Ever since visiting the Devonshire coastal village for our SS20 collection photoshoot, we’ve fallen absolutely head over heels in love with Clovelly. Steeped in history and a very steep incline, this miniature haven is like no other seaside town we’ve visited before (and we’ve been to a lot!). The fact that no vehicles have been permitted in Clovelly since the 1920’s has locked the village in a sort of time warp, where wooden sledges are used to cart cargo up and down the 400ft cliff that stretches down to the sea, which still acts as a bustling fishing harbour. The donkeys that the sledges have replaced clip-clop along the cobbled streets for visitors to meet, and flower-covered cottages greet you at every turn.
If the photos from our latest collection have got you dreaming of packing your bags and heading for the coast (and we don’t blame you one bit), we’ve penned down some tips and insider insights into enjoying some time out in Clovelly.
There are two main hotels in Clovelly: The Red Lion Hotel and the New Inn Hotel. For our photoshoot, we stayed in the Red Lion, which stands right at the seafront on the village’s iconic 14th Century quay. It once was a cider and beer house for the local fisherman to unwind, and is packed with nautical history. Each morning we were awoken by the peaceful sounds of waves lapping against the shore, and the little touches of Clovelly charm made our stay all that more memorable.
The New Inn Hotel is also a lovely option, set in the heart of the village, and is best for short breaks and day visits. It has a gorgeous private balcony with views of the cobbled streets — perfect for those who love a bit of people watching!
The Red Lion Hotel also has a wonderful traditional pub, restaurant and bar that serves meals throughout the day — this is where we chose to eat every evening. Fish arrives at the restaurant from the harbour just a few feet away every day, and Clovelly apple juice is served with breakfast every morning. You can’t get much fresher than that!
If you’re looking for the best Devon scones, Bea’s cafe’s at the New Inn Hotel is a must. Cream first, of course! Most options for eating you’ll find at Clovelly’s two hotels, as each has their own restaurant and bar. The Cottage Tea Rooms is also a great spot for a quick bite to eat, and there are picnic tables outside with a view of the harbour – perfect for little lunches with the little ones.
If you’re looking for a place to stock up on essentials, the nearest supermarket is in Bideford, just a 20-minute drive away from Clovelly, where you’ll also find some home comforts and well-known shops.
If you’re visiting Clovelly, one thing you absolutely cannot miss is the 14 donkeys that reside at the very top of the famous cobbled hill — and you literally can’t miss them, as they make their way down to the harbour every day. These donkeys are a big part of the village’s history, as they were once used to cart cargo up and down the steep hill. Without them, the village would never have become a successful fishing port. The donkeys are now retired, having been replaced with wooden sledges, and live a much more relaxed life at the Clovelly Donkey Stables. A few curious characters even made it into our photoshoot!
Also at the top of the hill is the Clovelly Soap Company’s Soap School, where you can learn to create your own beautifully natural soaps! It’s a family-run business that have been hand-making soaps for over ten years, and it’s a lovely place to unwind and learn a new skill.
If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, each of us went for a swim in the harbour — the braver crew members even jumped off the end of the wall into the sea! While out there we had the pleasure of spotting some dolphins in all their natural beauty, so it’s worth taking a dip just for the chance to see these wonderful creatures.
If you have more time on your hands, you could also make the short boat journey from Clovelly to Lundy, a neighbouring island where, if you are lucky, you will meet the puffins!
If you love the coast as much as we do, you’ll love our new collection inspired by the great British seaside. Nautical details and fun twists on classic designs make this the perfect collection for a visit to Clovelly, whether you’re enjoying tea and scones in a cosy cafe, trekking up the many cobbled steps up the hill or taking a donkey ride down to the harbour!