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Westward Ho!

Home > Devon > Family | Escape the City | Day Trips | Cafes | Beaches
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We travel full-time as a family and I've just started blogging and freelance writing with no set place to call home, I'm now sharing my family's adventures online. Please visit my blog at
Published July 24th 2019
Don't get caught with the fast moving tide
With a scenic view out westward to the Bideford Bay, it is a relaxing place to spend a day.

The unusual name of the town came about as an early form of tourism marketing back in 1855. The name came from a book by the writer Charles Kingsley wrote a novel called Westward Ho!

The book was initially set in the nearby town of Bideford, and when it became a bestseller, it provided a means of free marketing for the area. Entrepreneurs then decided to take advantage of the popularity of the name and created a tourist town, building a hotel and holiday lodges, with the area slowly expanding over the years that followed. Its the only town in the UK that contains an exclamation mark in its name.

Today it has continued to be a popular beach spot and an excellent place to play on the beach, go for a swim or even learn to surf.

The beach is long and has easy access though you have to walk over a large pebble ridge to get to it depending on the tide. On the sunny day, we visited it was packed with people; a lot of them disappeared fairly quickly when the tide started to come in with the beach vanishing quite fast.

Even when the tide comes in, there are still many different things to see and do with shops, cafes, restaurants, a games arcade and minigolf. You can also take a walk along the scenic South West Coast Path that runs through the town.

It is home to the oldest Golf course in England, The Royal North Devon Gold Club, which is a short walk from the beach along Golf Links Road. If you don't know how to surf and want to have a go, there are a couple of surf schools in the town: The North Devon Surf School and the Surf and Swim School.

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View near free car park

Getting to Westward Ho

The town lies just off the A39, making it easy to get to without having to drive through lots of lanes. Parking for free near the beach can be hard as there are a limited number of spaces that don't cost and people tend to park everywhere and anywhere they can, so the roads get packed with cars on each side making it a slow process to drive along as usually only one car can go through at a time.

We managed to find free parking up at the top of a hill overlooking the bay in Bone Hill car park, we then had to walk about 15-minutes to get to the beach.

To park closer to the beach you can go on a private road that runs along behind it, but you have to pay to use it. There is a large variety of accommodation options in the area from camping to hotels, making it easy to find something to suit.

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Tide rising
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Why? Go Surfing, play on the beach, ice cream in the sun
When: Beach access all year
Where: Nr Bideford, Westward Ho, Bideford, Devon, EX39 1HN
Cost: Free
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