A local’s guide to Lynton and Lynmouth holiday cottages

A local’s guide to Lynton and Lynmouth

Content Team 17 January 2019

Lynton is a beautiful town at the top of a huge hill, linked to the even prettier Lynmouth by a funicular railway. Lynmouth is known nationally as Little Switzerland and its easy to see why with its steep hilly setting characterised by deep woodlands, river gorges and rocky walking trails. It's very reminiscent of Alpine villages you may find in Switzerland.


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The beaches

Food and drink



The shopping



About the town and village:

Lynmouth Harbour

Lynton is set high up, at the top of Glen Lyn Gorge, and its home to a very striking stretch of the South West Coast Path which snakes out of town to the formidable and breathtaking Valley of the Rocks. There’s also an iconic Town Hall which is home to a tiny independent cinema. Lynton also hosts a small knot of shopping streets home to handy high street essentials like a butchers and convenience store, as well as some antique shops and cafes. The upper terminal for the cliff railway is at the centre of the time where you can enjoy views across Lynmouth and the Bristol Channel far below.

Lynmouth straddles the estuary of the East Lyn River that snakes inland up onto Exmoor and is popular with kayaking fans.  The village centres around a tiny harbour and the rocky beach is great for clambering about on. It’s very picturesque and there’s a stone walkway out to the sea too.  The scene is punctuated by the harbour tower and some very old buildings that sit along the roadside. There are some lovely pubs and the Tourist Information Office for Exmoor if you’d like to plan some walks and get some local expert advice. Walk up to Watersmeet from the centre of the village for a spectacular woodland river trek.

The beaches:

Lynmouth Beach

Lynmouth’s beach is beset with large rocks for clambering over and the occasional rock pool. Sunbathers tend towards sitting/lying on the lawn in the nearby park, just metres away. So, whilst the beach isn’t the kind you’d find a promenade, donkey rides and ice creams at, there’s still a walk by the waterside to enjoy. For the nearest sandy stretch of beach to Lynton and Lynmouth, head to Combe Martin (under 13 miles). Much of the coastline west of Lynmouth is made up of unspoilt cliffsides. Other spots to reach the sea at Heddon’s Mouth and Woody Bay both well-loved beauty spots within 5 miles of town. A few miles beyond Combe Martin is the hugely popular Ilfracombe and Watermouth too.

The food and drink:

Watersmeet near Lynmouth

Lynton and Lynmouth have some great restaurants and cafes. There are brilliant gastropubs in the town and quite a few cafes and takeaways too. Some of the establishments get very busy in the summertime so be prepared for long queues on hot weather days. This doesn’t detract from the quality of food and drink in most places, the majority are worth the wait and well-equipped to deal with busy periods.

The Ancient Mariner which is just a few metres from the seafront is an excellent pub for a lunch and a nice pint of local ale or a glass of wine. It’s child friendly and one of the best and most popular in Lynmouth. For a rewarding light lunch and a good cup of tea head up to Watersmeet Lodge, a National Trust-owned café in beautiful surroundings. The Oak Room in Lynton is also a favourite with visitors and locals alike, a quaint small town café that looks after its guests very well and is also open in the evenings on occasion. Just outside of town is the charming Hunters Inn which is a large restaurant and bar, deep in the North Devon countryside. It lies at the head of a circular walk up to Heddon’s Mouth on the coast.

The history:

Historical Lynton and Lynmouth

Lynton and Lynmouth have long been a holiday destination going as far back as the Victorian era. Its cliff railway was built in 1890 and you can tell from the architecture of the grand hotels, shops and houses that it was built (in part) to welcome guests for their holiday breaks. Visit Glen Lyn Gorge which is the site of a hydroelectric generator that provides power for Lynmouth. A giant flood in 1952, almost swept the entire town into the sea after a gigantic storm on Exmoor that saw a deluge run down through the gorge swelling the East and West Lyn River. You can learn more about the natural disaster at the gorge’s visitor centre. 

The sights:

Valley of the Rocks


There’s much to see and do on a holiday to Lynton and Lynmouth. In the town itself, you can take a hike up the East Lyn River to Watersmeet then past up to Exmoor and back. Discover the East Lyn Gorge to learn the town’s history and enjoy even more woodland walks. If you love spectacular cliff walks, head west along the South West Coast Path to the wonderful Valley of the Rocks. Here you can find unusual rock formations and lots of wild goats. Take a picnic to enjoy as there are lots of spots to savour the amazing views across the Bristol Channel. It was recently used as a chief location in the recent film, Winter Ridge, too. Speaking of films, Lynton has a great independent cinema in the town hall. Woody Bay Railway is a wonderful chance to travel along one of the most beautiful stretches of track aboard a steam train in the west – only a few miles west of Lynton and Lynmouth, it’s great fun!

Of course, Lynton and Lynmouth have the fantastic Exmoor on its doorstep. The National Park is one of the largest tracts of moorlands in the UK. It’s beautiful, wild, deep and full of grand views to fill more than one lifetime. If you are around in the autumn be sure to go deer spotting as it’s rutting season and you may see a clash of battling bucks if you’re lucky. A real sight to behold.

The shopping:

Lynton Cliff Railway

Lynton and Lynmouth have a good combination of quality gift shops, antique emporiums, and handy convenient stores along their shopping streets. Lynmouth is more geared to meet the needs of holidaying guests and Lynton, whilst worth a look, takes care of the essentials like bakeries, small supermarkets and greengrocers. For a larger choice of shops, head into Ilfracombe to the west, or Minehead over the border in Somerset.

The accommodation:

With spectacular rural retreats and barn conversions on farmland with a fine choice of beautiful walks and quality eateries, our holiday cottages offer the chance to enjoy everything Lynton, Lynmouth and the wider Exmoor National Park have to offer. 

Whether you’re a couple with a four-legged friend or a larger group or family, we have self-catering accommodation to suit everyone’s needs. Browse our collection today to feel inspired.

We have an enticing wide range of holiday cottages in Lynton and Lynmouth, and across the wider area of North Devon. Visit our collection to find out more. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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