Imperial Hotel

Wilder Road
EX34 9AL

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 01271 862536
Fax: 01271 862571

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Hotel: 70%

Ilfracombe Aerial View
Ilfracombe Sea View
Ilfracombe Harbour
Ilfracombe Town View
Ilfracombe Dusk

Imperial Hotel,

  • Your Hotel
  • Hotel Facilities
  • Bedrooms
  • Your Resort
  • Hotel History
  • Superbly situated in one of the best positions in Ilfracombe on the level overlooking the Landmark Theatre and sea
  • Situated near to the shops and a short walk from the harbour
  • Attractive cosy bar
  • Entertainment area with dance floor and entertainment most evenings
  • Extensive lounge areas including television lounge and sun lounge
  • Free Wi Fi in public areas
  • All 104 bedrooms have tea/coffee making facilities, internal telephones, hair dryer and TV with radio channels
  • All bedrooms have bath or shower and WC
  • Lift serves most rooms (a few additional stairs to rooms in the rear wing)
  • Central heating throughout
  • Entire hotel, including all bedrooms, is a no smoking area

    Hotel Facilities

  • Entertainment suite on the ground floor complete with bar, dance floor and entertainment five evenings per week
  • TV lounge and sun lounge on the ground floor
  • Large quiet lounge on the first floor
  • There are four steps to the front of the hotel and although a ramp is available on request the gradient is steep and we advise that the ramp should not be used with anybody in the wheelchair
  • Level access from Reception to TV lounge, bar and entertainment area
  • Restaurant and quiet lounge are on the first floor
  • Lift serves all floors and is large enough for a wheelchair
  • Check in from 16:00. Check out by 11:00. Additional charges apply where earlier check in or late check out are required


  • Our attractive restaurant on the first floor has a bar and can seat 200 people
  • Breakfast: We provide a waiter served breakfast from 08:00 to 09:30 with last orders at 09:00
  • Dinner: We provide a waiter served table d'hote dinner from 18:30 to 20:00* with last orders at 19:15. *Please note that dinner times may vary depending on the season.
  • Special Diets: A selection of vegetarian options is available on the dinner menu. For a more efficient service we recommend these are requested in advance of the meal. Special diets can also be catered for on request; we ask that you contact us at least seven days prior to arrival and provide a diet sheet.
  • To see our current menu, please follow this link.
  • 104 bedrooms on 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors (there are no ground floor rooms)
  • 40 double rooms, 41 twin rooms, 16 single rooms, 1 room with three single beds and 6 rooms with a double and a single bed
  • Lift serves all floors but rooms at the rear of the building are only accessible via up to 6 stairs from the lift level. All front rooms are at the same level as the lift
  • We have 14 rooms with excellent sea views where you can sit by the window and enjoy the view
  • All rooms have central heating but we do not have any rooms with air conditioning
  • All rooms have tea/coffee making facilities, hair dryer and Freeview TV with radio channels
  • All rooms have a telephone for communication with other rooms and hotel services and receiving incoming calls (but we do not have an outbound direct dial service)
  • All bathrooms are equipped with a bath or shower and WC. Most rooms have a shower rather than a bath; if you have a strong preference for one or the other, please tell us when you make your booking because we are often fully booked and it can be difficult to change rooms on arrival
  • Cots can be provided on request in any room type except single rooms
  • Ironing facilities are available from reception
  • Smoking is prohibited in all of our bedrooms
  • We do not provide room service in normal circumstances

Ilfracombe is the premier holiday resort in North Devon. It enjoys a setting of rare beauty amongst the breath taking scenery of Exmoor and the North Devon coastline and boasts a range of activities, attractions and events to suit all age groups.

The town nestles in the hills and cliffs of Capstone and Hillsborough which overlook the recently re-developed harbour. There are splendid walks along the Coastal Path including the famous Torrs walks, or swimming at the Tunnel beaches, which were first developed in the Victorian period. The Landmark Theatre, directly opposite the Imperial Hotel, provides high quality comedy, drama and music in its state-of-the-art auditorium.

There are boat trips with the opportunity to observe seals and falcons at close quarters. Boat trips also run to the Isle of Lundy, an island shrouded in myth and mystery.

Ilfracombe hosts a number of competitions and festivals, such as the Ilfracombe Carnival Procession and Victorian Week. The whole of North Devon is characterised by varying landscapes, from a coastline of spectacular cliffs and sandy coves to an expanse of wild moorland, fertile river valleys and lush rolling hills.

National Trust properties and stately homes such as those of Marwood Hill and Rosemoor, with grounds and delightful gardens are dotted across the area. There are numerous possible excursions ranging from a fun day out at the Big Sheep with its duck trials and sheep racing, to a trip to Lynton and Lynmouth - the ‘Little Switzerland’ of England - with their unique connecting water-operated cliff railway.

Town Centre

Ilfracombe's town centre is a treat for shoppers and fans of Victorian architecture and history. The town's selection of independent shops, greengrocers, butchers and bakers, some handed down through generations, complement well-known High Street names, whilst around the harbour and along the seafront there is a range of souvenir and traditional seaside shops.

Beach and Gardens

In between the intriguing caves and towering cliffs, the resort provides access to award-winning, clean and extensive beaches such as Woolacombe and Croyde, as well as the shingle/pebble beach of Wildersmouth. Inland, Ilfracombe is noted for its delightful gardens, Runnymede and Jubilee, which surround its bustling harbour.

Activities and Attractions

Tourist Information
Tel:01271 863001

Landmark Theatre
Tel:01271 324242
This state-of-the-art theatre provides high quality entertainment throughout the year, often featuring well-known acts and shows.

Tunnels Beaches
The hand-carved tunnels provide unique access to a beautiful area of coastline which is inaccessible by any other means. There is a wealth of information regarding the history of the tunnels throughout the site.

Chambercombe Manor
Tel:01271 862624
The 11th century manor house was featured in the TV series 'Most Haunted' and is also mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is said to be haunted by at least seven spirits, including that of Katherine Wallace, daughter of the manor's former tenant.

Barnstaple Heritage Centre
Tel:01271 373003
Situated a few minutes drive from Ilfracombe, the Heritage Centre relives the history of Barnstaple with the use of computer touch-screens, text & graphics panels and audio-visual presentations.

Ilfracombe Museum
Tel:01271 863541
Located in a former Victorian laundry, the museum houses a fascinating range of exhibits from around the world. Amongst the curiosities is a two-headed cat and a selection of pickled bats!

Broomhill Sculpture Gardens
Tel:01271 850262
This fascinating attraction features over 300 sculptures set in ten acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.

Quince Honey Farm
Tel:01769 572401
See the living wonder of wild Exmoor honey bees in their natural habitat and observation hives.

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
Tel:01271 882486
A sub-tropical paradise with hundreds of exotic birds and animals and realistic dinosaurs. Daily sea lion shows, falconry displays, light shows and the UK's only Wolf Research Centre are amongst the attractions. NB: This attraction is not suitable for those with mobility issues due to the large number of steps and inclines within the park.

Ilfracombe Aquarium
Tel:01271 864533
An exhibition of the more unusual creatures found lurking around the British coast, including sea scorpions and our own native basking sharks.


Victorian Week
Tel:0845 458 3630
Enjoy the atmosphere of the 19th Century as locals dress up in Victorian costume. Usually held in mid-June.

Ilfracombe Carnival Procession
Tel:01271 864213
Characterised by street processions, floats and performers.

North Devon Festival
Tel:01271 324242
Over 200 events taking place at various locations throughout the summer.

Sidmouth Folk Week takes place over the first week in August and is one of England's best folk gatherings.

Walking Festival
Tel:0845 458 3630
Takes place during the first week in May and comprises of a series of walks designed to make the most of the breath-taking scenery of Exmoor and the coast.

For more events in North Devon see:

Places of Interest

Lynton and Lynmouth are spectacularly situated on the northern edge of Exmoor National Park and connected by a unique water-operated cliff railway.

Bideford and Great Torrington Bideford offers some of the best shopping in the area. Nearby is Great Torrington, famous for its Dartington Glass Factory.

Dunster and Minehead Travel along the north coast of Devon to Minehead, a thriving holiday resort and return via picturesque Dunster, a fascinating historic village with a Norman castle and historic Old Yarn Market.

Lundy Island is a granite outcrop which is just 3½ miles long and ½ a mile wide. It is an unspoilt haven of peace and tranquility. Most of the buildings are constructed from the island's own light coloured granite. There is also a 13th century castle and a lighthouse. Visitors are transported to the island aboard Lundy's own ship, the MS Oldenburg, which moors at Bideford.

Barnstaple is the oldest borough in England and also offers the best shopping in North Devon. It has weekly markets and a series of interesting buildings, such as St Anne’s Chapel Museum and the Three Tuns Tavern.

The Big Sheep Tel:01327 472366
A great day out for all the family, with sheep races and duck trials taking place throughout the day, whilst cream teas are served in the excellent coffee shop.

Exmoor Steam Railways is part of the extensive steam network of Devon kept open by enthusiasts. Enjoy the transport of days gone by and the surrounding countryside.

Woolacombe is a former winner of both the Excellence Gold Award and Premier British Beach Award. Away from the beach, it is a lively village with interesting shops, friendly pubs and a laid back atmosphere which is perfect for whiling away a summer's afternoon.

Croyde is a village which is steeped in old-world charm. The beautiful sandy beaches are perfect for relaxing in the sunshine and there are numerous footpaths which lead to hidden gems such as Baggy Point, set amongst some of the most dramatic scenery in the UK. Many of the original, old stone cottages and thatched roofed buildings, which date back to the 14th and 15th centuries are still in use today.

Combe Martin lies in a beautiful valley on the western edge of Exmoor National Park. It is a magnet for walkers, being situated directly on the South West Coast Path and the famous Tarka Trail. Other popular attractions include the Wildlife and Dinosaur Park and an interesting museum which documents the history of the town and the surrounding area.

The Imperial Hotel

The Imperial Hotel stands in a prime position, looking out over Wildersmouth Beach between the Capstone and Southern Slopes, commanding what is only too rare in Ilfracombe, a close view of the sea. Surprisingly the meadows of the Wilder Brook were not developed until the late 19th century. Maps as late as the 1870’s show open fields and burgage plots running down the hillside from the backs of High Street properties, with the Ilfracombe Hotel (built in 1867) standing in glorious isolation on the site of the present Landmark. The properties on the one street leading down, Market Street, turn backs on the sea, facing in towards the market halls. Maybe it was the nature of the ground, marshy or sandy (the latter was a problem nearer the harbour), that discouraged building here, but it was not until the 1880’s that sea facing buildings were erected. The Cecil (recently rebuilt as apartments) was originally built in 1885 and The Imperial Hotel came soon after.

Imperial Hotel August 1896

Major alterations to the ground floor, thankfully in matching brick, have given a contemporary look to the hotel, but the floors above retain their Victorian character. This is a symmetrical pattern, and a careful examination of details shows that the building was designed as two semi detached hotels. A print of 1897 with two hotels bedecked in flags for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee confirms that the eastern hotel was the Imperial Private Hotel, while the western one was called the Waverley. A 1900 map shows only the Imperial, so sometime in between there must have been a takeover. Most local hotels began as small establishments, able to be run by a family without a great deal of brought in labour. The attic dormers suggests the family and staff quarters when the hotel below was in operation. The sketch shows the united hotel, but the two entrances with ironwork lantern arches over the gates remain.

Imperial Hotel July 1899

The hotel front displays a fine array of balconied bay windows, the inner ones square and the outer canted to take full advantage of the sea view. Cast-iron railings surround the balconies and these have been well preserved, but the crowns above the bays have been lost. For some time the balcony railings were boarded over (possibly when the ground floor was altered) in an attempt to give the hotel a more contemporary look, but, with the revival of interest in all things Victorian , the railings have been exposed again and can be seen in their full glory. The Imperial, retains its Marland brickwork, with banding in red brick, which looks as fresh as when it was built. The segmental headed sash windows under their mouldings have weathered the storms of over a hundred years and look good for the next. One could only wish that much of the development along the front were of the same character as the Imperial.

If you have any historical information or photos for the Imperial Hotel, why not email us at [email protected]

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