386km (240 miles) SW of London; 18km (11 miles) SW of Bideford
This is the most charming of all Devon villages and one of the main attractions of the West Country. Starting at a great height, the village cascades down the mountainside. Its narrow, cobblestone High Street makes driving impossible. You park your car at the top and make the trip on foot; supplies are carried down by donkeys. Every step of the way provides views of tiny cottages, with their terraces of flowers lining the main street. The village fleet is sheltered at the stone quay at the bottom.
The major sight of Clovelly is Clovelly itself. Victorian author Charles Kingsley once said, "It is as if the place had stood still while all the world had been rushing and rumbling past it." The price of entry to the village includes a guided tour of a fisherman's cottage as it would have been at the end of the 1800s. For the same price, you can also visit the Kingsley Exhibition. Author of Westward Ho!, Kingsley lived in Clovelly while his father was curate at the church. This exhibition traces the story of his life. He was also a social reformer, which led him to write his enduring children's classic, The Water Babies.
Right down below the Kingsley Exhibition -- and our shopping note for the town -- is a craft gallery where you have a chance to see and buy a wide variety of works by local artists and craftspeople. Once you've reached the end, you can sit and relax on the quay, taking in the views and absorbing Clovelly's unique atmosphere from this tiny, beautifully restored 14th-century quay.
Once you've worked your way to the bottom, how do you get back up? You can climb back up the steep cobbled streets to the top and the parking lot. Or you can go to the rear of the Red Lion Inn and line up for a Land Rover. In summer, the line is often long.
Insider's tip: To avoid the tourist crowd, stay out of Clovelly from around 11am until teatime. When the midday congestion is at its height, visit nearby villages such as Bucks Mills (5km/3 miles to the east) and Hartland Quay (6.5km/4 miles to the west).