Lynmouth is a beautiful seaside village in North Devon, situated where the East Lyn River & West Lyn River meet, famous for being connected to its other half, Lynton, by a cliffside railway. This picturesque, historic harbour town boasts winding, winsome streets quaintly packed with shops and houses, stunning views of the Atlantic coastline and beautiful countryside to explore… So, we’ve pulled together some recommendations which we think you might find helpful if you’re planning a trip!
Things to do in Lynmouth…
1. Reach new heights with the Cliff Railway
Perhaps the most unique attraction that will entice you to visit Lynmouth, is the Lynton-Lynmouth Cliff Railway. We mentioned it in our recent Lynton blog post, but we’ll say it again: founded in 1890, it is the world’s highest and steepest, totally water-powered, funicular railway. Not only is it an engineering masterpiece but it’s also one of the most eco-friendly tourist attractions in the world!
Open from 10am-6pm, 7 days a week, and adult tickets are just £3.00.
Big dog lover? No worries, clearly the Cliff Railway team are too – as big dogs can ride for only £1 each. (Guide dogs & lap dogs ride free!) And if your four-legged friend is ready for his close-up, he or she or they may even get featured on the @cliffrailwaylynton Instagram page – #dogsaboard
But canine or no canine, we strongly advise you go for a ride, if only for the photo opp. The railway is 862ft long and goes from the beach 500ft up the cliff, so you can imagine that the view from the top is pretty spectacular…
When you get there, you’ll find The Clifftop Café, tempting you to enjoy a traditional and delicious Devon Cream Tea. (Vegan & gluten-free options available.) The perfect spot to take in the breathtaking vistas in every direction, with a giant scone making the whole experience even sweeter.
2. See and be “The Walker” with a stroll from Lynmouth Harbour through The Valley of The Rocks
On the Esplanade at Lynmouth Seafront you will find a Richard Graham statue called “The Walker”, unveiled in 2017 by BBC Countryfile’s John Craven. If that doesn’t tell you that you’re in the right place for a good walk, what will?
And ok – so we’ve already covered The Valley Of The Rocks too, but that’s because we’re just obsessed with this stupendous location.
So how about this 5 mile walk (approx. 8km) that starts and finishes at Lynmouth seafront, where The Walker is waiting to shake your hand. You can either walk up the cliff with the South West Coast Path, which begins where the statue is situated, or take the Cliff Railway to the top, then pick up the coast path from there.
This route then takes you past Castle Rock and Lee Abbey, up South Cleave (with its amazing views over Lee Bay) and through the part of the valley where evidence has been found of pre-historic remains, Celtic field systems and Bronze Age hut circles!
You’ll find exciting options for detours through the remains of Hollerday House and the Iron Age hillfort towards the end of this walk too, then just come back along the Coast Path to where you began.
With so much history buried into the earth surrounding you, such stunning vistas in every direction, and so many interesting landmarks, how could you not be drawn out into the fresh air?
3. Admire Rhenish Tower
Another landmark in Lynmouth Harbour, is Rhenish Tower, which is also situated on the esplanade, and The Walker statue looks right onto it. This tower has a unique history, from its origin around 1832 for use as a bath house, to its partial survival and reconstruction after the 1952 Flood Disaster. So, whether you’re setting off for a hike, or just ambling around the town, you really can’t miss it, and should stop to take a look.
4. Discover the history of Lynmouth at the Flood Memorial Hall
In 1952, 90 million tonnes of water barrelled its way through Lynmouth in a disastrous flood caused by a terrible storm. Tragically, 34 lives were lost, and over 100 buildings destroyed. The Flood Memorial Hall is opposite Lynmouth Harbour, which is home to a permanent display of original images and a to-scale model of the town pre-flood. There is also material on the conspiracy theory that the flood might have been caused by military cloud-seeding experiments…! But whether you want to entertain conspiracy theories or not, if you like to get to know the history of the places you visit, there is much to be found here of the original Lynmouth.
5. Bathe in the forest where the Waters…meet!
Another natural showstopper, within walking distance of Lynmouth, is Watersmeet, where the East Lyn River and Hoar Oak Water come together to create a glorious waterfall. If you’re visiting Exmoor because you want to marvel at Mother Nature’s magnificence or find inner peace through some much-needed Shirin-Yoku, then this will be a really special spot for you.
To get there by foot from Lynmouth, there’s a route which TV’s Julia Bradbury recommends as one of Britain’s Best Walks which is just less than 9km (approx. 5.5miles) long and will no doubt be incredibly fulfilling and refreshing. However, if you just can’t get enough of exploring Exmoor, we can also suggest this 15km walk, (approx. 9miles) which involves a detour off into Barton Woods, and another to the Iron Age Hillfort.
Of course, if you fancied a more literal bathe in the forest then jump in! Watersmeet is a fantastic spot for wild swimming, with small plunge pools by the waterfall, or, a little further along the river from there, you will find Long Pool which stretches further and goes deeper…
Please note that Watersmeet House is currently closed until further notice due to a landslip which is being fixed, but that this does not affect footpaths or swimming.
6. Lynmouth Local Arts & Rafts*…
If you’re still scrolling through this article, clearly, it’s already been decided upon that you’re going to visit. Excellent decision. So, whilst you’re there – why not check out some of the local arts? And no, that* wasn’t a typo… If you’re the betting type, you might want to plan your visit for…
The Lynmouth Raft Race!
Every July, dozens of home-made rafts in all shapes and sizes made by local people (with absolutely no seafaring knowledge or Castaway experience!) take to the water in Lynmouth Harbour for a crazy fun annual race – where the fancy dress prize is fought for just as hard as first place… Free for spectators; contact Lynmouth Sailing Club for more details.
But although this is a once a year event there’s always…
Lynmouth Art Galleries
For a small town, Lynmouth is rich in Art Galleries. There’s Ashleigh Bishop Fine Art for an amazing range of different artist’s work, but we also recommend the very talented Maurice Bishop’s Studio where you will find both him & his ethereal, magical paintings. Some of them just sort of seem like they’re glowing – and some of them, actually are!
We’re newly obsessed with Russell Kingston’s gorgeous ceramic kitchenware and it turns out, his studio is in the heart of the village. You can visit Lynmouth Pottery to see the artist at work, explore the showroom filled with absolutely stunning pieces including flasks, water jugs and baking dishes which I can only describe as medieval-chic.
Another recent discovery of gorgeous, local, hand-made goods we’d like to share is Wild Pear Jewellery, which is made with pieces of sea glass and pottery found on Lynmouth Beach! You can peruse and purchase some of these special pieces in a wonderfully eclectic shop in town, Exmoor Uncommon, which is so full of flavour and eclectic wonders, it almost feels like it’s been plucked out of Brighton Lanes!
If you’ve loved all of these recommendations, then check out our supporting local Exmoor businesses blog post for more! And, just in case you’re interested…
Lynmouth In Poetry!
The famous 17th Century poet Letitia Elizabeth Landon (known by her initials L.E.L.) wrote not one, but two poems about Lynmouth. The first, “Linmouth” the second “Valley of Linmouth, North Devon” and they are both full of Victorian melancholy. But the verse I’ll draw to your attention, which captures the essence of this town still today, is from Lynmouth:
Here one might dream the hours away,
As if the world had not
Or grief, or care, or disarray,
To darken human lot.
You see, I have a hunch, that if you’re coming to Exmoor, the kind of escape L.E.L. describes in these four lines, might be exactly what you’re looking for… a place to be carefree, a place to be light, a place to dream. And maybe you’ll even find inspiration for your own poetry!
Now, if you’re going to get through all of that, you’ll need some sustenance. So…
Top Places to Eat & Drink in Lynmouth
- For Cream Tea – The Clifftop Café; so good we mentioned it twice. (Scroll back up if you missed it!)
- For Fish & Chips – The Esplanade Fish Bar; Exactly what you want from a fish and chip shop on the coast of Britain! They’re not without originality though, try their filo prawns – sometimes you just want something a little extra, am I right?!
- For Sweet Treats – Archie Jack’s; These guys do the most astounding range of fudge flavours (all home-made of course) and insanely yummy crepes or proper ice cream & waffles, with sweet toppings to rival Willy Wonka! Milkshakes too.
- For a Pub Lunch – The Ancient Mariner; A holiday in Britain isn’t really a holiday unless you visit a good pub. The Ancient Mariner sources absolutely everything they can locally. Not just the food either, they also have local craft beer, ciders, lager, and even local gin & rum! It’s the place to go for seafood, a Ploughman’s, a traditional Sunday roast or just a good drink.
- For Dinner – The Oak Room (Lynton); Unfortunately, Lynmouth’s top spot for fine dining, The Rising Sun, has stopped serving food due to a lack of staff since the pandemic hit! But luckily, it’s only a few minutes’ drive or a 20-minute walk up to The Oak Room in Lynton, which we can recommend for something smarter – it’s an award-winning restaurant doing delicious Spanish food, with only the finest produce either from Spain or locally sourced.
Parking in Lynmouth
Local car parks include:
- Esplanade: The Esplanade, Lynmouth, EX35 6EQ
- Lower & Upper Lyndale: Watersmeet Road, Lynmouth, EX35 6EP
- Watersmeet: A39 from Lynmouth, EX35 6EH
Pay & Display car parks are operated by Lynton & Lynmouth Town Council, North Devon Council or on private property – please read car park notice boards for more information.
Charges apply from 10am – 6pm at approximately £1.10 per hour or £5 for 24 hours (at the time of writing). You can use the RingGo smartphone app, so you don’t have to worry about having coins.
You may also find free roadside parking, in designated bays (restricted to 2 hours max between 10am – 6pm from Good Friday until 31st October – outside of these times and dates there are no restrictions).
Lynton & Lynmouth Holiday Cottages
Staying in a holiday cottage is a great way to base yourself for an Exmoor break. Whether you’re looking for accommodation in and around Lynton or Lynmouth, or cottages in Porlock or Porlock Weir there’s plenty to choose from.
More Places to Visit & Things to Do on Exmoor
Exmoor is brimming with charming villages, stunning scenery and family-friendly things to see and do. For more holiday inspiration, have a browse of our posts below;