Exmoor Family Walking Adventure

Stay in the heart of this delightful National Trust estate


Print page

Activity types:

  • Coastal
  • Families
  • Hills & moorland
  • Rural peace


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
More information

Choosing the level of your walks

Our easy grading system shows whether a region offer gentle strolls or more challenging routes to help you choose the right holiday for you. Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we grade our walks 1 to 5 (where 1 is easy and 5 hard). Our challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £418.00 - 3 to 7 nights


Prices are per person

Holiday overview

Children Aged 5 and Under Go FREE

With outstanding Exmoor scenery right on the doorstep, Holnicote House's extensive lawns are ideal for games, while the outdoor swimming pool is always well used on our family holidays. This area is a must for wildlife lovers with the chance to spot wild deer and ponies. 

I thoroughly recommend the break
... and would love to go again

Emma Bradley: Emma and 3 family blogger

In the heart of a 12,500 acre estate in the Exmoor National Park, Holnicote House has extensive grounds and an outdoor heated pool, making an ideal location for our guided family walking holidays. 

Adventure highlights

  • Choice of up to 4 walks per day
  • Take the cliff railway up from Lynmouth to Lynton and explore The Valley of Rocks
  • Spot red deer and ponies as you walk up Selworthy Beacon
  • Enjoy a beach game, visit a falconry centre and take a steam train ride
  • Views stretching all the way to Wales

In pictures...


HF Holidays' Holnicote House in Selworthy

As a historic National Trust property, Holnicote House is full of charm and character. Located on the extensive Holnicote Estate, at the foot of Exmoor, it is well suited to a relaxing holiday.

Holnicote House has 32 newly refurbished bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the thatched cottages, called Butlers and Guns, in the grounds.


'Good' Rooms 

These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:

  • Check in from 2:30pm
  • Tea and coffee-making facilities
  • 23 inch TV
  • Toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Free WiFi

'Better' Rooms 

These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:

  • Early check in from 1pm
  • Tea & Coffee making facilities
  • Fluffy bathrobe & slippers
  • 32 inch TV
  • More luxurious mattress
  • Enhanced toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Smalls drying rack
  • Free WiFi

Only an extra £15 per person per night

'Best' Rooms 

These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:

  • Recently refurbished to an exceptional standard
  • Large rooms
  • Stunning views of the surrounding area
  • Early check in from 1pm
  • Tea & Coffee making facilities
  • Fluffy bathrobe & slippers
  • 32 inch TV
  • More luxurious mattress
  • Enhanced toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Smalls drying rack
  • Free WiFi

Only an extra £20 per person per night

Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.

At the house

  • Excellent boot and drying rooms
  • Two lounges
  • Dining rooms
  • Bar
  • Ballroom
  • Free WiFi available in some public rooms
  • Range of board games and books
  • Heated outdoor swimming pool
    (open May to September
  • Croquet lawn


An example of Selworthy evening mealAll holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.

Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
 Take your fill from our famous self-service picnic lunches
A relaxed social dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses

Your evenings

Make the most of your evening or join us at the barJust relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.

All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.


More details on Selworthy accessibility

Additional information

  • Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
  • Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
  • Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
  • Information can be provided in large print
  • Staff have received disability awareness training
  • Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
  • Fridge for medication can be supplied


Two teenage boys about to go walkingFamily-friendly walks

Our family holidays offer the choice of up to 4 guided walks each day  – you can choose an Easier Walk one day and switch to a Harder Walk the next. Our routes range from short strolls that are ideal for little legs, to longer walks that will appeal to active teenagers. 

  • Adventure: each day choose from up to 4 different guided walks, with opportunities for longer walks on Exmoor or along the coast 
  • Peace of mind: only families can book on our dedicated Family holidays - the kids get the run of the Country House in a safe environment
  • Free day: on our 7 night holidays, enjoy a day without walks to get out and make the most of the nearby family-friendly attractions

Family adventures lineSelworthy village and our first taste of the coast

Available on Sun 28 July, Sun 4 Aug, Sun 11 Aug, Sun 18 Aug

Option 1: Hurlstone Point & Owl Centre

Children on Allerford bridge

Distance: 4.5 miles (7km) 

Total ascent: 960 feet (300m)

The walk in a nutshell: We begin our holiday with a walk out to Hurlstone Point before a visit to the Hawk and Owl Centre at Lynch. The walk returns via Allerford with an optional extension to the village of Selworthy for ice cream if little legs are long enough.

Don’t miss: Trying to spot Hedwig at the Exmoor
Hawk and Owl Centre at Lynch.

Option 2: Hurlstone Point & Selworthy

Selworthy Church

Distance: 6 miles (9½km) 

Total ascent: 1,550 feet (460m) 

The walk in a nutshell: Walk out to the old coastguard station at Hurlstone Point on this circular walk from Holnicote House, with breathtaking views from the cliff top. We see an ancient packhorse bridge at Allerford then follow woodland paths to the National Trust’s Selworthy village, with time to explore.

Don’t miss: 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

View from Selworthy Beacon

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (330m)

The walk in a nutshell: Take an old packhorse track to the village of Selworthy with its thatched cottage and the white church. From here we climb to the top of Selworthy Beacon before returning through the woods to Holnicote House. 

Don’t miss: Selworthy Beacon is the real 'high point' of the day with great views over the Bristol Channel.

Option 4: Atop the Beacon

View from Selworthy Beacon

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total ascent: 1,300 feet (390m)

The walk in a nutshell: A hilltop walk with fine views. We climb up through the woods onto Bossington Hill, before taking a meandering path onto North Hill and Selworthy Beacon itself. Dropping steeply to the village of Selworthy, we can visit the church or enjoy an ice cream and tea. 

Don’t miss: An opportunity to stride out and explore the splendid scenery of Selworthy Beacon.

Lynmouth and Watersmeet

Available on Mon 29 July, Mon 5 Aug, Mon 12 Aug, Mon 19 Aug

Option 1: Valley of Rocks

Lynmouth cliff railway

Distance: 3 miles (5km) 

Total ascent: 400 feet (120m)

The walk in a nutshell: Ride the amazing water powered funicular railway to Lynton, then walk the Crinoline Path to the Valley of Rocks, with its fascinating huge rock formations which draw visitors from all over. We walk back to Lynton, and down into Lynmouth. 

Don’t miss: The cliff railway is an exciting way to start the walk. Later, keep your eyes peeled for the wild goats that live on the steep hillsides near the Valley of Rocks.

Option 2: Oare Church


Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (150m) 

The walk in a nutshell: Starting high on Exmoor we'll visit Oare Church, famous for its wedding scene in the book Lorna Doone. We follow the Oare Water to Malmsmead, before joining the East Lyn River on its tumbling journey to the National Trust centre at Watersmeet.

Don’t miss: Walk in the footsteps of Lorna Doone, the heroine of RD Blackmore's novel. We'll stop at Oare church, the scene of the wedding between Lorna and John Ridd.

Option 3: Doone Valley

Exmoor Pony

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 900 feet (270m)

The walk in a nutshell: Starting high up at County Gate, we'll head to the pretty hamlet of Malmsmead, then follow Badgworthy Water up “the Doone Valley” to the site of an abandoned medieval village. Crossing the wild moorland we end with the descent to the East Lyn River and Watersmeet.

Don’t miss: Our walks end at the National Trust's tearoom at Watersmeet. This is the confluence of the East Lyn and Farley Water; a delightful spot set in beautiful wooded valley

Option 4: Wilds of Exmoor

Hoaroak Water at Watersmeet

Distance: 11 miles (17½km)

Total ascent: 900 feet (270m)

The walk in a nutshell: Walk in Lorna Doone country and along Badgworthy Water. We'll cross the high moor before joining the Two Moors Way, approaching Watersmeet with good views of the Hoaroak Water as it tumbles down through rocky crevices.

Don’t miss: An opportunity to step off the beaten track and discover the wild corners of Exmoor. Enjoy great views as you cross the high moors.

Dunster Castle, the beach and a railway ride  

Available on Tues 16 April, Wed 29 May, Wed 31 July,  Wed 7 Aug, Wed 14 Aug, Wed 21 Aug

Option 1: Train ride and coast path

Steam train on West Somerset Railway

Distance: 4 miles (6½km)

Total ascent: 300 feet (90m)

The walk in a nutshell: Today's adventure starts with a train ride to Blue Anchor Bay where we can enjoy good views across to Wales. We walk from the coast to Dunster via field paths to meet the other groups. 

Don’t miss: A stroll along the promenade and a play on the beach at Blue Anchor Bay.

Option 2: Selworthy to Dunster

Dunster Castle

Distance: 5 miles (8km) 

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m) 

The walk in a nutshell: A circular walk from and back to Dunster. We walk through the deer park to Withycombe Hill Gate. We return by fields and woodland to Dunster.                                                

Don’t miss: Deer spotting - will you be lucky and spot one?

Option 3: Luccombe to Dunster

Two girls going walking

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 1,300 feet (400m)

The walk in a nutshell: We walk to Selworthy village, before a gradual ascent onto Wootton Common. Down through the woods and we are in Dunster with its castle and stunning village.

Don’t miss: From Grabbist Hill we get good views across to Minehead, the Bristol Channel all the way to South Wales.

Option 4: Luccombe, Wootton Courtenay and Dunster

Red Deer

Distance: 9 miles (15½km)

Total ascent: 1,300 feet (390m)

The walk in a nutshell: Walking from Holnicote House, we go via the pretty village of Luccombe up to Webber's Post. A stiff climb brings us onto Wootton Common and eventually into Dunster.

Don't miss: A good path with great views follows, gently descending to Wootton Courtenay.

Over the cliffs to Lynmouth

Available on Wed 17 April, Thurs 30 May, Thurs 1 Aug, Thurs 8 Aug, Thurs 15 Aug, Thurs 22 Aug

Option 1: Watersmeet

Cottage at Watersmeet

Distance: 3 miles (5km) 

Total ascent: 100 feet (30m)

The walk in a nutshell: Starting high on the cliffs at Barna Barrow, we descend through woodland to Watersmeet with its National Trust tea room and shop. We follow the East Lyn River into Lynmouth.

Don’t miss: There's plenty of time to enjoy this beautiful wooded valley. Stop to play hide and seek, or paddle in the stream, before continuing to the beach at Lynmouth.

Option 2: Countisbury Hill

Children on a bench looking down Countisbury Hill

Distance: 6 miles (9½km) 

Total ascent: 700 feet (210m) 

The walk in a nutshell: Walk via fields over Countisbury Common to join the South West Coast Path. Pass the lighthouse at Foreland Point with its disused lighthouse then continue over the highest cliffs in England on to Lynmouth.

Don’t miss: Lynmouth is a great spot to end our walk. Enjoy ice creams or one of the many tea rooms, or explore the rockpools on the beach.

Option 3: Around Lynton

Valley of Rocks

Distance: 8 miles (13½km)

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (330m)

The walk in a nutshell: Take the zig-zag path down from Countisbury Hill to Watersmeet. We'll continue along the hillside to the Victorian town of Lynton, before continuing to the Valley of Rocks and a return along the coast path.

Don’t miss: The Valley of Rocks is a local beauty spot with its own herd of wild goats who roam the precipitous hillsides.

Option 4: Lynmouth Coastline

View down Countisbury Hill

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total ascent: 1,600 feet (480m)

The walk in a nutshell: Follow the glorious coastal path down Countisbury Hill to Lynmouth, then on to the Valley of Rocks and Lee Bay. We return along an elevated path to Lynmouth

Don’t miss: Soak up the classic view of Lynton and Lynmouth as you walk down Countisbury Hill. This walk has steep ascents and descents, but passes through spectacular scenery.

Local villages or Dunkery Beacon

Available on Thurs 18 April, Fri 31 May, Fri 2 Aug, Fri 9 Aug, Fri 16 Aug, Fri 23 Aug

Option 1: Luccombe & Horner

Group of family walkers

Distance: 4 miles (6½km) 

Total ascent: 400 feet (120m)

The walk in a nutshell: Walk via local estate roads and lanes to the pretty village of Luccombe then on to Horner with its tea gardens.  We return to Holnicote House after visiting Piles Mill, an old 17th century corn mill, with plenty of time for a last swim

Don’t miss: A relaxing end to the holiday with gentle gradients and picturesque villages.

Option 2: Horner Hill

Family group on a wooded path

Distance: 6 miles (9½km) 

Total ascent: 600 feet (180m) 

The walk in a nutshell: After visiting Horner, we climb Horner Hill to Webber’s Post (a great view point). A short stretch on a level path follows, before dropping to the National Trust village of Luccombe, and back to Holnicote House.

Don’t miss: Look out for Exmoor ponies around Webber's Post. If you're very lucky you may even spot Red Deer on the slopes of Dunkery Beacon.

Option 3: Dunkery Beacon

Summit of Dunkery Beacon

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

The walk in a nutshell: Starting from Wheddon Cross, we walk to Dunkery Beacon - the highest point on Exmoor. Then it’s downhill nearly all the way with a stop for ice creams at the tea gardens in Horner.

Don’t miss: The great sense of achievement as you climb the final steps to the summit and become the highest person on Exmoor!

Option 4: Over the Beacon

View from Dunkery Beacon

Distance: 12 miles (19km)

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (330m)

The walk in a nutshell: The longest walk of the week from Exford to the top of Dunkery Beacon, but well worth the challenge! The descent takes us via the smallest and remotest church on the moor at Stoke Pero and the tea gardens at Horner. 

Don’t miss: On a clear day the extensive view stretches south to Dartmoor, and north across the Bristol Channel to the Gower and Brecon Beacons.

Holiday Information

Terrain and transport: Family and Easier Walks have gentle gradients. Medium Walks are on undulating paths. Harder Walks follow undulating paths with steeper sections.

On some days the walks start or finish at Holnicote House; on other days we use hired transport at the start and/or end of the walks. The cost of all transport to and from the walks is included in the price of your holiday.

Family playing JengaActivities at Holnicote House: 

Your leaders will inform you about the choice of walks for the next day and answer any questions you may have. After a sociable evening meal you could join in an evening activity created specifically for all the family or use the Country House facilities.



Family adventures line

Local area

Discover Exmoor

During your stay at Holnicote House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest, either in your free time, or on your journey to and from Selworthy:

Thatched cottage in Selworthy villageSelworthy Village
Less than a mile from Holnicote House is Selworthy village. At first glance the thatched cottages seem typical of many ancient settlements in this area. However, Selworthy is not as old as it looks, having been rebuilt in 1828 by Sir Thomas Acland. Sir Thomas was a philanthropist and designed the 'model' village himself to provide housing for the aged and infirm of the estate. He used traditional designs and materials to create a deliberately old-fashioned village. 

Green steam locomotive on West Somerset RailwayWest Somerset Railway
Travel on Britain’s longest steam railway from Minehead to Bishops Lydyard. Now lovingly restored by volunteers, the line recreates a classic Great Western Railway branch line with steam trains operating daily from April to October. Minehead station is 10 minutes' drive from Selworthy, or can be reached on the number 300 bus. www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk


Dunster Castle and its surrounding parklandDunster Castle

An historic castle transformed into a comfortable stately home for the Luttrell family. Some highlights include the 'modern' 1950s kitchen and the snooker room. Dunster Castle sits in extensive gardens, complete with its working watermill. The adjacent town of Dunster is full of character and also well worth a visit. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunster-castle


Lynton & Lynmouth
The quaint Victorian town of Lynton sits high on a hill, overlooking the coast and Lynmouth harbour. The two settlements are connected by the historic cliff railway. The short walk from Lynton to the Valley of Rocks is highly recommended.

Coleridge Cottage
The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) and his wife Sara lived in the village of Nether Stowey, about 45 minutes' drive from Selworthy, from 1796 to 1799. In 1909 it was acquired by the National Trust, and later restored and opened to the public. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coleridge-cottage

Hestercombe Gardens
Hestercombe Gardens, around an hour's drive away near Taunton, were constructed in three periods - a landscape garden from the 1750s, a Victorian terrace and shrubbery from the 1870s, and Edwardian gardens of 1904-1908 designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. www.hestercombe.com

Exterior of Arlington Court National Trust houseArlington Court
Arlington Court, about an hour's drive away near Barnstaple is a fine Regency house set in an extensive estate. The grounds include a formal Victorian garden whilst the stables house the National Trust’s carriage collection of over fifty horse-drawn vehicles. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/arlington-court


Travel to Holnicote House

Our address is: Holnicote House, Selworthy, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8TJ

How to get to us by train

By train:

The nearest railway station is at Taunton. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.

Get to us by Taxi

By taxi:

The 29 mile journey from Taunton railway station takes approximately 50 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £56 per taxi. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Holnicote House Manager.


By bus:

The number 28 bus operates between Taunton station and Minehead. At Minehead change for the number 10 bus that will take you to the Selworthy turn (which is at the end of Holnicote House drive). A 2 minute walk along the drive will bring you to the house. Alternatively pre-book a taxi from Minehead; the 4½ mile journey will cost you approx £10 from our recommended taxi provider. For bus times see www.traveline.info

Driving to us

By car:

From Bridgewater take the A39 though the southern outskirts of Minehead towards Porlock. Holnicote House is on the left about 4½ miles out of Minehead, and about ¾ mile after the signpost to Luccombe (do not follow the signs to Selworthy). After the Selworthy Village sign look out for our sign 500 yards further on, on the left. Free car parking is available in the grounds.

 Travel by plane

Travelling from Overseas

For most guests, travelling to London Heathrow airport is the most convenient option.

From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. From here there are direct trains to Taunton. Its a relatively straightforward journey - allow 2½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.

Bristol Airport may also be convenient for some guests. Take the train to Taunton 

From Taunton you can travel on to Selworthy by bus or taxi (see above).


Read more reviews from feefo

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Buy today for Book
3 Aug 2019 SLFAM - Exmoor Family Walking Adventure - Selworthy 7 £929.00 £928.00 Under 6 Go Free 6-17 From £49 Call Reservations To Book 020 8732 1250 Book Now
3 Aug 2019 SLFAM - Exmoor Family Walking Adventure - Selworthy 3 £419.00 £418.00 Under 6 Go Free 6-17 From £21 Call Reservations To Book 020 8732 1250 Book Now
6 Aug 2019 SLFAM - Exmoor Family Walking Adventure - Selworthy 4 £579.00 £578.00 Under 6 Go Free 6-17 From £28 Call Reservations To Book 020 8732 1250 Book Now
10 Aug 2019 SLFAM - Exmoor Family Walking Adventure - Selworthy 7 £929.00 £928.00 Under 6 Go Free 6-17 From £49 Call Reservations To Book 020 8732 1250 Book Now
20 Aug 2019 SLFAM - Exmoor Family Walking Adventure - Selworthy 4 £579.00 £578.00 Under 6 Go Free 6-17 From £28 Call Reservations To Book 020 8732 1250 Book Now

Prices are per person

Sign up for our newsletter

Our newsletters are a great way to receive special offers, inspiring articles, stories and news from HF Holidays.

To subscribe, please enter your email address below and click 'submit'.

We won't pass your details on to any third party unless we have your express permission, you are free to unsubscribe at any time.