Exmoor Countryside Adventures are ones that will leave you will memories lasting a lifetime. Somerset- a place where we should all visit at least once. I have been twice and now it’s your turn. Somerset was the home of the creator of Champagne many centuries ago before the French figured out how to do it and so I think we have a lot to thank this part of the country for. Being home to fields of heather, rolling hills and native Exmoor ponies gives Exmoor a unique attraction to tempt you to visit and is one of the last truly tranquil places left in England.
What to do:
Dark Skies and bright stars
Somerset, like most of the west Country, is beautiful with dramatic landscape that can be enjoyed from nearly everywhere! However, at night the sky is a myriad of stars and It is for this reason, Somerset Is a favourite amongst those who love the night sky. Going to Somerset in August is particularly spectacular for you can lay out in the still slightly warm temperature and watch as the Leonids dart across the sky, although when you are in a place as wonderful as Somerset what is there really to wish for? Alternatively, cuddling up with blankets and a nice cup of hot cocoa outside in the winter months and spotting the well known constellations of Orion, Leo and Gemini in the winter sky can be just as magical. The best places to view the stars are, of course, away from the busier towns and housing estates. The wonderful guest house that I have stayed at on both my trips to Exmoor offers an amazing view of them from the comfort of a beautiful garden enclosed by the far off rolling hills. If, like me, you are entranced by space and all its secrets then I would strongly recommend you bring some space binoculars if you have them for as wonderful as it is to see the stars yourself, peeking through the lens reveals thousands of new stars you would never have known were there and generates a whole new meaning of the word ‘breathtaking’.
Dunster Castle and village
The Village of Dunster is located 2.5 from the town of Minehead and is probably the largest and most intact medieval village in England, if you love history as much as me that alone is enough to entice you however this is not the only reason to visit Dunster. The Gardens themselves are stunning. They are filled with vivid colours and some of the tallest trees I’ve ever seen! Moreover, if you follow the winding path through the gardens, you will stumble across the old watermill. Unlike most of the preserved mills, Dunster mill is fully functional. Excitingly, you can taste some of the bread made from the very flour that is produced right there, you can also purchase flour from the shop to make your own scones or bread from the authentic flour made in the same way as it has been for centuries. Dunster Castle itself was owned only by the very wealthy family ‘the Luttrels’ from 1376 – 1976 after purchasing it from the De Mohuns who had built it in 1066. This Castle, rich with history, has stood its ground and survived a good many ordeals such as the English civil war and Oliver Cromwell. It was updated in the Victorian era and remains practically unchanged today, a perfect time capsule to the lives of the very wealthy during the industrial revolution. Since 1976 the Castle has been owned by the national trust and Sightseers have come to marvel at the extravagance of the house and all its surrounding lands. This place is a perfect day trip and not far at all from popular tourist town Minehead, in fact there is a trail you can walk that will take you on a scenic route between the two towns.
Coasteering and water sports
Going on one of Exmoor adventures’ excursions is something you can’t miss out on whilst you are there. From kayaking to cliff jumping, Exmoor adventures make sure you are well taken care off and give you an experience of a lifetime. Whilst I was there I was lucky enough to be able to do the stand up paddle boarding in Porlock Weir which is home to a great pub, very necessary after spending hours on the sea. It was super fun and an awesome way to see the coastline however my favourite activity I did was the coasteering. Coasteering involved scrambling up the piles of rocks in the sea and even jumping off them- up to 40 ft! Definitely something you must do at some point in your life.
This thriving seaside town is home to a great many enjoyable way to spend the day, even the great Butlins which will without a doubt entrance your little ones. The beach itself is pleasant with both sand and pebbles and of course the lovely blue sea for you to cool off on a warm day. Like most seasides, Minehead has a long promenade stretching from one end of the seafront to the other, lined by an abundance of typical seaside shops selling sticks of rocks, fudge, souvenirs and best of all fish and chips. With a small mini golf and multiple ice cream vans selling the traditional 99s, Minehead is somewhere that, without a doubt, you should definitely visit at least once.
Lynton and Lynmouth
Lynmouth is a picturesque village providing you an escape from modern living, with rows upon rows of old fashioned fishing boats bobbing in the harbour and the clusters of shops lining the edge of the walkway along the harbour. With the traditional seaside shops, there is nothing to complain about. The aroma of the fresh pasties and the salty seaside air, you are truly released from the fast pace of your daily life. With panoramic views of the sea and rolling hills making a perfect backdrop to your late afternoon drink in the beer garden of the small pub. Just a drive up a very steep hill – or a cliff railway- later and you will reach the vibrant Victorian town of Lynton perched high above greeting you with a mix of times present and past. With old churches, amazing food and quirky shops to look around, Lynton is a beautiful place to visit. Who needs to look at the art gallery there when the perfect painting is all around them?
Where to Stay?
Little Knapp guesthouse:
Little Knapp is the ideal place to stay for a holiday in Exmoor. It is a beautifully renovated annex of a grade 2 national trust property built in the 14th century offering stunning views over Exmoor national park and cosy yet spacious place to call home. The only noise that will break the peaceful quiet is the occasional neigh of the horses that live in the neighbouring paddock offering a true escape from the world. The outside garden contains a mature pond, lovely flowers and outdoors seating that captures the very last ray of sun before it sets below the sky. Tanzie, the owner of the property who lives in the main house also surprises guests with her mouth watering brownies or Devon scones, perfect for a cream tea. Cream or jam first?
Where to eat?
Tom’s fish and chips has won many awards and brilliant reviews for his fish and chips and it’s not difficult to see why. As someone who grew up at the seaside, I am very particular about my fish and chips and Toms has got to be one of the best. Not a soggy chip in sight! With his quintessentially British decor, this place to eat is a must try to really complete your English seaside holiday.
Periwinkle cottage looks like you just stepped into a postcard. It is situated on Selworthy green, on a hill at the edge of the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate offering a stunning panorama of the rolling hills and fields of Exmoor and Dunkery Beacon. This scenic tearoom offers one of, if not the best, cream teas i have ever had. With a multitude of jams to choose from, large fluffy scones and an abundance of delicious clotted cream, you cannot go wrong. The sitting area is enclosed in a garden of flowers, trapping the sunlight and guarding against the wind, the rest of the grounds offer beautiful views as well and a small gift shop selling authentic artworks made by local artists depicting the beauty of your surroundings. I would eat this cream tea everyday if I could!