Bideford is a working port and very different from Barnstaple with many more independent shops such as La Maison in Mill Street selling beautiful shabby chic homeware and jewellery, or Ashore in Cooper Street selling a beautiful range of gifts and jewellery. There are also a number of antique shops.
The Pannier Market is open on a Tuesday and Saturday morning at the top of the town and is worth a trek up the High Street. Go before 12 as it packs up about 1pm.
There are a couple of good places to go for something to eat in Bideford. Lathwells in Cooper Street serves well prepared local food. Velvet and Vanilla, also in Cooper Street is a funky coffee shop during the day and bistro at night. Very girly, small but well worth a visit.