Ilfracombe Sea Safari cruises combine fun, coastal views and adrenaline rushes for exciting tours of Ilframobe Harbour and neighbouring sights along the North Devon coastline. We enjoyed a ride on the 1-hour Sea Safari trip back in May and had a total blast.
A Special Sea Safari
North Devon is known for its outstanding coastline, natural beauty and beautiful beaches. Ilfracombe Sea Safari offers an exhilarating way to explore it and various safari tours, including wildlife trips to see seals and dolphins. From the comfort of the safe and secure Humber RIB boat guests can enjoy a unique and personal trip. The boats seat just 12 people and so you are guaranteed a nice intimate experience where you can interact with the skippers and not be amongst hoards of people cramped on a sightseeing boat – bonus!
We did the 1-hour sea safari cruise which follows one of two routes depending on the tides. You will either head West to see Bull Point Lighthouse or East to the Smugglers Caves. On the day we visited, on one of the morning trips, we cruised East and enjoyed various beachside stops including Combe Martin and Broadsands Beach, on our way to see the Smugglers Caves.
The views of IlfracombeHarbour and the coastline were super gorgeous and the Humber boat meant we could get close to the shorelines and other boats docked. The engine is surprisingly quiet and it was a really smooth ride – even when the captain cranked up the speed and we glided through the waves.
All of the staff we encountered were super friendly and the skippers on the boat were informative and able to answer questions passengers posed about the area they were seeing and the stories being told. I really enjoyed the mix of the fun boat ride and the views, but also hearing about the places were pulling up at and some history of North Devon. You get some great views of the controversial Damien Hurst statue ‘Verity’ when you return to the harbour too!
At the end of the trip, the captain treated us to some fast spins and tricks, allowing us to get some speed and bounce over the waves. This was super fun, got the adrenaline surging and had us all ‘whooping’ and giggling till the end. This was a fab way to end the trip- nothing like feeling the wind in your hair and the light sea spray on your face.
Other Sea Safaris on Offer
For an opportunity to see dolphins, seals and plenty of birdlife, the company offers dolphin safari trips which run between May and September. Ilfracombe Sea Safari also offer a 2-hour seal and lighthouse safari which takes visitors to the BullPoint LIghthouse, via Tunnels Beaches and other beauty spots looking for seals! We had such a good trip on our 1-hour safari that I wished we had booked this 2-hour trip! Guess there is always next time!
If you’re in North Devon for a longer stay and fancy a longer sea safari trip then be sure to check out the Lundy Experience cruise around the beautiful and special Lundy Island. This is a 4-hour boat trip that heads 20 miles west of Ilfracombe to Lundy Island and offers visitors the chance to see lots of wildlife and stunning views of the Lundy island cliffs.
You can book the sea safari trips online or head to their kiosk on the harbour pier to book tickets. Be aware they are very popular in the summer months and sell out quickly! Luckily there are various trips and times throughout the day and even a sunset safari sailing which I can imagine would be lush on a cool summers evening. There’s trips along the Exmoor coast and Lynmouth too.
There’s plenty of parking available in Ilframobe with a number of car parks, one being right on the pier bit of the harbour close to where the boat leaves. There’s plenty of places to eat and drink nearby, either before or after your trip, and public toilets too. It’s worth knowing that there are steps to get down to board the boats and you have to step onto the side of the boat and down to climb on. This wasn’t a problem for us but it would be worth contacting the company if you need more assistance to see if they can help accommodate you.
In terms of safety, individual life jackets are provided to each passenger and these were comfortable, modern and easy to use. They weren’t bulky and restrictive which is always a plus. Currently, whilst we are in the covid pandemic, the lifejackets and boat are disinfected between trips and masks are required.
The 1-hour sea safari we went on cost us £24.50 per person and was well worth the money. Tickets for children are slightly cheaper at £16. A two-hour seal safari trip costs £36.50 for adults and the dolphin safari prices start at £29.50 for children. Whilst these prices are slightly higher than neighbouring competitors offering harbour cruises, the offer from Ilfracombe Sea Safari in my eyes is far superior due to the type of vessel and smaller numbers. You can also get closer to wildlife and the shore due to it being a smaller boat which appeals too.
I had worried about feeling seasick whilst on board but I was totally fine and having too much fun to feel ill! The Humber boats used to feel really safe and stable and are great for people prone to seasickness due to their stability. There’s loads of information on the trips you can book and FAQs on the Ilframcobe Sea Safari website so do check it out if you’re interested in a boat safari during your visit to Devon – you won’t be disappointed! Don’t just take my word for it though – check out the companies hoards of excellent Tripadvisor reviews!
We loved our sea safari trip and would give it 10 out of 10! It combined fun, interesting local information, beautiful sights, friendly staff and good covid regulations for a really great experience! I had been nervous about the trip as I often worry about feeling seasick but I needn’t have worried at all. If anything I wish the tricks and turns section at the end of the trip has lasted for longer! Whilst costing us £50 for both of us, it wasn’t cheap, but in our eyes was worth the money and we would happily try one of the longer trips next time we visit. Ilfracombe Sea Safari – we will be back!!