Lynmouth encapsulates the beauty of North Devon, in a quaint picture postcard village that has drawn admirers for decades. Often dubbed Little Switzerland, due to its incomparable beauty and tranquillity, Lynmouth is a timeless village that has recovered from the depths of despair following the floods in 1952.
The village was ravaged by torrents of water during the summer of 1952 but has since been lovingly restored, and a memorial museum now stands proudly in the village, offering a sobering experience of the moments after the floods struck.
What is there to do in Lynmouth and the surrounding area?
Naturally, owing to its rural location and proximity to the centre of Exmoor National Park, Lynmouth is a haven for adventurers. Here you can walk, cycle, ride, fish and much, much more. From the village you can easily access the South West Coast Path, and there is a stunning circular walk taking in the North Devon coastline, the Valley of the Rocks, and Watersmeet. Of course, the heart of Exmoor National Park is packed with hundreds of walking routes, allowing you a diversity of walks. Many of which will take in moorland, woodland, farmland and valleys.
Cycling routes are also prevalent throughout the area, with separate routes available for road and mountain bikes. There will undoubtedly be a route for your requirements from the very challenging, to the very simple. We recommend getting hold of a cycle map from Exmoor National Park which colour codes routes. (Green for easy, through to black for very challenging).
In Lynmouth village centre you will also find a selection of ‘things to do’. The Glen Lyn Gorge offers a peek into the ‘power of water’, and allows you to spin water wheels, fire water cannons and view the hydroelectric turbines (a small admission fee is required). The Lynmouth Flood Memorial Hall is worth popping into, and down by the sea front you will be able to challenge your closest ones to a game of ‘putting’.
And of course the most spectacular attraction in Lynmouth is the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Valley Railway. Powered by water this remarkable piece of engineering will see you gently ascend 862 foot to the town of Lynton.
Once in Lynton you will be able to wander around the cobbled streets, exploring a myriad of boutique shops and grab a few holiday souvenirs. Oddly enough given its location, Lynton is home to a cinema which screens all of the latest blockbuster movies. There is usually one showing per day at 20:00, except for Monday’s when there is an additional showing at 14:30.
Further south along the coastline you can take a day trip to several of the famous coastal destinations including, Woolacombe, Ilfracombe and Croyde. All of these locations will take roughly 30-40 minutes in the car, and potentially longer during the busy summer months. But making that trip will definitely be worth it, to experience the golden sands, and vibrant holiday atmosphere.
Where are the best places to eat and drink in Lynmouth?
Lynmouth is packed with tea rooms, cafes and restaurants to leave you salivating for ever more. Of course no trip to Devon would be complete without a taste of the Devonian Cream Tea. There are several cafes like the Coffee Mill which sit along the quayside and offer outside seating, so you can soak up the sun whilst enjoying your cream tea.
And if you are after some fish and chips by the harbour then the aptly named Fish on the Harbour is a lovely restaurant which offers both takeaway and dining inside.
In terms of restaurants for a lovely evening meal, there are several great options in Lynmouth. The Tors Hotel Restaurant enjoys a stunning view down towards Lynmouth and across the ocean. Perched into the leafy hillside, the restaurant serves a varied menu, consisting of locally sourced produce. The Rising Sun down by the harbour is a charming pub that serves quality local food with a European twist. Again like many of the restaurants, the produce is sourced locally, and your fish has most likely been caught that morning. To avoid disappointment you will need to call early to make a dinner reservation.
Getting to Lynmouth
If you are heading south, Lynmouth is best reached via the A39, but it is fair to say the journey into the village will be one of the most spectacular and difficult driving experiences in the UK. Your route will take you through the heart of the Exmoor National Park. The gradual ascent towards the peak of the national park will reward you with spectacular panoramic views across the Bristol Channel to your right hand side. To the left, far-wide views of Exmoor and the rolling hillsides packed with roaming cattle are sure to leave you scrambling for the camera. (Warning: Watch out for the cattle grids along this route.)
Steep gradients of up to 27% will then greet you as you make the winding journey down towards Lynmouth. Once in the village you will have to navigate your way around the narrow village lanes, before finding your homely cottage waiting for you.