Wordsworth & Coleridge on Exmoor

Malmsmead Bridge on Exmoor National Park
Duration: 3 nights
Interests: Heritage Tours

William Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy and Samuel Taylor Coleridge drew inspiration from the wild moors and the rolling hills of Exmoor romantic landscape.

Holiday Highlights

  • Coleridge's House in Nether Stowey
  • Watchet Harbour and its memorial to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • The Old Ship in Porlock, where the trio used to stay

What’s included

  • 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, as well as all other transport required as part of your holiday itinerary
  • All admissions to places of interest that form part of your holiday itinerary, except for National Trust or English Heritage properties

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2.30pm (1pm for better and best rooms). Please join us for afternoon tea.


A journey to Nether Stowey leads us to Coleridge Cottage (National Trust) where romantic poet Samual Taylor Coleridge spent three of his most productive writing years. You can visit the room where he wrote ‘Frost at Midnight’ – inspired by the cold conditions of the cottage in deepest winter. Coleridge’s friend Wordsworth often came to visit and they both enjoyed walks in the surrounding countryside, drawing inspiration from the natural world. We then move on to Watchet Harbour which is believed to have inspired him to write ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ – his famous tale about a sailor who suffered the consequences of shooting an albatross. 


We’ll travel to the pretty ‘chocolate box’ coastal town of Porlock. Here we’ll explore the history behind the phrase ‘person from Porlock’ and how an unwelcome visitor may have changed the direction of Coleridge’s ‘Kubla Khan’. We’ll also visit the Ship Inn – a 13th century coaching inn where Coleridge sometimes used to stay with his friends William and Dorothy Wordsworth. The inn is one of the oldest in the UK and is said to be haunted. Coleridge used to enjoy eating ‘potter laver’ here – a local dish made from seaweed.

Next we will move on to the tiny Hamlet of Culbone, accessible only via a footpath through the woods. In 1798 Coleridge walked here from Nether Stowey – some 20 miles – and stayed the night at a nearby farm. After taking opium, it was here that he began writing his great poem ‘Kubla Khan’.


Depart after a leisurely breakfast.


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.

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, larger television, enhanced toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe & slippers – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 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

10684_0056 Holnicote House - Exterior

Getting to Holnicote House

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

More Information

Guest Reviews

Duration:
3 nights
Interests:
Heritage Tours

3 nights from 0pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

Add to wishlist Added to wishlist