4-Night Exmoor Through a Lens

Widlife - Exmoor Ponies - AdobeStock_285304948.jpeg
Duration: 4 nights
Interests: Photography Holidays

Explore the charming villages surrounding Selworthy which are full of character and charm. Traditional thatched cottages, pretty gardens and village greens will help create your own ‘picture postcards’. Work out how best to capture the grandeur of Dunster Castle and the winding streets of Watchet. Test your skills on the bay at Minehead or try your hand at photographing the steam trains on the West Somerset Railway. The Valley of Rocks near Lynton will produce some beautiful coastal scenes; wild goats provide a nice subject for the foreground. There are photographic opportunities to suit all interests, with plenty of scope to practise different techniques.

Holiday Highlights

  • Spend most of the day outdoors seeking out the best light compositions
  • Be guided and encouraged by your professional HF Holidays Leader
  • Visit the most inspirational vistas that surround the country house

What’s included

  • High-quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
  • Guidance and tuition from a knowledgeable HF Holidays Leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
  • All essential transport to photography locations, via mini-coach or other modes of transport (e.g. boat)

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

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


Focusing on pretty thatched cottages, stunning coastal vistas and an idyllic harbour.

Our day begins with tuition on aperture, depth of field, and focus. We'll then take the short walk to Selworthy village with its thatched cottages, pretty gardens around a village green, a whitewashed church and views of the valley and hills. For the rest of the day our exploration will continue around the beautiful Holnicote Estate.


Shooting steam trains, a castle and an old port.

Our tuition today concentrates on exposure compensation and metering.  Our first location of the day is Minehead, a vibrant Somerset coastal destination with stunning scenery and the longest heritage steam railway in the country.  From there we continue to Watchet, a charming little coastal town with an active marina and an old port with quaint houses. Our final visit is the medieval village of Dunster with a castle dramatically sited on a wooded hill. The castle has existed here since at least Norman times, with an impressive medieval gatehouse and ruined tower giving a reminder of its turbulent history.


Capturing ancient woodlands and high cliffs on camera.

Today's tuition is about composition, the Mode dial and the effect of shutter speeds. Our first visit of the day is to two villages on the coast, Lynton and Lynmouth, known by the Victorians as Little Switzerland. The two villages are linked by a famous cliff railway, well worth a ride, giving views over Lynmouth bay and towards the South Wales coast. We continue along the coastal path to the Valley of Rocks with wonderful scenery and flocks of wild goats, then to Watersmeet, one of the largest remaining ancient woodlands in the south west. Here the East Lyn River cascades through the woodland, meeting Farley Water and giving the site its name. The site has a diverse breeding bird community, including ravens, redstarts, pied flycatchers and all three woodpeckers.


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

Following the relaxation in government guidance on 19 July, we are continuing to take extra steps to keep our guests leaders, and staff safe in our HF country houses. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not in sync, so measures in our country houses will vary between the nations. With the relaxation of social distancing in England, from 19 July we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together. However, we will still give guests space e.g. we will seat 6 people at a table where pre-pandemic we may have seated 8. We will ensure our public rooms are well ventilated by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If you have any concerns about distancing, please speak to the House Manager. The government recommendation for England is to wear face coverings in crowded areas.

In Scotland and Wales physical distancing is still in place so this will be adhered to indoors and outdoors. Guests will need to wear face masks in public areas except when eating and drinking. The Scottish and Welsh governments are reviewing their guidance in August and we will adapt our measures in line with any updated guidance at this time.

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 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. Menus for the week will be available in your room on arrival. A self-service breakfast will be served from 7.45am – 9am. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. Evening meals will be table service. A dinner order form will be available in each room for completion. Dinner is served at either 7.15pm or 7.30pm. Please check at the house for details. The bar will be open. We will be offering a table service but guests can also come to the bar to order (depending on local restrictions).

At this time the evening social programme has been replaced by individual or small group walks talks which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options with leaders. All of our swimming pools have opened as planned, except for Brecon and Glen Coe, which have delayed pool re-openings. Guests may need to book a time when they wish to swim (30-minute slots) if the number of guests exceeds the pool capacity. 

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 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

  • Camera and a selection of lenses if you have them (e.g. wide-angle, telephoto, macro, etc.)
  • Spare battery and charger
  • Your camera's instruction manual
  • Laptop for reviewing, editing and sharing photos (not essential but good to have!)

Other optional camera kit may include tripods, Neutral Density filters, waterproof coverings for your camera, a spare memory card or a laptop for reviewing and editing images. Please feel free to bring any other items you use which are additional to this list. 

You will be outdoors for the majority of this holiday, walking up to three miles each day (with some ascent and descent) carrying your kit. Please be sure to bring suitable outdoor clothing, sturdy boots and waterproofs to contend with our changeable British weather!

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) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2021
17 Aug - 21 Aug 2021
4 Photography £619 £579 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
Duration:
4 nights
Interests:
Photography Holidays

Fully Booked

020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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