The Five Essential Exmoor Pubs

Whet your whistle at one of these excellent boozers.

If you’re planning on visiting Exmoor at any point of the year then you should certainly consider dropping in at one of the region’s traditional pubs. Whereas urban centres are filled with modern drinking establishments that are more geared to towards ‘high volume vertical drinkers’, pubs in Exmoor are moulded in a much more traditional vein. So, whilst you’re unlikely to find a 2 for 1 Jaegerbomb at a good price in this county, you can guarantee that you’ll find plenty of choices in terms of traditional ales, comforting home-cooked meals and peasant company.

Many of these pubs are situated close to fantastic circular hikes, giving you a perfect opportunity to park up, hit the hills and then drink a much deserved pint: 

The Bottom Ship, Porlock Weir

Porlock Weir is amongst one of the most attractive seaside villages in Exmoor and the Bottom Ship fits in perfectly.

Home of an annual festival and many regular events, this pub is a focal point for the local community and also happens to serve some of the best food in the village. Book a couple of nights at this classy establishment so that you can properly take in the ambience that this lovely place has to offer.

The Rockford Inn, Lynton

Tucked away in the Brendon Valley, The Rockford Inn is a pub that has not changed for decades and offers one of the most traditional B&B options for visitors to the area. Tucked away to one side of a secluded back road  next to the East Lyn River, this is a picturesque spot that is perfect for fishermen who are looking to get a peaceful night stay, a solid breakfast and an early start. Seafood is a speciality here, so don’t leave before ordering something from the menu!

The Hunters Inn, Heddon Valley

The imposing Hunters Inn is amongst the grandest on this list and makes a pretty penny as a wedding venue. When bouquets aren’t being tossed though, it’s a quintessential country pub which also happens to offer luxury accommodation and a show-stopping menu. Regularly featured in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, this pub is a great place to stop off for a night, especially if you have a taste for excellently kept traditional ales.

Pebbles Tavern, Watchet

You’d be forgiven for missing Pebbles Tavern when walking through Watchet, but any local will happily point you in the right direction should you miss it the first time round. Winner of CAMRA Somerset Branch Cider Pub of the Year five years in a row, this pub might be a short drive outside of Exmoor but it’s certainly not to be missed for those looking to get a real taste of the locals’ life. There are also plenty of ales and beers for those who don’t fancy a cider…

The Royal Oak, Minehead

Lastly, the Royal Oak is very traditional 12th century Farmhouse-turned-pub which now serves as one of the finest places to drink in Exmoor. 4-star accommodation is on offer here, including award-winning dining options 7 days a week and an excellent ambience. Winsford is amongst one of the most attractive villages in Exmoor and has remained virtually unchanged now for decades.

How Would You Like To Explore Exmoor?

There are many different ways to explore Exmoor – which one will you choose?

With nearly 700 square kilometres of countryside to discover, making your way around Exmoor is no mean feat.

Although most visitors staying for a week will most likely prefer to find a base and travel out from there each day, there are a few nifty ways that you can travel around Exmoor which will mean that you’ll be able to see more of this stunning countryside in the same amount of time.

Drive through scenic roads

Whether you’re cruising along in a super-charged sports car or trundling along in your first car, there are some truly stunning roads to drive on in Exmoor. From the smooth winding roads of the open moorlands to some truly perilous clifftop trails – it’s important to be careful how you go on these roads. If you have an accident or hit a pothole you’ll find that you’ll have to wait a long time for your Porsche 928 parts to get to you…

Freebord down the lanes

Whilst whizzing down the winding hills with no brakes might not sound like fun for many people, it’s a popular past time for the teenagers in the local area. Freebords are similar to skateboards except they are longer, wider and have 2 more wheels which serve the purpose of stabilising the rider. Although we can’t recommend that you attempt freebording on the road for legal reasons, we can attest to it being an exhilarating way of spending a morning!

Get out on an open top bus

Usually reserved for city visits, the open top bus experience is a bracing but brilliant way of experiencing Exmoor. With the benefit of a guided tour you can learn more about the history and heritage of the moorland whilst getting to see the best sights of the area with your own eyes. One thing to remember: regardless of if you go in summer or winter, you’ll find that it will get breezy out in the open, so make sure you bring some layers.

Cycle up one of Britain’s steepest hill

Fancy a challenge? Rent yourself a road bike and tackle Porlock Hill. This incline is not for the faint-hearted. The 1 in 4 hill is a notoriously difficult hill to tackle and has grown somewhat infamous amongst the cycling community. Make sure your tyres are pumped to their max capacity, you’re wearing your helmet and you’ve eaten plenty of food: you’re going to need all the help that you can get!

Take a hike

Although it might well be the slowest form of transport on this list, by hiking through the National Park you’ll be able to see some sights that would simply be off limits if you were on the road. There are miles and miles of well cared for trails to follow, just remember that you should always take a map and compass with you. Hiking on the moors can be dangerous, so it’s bets to prepare for the worst – bring waterproofs, emergency first aid kits and plenty of food.

Unique Exmoor Experiences You Should Try

Push your boundaries and truly experience Exmoor.

There was a time when holidays were strictly relaxing affairs.

That meant putting your feet up, slurping on a cocktail and soaking up as much sunshine as was physically possible in the time you had. Those days are well and truly gone.

Today things are a little different. 21st century holidays are less about relaxing and more about experiencing something new. That could include signing yourself up to a hair-raising extreme sport or staying the night in a rustic cabin.

Make your next trip to Exmoor something to truly remember by booking one of these immersive experiences:

Barle Valley Safaris

Step aboard Daphne Brace and Richard Norman’s Land Rover 110 Defender and get to grips with Exmoor’s wild side. This family team have been taking guided tours for the last 20 years, both born and bred in Exmoor they have in-depth knowledge of the area which makes them the perfect tour guides to show you around. Spot the elusive Red Deer, Exmoor Ponies and learn about local legends as you go.

From £35pp for a 3-hour guide with a minimum of 4 people per tour.

Keeper for a Day at Exmoor Zoo

Have you ever fancied getting up close and personal with some real life wild animals? With Exmoor Zoo’s ‘Keeper for a Day‘ experience you can do just that. Spend a whole day in the boots of a zoo keeper. Each experience is different, so you’ll never know what you’re in for next. One moment you could be cleaning out a meerkat enclosure and the next you could be feeding tortoises or even pelicans.

Half Day experiences start at £95, whilst whole days are £150.

Dark Sky Overnight Experience

Exmoor was officially designated as a Dark Sky Reserve in 2016. Due to the lack of any significant built up areas or street lights here we are blessed with dazzlingly starry skies, offering would-be astronomers the perfect chance to get an eyeful of the night sky. You can hire professional grade telescopes from Dark Sky Telescope Hire, if you fancy making a trip of it you can even book accommodation with them which includes a telescope and a one or two hour guide.

Telescope hire starts at £25 p/night .

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

This new extreme sport is fast becoming one of the most popular water based activities here in Exmoor. Stand Up Paddle Boarding (or SUP for short) involves the rider standing upright and using an oar to push them in the right direction. Although you will need a degree of balance in order to stay up right and out of the water, this is certainly a much easier sport to pick up than surfing and the good news is that you can do it at several locations around Exmoor.

Prices start at £35pp for adults and £25pp for children.

Pony Trek over the Moors

Saddle up and enjoy a bracing trek out into the Exmoor wilderness on a brisk winter’s day. During the colder months you’ll find that rates are much cheaper, but you can make further savings by rolling in your night’s stay with two horse treks. offer one such a deal: stay in their 15th Century home and you’ll wake up that much closer to the horses, so that you can head out nice and early for your treks.

Short winter rides start at £45pp with full days costing £85 with a minimum of 2 people taking part.

Five Excellent Exmoor Restaurants

Tucked away in the rugged expanse of Exmoor are a smorgasbord of eateries, each with their own unique style and charm.

Championing local produce and home grown chefs, these establishments make up the gastronomic fabric of the region with a treasure trove of major food awards amongst them.

If you’re thinking of making a trip to Exmoor and fancy splashing out on an expensive meal then just make sure you book well ahead of time as these restaurants are much in demand!

Masons Arms

Run by experienced Head Chef Mark Dodson and his wife Sarah, The Masons Arms was awarded a Michelin Star within six months of opening and has retained it ever since. Perched on the edge of Exmoor in the village of Knowstone, this is truly a one of a kind pub. Whilst a portion of the 13th century inn is still dedicated to serving the village as a traditional pub, Dodson has transformed the rest of the building into an outstanding restaurant that exemplifies the best of what Exmoor has to offer.

Cross Lane House

You could easily drive straight by Cross Lane House, assuming that it was simply another pretty country home but by doing so you would be missing out on one of the true gastronomical gems of the area. The team at Cross Lane have perfected their craft, serving a classy dinner menu that even caters to al fresco dining during the balmy summer months. The presentation is modern, the cooking is immaculate – but the prices are reasonable at just £37.00 for three courses.

The Royal Oak

To say that The Royal Oak in Winsford is picturesque would be an understatement, this 12th century farmhouse has been lovingly cared for by its local owners Mark and Sally Bradley for years, winning numerous awards in the process. Head Chef David Sylvester has worked at The Royal Oak for the best part of 30 years, creating innovative food that boasts the very best of Exmoor produce.

Woods Bar & Restaurant

Although Dulverton has been at the centre of some unwarranted negative attention in recent years, Woods Bar & Restaurant is a perfect example of why you should never take the press at face value. Head Chef Ed Heard is in charge of the food output at Woods and his menu of classic British dishes are crowd-pleasers: pure and simple. Take your pick of carefully arranged Beef Bresaola to start or Creedy Carver Confit Duck with Foie Gras Terrine, before diving into a Roast Loin of Northcombe Lamb or Fillet of Brill with Tiger Prawns.

Tarr Farm Inn

No trip to Exmoor is complete without a trip to Tarr Steps. During the summer months this 55-metre long clapper bridge is a magnet for tourists, all of whom are looking to tentatively make their way over the bridge without slipping into cold river water. Watch the frolicking from a comfortable seat on an outside bench whilst tucking into fresh Cornish seafood, Ruby Red Beef from Devon and locally produced Exmoor Lamb. Lunchtimes are informal affairs, whilst the dinner menu is much more refined whilst still remaining relaxed.

6 Diverse Accommodations Options To Experience

Planning a trip to Exmoor? You’re going to need a place to stay…

Visitors are spoiled for choice when looking for places to stay in Exmoor. There really is something to suit every taste, budget and style.

Looking to relax in the historic surroundings of a country house hotel? We’ve got you covered. Perhaps you’d prefer to rough it in the midst of a real-life working farm? Or maybe you like the idea of a traditional B&B experience with a 5-star twist?

To help you make up your mind we’ve cherry picked our top accommodation options: they’re all different and they’re all in fantastic locations to make your trip that much easier to organise.

The Pig near Bath

Once a 19th Century country home, the historic Hunstrete House has now become the third Pig Hotel, a hotel chain like no other. The owners behind the Pig Hotels have created a hospitality experience like no other. It’s certainly a 5-star experience, but it’s served without the awkward formality eschewed by its starchier rivals although the prices are something that they’ve not made any adjustments to…

The Shepherd’s Hut at Westland Farm

There are a few interesting options open to visitors to the peaceful Westland Farm, but the Shepherd’s Hut is far and away the most romantic. Not for the claustrophobic, this tiny little space has just enough room for a king-size bed, a child’s cot, wood burning stove and small kitchen area. A breakfast room is provided for you to eat in, but if you stay during the summer you’ll most likely be spending all your time outside – there’s even a firepit and dutch oven to cook with!

Glamping in Lynton

For those who can’t quite stomach the thought of putting up their own tent  – rest easy. The era of glamping has arrived which takes all the awkwardness and mess out of the camping experience. The glamping tents available at the Lynton Camping and Caravanning Club sleep 6. In each tent there’s a kitchenette to make your meals, a sofa to relax on and even a dining table to eat at. Spend your evening watching the sunrise from your own veranda and under the protection of a canvas cover.

Halse Farm Campsite

Enjoy spectacular views and a glimpse into the life of a working farm when you camp at Halse Farm. You’ll need to bring your own tent (or caravan) to pitch up, but everything else is taken car of.

There’s WiFi on site as well as a well kept heated toilet block, free hot showers, electric hook ups and even a launderette with tumble drying facilities. A childrens play area will give parents a much appreciated bit of respite and if you visit at the start of Spring you might get to see some lambs!

The Old Rectory Hotel

There are some holiday makers who would much rather remove themselves from civilisation. Dozens of lodges in Perthshire with hot tubs provide that kind of rustic experience, but we do things a little differently in Exmoor. The Old Rectory Hotel is one of the most respected establishments in the area and offers an unparalleled 5-star boutique experience in a delightful country home. Relax in a expansive suites during the day, then retire to the dining rooms for a sumptuous meal.

Luxury Self-Catered Experiences

Relax in your very own (rented) slice of Exmoor.

Treat yourself to a holiday in one of these luxury self-catered accommodations.

Sometimes a 5-star hotel isn’t necessarily the best choice for a truly relaxing break. The polished floors and starched formality of a 5-star hotel can often have the opposite effect guests. After all, you’re paying hundreds of pounds for the privilege of sharing a public spaces with other people. You might have your own room to retreat to, but there’s always the knowledge that so many others have slept there already and then there’s the waiting staff and cleaners to contend with – put simply, it’s can often be more trouble than it’s worth.

For a while now there has been another option for holidaymakers looking to find a new kind of peace and quiet. In Europe (usually a step behind the rest of the world in fashion terms at least) the concept of hiring an entire property for the weekend has been well established. But, whilst staying in a holiday villa in France might well be a pleasant idea, you can now find similar offerings much closer to home, in Exmoor for example!

These luxury accommodations provide you with the privacy and peace to truly enjoy your stay:

Sunflower Lodge

What’s better than staying in your own private lodge? How about a private lodge that’s within walking of an award-winning pub? The Sunflower Lodge sleeps four people and makes for the perfect base to explore the surrounding area of Combe Martin.

Its within a short drive of the coast and with such an excellent pub so close by, you’re guaranteed to feel like a local by the end of your trip.

Glen Lodge Country House

This self-catering lodge carries with it some real British historical heritage. Built in the early 20th Century, throughout the years it has been occupied by all sorts of people – including: members of the British Equestrian Team for the Olympics and even a rabble of evacuees during World War II who are rumoured to have wrecked the place whilst the owners were overseas in Canada. Today it’s a well kept home, perfect for a weekend break.

Coulscott House

Stay in one of a handful of cottage at Coulscott House, farm complex offering self-catering accommodation for groups from 2-10. There’s everything you’d expect from a luxury cottage experience including amenities such as high-speed internet and widescreen TVs, but you’ll also find farmyard animals that will keep younger ones entertained. You can buy food from the onsite farm shop so once you’re there you’ll never have to leave!

Riscombe Farm

Leone and Brian Martin are the owners of Riscombe Farm, offering self-catering accommodation to visitors looking to get truly lost in the heart of Exmoor.

Certified as a 4-star self-catering accommodation by the AA, this idyllic spot comes complete with farmyard animals, horses and is even fronted by a river. Riscombe’s central location is ideal for visitors looking to see as much of the area as possible.

Taking the Tour of Britain Challenge

Truly Experience Exmoor by Riding the Tour of Britain Exmoor Cycle Route…

There are many ways to see Exmoor.

Some would argue that the best way to discover the huge variety of landscapes is to spend a week hiking. There are miles of dedicated footpaths to explore, so many in fact that it would be nigh on impossible to choose a route where you could see everything that Exmoor has to offer in the space of 7 days. As much as we all like a challenge, you’d have to be Mo Farah to be able to tackle that many miles in the space of a week.

Luckily for us, the smooth roads of Exmoor offer us a much more efficient alternative…

Cycling has become one of the most popular exercise activities for Britons and for good reason. Not only does it provide the body with consistent, low-impact cardiovascular exercise but it’s a carbon-neutral method of transport that also allows you to experience the stunning views of the countryside up close, rather than through a car window!

When it comes to picking your route you have a few options at your disposal. You could attempt to navigate through the myriad of cycle tracks on the moor, with the use of a map and compass you can spend hours of fun speeding through these rugged trails.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to follow a plan, you can take the Tour of Britain Exmoor Cycle route. This circular route has been adapted from the South West Stage in the 2007 tour and is widely considered to be one the most challenging sections of that race, whilst also providing intrepid riders with a spectacular tour of some Exmoor’s grandest sights. Well surfaced roads offer a smoother ride (especially compared to the dirt trails) and there are also plenty of opportunities for pit stops along the way.

For would be explorers of Exmoor this route offers a fantastic way of experiencing the area all in the space of a day. Then again, there’s so much to see and do in Exmoor that you could be forgiven for taking your time. After all life is about the journey – so why rush?

You can make use of the best transport links in Exmoor by starting your journey in the seaside resort of Minehead. Pick up some supplies at one of Exmoor’s biggest towns before setting off towards Porlock. If you cycle during the weekend you’ll get plenty of chances to appreciate the conservation work being undertaken by volunteers from the local area. During the week you might spot groups of knotweed specialists treating the brush land – over 1000 sites across Exmoor are currently being treated – they’re embroiled in an ongoing battle against the invasive plant.

Carry on from Porlock to Lynmouth, considered my many to be one of the prettiest seaside villages in Devon, stop for a pasty and ride the Cliff Railway if you have the time. Once you’re done there get back on your bike and head to Simonsbath. After a gruelling climb to this next checkpoint (the village is a staggering 1,20 feet above sea level) you’ll need a break. The Exmoor Forest Inn was renovated in 2005 and serves lovely ales – steer clear of the 7.5% Old Rosie if you want to stay upright though!

From there it’s on to Exford, Wheddon Cross, Elworthy, Monksilver and Woodford. These smaller villages are a joy to cycle through, however don’t expect to find much in the way of hospitality as only a handful of people live in these isolated communities. Once you’ve climbed your way around the fringes of the park you’ll find yourself descending once more to Minehead where, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to celebrate your journey with a glorious Fish’n’Chip dinner.

For more info on the Tour of Britain cycle route head to this site and you can find reliable cycle hire places right here.

Produce of Exmoor: Take Us Home With You!

Why not take a bottle or jar of Exmoor back home with you?

We’re proud of the fantastic food and drink that the people of Exmoor produce – they use local ingredients and blend them in a way that you simply can’t find anywhere else in the world.

Even though you might be able to sample this cracking stuff during your stay, you’re sure to miss the grub when it’s gone. Before you head on your merry way, why not pick up a little something for the drive home or get a gift for a friend?

You’ll be able to find these products for sale at any good Farmers Market in Exmoor, alternatively you can always order ahead and pick up your produce on the way home.

Dunkery Vineyard

Run by Derek and Val Pritchard, the Dunkery Vineyard is nestled in a particularly fertile region of the Exmoor just a stone’s throw away from the village of Wootton Courtenay. Their vineyards produce a wide range of grapes that are used to make their distinctly aromatic wines. Their Madeleine Angevine is a particularly high seller and we’d be remiss not to mention their excellent Exmoor Brut: a sparkling bottle that has been hailed as England’s answer to Champagne.

Exmoor Ales

Perhaps one of the most successful brands to have come from the region, since Exmoor Ales set up shop in Wiveliscombe (back in 1980) their beers have been drank all around the world. Whilst you might be lucky enough to spot the iconic Exmoor Gold in pubs around the country, their seasonal ales can often be harder to pick up outside of the South West. You can order beers by the case from their website, or pick up a case from the brewery itself to get the best deals (and save on delivery).

The Exmoor Blue Cheese Company

Originally a sheeps’ milk cheese, Exmoor Blue is now a geographically protected product that is made exclusively with Jersey cows’ milk from the local area.

Since setting up shop over 20 years ago Ian and Ruby Arnett have prided themselves on creating the finest blue cheeses that Exmoor has to offer, continually innovating with new products. Their best-selling Exmoor Blue has been followed by a variety of other cheeses made using goat, sheep and Buffalo milk including their Somerset Blue and Partridge’s Blue.

Brendon Hill Crafts

The sheer variety of products that the Jessups have created is enough to stump any foodie, the good thing is that you can buy as much as you’d like because their award-winning preserved goods will keep for years.

Choose from a dizzying selection of jellies, jams, chutneys, fruit cheeses, marmalades and fruit sauces – all of which have been made from recipes that have been carefully refined over the last 30 years.

Hidden Valley Pigs

The story of how Simon Dawson upped sticks and set up his own smallholding in Exmoor is an interesting one, so interesting in fact that he’s based three books on his journey to self-sufficiency! The pigs bred on Hidden Valley Farm are given the best lives they they could hope for. The free-range, rare breed Berkshire pigs are fed natural food and drink water that has been collected from the farm’s own spring. You can buy the meat directly from them or even book in for a day’s course in butchery!