4-Night Exmoor Christmas & New Year Guided Walking Holiday

Exmoor_Selworthy_Beacon_AdobeStock_41761337.jpeg
Duration: 4 nights
Type: Guided Walking
Walking Grade: 1, 2 & 3
from £799pp

Stay in the heart of Exmoor National Park, with the sweeping hills, wooded combes and glorious seascapes. Spend the festive season in Exmoor, socialising and walking in this beautiful place. There’s something magical about walking in winter. Whether it’s the frosty footsteps, the clear crisp air, or the breathtaking views, it’s a wonderful time to go walking. Join our festive breaks and choose from a guided walking holiday in the company of one of our knowledgeable leaders. We pull out all the stops on our festive holidays, with fabulous food, lots of seasonal entertainment and great walks and activities. The walks are tailored to the time of year and will remain flexible to suit the weather conditions. Each day three grades of walk will be offered. So wrap up warm, lace up your boots and go for an invigorating walk.

Holiday Highlights

  • Head out on guided walks to discover the varied beauty of Exmoor on foot
  • Plenty of exercise to walk off the festive excesses
  • Admire panoramic moorland views and expansive seascapes
  • Let an experienced leader bring classic routes and offbeat areas to life
  • A choice of guided walks in spectacular winter scenery
  • Look out for wildlife, find secret corners and learn about the history of the moors and coastline
  • Discover the clarity of the night sky in this International Dark Sky Reserve
  • A relaxed pace of discovery in a sociable group keen to get some fresh air in one of England’s most beautiful walking areas
  • Evenings in our country house where you can share a drink, celebrate and re-live the day’s adventures
  • Relax, soak up the party atmosphere, enjoy wonderful festive fare and leave all the organising to us

What’s included

  • Wonderful meals – full selection at breakfast, your choice of picnic lunch, an excellent evening meal, afternoon tea and cakes every day, and plenty of festive sweets and nuts
  • A programme of organised walks and activities
  • The services of experienced HF Holidays’ guides
  • A packed programme of evening activities offering something festive for everyone, including some old HF favourites
  • Any transport to and from the walks

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice. Some of our breaks have more than one itinerary. To check which itinerary is running on your holiday date please refer to the Dates, Prices & Trip Notes tab.

Our House Manager and leaders are busy putting together a unique programme of walks and social activities, and look forward to welcoming you on your holiday.

See Dates, Prices & Trip Note tab to check which itinerary is running

You're welcome to check in from 1pm onwards.

Enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival.


Option 1 - Exploring Porlock Vale

Distance: 6½ miles (10.5km) 

Ascent: 900 feet (260m)

In Summary: This is a relaxed circular walk across fields and minor roads to visit Porlock and then back along the coast and passing near the charming villages of Bossington and Allerford.

Highlight: The village of Porlock is a great place to visit with it's church, museum, shops and cafes. 

Option 2 - Hawkcombe & Porlock

Distance: 8 miles (13km) 

Ascent: 1050 feet (320m)

In Summary: The walk heads through Hawkcombe Wood nature reserve, before reaching the village of Porlock and then heading out to the spectacular Hurlstone Point, before heading inland and back to the house.

Highlight: Hurlstone point offers great coastal views.

Option 3 - Hills and Wooded Valleys

Distance: 9½ miles (15km) 

Total ascent: 1,700 feet (520m) 

In Summary 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. 

Highlight: Walk across a carpet of purple heather on the moors then descend into the lush green wooded valleys. 


Option 1 - Hurlstone Point, Bossington and Selworthy

Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)

Ascent: 800 feet (240m)  

In Summary: 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, with time to explore.

Highlight: Wander through the once extensive Holnicote Estate to the 'model village' of Selworthy, with its collection of 'chocolate box' thatched cottages. 

Option 2 - Selworthy Beacon Circuit

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Ascent: 1,550 feet (480m)

In Summary: Our circuit from Holnicote House ascends through the woods to the top of Selworthy Beacon. Having followed the hill-top path we'll return through the fields to Selworthy village.

Highlight: Discover St Agnes Fountain, a small spring dating from 1820, hidden in the beautiful wooded slopes of Selworthy Beacon.

Option 3 - Somerset Coast Path

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Ascent: 1,300 feet (380m) 

In Summary: Head through the woods to Hurlstone Point, then along the rugged coastal path that meanders along the northern slopes of Selworthy Beacon. We'll then ascend onto the summit and return via Selworthy village.

Highlight: This section of the coast path has a real 'away from it all' feel as it traverses around three deep combes above the sea.


Option 1 - Washford to Dunster

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Ascent: 210 feet (65m) 

In Summary: We start with a visit to the Railway Museum, followed by a gentle walk along Monks Path and crossing countryside before either a choice in exploring the nature reserve or carrying on to explore the historic town of Dunster.

Highlight: A lot to explore if there is time the various places. End the walk with a coffee and cake at Dunster!

Option 2 - Tivington Hill & Dunster

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Ascent: 1200 feet (360m)

In Summary: Heading straight out from Holnicote House, we follow the track and road to Headon Cross where we will see the pretty colours of the hamlet of Tivington Heights. We then head up through a mixed broadleaf wood onto the ridge line of Wootton Common before descending Grabbist Hill to the medieval village of Dunster.

Highlight: Look out for red deer on your journey across this broad ridge line, although illusive, you may hear the loud barking call of the stags especially during rutting season.

Option 3 - Over the hills to Dunster

Distance: 8½ miles (14km) 

Ascent: 1,550 feet (480m)

In Summary: Walk from Holnicote House to historic Dunster. Our route takes us through the woods to the viewpoint at Webber's Post, then enjoy the fine views as we follow the ridge over Wootton Common. 

Highlight: Dunster Castle was the home of the Luttrell family for over 600 years, and is now managed by the National Trust.


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.


Our House Manager and leaders are busy putting together a unique programme of walks and social activities, and look forward to welcoming you on your holiday.

See Dates, Prices & Trip Note tab to check which itinerary is running

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

Enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival.


Option 1 - Washford to Dunster

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Ascent: 210 feet (65m) 

In Summary: We start with a visit to the Railway Museum, followed by a gentle walk along Monks Path and crossing countryside before either a choice in exploring the nature reserve or carrying on to explore the historic town of Dunster.

Highlight: A lot to explore if there is time the various places. End the walk with a coffee and cake at Dunster!

Option 2 - Tivington Hill & Dunster

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Ascent: 1200 feet (360m)

In Summary: Heading straight out from Holnicote House, we follow the track and road to Headon Cross where we will see the pretty colours of the hamlet of Tivington Heights. We then head up through a mixed broadleaf wood onto the ridge line of Wootton Common before descending Grabbist Hill to the medieval village of Dunster.

Highlight: Look out for red deer on your journey across this broad ridge line, although illusive, you may hear the loud barking call of the stags especially during rutting season.

Option 3 - Over the hills to Dunster

Distance: 8½ miles (14km) 

Ascent: 1,550 feet (480m)

In Summary: Walk from Holnicote House to historic Dunster. Our route takes us through the woods to the viewpoint at Webber's Post, then enjoy the fine views as we follow the ridge over Wootton Common. 

Highlight: Dunster Castle was the home of the Luttrell family for over 600 years, and is now managed by the National Trust.


Option 1 - Hurlstone Point, Bossington and Selworthy

Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)

Ascent: 800 feet (240m)  

In Summary: 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, with time to explore.

Highlight: Wander through the once extensive Holnicote Estate to the 'model village' of Selworthy, with its collection of 'chocolate box' thatched cottages. 

Option 2 - Selworthy Beacon Circuit

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Ascent: 1,550 feet (480m)

In Summary: Our circuit from Holnicote House ascends through the woods to the top of Selworthy Beacon. Having followed the hill-top path we'll return through the fields to Selworthy village.

Highlight: Discover St Agnes Fountain, a small spring dating from 1820, hidden in the beautiful wooded slopes of Selworthy Beacon.

Option 3 - Somerset Coast Path

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Ascent: 1,300 feet (380m) 

In Summary: Head through the woods to Hurlstone Point, then along the rugged coastal path that meanders along the northern slopes of Selworthy Beacon. We'll then ascend onto the summit and return via Selworthy village.

Highlight: This section of the coast path has a real 'away from it all' feel as it traverses around three deep combes above the sea.


Option 1 - Exploring Porlock Vale

Distance: 6½ miles (10.5km) 

Ascent: 900 feet (260m)

In Summary: This is a relaxed circular walk across fields and minor roads to visit Porlock and then back along the coast and passing near the charming villages of Bossington and Allerford.

Highlight: The village of Porlock is a great place to visit with it's church, museum, shops and cafes. 

Option 2 - Hawkcombe & Porlock

Distance: 8 miles (13km) 

Ascent: 1050 feet (320m)

In Summary: The walk heads through Hawkcombe Wood nature reserve, before reaching the village of Porlock and then heading out to the spectacular Hurlstone Point, before heading inland and back to the house.

Highlight: Hurlstone point offers great coastal views.

Option 3 - Hills and Wooded Valleys

Distance: 9½ miles (15km) 

Total ascent: 1,700 feet (520m) 

In Summary 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. 

Highlight: Walk across a carpet of purple heather on the moors then descend into the lush green wooded valleys. 


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

Enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival.


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. Unfortunately our pool at Holnicote House will be closed for the duration of 2022 due to extensive maintenance requirements.

Need to know

We appreciate that COVID-19 continues to impact the nations.  The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not always in sync, so measures in our country houses may vary between the nations. We thank all guests for adhering to the measures we have introduced to keep our guests, leaders and team members safe.

You can see our latest FAQs and guarantees at https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/coronavirus-travel-advice 

Ventilation, Physical Distancing Measures and Group Sizes around the Houses

We will keep our public areas well ventilated; for your comfort you might want to pack an extra layer to keep you comfortable.

With the relaxation of physical distancing, we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together.

Hand sanitiser stations will be made available in frequently used public areas for guests and staff use. It is advisable to bring additional hand sanitiser for whilst you are out walking.

We always follow the latest regional government advice, but our one recommendation is don’t forget your face mask! There is no requirement to wear a face covering in communal areas, but you may of course choose to. Some places throughout the UK may still require you to wear a mask even if the government legislation does not. With this in mind we suggest you bring a personal supply of face coverings for the duration of your stay.

Servicing Bedrooms:

At this stage we are not reintroducing our daily room servicing.  Extra tea, coffee, milk, towels and toiletries will be available on request from our team. Bins can be left outside your door for emptying.

COVID-19 Symptoms or Cases 

If a guest has symptoms of COVID-19 then they should inform the house team and immediately self-isolate to minimise any risk of transmission and make arrangements to request a COVID test. If a guest receives a positive test result, they should return home if they reasonably can. They should where possible use private transport but only drive themselves if they can do so safely. If a guest cannot reasonably return home, they should discuss their circumstances with the House Manager. Additional charges may be levied if a guest needs to self-isolate for longer than their planned holiday.

What can you do to help keep everyone safe?

  • Wear a face mask/covering where required and please bring plenty of face coverings for the duration of your stay
  • Carry/use hand sanitiser
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water when possible
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid passing round objects such as cameras & phones
  • If you are displaying symptoms of Coronavirus, please do not travel to an HF Holidays House

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 Classic, Premium and Superior Rooms to choose from: the 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 or 4 to feel suitably special.

All ‘Classic' rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Premium’ and ‘Superior’ 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.

Check in:

Check in opens at 4pm for all guests. Guests will be unable to access any of the Country House facilities, including leaving luggage before 4pm.

We are delighted to invite you to enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival. Relax and meet your fellow guests and leaders. 

Check out:

Check out time: 10am

Please note, you will need to settle your bill before departure and payment will only be possible by card.  Gratuities and donations to the Pathway Fund can also be made by card.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, attractive garden, 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. For something equally relaxing, 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. Please note, the large heated outdoor pool will be out of service during the 2022 season in order to allow for extensive repairs.

Unfortunately our pool at Holnicote House will be closed for the duration of 2022 due to extensive maintenance requirements.

Welcome Information

A Welcome Information Pack providing details about the Country House and your holiday will be available in each bedroom. This personal pack of information will detail what to expect during your stay in the house, the menu for the duration of your stay, dinner & picnic lunch order forms and the guest registration form for completion.

Our houses are locked at night-time and accessible with a door code which is available in the Welcome Pack. However, we also recommend making a note of the Duty Manager number on arrival, in case of an emergency or getting locked out.

Evenings

Join our team after dinner on Wednesday evenings to see if you’ve got the knowledge to triumph in the HF Big Pub Quiz!  There will also be another evening of entertainment at the beginning of the week which will vary depending on the house you are visiting.

If there are leaders resident, they will be available to chat to guests about self-guided walks. You can borrow walking route notes and maps from our Discovery Point.

Walks Talks – Guided Walking Information Briefings

Self-Guided guests are always welcome to join our Guided Walking briefings to hear about the local conditions. 

Our leaders will deliver a Guided Walking Information Briefing on each arrival day before and after dinner followed by a group Walks Talk to let guests know about the following day’s walks. Walks Talks are usually before and after dinner prior to each walking day. The information is repeated so you can join whichever time suits you. 

If you are undecided which walk to do, our leaders will be available in the bar or lounge to answer any questions you might have. Our website contains up-to-date information about the walks for each holiday.

Before you leave for your walk your leader will run through a short safety briefing for the day.

Each day, the latest weather forecast will be displayed for all guests to check to ensure appropriate clothing is worn for the walks.

Please note, if you decide to do your own walks, or you are on a self-guided walking holiday, you must complete an Independent Walker Card each day. These can be found near the Discovery Point in the house.

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. Food at Holnicote House is varied with a strong emphasis on the use of seasonal British produce. Our experienced chefs create each dish using only the freshest ingredients and, when in season, use home grown herbs and vegetables taken from our own gardens to give a true taste of the local area.

Along with many hospitality business across the UK we are presently experiencing disruption to our food and drink supply chain. COVID continues to limit the ability of suppliers to deliver and the war in Ukraine (along with several other global challenges) is impacting availability of many basic products.  We are working hard to ensure that these challenges do not negatively impact your holiday but ask for your understanding should we need to make last minute changes to dishes or menus.

Accessibility

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

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.

Essentials

  • Walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)

Recommended

  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner
  • Sun hat and sunscreen (we may just get lucky and have some festive sunshine!)

Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.

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: £30 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Single Room Double Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2022

23 Dec - 27 Dec 2022

4 nights

Christmas

Single Fully Booked

Double from

£879 pp

Fully Booked

from

£879 pp

Trip Notes Book Now

30 Dec - 03 Jan 2022

4 nights

New Year

Single Fully Booked

Double from

£799 pp

Fully Booked

from

£799 pp

Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
4 nights
Type:
Guided Walking
Walking Grade:
1 & 2

4 nights from £799pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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