Published on May 10th, 2020 | by James Drew


Exmoor in England – A visitor’s paradise

The ongoing coronavirus crisis looks set to cast a long shadow over the summer travel plans for millions of Europeans. Even when current constraints are lifted, restrictions such as the just-announced 14-day quarantine period for visitors to the UK, will make overseas travel difficult. But all is not doom and gloom this summer, writes Martin Banks.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for that much-deserved break (when possible, that is), then look no further than Exmoor in England.

This stunning region in the south-west also gives you a chance to practice the social distancing we’ve all become accustomed to of late.

The reason is that there are few other places in England simply with so much open space. Arguably better known for the moors, the highest regions of Exmoor are sweeping open planes with gorse, heather and wild grasses.

In other words, just the job in respecting the physical distancing mantra that looks set to continue for some time yet.

The region captures the hearts of any who visit and its varied landscape has something for everyone. An outdoor lovers playground, Exmoor attracts those who love to walk, cycle, run, ride or just appreciate the natural world. The small towns and villages dotted across the landscape are oh so pretty, with thatched roofs, pretty gardens and character galore. These include Dunster, probably the largest and most intact medieval village in England.

Dunster Castle (National Trust) sits dramatically on Dunster Tor overlooking the village from where you can take a number of stunning walks into the Exmoor hills. If you are lucky you may catch sight of a red deer or Exmoor pony while England’s tallest tree is in walking distance, as is the start of the South West Coast Path at Minehead and the new Steam Coast BikeTrail.

Another popular attraction in Dunster itself is the iconic octagonal Yarn Market, next to which is the Yarn Market Hotel, an excellent base for exploring the town and the whole area.

A leading Exmoor hotel and 3 star rated by the tourist board, it has 25 en-suite bedrooms and caters for couples and families equally as well as for the small group travel market for which its own transport.

Many of the rooms enjoy spectacular views, one reason why so many of our guests return over and over again. Its restaurant offers good, home cooked food with a variety of choices to cater for all tastes and the ambient surroundings enable guests to relax and unwind at the end of a tiring day exploring.

Aside from the national park, there’s also Dunster Beach nearby, a large expanse of sand and shingle, looking out over the Bristol channel to the Welsh shoreline. The aforementioned world-famous South West Coast Path is the longest waymarked trail in the UK and starts its journey in nearby Minehead. Beyond walking, the varied terrain offers fantastic cycling, horse riding, running, swimming and other adventure sports.

The area is also relatively easy to get to from Belgium, with regular flights to Bristol airport a good option.

It all makes for a great choice for that much-deserved break when the current lockdown restrictions are eventually eased and allow for such travel.

As a local tourist official said, “When people are able to take holidays again, rather than visiting the big cities why not take a break in an area like Exmoor where there is plenty of open countryside and coastal areas with great scenery. It has all the ‘breathing spaces’ you could wish for!”

Further info here.

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