Ilfracombe, population about 12,000 (OS grid reference SS516474) is a dump in North Devon, England. It is one part scum, one part decent, and one part alcoholic holidaymakers in Wetherspoons during the holidays. If you want a southwest England holiday and to see genuine Devonians in this town once second only to Brighton in its heyday, you’ll be disappointed. If you want drugs, scousers, booze and s**t shops, you’re made.
Skegness is like Rome compared with this place. They got mixed up with that London Bridge: Ilfracombe fell down years ago, like a lot of locals do now.
The High Street looks like something out of Shaun of The Dead or a nightmare from the 1970s. It hasn’t so much suffered economic decline, more of a nuclear disaster. Here, you can see spaced out bums with Pitbulls or drunk in charge of mobility scooters. Meet manic depressives, and buy booze from the only shops that make a profit. Meet whole families of junkies and drunks; generations of wrecked scrotes and jailbirds are here for your delectation.
This town of polar opposites – the High St and the Seaside – used to run a theatre, but they cocked all that up and shut it. New shops and Pubs open for a few days and give up; its old Victorian buildings and former hotels were once splendid but they haven’t had a lick of paint since Queen Victoria. Investments and funding are robbed by Barnstaple, allegedly.
They complain about “economic decline” by the way. Ilfracombe calls itself a holiday resort, but there’s not much for visitors on the High Street and it seems nobody likes tourists or foreigners. Anyway, there is no railway and most of the High Street shuts at 4 o’clock and doesn’t like working on Saturdays. But this is a god-fearing town, motto “Thou Shalt Not Work or Bother”.
You could try the Promenade and the Harbour on the south side by the sea, but most tourists pack in to Wetherspoons down the front. Admire the old buildings and history they’ve burned down or destroyed, or the Pavilion they knocked down. Or view the marvellous (bankrupt) Theatre building designed by someone who was looking at pictures of Madonna’s bra.
It’s great here, we’re very proud of our council and locals, not.
There is no railway, and only one decent bus company that doesn’t keep breaking down. The other one comes along when it feels like it, chickens and locals riding on the roof.