their cute website.

Comments (16)

  • Michelle

    July 25th 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Looks amazing. Seems weird that you have to pay but I suppose it keeps things looking lovely I don’t really mind.

  • Chiara

    July 25th 2013 at 1:48 pm

    It looks picture perfect. Somewhere else to add to my growing list of places to visit.

  • Diane

    July 26th 2013 at 12:31 am

    Isn’t it lovely there?! I went with my parents a few years back and it was also a beautiful and sunny day when we visited. Thanks for reminding me of this special place – I’m going to go and hunt down my photos and reminisce!

  • Jay Greasley

    July 26th 2013 at 10:52 am

    Looks lovely, I must visit. I was recently in North Wales and went to Portmeirion village, also a private village and the set for The Prisoner (1960’s tv series). http://www.portmeirion-village.com. It was quite an eerie place but lovely.

  • Judith

    July 29th 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Much as I love the idea of Kingsley Amis writing the Water Babies, I think perhaps you mean Charles Kingsley. Maybe you were distracted by all those divine kitties!

    1. Katie

      July 29th 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Whoops! :D

  • James

    July 29th 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Charles Kingsley methinks, not Martin Amis’s father.

  • Emma

    July 29th 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Aaaah Clovelly. I’ve always wanted to go back. I went with my parents as a teenager on a very miserable, grey day. My memory is overshadowed by a huge row we had over me not wanting my photo taken and my dad making my cry by saying I should be snapped so I will have something to remember this day when he’s dead and gone! Er, thanks Dad, that’s a great way to motivate a hormonal teenage girl. As a result we have a couple of delightful pics of me looking insanely moody with terrible 90s hair and glasses. I’d like to go back and make some happier memories! Especially on a glorious day like you had – great photos. And, fact fans, the pedant in me feels the need to add that Clovelly is where everyone thinks the Hovis ad was filmed but it was actually Shaftesbury. Maybe that’ll come in handy in a pub quiz sometime…

    1. Katie

      July 29th 2013 at 9:23 pm

      Haha great story, and great trivia – I’ll tell my mum!

  • Amanda

    July 29th 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I recently went to Cornwall and was dying over the town names- Mousehole was by far my favorite. Westward Ho! may have unseated it, though- who can beat a town name with its own punctuation? Loved the pictures from your post- it makes me want to get out of London and explore, more!

  • Claire (@Kurea_San)

    July 30th 2013 at 10:37 pm

    What an amazing looking place. This is the first I’ve heard of a village where you need to pay an entry fee – but it looks well worth it. Was a single day long enough to explore?

    1. Katie

      July 30th 2013 at 10:59 pm

      Oh definitely! A couple of hours is enough really, it’s very little.

  • Wendy Lee-Warne

    July 31st 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Just stumbled across your website and must say I love it! :) Great post. I will definitely check out this town some time!

  • Sue

    September 4th 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Hi Katie,
    brought back some great memories of our visit in 1994, I still have the jug from Clive’s pottery.

    1. Katie

      September 4th 2013 at 8:55 pm

      Pleased I jogged some memories! I hope I hold onto my vase for a good few years too

  • Marina Hares

    June 3rd 2017 at 12:55 pm

    …..I Visited Clovelly years ago as a Child & Realy Enjoyed it !!…..Then a Number of Years later when I was Visiting with a Friend & Explaining All about it I was Extremly Surprised or More Shocked to Find that You had to Pay to Visit , Something I must say that I had Not Expected at All , & Apologised to My Friend when I found this out as He Paid for Us to go in !! Whilst I Appreciate that the Money goes towards the Up keep of the Houses, Village etc , I Feel that it has been made More Commercialised with the Museum at the Bottom in the Very Picturesque Harbour !!…………. Unfortunatly by that Visit My previous Beautiful Visions of Clovelly were Very OverShadowed !!…….. I’m a Regular Visitor to Cornwall as it is a Very Beautiful, Picturesque place But ……. I Wouldn’t Rush to go Out of My way to Visit Clovelly Again which is a Shame since previously it was a Wonderful Unique Village before it was made so Commercialised !!

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