For seekers of solitude and escapism, Woolacombe Bay is Devon at its most idyllically peaceful. However, a lesser known attraction is the surprisingly vibrant nightlife and music scene of Woolacombe and the surrounding area. Venture a little further and there are also some great annual festivals and events too.
The beauty of staying at Woolacombe Bay Hotel is that you are within an easy reach of several great pubs and venues, but not at the cost of a peaceful night’s sleep. Should you overdo things a little, we also serve a superb full English breakfast too. So where is the best place to head for a sociable evening out or a live gig? Here are a handful of top venues and festivals well worth a look:
The Red Barn, Woolacombe
Woolacombe hosts some great Devon gigs at this lively pub, where you might find anything from folk or rock bands, to the sounds of soul, jazz or ska. Heck, that’s not even the half of it. Like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know quite what you might get, but it is rarely dull and the venue has proudly hosted gigs and music events in North Devon for fifty years now. Friday nights are the regular music slot here. Forthcoming 2016 highlights are eclectic to put it mildly, with everything from rock'n'roll to folk, soul and reggae. See the Red Barn site for full listings: www.redbarnwoolacombe.co.uk
Bar Electric, Woolacombe
The most sociable of Woolacombe bars, this venue has a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and regular open mic nights (most Wednesdays). The décor is funky on the inside, but on a warm evening it’s also a fine spot to sit outside and soak up big views and lapping waves with a Mojito or a glass of cider. It’s also a spot where you can stay out late, with live gigs in the summer. See their Facebook page for current news.
The Kings Arms, Georgeham
Another stalwart of a venue for North Devon gigs, The Kings Arms hosts regular bands, open mic nights and DJs. Just a short hop down the coast (less than three miles from Woolacombe Bay), Friday night is your best bet for live entertainment. Rock, folk and acoustic singer songwriters all feature regularly on the menu. In short, The King’s Arms is as passionate about music as they are about great ale and food that far exceeds the typical reheated pie with token salad leaf and portion of chips the size of the Exmoor. Keep an eye on their site and Facebook page for music listings.
The Chill Bar, Ilfracombe
A little further down the coast (6 miles from Woolacombe), the Chill Bar is a North Devon bar, nightspot and live music venue rolled into one. Regular bands and open mic nights take place throughout the year, with both local and travelling acts from the UK and Europe with everything from acoustic style jams to classic rock. Slightly alarmingly, the venue also serves 18 varieties of rum, although we wouldn’t recommend sampling them all in one visit. It’s well worth checking out their Facebook page for current gig listings and events.
The Gold Coast Oceanfest
There are various other events and live peformances each year in North Devon. Perhaps the biggest is the Gold Coast Oceanfest at nearby Croyde. Taking place every summer in June, it features a whole weekend of live acts, surfing and adrenaline sports, with bands, artists and deomnstrations galore. Click here for more information.