Today the narrow town centre streets lead down to a tree-lined quay, which bustles with fishing vessels, cargo and pleasure boats. Clay is the principal export loaded onto boats at Bideford. The quay was refurbished, with completion in 2006, to provide flood defences and incorporates a large tide regulated fountain and brand new terminal building for the Lundy Ferry. Appealing craft and gift shops jostle for your attention in the heart of the town. Character-filled pubs and tempting eateries vie for the visitors attention - the town has recently seen new restaurants opening their doors, french markets and farmers fairs making quality produce easily available each weekend.
North Devon is famed for its floral displays and has won many awards in the `Britain in Bloom' Competition. The streets of many of it's towns are brilliant with colour throughout the summer and the display lasts right through to October. The visitor will find with hanging baskets, tubs and planters everywhere. Bideford Pannier Market was built in 1884 at a cost of £4,200 to house a fish market, butchery stalls and corn exchange. The Mayor, G W Vincent, performed the opening ceremony which was followed by a public dinner when almost 200 people sat down.T he day ended with a promenade concert and later that week about 2,000 children gathered at the market for a tea party. The Pannier Market, trades on Tuesdays and Saturdays, whilst Butchers’ Row is open Monday to Saturday and is a favourite with tourists and residents alike. inside the market hall you will find our cafe - where you can have a quick cup of tea or stay a while and enjoy a full English breakfast. You will find the Pannier Market by walking up the High Street and taking a left turn into Grenville Street. The building stands fair and square ahead of you. It is called the Pannier Market after the wicker baskets, or panniers, in which farmer's wives carried their wares and a market has been held in Bideford since the granting of the Charter of Incorporation in 1573.
Nowadays, the butchers are joined by all manner of tradespeople. The Pannier Market has been substantially refurbished as a result of funding made available by the Town Council. Commencing in 1993 an ongoing programme has seen the introduction of heating, improved lighting and extensive renovation to the fabric of the entire building. This work has been carried out by craftsmen who have maintained both the character and history of the building, whilst ensuring that it affords the visitor every comfort and convenience. You will find that Butchers' Row & Market Place is open for regular shopping six days a week all year round! At other times, flower shows, boxing and other events are held within the market's stone walls. Keep an eye out on the website for a diary of events that take place throughout the year!