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Bideford is a town in North Devon on the River Torridge. For visitors, the main features of Bideford are its quaint back streets full of shops, its pannier market, and many festivals & events throughout the year such as the Bideford Bike Show, Soapbox Derby, Rowing Regatta, Water Festival & Rainbo Fun Run.


Bideford is a historic market and port town and civil parish located in North Devon, England. Situated on the banks of the River Torridge, the town has a population of around 18,000 people (2021).

The town has a rich history, dating back to the 8th century, and has been an important centre for trade and commerce throughout its existence. Today Bideford's economy is centred on its retail, tourism and service sectors, with a mix of independent shops and national chains located throughout the town.

Bideford has had many names throughout history, including "Bedeford", "Byddyfrod", "Bedyford", "Bydeford", "Bytheford" and "Biddeford". The name comes from the fact that there used to be a ford at Bideford where the River Torridge flows into the sea. The name "Bideford" means "by the ford" in English.

Bideford has no beach of its own, however, there are many beaches nearby such as Instow Beach, Westward Ho!, Grey Sands, Sauton Sands, Croyde, Woolacombe & Combesgate beaches. Nearly all of these beaches are also dog-friendly (Croyde is not during the summer).

Visitor information[edit]

Get in[edit]

Bideford has fantastic links to the whole of North Devon and beyond thanks to the A39 aka the "Atlantic Highway" and the Torridge Bridge. The easiest access point by car is via the A386 (speed camera on the hill).

There are many places to park, including the Riverbank Long Stay carpark at the North end of the quay by Victoria Park, on the main quay, lots of on-street parking and two carparks at the South end in Bridge Street Car Park and Barnstaple St Parking.

The nearest train station is Barnstaple, bus numbers 21, 21A & 315 run to Bideford.

Get around[edit]

Bideford being a small town is easy to navigate on foot. You can easily walk from one end of the town to the other in 20 minutes.

The main attractions for tourists are focused on the quay by the river and the busy streets behind.


1 Bideford Railway Heritage Centre, 4 Station Hill, Bideford EX39 4BB, +44 7854 590 503. Sa Su 10AM-3PM from Easter until October half-term. Bideford railway station (Q4904099) on Wikidata Bideford railway station on Wikipedia

2 Chudleigh Fort, Chudleigh Ave, EX39 4AT. Ruins of a fort used during the English Civil War. Chudleigh Fort (Q26503725) on Wikidata Chudleigh Fort on Wikipedia

3 Rosemoor Garden, Great Torrington EX38 8PH (8.2 mi (13.2 km) south on the A386), +44 1805 624067. Daily 10AM-6PM. RHS Garden Rosemoor is a public garden and botanical garden located near Great Torrington in North Devon, England. The garden was first opened to the public in 1990 and covers an area of 65 acres. It is owned and operated by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). Assistance dogs only. Adult £13.85, child £6.95, family £33.30, RHS free.


1 The Big Sheep, Abbotsham, EX39 5AP (off the A39 near Bideford), +44 1237 472366, . Amusement park. The Big Sheep (Q18389254) on Wikidata The Big Sheep on Wikipedia

2 Lundy Island. Take the MS Oldenburg ferry and visit the island of Lundy to see the puffins. Lundy (Q324812) on Wikidata Lundy on Wikipedia


1 Bideford Pannier Market (Pannier Market), Market Pl, Bideford EX39 2DR, +44 7444 266487, . M-Sa 10AM-3PM (closed Su). Bideford Pannier Market is a historic indoor market offering a diverse range of local produce, crafts, and goods. Free.


1 Boathouse, Marine Parade, Instow EX39 4JJ (3.5 mi (5.6 km) north on the B3233), +44 1271 861292. M-Sa 10AM-11PM, Su 11AM-10PM. Great reviews for this beach restaurant overlooking the estuary.


1 The Blacksmiths Arms, 23 Torrington St, Bideford EX39 4DP. Yellow ochre pub with multilayer patio leading to the railway line Blacksmiths Arms Public House (Q26505075) on Wikidata

2 Kings Arms, 7 The Quay, EX39 2HW. Kings Arms Public House Including Barn At Rear (Q26504977) on Wikidata

3 The Rose Salterne, 9-10 Bridgeland St, EX39 2PZ, +44 1237 426 110. JD Wetherspoons The Rose Salterne (JD Wetherspoon) (Q80476844) on Wikidata

4 The White Hart, Queen St, EX39 2JG, +44 1237 473 203. 11AM-10:30PM. White Hart Public House (Q26496699) on Wikidata


1 Orchard Hill Hotel, Orchard Hill, EX39 2QY, +44 1237 472872.

2 The Royal Hotel (Royal Bideford), Barnstaple St, Bideford EX39 4AE, +44 1237 472005. The Royal Hotel in Bideford is a hotel that offers elegant accommodations, fine dining, and stunning views of the River Torridge. The Royal Hotel (Q17527488) on Wikidata


As of Sept 2023, Bideford and its approach roads have 4G from O2, Three and Vodafone, and 5G from EE.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Bideford
BudeClovelly  SW  NE  BarnstapleLynton

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