Save up to £100 per person

7-Night Exmoor Discovery Tour

Dunster Castle, Somerset, England
Duration: 7 nights
Interests: Discovery Tours
from £949pp £849pp

Exmoor is one of the UK's smallest and most stunning national parks, boasting an amazing variety of landscapes, hills and valleys. See some of the finest cloisters in England at the historic Cistercian abbey of Cleeve, and unwind as you take a gentle walk through picturesque Somerset villages such as Selworthy and Bossington. The coastal village of Lynmouth and the fascinating Valley of the Rocks highlight the area's variety of landscapes.

Holiday Highlights

  • Discover the historic Cistercian abbey of Cleeve, which has some of the finest cloisters in England
  • Stroll through picturesque Somerset villages such as Selworthy and Bossington
  • Explore the coastal village of Lynmouth and the fascinating Valley of Rocks
  • Enjoy a steam train ride in the Quantock Hills on the West Somerset Railway

What’s included

  • High-quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
  • The services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays Leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
  • Full-day excursions with all transport on touring days in good-quality coach transport

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.


This morning, we'll get to know the area by driving through gorgeous villages and walking along the coast overlooking Porlock Bay. Later, we shall spend time in the Medieval-style village of Dunster and enjoy a visit to Dunster Castle, home of the Luttrell family for over 600 years. We shall also see the parish church with its pretty garden, the 16th-century dovecote and the famous yarn market in the main street of the village. 


Today we'll discover England's smallest city - Wells. We can explore the cathedral which dominates the town, find out about the 'wells', visit the famous Bishop’s Palace Garden, and wander the market square and quaint streets. Then we’ll visit the fascinating Willow & Wetland Visitor Centre for more information about historic crafts on the Somerset Levels.


A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit.


Where does the 'Ancient Mariner' brood over the harbour with the albatross around his neck? Find out in the harbour town of Watchet. Cleeve Abbey is one of the best examples of monastic ruin and today we'll learn what life as a Medieval monk would have been like. Later, we'll enjoy a leisurely steam train journey through the Somerset countryside.


This morning, we'll travel along the coast road to Lynmouth, stopping first at the famous beauty spot of Watersmeet, where the rivers Hoaroke and Lynn join in spectacular waterfalls. We explore Lynmouth and Lynton, travelling between the two on the Victorian cliff railway. In the afternoon we follow in the footsteps of Lorna Doone, visiting the Valley of the Rocks, the Doone Valley and Oare church where, in the novel, Lorna is shot on her wedding day!


Our final day begins with a stop at the Tarr Steps and a stroll along the River Barle before continuing on to Arlington Court, the former home of the Chichester family, which has a fascinating collection of Victorian carriages.


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. 


Holnicote House

Lying near the attractive village of Selworthy, in the heart of the Exmoor National Park, historic Holnicote House stands within a series of peaceful gardens with spreading lawns. Once the centrepiece of an extensive 12,500 acre estate, the charming and characterful house was gifted to the National Trust in 1944. Since then it has been reimagined as a walkers’ retreat, with wonderful access to the countryside. As well as 32 delightful bedrooms, there are two comfortable lounges and a sociable bar. The landscaped gardens are still part of the wider Holnicote Estate and provide a wonderful area to wander. Outside the house, explore wild Exmoor, walk in the Quantocks, climb Dunkery Beacon and stroll on the Somerset Coast Path with the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, drop in Dunster Castle, ride a Victorian cliff railway and watch for wildlife including the majestic red stags.

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the main building’s bright, beautifully presented rooms or in the thatched cottages in the grounds, called Butlers and Guns respectively. With 32 bedrooms, Holnicote House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good, Better and Best Rooms to choose from: best rooms are on the first floor and decorated in keeping with the National Trust estate, with plenty of space and great views over the back garden, reaching out across Crawter Hill and Dunkery Hill, Somerset and Exmoor’s highest point. Ask for numbers 1, 4 or 9 to feel suitably special.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, attractive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, lounge, library and board games to borrow

After a day walking on Exmoor or exploring the heath and moorland, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax by sitting in the pretty gardens or challenge a fellow guest to a game of croquet. Take a dip in the large heated outdoor pool. For something less strenuous, snag a comfy chair in one of the cosy lounges, borrow a book, join a game of cards or scour the countryside through the large telescope. Head to the bar before dinner for a drink and a chance to catch up with your companions, best enjoyed by the windows overlooking the estate.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Holnicote House is hearty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the wood panelled dining room with its giant fireplace hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try classic Porlock oysters or Priddy Oggies, a local pasty of chicken, bacon and cheese. Mains might include Exmoor venison or Bellbrook valley trout, while you could cap it all with a Somerset apple cake, dressed with cream.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

10684_0056 Holnicote House - Exterior

Getting to Holnicote House

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

What to Bring

To enjoy your holiday comfortably and safely, it’s essential that your clothing and footwear is suitable for the conditions likely to be encountered. Changeable weather is possible throughout the year, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities – hot, cold, wet or dry.

All of our Discovery tours involve active sightseeing and you should, therefore, be prepared for walking between the sights and wear flat, comfortable shoes. In the evening most guests wear casual clothing. You will probably find a small rucksack or cross-body bag useful for carrying spare clothing, a camera, sun protection, and drinks (at least 2 litres) during the day.

Admission costs are not included within the price of this holiday. Please bring cash to cover admissions - approximately £10 per day. Your Leader will advise you of the daily admission costs throughout the holiday.

Phil Laverack

A dedicated traveller, Phil researches all his holidays with enthusiasm and dedication. He has trekked all over the world for cancer and children's charities and has a love of the countryside born out of his childhood within the boundaries of the North Yorkshire National Park. History has always been a fascination for him. As a guide Phil hopes the guests on his tours will leave having had a pleasurable and memorable experience and been part of a happy team that really did “discover”.

Took us to some small interesting local features as well as the more obvious tourist attractions. He had researched the area well and had planned and organised very lovely venues for lunch!

Chrissie Le Marchant

Chrissie grew up in Yorkshire and spent her early years exploring the North York Moors. Having obtained a degree in Geology and Geography, she spent the next few years working for an international mining company, prospecting in the West Country and gold mining in Africa, driving home overland from Johannesburg via India.

She spent the next few years raising children and working for two National Parks, Snowdonia and Dartmoor. After training as a teacher of design technology she returned to civil engineering building roads. Eventually she became a Blue Badge Tourist Guide and has worked in the West Country and southern England and all over Europe as a guide and tour manager.

As a ‘Deviationist’ on the Ffestiniog Railway she drove trains, tipped wagons and appeared on Blue Peter and has been leading railway holidays for several years.

Chrissie was superb and made the week memorable. She was super and very knowledgeable about everything.

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £20 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2021
29 May - 05 Jun
7 Discovery Tour £949 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
10 Jul - 17 Jul
7 Discovery Tour £949 £849 Save £100 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
21 Aug - 28 Aug
7 Discovery Tour £949 £879 Save £70 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
11 Sep - 18 Sep
7 Discovery Tour £949 £879 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
Duration:
7 nights
Interests:
Discovery Tours

7 nights from £949pp £849pp

Save up to £100 per person

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