Adventures In Minehead; May Half Term Part 1

Friday night

Gandalf the VW is having a well deserved rest, settled upon the very picturesque Minehead Caravan and Motorhome Club site following a much longer than hoped for journey west. Granted, it’s Bank Holiday Friday and we should have made more effort to leave earlier that our 8am departure from home, but we’ve worked over 60 hours each in the 4 days and quite frankly we couldn’t bring ourselves to set an alarm!

The journey started well, despite a minor disagreement about which route we should take. Keith was adamant we should take the M25 and then the M4, whereas my sat nav AND phone suggested A14 to Birmingham then M42, M5. I got my own way, and several hours later my decision came back to haunt me as we took an additional 3 hours to get down the car park that was the M4. I kept telling K it would have been as bad his way, but we’ll never really know!

One very amusing thing happened on our journey on the M42/M5. We took the opportunity to call my Dad and stepmum whilst on the road, only to discover that they were heading out on their own adventure to Tiverton and were literally just behind us (less than a junction behind us!)

Soon afterwards we ended up overtaking each other a few times! Very random- considering that we set off from two completely different counties, were travelling to two different destinations, on a day that neither knew the other were travelling…

We stopped at Blackmore Farm shop for supplies once off the motorway and then more supplies at Watchet and finally arrived at our home for the weekend around 4:30pm. Just a bit tired but very pleased to be here!

The pitches here at Minehead are lovely. Really nicely laid out so no one is on top of each other and very beautifully landscaped. We instantly felt the stress of the half term ease away.

After a quick shower we walked the 15 mins walk to the sea front and grabbed dinner at The Quay Inn. We enjoyed a lovely sea bass fish cake each to start and local sausage and mash. It was really very nice!

Following dinner we continued along the sea front to the harbour, which blew us away. It is so pretty, and a perfect little pub sat overlooking the harbour (The Ship Aground) so it would have been rude not to stop for a nightcap. Being a gin enthusiast, I was in for a treat as I learnt this particular pub makes their own gin. I enjoyed a marmalade gin, Keith a lager, whilst we sat and admired the harbour. We couldn’t have felt more relaxed. What a perfect start to the holiday and very appreciated considering our journey here today!

Along the esplanade, there are some fabulous Giant Vipers Bugloss flowers. I’ve never seen these before – aren’t they amazing!

Saturday

Gandalf the VW is still parked up at Minehead. We had a terrific nights sleep last night and awoke bright and early to the wonderful chorus of bird song. As we were awake early, and the weather looked better than predicted for today, we decided to make the most of it by being up and showered by 8am- almost unheard of us on holiday. Bacon doorstep sandwich demolished, we set off by 09:30 heading towards the South West Coastal Path towards Porlock, where we had a lunch reservation.

The SWCP runs for 630 miles and there is a terrific sculpture marking the start of it along the esplanade at Minehead.

The first section was hard going to say the least, the path ascends dramatically, although the woodland path is picturesque and after a mile perhaps of uphill you are rewarded with terrific views of the Bristol Channel and you realise just how high you’ve climbed.

I won’t lie- we both suggested turning back and booking a cab at least once during this stretch- but we didn’t.

I’m glad we did because once high the path stayed fairly level for the remainder of the walk (we took the inland “non rugged” path NOT the rugged path) until you descent into Bossington, which is absolutely beautiful.

That descent was hard on our knees but by now we were within sniffing distance of our destination, The Ship Inn in Porlock, so we made relatively light work of the descent. By the time we arrived at the pub, we’d clocked up 9 miles and we were very proud of ourselves. We treated ourselves to a pint of Cornish lager in the castle before moving to the Ship for lunch.. we had a lovely table on the terrace garden at the back and enjoyed Pan Fried Sea Trout served with ratatouille and new potatoes. The perfect end to a wonderful walk!

Luckily, the number 10 bus was available to bring us back to Minehead (£4.40 pp, dog friendly, doesn’t run Sun or BH Monday). It was amusing as we weren’t expecting a normal sized bus to arrive at the bus stop- in fact it was a mini bus with a 10 on the front, and because of this we very nearly missed it! 😂

Once back at the campsite we showered and then had a big chill, and even a nap. We enjoyed a cheeseboard for dinner and a very very relaxed evening. The adrenaline of the journey and a hectic term finally wearing off enabling us to begin to chill.

We LOVE this campsite. It’s so incredibly peaceful despite it being half term. The weather has been fab. We could not be happier right now!

Sunday soon arrived, and we were chuffed to see the sunshine again. We had an early start again – this time with a shower each and a full English cooked at 8am; a record for us!

We had a packed schedule for today. We took the 28 bus from Banck Road to Dunster steep at 09:30 (£3pp single) before walking up the hill to the medieval town of Dunster. I’ve got an injury on my foot so was more hop along than walk, but despite the pain managed to get up to the beautiful village of Dunster.

With a fairytale castle as a backdrop to the main high street, which is packed with listed historic buildings, and an old yarn market standing proudly in the centre, it’s just picture perfect. If only there were no cars!

We made a stop into the Deli and stocked our rucksack full of local drinks for later, before continuing up to the castle entrance. Managed by the National Trust, so we’d pre booked entry, the castle sits high upon a hill which was originally a Norman Motte and Bailey. The route up to the castle winds though the colourful gardens and the views to the coast and Exmoor are just superb. It’s like there is a micro climate here because the more were palm trees dotted around the perimeter. Splendid!

We were on a timescale so Keith nipped inside the castle whilst I stayed outside in the sun with Jazzy.

Unfortunately due to Covid the water mill was closed, but if you are in this area this is well worth a visit here- you could easily spend all day here. We on the other hand, were acting like we were on speed. Our original plan was to spend all day here, but yesterday we spotted a brand new open air bus route which we wanted to try out.

So at 11:42 we boarded the Exmoor Coaster, from Dunster to Minehead Butlins, where we changed onto their Open top service to Lynmouth. From Dunster we paid £9pp return which covered our whole journey and it was dog friendly.

The open air bus journey was so much fun! What a terrific way to see Exmoor in its finest without having to drive off site. Being at the top was exhilarating to say the least. Going up Porlock Hill was interesting as it’s a 1 in 4 with hair pin bends!

The last couple of miles was spectacular as the road hugged the edge of the cliff and descended into Lynmouth at 1pm.

We enjoyed a couple of hours mooching around the very pretty Lynmouth, partaking in a Pasty lunch and a trip up and down the Lynmouth and Lynton Cliff Railway. This marvellous feat of engineering relies solely on water power, the weight of the water filling the top carriage’s water tank pulls the lighter bottom carriage up, then revering roles at the other end. Such clever yet simple engineering. They pull water from the river to fill and empty out into the sea at the bottom. We just loved it! The views are tremendous (we are very lucky with the weather!)

Click here to see our video on the Cliff Railway

We sampled a couple of pints of local cider and lager before making our way back to the bus stop for our return journey to Minehead. Sadly our open top experience was cut short as the brakes and burnt out and it was a poorly bus (no surprise there!) so we returned to Minehead on the single decker equivalent.

Once back at the campsite, we had a bbq before making our way for one last drink at the pub on the harbour, making the most of the sunny evening.

We have absolutely ADORED Minehead and the surrounding places to visit. I can’t help but feel Minehead is overlooked. I definitely had no idea how pretty it was, we’d booked it as a journey stopper and a place to catch our breath. Instead, we’ve been the busiest we’ve ever been on holiday as it’s just packed with places to see from the site. I’m really sad to be leaving in the morning- but we’ve got more places to explore as we delve further into the West Country.

3 thoughts on “Adventures In Minehead; May Half Term Part 1

  1. Love Porlock. Tried to buy a house there but too expensive, so bought further west in Combe Martin.
    If you get a chance and haven’t already. Read The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. Inspiring story of a walk on the coast path.
    Enjoy your break.

  2. Oh wow, they should be paying you because I want to pack up Bill and head off to Minehead right now 😝.
    I have vague memories a couple of holidays near Minehead when I was a kid and I know I’ve been to Dunster and Porlock but cannot really remember either. Thanks for the inspiration, xx

  3. Oh wow, they should be paying you because I want to pack up Bill and head off to Minehead right now 😝.
    I have vague memories a couple of holidays near Minehead when I was a kid and I know I’ve been to Dunster and Porlock but cannot really remember either. Thanks for the inspiration, xx

Leave a Reply