30th June 2018

How will you spend the summer holidays in Barnstaple?

We look forward to welcoming our guests all year round, it’s always nice to see faces old and new enjoying our luxury services.

Yet there’s something extra special about the summer holidays that bring a unique feel to the hotel, as fresh happy vibes fill the old building.

Speaking to our guests, we quickly get reminded of where this sense of summer happiness comes from; the town of Barnstaple and the wonderful North Devon area that surrounds us.

We believe that whilst we continue to provide the best service possible, it’s the region we’re based in that makes a holiday great.

So to provide you with the ultimate holiday inspiration, read on for your guide to summer holidays in Barnstaple.

Just make sure that after a great day, you tell us all about it so we can keep the summer happiness going...

A beautiful riverside location

Look out the front windows of The Imperial and you’ll see the River Taw. Many of our bedrooms and dining facilities have windows pointed towards the water.

Walk out the front door to the water's edge and turn right or left to enjoy highlights of Barnstaple. Such as…

Rock Park

Just down the road from us is Rock Park, a large space of green grass, picnic spots and scenic walks.

Follow the river along the road and the war memorial shows where Rock Park starts. Stick to the main path with the river to your right to enjoy a stroll through the trees.

In the middle of the park is a large children's play area, with an ice cream stand too. Further along is a big sports area.

From picnics to kicking a ball around with younger ones, our guests can easily unwind at Rock Park.

Keep following the main paths to the back of the park. Once you reach the end, pop up the steps to reach an old railway line which crosses over the River Taw for photo-worthy views.

Opposite the green scenery, you'll find The Park Hotel - a sister company of ours. If you decide to have a relaxed lunch at their Seasons Bar you will receive 10% offer - this is a part of the Barnstaple Collection, more details below.  

The Tarka Trail

You’ll find Rock Park when turning left from the hotel, but turn right and keep to the edge of the river to make the most of the Tarka Trail.

The Tarka Trail is a famous series of foot and cycle paths inspired by the much-loved Tarka the Otter stories. The trail as a whole travels from Braunton in North Devon, through the centre of Barnstaple and onward to other key destinations in the area before reaching Mid-Devon. It follows the River Taw on both banks, and taking both routes is a must.

To cover more ground and to see more sights, why not hire a bike and spend a day cycling the trail?

Speak to our reception team who will be able to discuss how best to do this, along with providing guidance on how to make the most of the trail depending on your personal preferences.

Shopping in Barnstaple

If something more relaxing is needed, how about a casual shop around Barnstaple for presents, gifts for others and holiday memorabilia?

Barnstaple is a wonderful mixture of modern and historical features, with national brands sitting beside local businesses. Go from trying on clothes in the newly updated Green Lanes Shopping Centre to pulling out odd bits and bobs from the Pannier Market - which is largely unchanged in over 150 years.

Alternatively, if you don’t mind a short drive, the Affinity Outlets shopping centre is just outside Bideford, a 20-30 minute drive away. The outlet has a wide range of brands and popular names, each with outlet discounts.

Discover a wide world of gardens

Those who enjoy spending time outside will love North Devon. For many, a love of nature includes walking through gardens, taking in plants and seeing grand buildings with stunning grounds.

Luckily there is a wide range of gardens and private grounds in the area to explore.

Highlights include; Marwood Hill Garden, Tapeley Park, Castle Hill Gardens, Arlington Court, Broomhill Sculpture Gardens and Hartland Abbey to name a few.

But our pick has to be RHS Gardens Rosemoor!

At Rosemoor, you can enjoy 65-acres of beautifully planted flower beds, set within a pretty wooded valley. Around every corner there's a lovely surprise as the gardens are home to plants from around the world. Events take place through the year, there's lots of shopping to be done and children's activities keep little green-fingers amused.

As an added bonus, because you’re a guest at The Imperial Hotel, you’ll receive £8 entry instead of £12.65.

We look more at what Rosemoor offers in this news piece.

More things to do in North Devon

Alongside the many beautiful gardens, no summer holiday in Barnstaple would be complete without also spending time at a range of other exciting attractions in and around the town:

Dartington Crystal

Dartington Crystal

Browse the world famous range of Dartington Crystal products. You can even try your hand at glass painting, jewellery making and glass blowing.

Click here to find out more

Exmoor Zoo

Exmoor Zoo

15% off entry when you stay with us.

An enjoyable day trip for all ages, the zoos treats visitors to a close-up view within excellent animal exhibits. The closest local zoos are Exmoor Zoo, which is home to the only pair of black leopards (or Exmoor beasts if you believe the legends) on exhibit in the UK, and Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, a prehistoric park that features a variety of exotic animals alongside plenty of dinosaur animatronics.

Click here to find out more



World famous for its cobbled, traffic-free street, donkeys, sledges and historic harbour. The stunning views, peaceful tranquillity and cobbled, traffic-free, high street of this fishing village, built into a cleft in a 400' high cliff, tumbles its way down past whitewashed cottages festooned with flowers to the tiny working port.

Click here to find out more

Guest discounts to many attractions

It’s not just RHS Gardens Rosemoor that we have arranged reduced entry prices for our guests.

Enjoy a wonderful summer holiday at The Imperial and you’ll receive discounts at a wide range of attractions.

From exciting family days out to zoos and relaxing times away from life, which of these guest discounts will you be making the most of during a summer holiday in Barnstaple?

The wonderful beaches

These pictures do all the talking for us when it comes to beaches in North Devon, all of which are a short drive or bus journey from the hotel.

Not much more to add really when they look like this...

Make the most of dining in Barnstaple

With The Barnstaple Collection, you’ll get to enjoy discounted food and drink (including classic carveries) across all the Brend Hotels in Barnstaple.

Alongside us, there’s The Park Hotel, The Barnstaple Hotel and The Royal & Fortescue which boasts the luxurious 62 The Bank and Bar 62.

As a guest at our hotel, you can dine at these hotels with some great discount offers, plus you can enjoy the two swimming pools (one indoors, one outside) at The Barnstaple Hotel, along with their leisure facilities.

Blissful relaxation at The Imperial Hotel

Finally, feel free to lounge around the hotel and make the most of our relaxed and inviting spaces.

Enjoy the finest of dining in our Arlington Restaurant, put your feet up with a drink in the Colours Bar and read a book or newspaper in the comfort of the Terrace Lounge.


We hope this has provided some ideas for a summer holiday in Barnstaple, whether you’re already booked in or are looking for North Devon holiday inspiration.