Category Archives: Ilfracombe

Local chef looks to launch second restaurant, and needs your help


Local chef Thomas Carr, along with his brother Kevin Carr and friend, Richard Evans have launched a crowd funding project to bring a new restaurant to Ilfracombe High street.

Thomas opened the Olive Room in 2014 and quickly, yet quietly built up a great reputation for great quality food. In 2015 Michelin judges started to take notice and in 2016 Thomas gained his, and Ilfracombe’s first Michelin star.

In 2017 Thomas retained the Michelin star and also added three AA rosettes to his collection of accolades. Now – in 2018, Thomas and the team hope to launch a new project, taking over the Lamb Hotel building on Ilfracombe high street to open a new ‘Seafood and Grill’ restaurant.

Thomas said ‘’I pass the building a lot and knew it had been empty for some time. I love the Olive Room and we’re still making improvements there, but we’re limited to 16 covers. Ilfracombe has a wonderful selection of great, small restaurants but lacks a bigger casual dining venue where you can meet with friends for a quick bite and drink, or have an affordable great quality 3 course meal for less than £30’’ he continued ‘’That’s what we want to achieve with the Seafood and Grill’’

Thomas’ reputation for great food is very well known, but this project sees him team up with his brother, Kevin Carr. Kevin also has a wonderful achievement to his name – he’s a World Record holder for the fastest time running around the world! Richard Evans also joins the Carr brothers, who co-founded North Devon marketing agency BlueFrog Media.

It’s not just about business though, Tom is keen for the new restaurant to help in Ilfracombe’s thriving community. ‘’Ilfracombe has had its moments in the past, and still struggles to shift a negative reputation in some people’s eyes – but as a resident, business owner and father I can honestly say it’s one of the best places in North Devon. It’s got a real community spirit like nothing I’ve ever known. We want to give as much back as we can, so we’ll be looking for two local causes to support from the very outset – and offering anything we can to help. You only have to look at the Christmas Lights switch on this year to see what a great spirit this town has’’ said Tom.

To make it happen – the team have launched a project on popular crowdfunding website ‘Kickstarter’. ‘’Every business needs money to begin with, and there are a number of ways to get that. We wanted to find the most effective way, as we have some great ideas for the business and also want to keep the costs to the customers as low as possible. We thought Ilfracombe, and North Devon, would be the ideal place to crowdfund as there is such a great crowd to fund from!’’ said Tom.

There are some fantastic rewards for anyone wanting to back the project. From handmade truffles to tasting menu dinners and lunches at the Michelin starred Olive Room. There are even dine and stay offers for anyone wanting to visit North Devon – and for those with a real passion for fine dining – starting at just £1000 you can have Thomas come and cook in your own home, or even do the catering for your wedding!

To read more about the project, or to bag yourself a meal or any of the other rewards for backers – visit the website


Ilfracombe Museum

Ilfracombe museum was founded in 1932 by professional museum collector Mervyn G Palmer, who spent many years in South America studying and collecting the wildlife and archaeology there. When he retired to Ilfracombe he discovered that the town lacked a museum, and so he formed a committee, and Ilfracombe museum was opened to the public on the 1st August 1932.

Thousands turned up that day and many of them brought objects to donate to the growing museum collection. Eighty-four years later and Ilfracombe museum is still amazing visitors with its unique and eclectic collections. It is a museum that reflects the Victorian passion for collecting, and also Ilfracombe’s importance in the history of British sea-side resorts. There are eight rooms filled with treasures including drawers of butterflies and insects from Britain and South America and artefacts from India, Africa and the ancient world. Two rooms are dedicated to local maritime history and Lundy island. Ilfracombe museum is unique and family-friendly. Children can explore the insect, bat and spider specimens, have a go at a dinosaur quiz, send Morse code messages, or have a go at brass rubbing.

Visitors with disabilities will find the museum is accessible to wheelchairs (except for one small room). For researchers there are extensive photographic and family history resources for Ilfracombe, including original town newspapers The museum is a perfect all-weather attraction and can be found next to the Landmark theatre on Ilfracombe sea-front. It is an independently funded charity. Children under 16 FREE, £3 for adults, £2.50 concessions. Annual ticket £5.00. Open everyday April – Oct 10am – 5pm.

The Charms of the North Devon Coast – 1921


Harold tells of the charm and beauty of Lynton and Lynmouth, Clovelly, Ilfracombe, Bideford and Westward Ho a region which has been called “The Switzerland of England,” and is at present attracting large numbers of visitors. Lynton and Lynmouth and that section of the north coast of Devon have frequently been called the “Switzerland of England.” The Exmoor hills, the steep cliffs, the massive and jagged rocks, hills and vales, streams and brooklets, and the villages and resorts nestling amid crags and verdure- clothed slopes, bespeak the charms of the Alpine land across the Channel. Lynton is perched upon the rocks some hundreds of feet above the sea. You can reach it by means of a remarkable cliff railway from Lynmouth, or climb the zigzag path that winds its way up slopes and crags, passing a picturesque house here and there, till it gains a shelf about large enough for it to expand into a straggling street like an Alpine village. Lynmouth, on the other hand, nestles in a valley at its feet. If it is not as deep as most Swiss valleys are, the effect is similar. In one respect Lynmouth and this applies to other North Devonshire resorts has an advantage over most Swiss villages, for there is a much brighter glow of colour over everything. The red sandstone crops out everywhere along the great stretches of cliff on either side, the newly turned soil is deep red instead of brown and black, the crimson heath outvies the paler ling on the moors, the bracken begins to assume in early June the glorious hues associated with the late autumn in our northern regions, the stone walls and banks are thickly draped from top to bottom with that most beautiful of all flowering trailers, the ivy-leaf toad-flox, rarely found even in Derbyshire, and from walls and rocks and garden hedges alike spring giant clusters of red, pink and white valerian. The evening prim rose is a comparative rarity in northern gardens in Devonshire its large flowers give a golden glow to the hedges and sweet scent to many of the field paths. The white and pink foxgloves flourish equally with the common red, and there are places where even Canterbury bells and sweet-williams rear their flowers in wild luxuriance over the waving grasses.

From Lynton the great moorland rolls away westward towards Ilfracombe; it is for the most part now furrowed by the plough, fenced by hedge or bank, and forest no longer, though here and there tracts still remain open upon the uplands. R. D. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone has made this part of North Devon famous no one who has read that enchanting romance should fail to visit Bredon, within walking distance of Lynton, where the remains of the houses of the Doones may still be seen. Ilfracombe, the best known of the North Devon resorts, has been aggrandised and modernised. It is built on the slopes of the hills over looking the water, to which many of the shorter streets descend very steeply. The coast line is very rocky, there being no stretches of sandy beach beneath the cliffs. Yet Ilfracombe can boast of what is described as the largest covered swimming-bath in England, as well as a great rock-guarded pool for ladies, access to which is gained from the promenade gardens by tunnels. In one of the caves hard by, according to tradition, Sir William Tracy, one of the murderers of Archbishop Becket, concealed himself for a fortnight, before he made his escape from England.

A mile due west from here is Morthoe Point, a crawling, rocky promontory from which there is a fine view. Journeying along the rock-bound coast we come to the little white town of Bideford, made famous by Kingsley. On the very first page of Westward Ho he gives us a charming picture of the town, standing at the mouth of a river, enclosed with hills and knolls beneath a soft Italian sky, fanned day and night by the fresh ocean breeze, which forbids alike the keen winter frosts and the fierce thunder heats of the Midland.” It is an interesting circumstance that these words were actually written in Bideford, and the Royal Hotel contains a hand some apartment that is pointed out as Kingsley’s room.

Three miles from Bideford is the popular resort of Westward Ho, which, of course, takes its name from Kingsley’s famous work. Unlike the other North Devon coast towns it has a fine stretch of smooth sand, two miles in length, and of considerable width at low tide. The United Service College, where Rudyard Kipling was educated, and which he celebrates in Stalky Co.” is situated here. The coast in both directions comprises some of the very finest scenery in North Devon.

Thirteen miles away is Clovelly, the most beautiful village in all Britain.” Hung, as it were, in a narrow and umbrageous combe, it consists of one street running down to the sea. The cliff is so steep that the road is made like a staircase, paved with round stones or cobbles.” With their white walls, unequal levels, and hetero generous shapes, the houses are decidedly quaint. The picturesque balconies, gables, bay windows, relieved here and there by climbing fuchsias and wisteria make up one of the strangest and prettiest pictures imaginable.