Lorna Doone's Exmoor
Visit places featured in Blackmore’s famous novel
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Hills & moorland
The dramatic landscape of Exmoor leant much inspiration to Lorna Doone author R. D Blackmore when he was crafting his masterpiece. Journey to the Doone Valley where the robbers had their lair, see the church where Lorna was shot on her wedding day, and travel to Blundell’s school; where the story begins.
- Lorna Doone statue in Dulverton
- Valley of the Rocks, setting for part of the novel
- Dunkery Beacon, the "haighest place of Hexmoor"
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
- Full programme of excursions and visits
- The guidance and services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
- All transport on touring days on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach
- All admissions to places of interest that form part of your holiday itinerary, except for National Trust or English Heritage properties
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.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:
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
|All 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.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
- 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
Our Heritage Tours are your opportunity to immerse yourself in an area of history that interests you, at the same time as exploring the local area with a group of like-minded people. Each day our leaders will provide fascinating commentary on the places visited and share their knowledge with you. This holiday involves active sightseeing; including walks of up to 2 miles on level ground (3.5km).
All admissions to places of interest that form part of your holiday itinerary, except for National Trust or English Heritage properties
You can check-in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better and best rooms from 1pm). All guests are invited to join us for afternoon tea.
Blundell’s School and Dulverton
We start our day where the story begins ... Blackmore was a pupil at Blundell’s school and it was here that he set a fight between John Ridd and Robin Snell in the novel. We continue to Dulverton to see a statue of Lorna Doone located outside the Exmoor National Park Head Quarters.
Porlock and the Valley of the Rocks
Some say that RD Blackmore wrote part of Lorna Doone from the Three Horseshoes Inn in Porlock and we've time to explore here. We spend the rest of the day visiting some of the settings for the novel, including the Valley of the Rocks.
Doone Valley, Oare Church and Dunkery Beacon
We head to Doone Valley, also known as Badgworthy Valley, where we’ll visit Oare church, where Blackmore’s father was once a rector. This church was the setting for marriage between Lorna Doone and John Ridd in the novel. Our day ends at Dunkery Beacon, described by John Fry in the novel as “haighest place of Hexmoor”.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
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:
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.
West 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
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.
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, 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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
Pat is a Blue Badge guide who has lived in Cornwall for over 20 years, and is fascinated by discovering history through the landscape, especially the southern regions of the UK, with their wealth of special stories, flora and fauna to be uncovered. Before retiring Pat was a special needs teacher in Cornwall and other parts of the country.
Pat has an excellent knowledge of the area and is a very good and likeable leader.