Barnstaple Clock Tower

Barnstaple Visitors Guide


Barnstaple is the ideal base for exploring North Devon, perfectly situated for beaches, tourist attractions, pedestrianised shopping, famous pannier market and more....

Barnstaple - Bar means mouth of a river - Barnstaple is situated on the banks of the river Taw which is crossed by a 13th century bridge,  Staple means the site of a market. Since the Saxon times Barnstaple has been the major market town for North Devon and to this day the market is still very popular - it was voted as one of the top 10 Pannier Markets in the country according to The Independent newspaper. The local market term "pannier" refers to past times when all market produce was carried in baskets known as panniers. 

Local fresh produce is available from the Pannier market in the Guildhall on Tuesdays and Fridays, there is also a cattle market on Fridays. During the rest of the week the Guildhall is home to various markets includings crafts, clothes, gifts and many other interesting stalls.

The famous Butchers Row built in 1855 is a lovely building with wrought iron supports to a useful overhanging roof which provides shade from the sun or shelter from the rain! Consisting of 10 shops, two of which still remain as butchers and the others still selling locally produced goods such as flowers, fish, delicatessen items, clotted cream, the local delicacy of laver made from seaweed and fresh vegetables, is situated next to the Guildhall which houses the Pannier markets.

Green Lanes is a large modern shopping precinct housing many well known national stores, has a multi storey car park adjoining it and also adjoins the pedestrianised High Street. The High Street is home to a variety of shops from smaller local retailers to the larger chain store. Leading off the High Street are several smaller streets which provide many interesting shops,cafes and places to eat. 

Barnstaple has a Leisure Centre - The North Devon Leisure Centre which has a swimming pool, sports hall plus much more and this can be found over the old bridge. Opposite the Leisure Centre you will find Rock Park which has tennis courts, football, cricket pitches and a play area. On the outskirts of town there is ten pin bowling on the road towards Braunton.

The Queens Theatre provides all year round entertainment with a programme to suit all ages, whilst The Central Cinema in Boutport Street which has undergone a major refurbishment program offers the latest film releases.

Some of the most popular beaches can be found at Woolacombe, Croyde and Saunton.

There are many places to eat in Barnstaple, from Chinese, home cooked pub food, cafes and bistro's with seating outside, all tastes and budgets catered for.

Barnstaple is home to the North Devon Festival - quoted as being "one of top 5 UK events" by The Times in June 2008. The festival runs for 30 days in June with over 200 events including world class performers, theatre, fringe, art, literature, sport, music, dance, fayres and nature all in the best setting a Festival could offer. Full programme of events is available from March - use the link above to sign up for regular enews and bulletins.


North Devon District Hospital
Raleigh Park
EX31 4JB

Telephone: 01271 322577

Nearest Airport

Exeter International Airport

Telephone: 01392 367433 or 0871 2820990

Train Station

Barnstaple Station
Station Road
EX31 2AU

Telephone: 08457 000125

Tourist Information Centre

Tourist Information Centre
The Square
EX32 8LN

Telephone: 01271 375000

Market Days

Monday - Craft - 10am - 4pm
Tuesday - Pannier - 8am - 4pm
Wednesday - Antique & Collectors 8am - 4pm
Thursday - Craft - 10am - 4pm
Friday - Pannier - 8am - 4pm
Saturday - Pannier - 8am - 4pm

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015