Westward Ho! is a quaintly-named sea-side town in Torridge, Devon, England, near Bideford. Beware however, that's where the quaintness ends. Westward Ho! is in some need of investment, although it retains a good variety of quality local businesses, and its beach is highly regarded and noted for the cleanliness of its water.
Westward Ho!'s unusual name comes from the title of a book by Charles Kingsley, Westward Ho! - the exclamation mark is an intentional part of the town's name, and the only such place name in the United Kingdom.
This quaint holiday village is benefiting now from inward investment with a large part of the village being regenerated with restaurants, hotels and luxury apartments being built. The number of tourists to the area is increasing, the lure being the fabulous beach and surfing.
The town can be found to the north of the A39 road, providing easy access from the towns of Barnstaple, Bideford and Bude. It lies at the south end of Northam Burrows, and faces westward into Bideford Bay, opposite Saunton Sands and Braunton Burrows.
The town is served by local buses linking it to the local population centres, including Barnstaple and Bideford, as well as some long-distance National Express services.
- 1 Northam Burrows Country Park (The Burrow Centre), Sandymere Rd, Northam, Bidford, ☎ . An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Burrows forms an integral part of the newly designated United Nations Biosphere Reserve.
Westward Ho! is well known for its surfing seas and the long expanse of clean sand backed by a pebble ridge. Other attractions of the town include the arcades, go kart track and the grasslands behind the pebble ridge. There are public footpaths leading into the hilly countryside to one side of the village, which have great views but are challenging to walk along. A steep hill near the village provides views over a large distance, but is very challenging to walk up. There is a Surf Centre for surfing lessons by the beach, as a gently sloping beach, it is ideal for families and groups to learn to surf.
- The Waterfront Inn, EX39 1LH.
There are holiday cottages and caravans located close to the beach and with amazing sea views.
You can go on long walks in the countryside from here- the large hills begin 1-1½ miles out of the village- but this is a very challenging walk. Remember to plan when to come back to avoid becoming stranded in the dark, be very careful around cliff edges, many of which are crumbling in the area, and to take water and salty food with you on longer walks. Hiking boots are helpful.