Under 5s go free

Exmoor Family Walking Adventure

Widlife - Exmoor Ponies - AdobeStock_285304948.jpeg
Duration: 7 nights
Type: Family walking
Walking Grade: 1, 2 & 3
from £1,389pp

Exmoor’s heather-clad moorland, wooded combes, and coastline provide an ideal outdoor playground for this family walking holiday. With wild ponies to spot grazing on the hillsides, old-fashioned trains to hop aboard, and wow-worthy walks to embark on, there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained. And when you're not busy exploring the great outdoors, spend time exploring a selection of charming villages and picture-postcard towns, or relaxing in the comfort of our country house.

What you’ll love

  • Meeting other families
  • Exploring Dunster Castle
  • Travelling on the West Somerset Railway
  • Walking to Exmoor’s highest point, Dunkery Beacon
  • Riding the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway
  • Spotting wildlife such as red deer and Exmoor ponies

What’s included

  • Comfortable en-suite accommodation in our country house 
  • Cream tea on arrival day 
  • Cooked or continental breakfast every morning 
  • Daily packed lunches 
  • Three-course evening meals, plus tea & coffee 
  • Guided walking with experienced HF Holidays Leaders 
  • Choice of up to four guided walks (on walking days) 
  • All transport to and from walks where necessary 
  • Easy-to-follow routes, maps, and information in our Discovery Point if you want to explore independently  

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

You’re welcome to check in from 4pm onwards. Enjoy a complimentary cream tea on arrival.

Option 1 - Porlock and Porlock Weir

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.5km)

Ascent: 600ft (180m)

We’ll follow the Coleridge Way from Porlock to Porlock Weir where you’ll spot fishing boats and yachts bobbing up and down in the harbour. Our return journey takes us past Porlock Marsh, home to lots of birdlife, including oystercatchers, curlews, and lapwings.  

Option 2 - Porlock

Distance: 5.5 miles (8.5km)

Ascent: 750ft (230m)

We’ll enjoy a relaxed circular walk across fields and minor roads to visit Porlock, circling back along the coast through the charming villages of Bossington and Allerford, home to a photo-worthy packhorse bridge.

Option 3 - Hawkcombe and Porlock

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Ascent: 1,050ft (320m)

We’ll head through Hawkcombe Woods nature reserve on our way to the village of Porlock. Next will be the spectacular Hurlstone Point for wow-worthy coastal views before heading inland and back to the house.

Option 4 - Hills and wooded valleys

Distance: 9½ miles (15km)

Ascent: 1300ft (400m)

Follow a meandering route from Porlock Hill to Holnicote House. We'll take in the beautiful wooded valleys of Shillett Combe and Horner Water, as well the heather-clad moorland above.

Option 1 - Watersmeet and Lynmouth

Distance: 3 miles (5km)

Ascent: 100ft (30m)

Starting high on the cliffs at Barna Barrow, we’ll descend through woodland to Watersmeet with its National Trust tea room and shop. There’s plenty to do here – stop to play hide and seek or paddle in the stream. We’ll then follow the East Lyn River into Lynmouth.

Option 2 - Valley of the Rocks

Distance: 6.5 miles (10.5km)

Ascent: 1,500ft (460m)

Today’s walk has two distinct sections. First, we'll descend from Countisbury into the wooded valley at Watersmeet to then follow East Lyn River to Lynmouth. We'll then take the Victorian cliff railway, which uses water power to lift you 500ft so that we can explore Lynton and the Valley of Rocks.

Option 3 - Around Lynton

Distance: 8.5 miles (13.5km)

Ascent: 1,800ft (540m)

We’ll take the zig-zag path down from Countisbury Hill to Watersmeet. We'll continue along the hillside to the Victorian town of Lynton, climbing to a panoramic viewpoint above the Valley of Rocks, a local beauty spot with its own herd of wild goats who roam the precipitous hillsides.

Option 4 - Lynmouth Coastline

Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)

Ascent: 3,200ft (980m)

We’ll follow the glorious coastal path down Countisbury Hill to Lynmouth, then on to the Valley of Rocks and Lee Bay. We’ll return along an elevated path to Lynton and Watersmeet.

Discover more about Holnicote House and the local area for ideas on how to fill your free day.

Option 1 - Allerford and Bossington circular

Distance: 4 miles (6.5km)

Ascent: 55ft (180m)

We’ll set off on a circular walk taking in the picture-postcard villages of Allerford and Bossington before returning to the house. On the way we’ll be treated to far-reaching views from the side of Selworthy Beacon over the villages and along the coastline of Porlock Bay.

Option 2 - Selworthy

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Ascent: 1,550ft (460m)

We’ll walk to the charming villages of Allerford and Bossington, before continuing to the coast at Hurlstone Point. Our return route traverses the wooded slopes to Selworthy village where you’ll have time to explore. You can wander through the once extensive Holnicote Estate to the model village of Selworthy, with its collection of chocolate box thatched cottages.

Option 3 - Selworthy Beacon

Distance: 7.5 miles (12km)

Ascent: 1,350ft (420m)

We’ll climb through the woods to the Iron Age hillfort and glorious viewpoint of Selworthy Beacon – the Bristol Channel and Exmoor hills will soon come into view once we’re at the top. After a hilltop walk, we'll descend through the fields to Selworthy village.

Option 4 - Somerset Coast Path

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Ascent: 2,050ft (620m)

We’ll head through the woods to Hurlstone Point and along the rugged coastal path that meanders along the northern slopes of Selworthy Beacon.  This section of the coast path has a real away-from-it-all feel as we traverse around three deep combes above the sea. We'll then ascend onto the summit and return via Selworthy village.

Option 1 - Steam train, seaside, and scenic Dunster

Distance: 3 miles (5km)

Ascent: 400ft (120m)

We’ll ride the steam train from Minehead to Blue Anchor Bay to take in some of Britain’s most scenic coastline. A short walk takes us across fields to the medieval village of Dunster where you’ll have plenty of time to explore.  

Option 2 - Headon Cross to Dunster

Distance: 5.5 miles (9km)

Ascent: 700ft (220m)

Today we’ll enjoy a steady climb and ridge walk through the woods of Wootton Common before a steady descent all the way down to Dunster Castle. Dunster Castle was the home of the Luttrell family for over 600 years and is now managed by the National Trust.

Option 3 - Selworthy to Dunster

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Ascent: 1,200ft (360m)

Heading straight out from Holnicote House, we’ll follow the track and road to Headon Cross where we’ll see the pretty colours of Tivington Heights hamlet.

We’ll then head up through a mixed broadleaf wood onto the ridge line of Wootton Common before going down Grabbist Hill to the medieval village of Dunster. Look out for red deer across the broad ridge line - although illusive, you may hear the loud barking call of the stags, especially during rutting season.

Option 4 - Over the hill to Dunster

Distance: 9.5 miles (15km)
Ascent: 1,650ft (500m)

We’ll walk from Holnicote House to historic Dunster where you’ll have time to visit the castle. Our route will then take us through the woods to the viewpoint at Webber's Post to soak up fine views as we follow the ridge over Wootton Common. 

Option 1 - Luccombe and Horner

Distance: 4 miles (6.5km)

Ascent: 400ft (120m)

Local estate roads and lanes will lead us to the pretty village of Luccombe followed by Horner with its tea gardens. We’ll return to Holnicote House after visiting Piles Mill, an old 17th century corn mill, with plenty of time to relax when we return to the house. 

Option 2 - Exploring Horner Hill

Distance: 5.5 miles (9km)

Ascent: 1,000ft (300m)

We’ll leave the house and make our way to the pretty village of Horner, Horner Wood, and Horner Hill, before heading back.

Option 3 - Dunkery Beacon circuit

Distance: 9 miles (14km)

Ascent: 1,950ft (600m)

This circular walk sees us visiting the highest point in Exmoor and Somerset. We’ll walk through woodland and moorland to Dunkery Beacon and return on a meandering path alongside the delightful River Horner.

Option 4 - Dunkery Beacon and Great Rowbarrow

Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)

Ascent: 2,050ft (620m)

We’ll visit the highest point in Exmoor and Somerset. The descent will take us past the tiny Stoke Pero Church, also the highest church in Exmoor, and back through Horner Woods alongside River Horner.

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.

Holnicote House

There’s plenty to look forward to at this beacon of Somerset hospitality near the impossibly pretty village of Selworthy. The location couldn’t be more perfect; within rolling-out-of-bed distance from Exmoor National Park and an easy drive from Dunster Castle, Coleridge Cottage, the twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth, and the sandy delights at Porlock and Minehead. The walking opportunities here are standout, too, not least for the trails around the Quantock Hills, Dunkery Beacon, Bossington, and a section of the England Coast Path that takes you on a glorious journey along the county’s coastline.    


Designed with your comfort in mind, Holnicote House has 32 well-appointed guest rooms available in three categories: Classic, Premium, and Superior. 

Classic Rooms are comfortable en-suite guest rooms, ideal for a peaceful night's sleep. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, and shower gel), and a TV. 

Premium Rooms are more spacious en-suite guest rooms. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses.

Superior Rooms are even more spacious en-suite guest rooms offering upgraded views of the surrounds. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses. 

We love: The rooms in the main building or the thatched grounds, especially Rooms 1 and 4. The first floor rooms have fabulous views across Crawter Hill and Dunkery Hill. 

The Choose Your Room service is available at our UK country houses, allowing you the option of choosing and confirming a specific room for an extra charge of £30 per room. This is subject to availability. Upgrade supplements apply. 

Check in & check out
You are welcome to check in from 4:00pm at the earliest. On arrival, you’ll enjoy a complimentary cream tea and get to meet your fellow guests, our HF Holidays Leaders, and the rest of the friendly team.  

On the day of departure, we kindly ask all guests to check out by 10:00am. You’ll be asked to settle your bill prior to leaving. You may, of course, make a charitable donation to our HF Holidays Pathways Fund if you wish. Please note that we only accept card payments. 

Room supplements

Superior Premium single Premium double/twin Choose your room
£25 pppn £20 pppn £20 pppn £30 per room

About your stay

A warm welcome
We want you to feel comfortable from the moment you arrive. You’ll find a welcome pack in your room with guest registration forms, menus, order forms for dinners and picnic lunches, the Wi-Fi password, and the front door code. Our houses are locked at night, so we recommend noting the Duty Manager’s number on arrival in case of an emergency (or getting locked out). 

Evening entertainment
While evening entertainment varies from house to house, the HF Holidays Big Pub Quiz held after dinner on Wednesdays is a weekly staple. Your HF Holidays Leader may be around for tips on guided and self-guided walking routes as well as visit-worthy local attractions. 

Walks talks 
Our HF Holidays Leaders host guided walking information briefings before dinner on arrival days. This is followed by a group Walks Talk for information on the following day’s walking delights (held before dinner every evening). Self-guided walking guests are, of course, welcome.  

The walking day
Prior to setting off on walks, your HF Holidays Leader will run you through a short safety briefing. There’s also an up-to-date weather forecast on display at the house to ensure you have appropriate clothing and footwear. If you choose to do your own walks or are on a self-guided walking holiday, we ask that you please complete an Independent Walker Card each day. These can be found near the Discovery Point in the house. 

Food & drink

Led by experienced chefs, we serve a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. We always aim to source the best produce available and use home-grown herbs and vegetables from our own gardens whenever possible. Additionally, we have a licensed bar with beers, soft drinks, and a superb selection of spirits. Full-board comes as standard and includes a cream tea on arrival and a hearty breakfast on departure day.

HF Holidays understands the importance of managing allergens effectively to ensure food is safe for guests with food allergies. Whilst we are always able to confidently inform guests which allergens are present in our ingredients and dishes, we are unable to guarantee absolute freedom from the 14 main allergens in our kitchens. Vegetarian and vegan menu choices are available. If you have allergies, food intolerances, or any special dietary requirements, please inform our reservation team at the time of booking.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Holnicote House

10684_0056 Holnicote House - Exterior

Getting to Holnicote House

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

More Information

Essential information

The UK has a famously unpredictable climate so it's best to be prepared for weather that’s sunny one minute and raining the next.  To make it easier, here’s a list of items you should consider packing.  


  • Suitable footwear such as waterproof walking boots that provide ankle support and good grip 
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket, preferably insulated 
  • Comfortable clothing (jeans & waterproof capes are not suitable) 
  • Waterproof overtrousers 
  • Gloves and a warm hat (or sunhat) 
  • Rucksack 
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity) 
  • A small torch 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Mobile phone and portable charger 
  • Watch 
  • UV sunglasses 


  • Several base layers (long-sleeve or short-sleeve) 
  • Cushioned walking socks to avoid blisters 
  • First aid kit, including plasters and insect repellent 
  • Sit mat  
  • Spare pair of socks 
  • Energy snacks 
  • Waterproof pouch for valuables 
  • Rubbish bag (remember to always leave no trace) 
  • Wallet/purse 

Optional extras

  • Walking poles, useful for descents 
  • Flask for hot drinks 
  • Durable lunch box 
  • Gaiters 
  • Blister kit  
  • Waterproof rucksack liner 
  • Head torch 
  • GPS device 

Holnicote House Calendar

  • Guided Walking
  • Self-Guided Walking
  • Special Interests
  • Unavailable to Book

Guest reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Supplements may apply.

Non-member fee: £30 per person.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take an alternative route, or vary the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

Holiday prices

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book

02 Aug - 09 Aug 2024

7 nights

Family Walks

Single from


Double from

£1,389 pp


£1,389 pp



Trip Notes Enquire

16 Aug - 23 Aug 2024

7 nights

Family Walks

Single from


Double from

£1,389 pp


£1,389 pp



Trip Notes Enquire

Important information

Maximum 3 free child places under 5 years per full paying adult price on UK country house stays.

Family rooms are subject to availability. Sole occupancy charges may apply. 

Children under 5 go free

Children 5-17 years are charged at 50% of the adult brochure price

All children's rates are based on sharing a bedroom with one or more adults.

Children under 14 must be accompanied by a responsible adult on all walks, though this need not be a parent or guardian

7 nights
Family walking
Walking Grade:
1, 2 & 3

7 nights from £1,389pp

Under 5s go free

or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ guests click here

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