If you’re looking for stunning scenery, pretty historic villages, country pubs with cracking log fires and cosy tea rooms with the warmest of welcomes, visit beautiful Exmoor and discover its hidden gems. Here are 5 of the best places to visit in winter, all close to Stolford Farm Holiday Cottages:
- Dunster Castle & Village
A Former motte and Bailey castle, now a country house, Dunster Castle is a beautiful place to visit in winter in its stunning location, on top of The Tor, with far reaching views across the Bristol Channel. The garden, park, National Trust shop and tea rooms are open from 10am until dusk during the winter months and the castle can be accessed with a free tour, between 4th November until 19th December, four times a day, or via general admission throughout the rest of winter, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Free to national Trust members.
To make a day of it, a short walk will take you to Medieval Dunster High Street with its iconic Yarn Market and cobbled streets. Here you will find a wealth of interesting and quirky shops, tea rooms and hostelries, including Reeves, a cosy restaurant, with a crackling fire, exceptional food and a warm Exmoor welcome.
On the first Friday and Saturday in December, Dunster turns its back on the present day, dresses up in its festive best and lights the streets with candles. Dunster by Candlelight is a magical event and is very popular with locals and visitors alike. The nearby Dunster Beach is perfect for blowing away the cobwebs on a bright winter’s day. Either walk from the town or castle, or park in the large carpark next to the long stretch of sand.
2. Tarr Steps & Tarr Farm Restaurant
This beautiful, ancient clapper bridge, across the River Barle, dates back to 1000 BC. Grade 1 listed, it’s a scheduled ancient monument and sits on a site of special scientific interest. Park in the carpark and take a two-mile circular walk, looking out for red deer, dormice, otters and bats. Walk across the large flat steps of the bridge, then warm up at the Tarr Farm Restaurant with a coffee by the log fire; or stay for something to eat. There are no bulk-bought frozen catering packs served here, just delicious home cooked meals and excellent beer and wine.
3. Watersmeet House
A 19th century fishing lodge built in 1832, where Hoar Oak Water and the East Lyn River tumble together. Now a National Trust Shop, tea room and information point in a beautiful wooded river valley. Open Saturday and Sunday from 11am until 3pm.
Either park at the nearby carpark or park in Lynmouth and follow the magical river walk to the café (decent walking footwear required) stopping frequently to enjoy the stunning views and wildlife as you go. The waterfalls are particularly impressive during the winter months.
4. Lynton and Lynmouth
These picturesque twin villages, with access to the South West Coast Path, adopt a more laid-back feel in Winter with plenty of shops and galleries still open for a mooch about. Caffyns in Lynton is a great place for Christmas decorations and gifts and Lyn Valley Arts and Crafts, in a converted church in Lynton, is open from 10am to 5pm daily, all year round and hosts around 50 local traders displaying ceramics, pottery, jewellery, wood-working, clothing, confectionary, soaps, glass art and much more. The walk from Lynton to The Valley of the Rocks is stunning on a bright winters day and allows you a glimpse of why the Romantic Poets were inspired by the area. A circular walk brings you back to Lynton where you’ll find a myriad of warm and inviting cafes, award winning restaurants and traditional pubs with log fires. The Ancient Mariner in Lynmouth, named after Coleridge’s famous poem, is the final stop on the Coleridge Way, a 51-mile walking path over Exmoor.
5. West Somerset Railway
The longest heritage railway in Britain stills runs throughout the winter months with a special programme of events including Santa’s Winter Wonderland with Santa’s grotto, elves workshop and animatronic reindeer, the Winter Steam Festival, Whistletoe and Wine and a festive Carol Train. Both steam and diesel locomotives run from Bishops Lydeard, where you can visit to Quantock Brewery to stock up with booze for the festive season before your journey. Stations include Stogumber with its colour-washed thatched cottages, the ancient harbour town of Watchet, Blue Anchor Bay, Washford and Minehead, with its harbour, beach, town and entrance to the South West Coast Path and a station Christmas Market at the end of November.
Stolford Farm Holiday Cottages offer luxury holiday cottages on the Brendon Hills, on the edge of Exmoor National Park. The cottages are located on a beautiful working sheep farm in its own tranquil valley with easy access to the surrounding countryside and coast. The Cow Shed is a high quality suite for 2 people and Middle Stolford Cottage is a traditional farm cottage in its own large enclosed garden, sleeping up to 9 people. click here for details Or contact us for Last minute and out of season discounts..