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.

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.