Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway

Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway

The Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway is the highest and steepest water powered railway in the world. Quite some claim to fame!  Who would have thought it?  Quiet little Exmoor has it’s very own World Number 1.  And this funny little record breaking railway really is well worth a visit. Firstly, it’s convenient; if you actually want to travel between Lynton and Lynmouth, this the most direct route.  What’s more, if you’re after a great spot for a view of the coast, this will be hard to beat. Especially when you get to the top, where you can enjoy a delicious cream tea at the Cliff Top Cafe. Certainly, everyone who visits seems to have a great time – have a look at some recent TripAdvisor reviews if you’re not yet convinced. lynton lynmouth cliff railway

What happens in Lynton & Lynmouth?

If you haven’t already come across the North Devon coastal towns of Lynton and Lynmouth, you will be in for a pleasant surprise. Not unusually described as the ‘Little Switzerland’ of the UK, these charming towns sit comfortably nestled in the steep cliffs, with winding streets, cute galleries, cafés & shops and are surrounded with wonderful woodlands for walks. So there’s plenty to see before and after a trip on the railway.

For more information & inspiration on how to spend your time there, check out our visitor’s guides to each, below.

Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway Opening Times & Prices

You can ride the carriages of the cliff railway February through November.  Opening hours vary depending on the season, but start from 10am, rides continue usually until 4-6pm in the evening.  But check out their website and give them a follow on social media to be in the loop with what’s going on.  Sometimes they even run special events and stay open late!  (At Halloween – the funicular has been known to be run by Zombies!)

For more information on opening times follow this link. 

A single adult ticket costs just £3.50.  Children’s tickets are £2.20 and you can even bring your dog for just a £1!  (Only big dogs need a ticket, guide dogs & lap dogs go free.)  It is also possible to buy an unlimited daily (£10) or weekly (£20) pass.  You can bring bicycles, baggage & even pushchairs/wheelchairs if they can be folded.


Origins of the Railway

The steep and rugged terrain here used to cause great challenges to the running and development of Lynton & Lynmouth towns. With minimal road links, this remote area was mostly dependent on sea deliveries for essentials such as food, coal and other supplies back in the 19th century. Packhorses would then complete the journey, pulling carts from Lynmouth Harbour up to Lynton along steep & winding paths. lynton lynmouth cliff railway

Proposals were suggested for a rail-based lift, with work beginning in 1887. Less than three years later, the work was completed, and the Cliff Railway was born, allowing for the transportation of people and goods. Opened in 1890, the busy little funicular has been operating ever since.

lynton lynmouth cliff railway

How does it work?

The ingenious design of this funicular uses the weight of water fed from the West Lyn River to power the movement of the two carriages. Joined by a continuous cable, the carriages each weigh several tons, counterbalancing each other across the pulley system. River water is fed into tanks under the floor of the cars, and then water is discharged from the tank of the lower car until the top carriage is heavier than the bottom one. The top carriage consequently starts to descend and vice versa, a brakeman controlling the speed of each car. It’s literally just using gravity.  So you don’t have to worry about your carbon footprint for this one!


Accommodation near Lynton and Lynmouth

We hope you find all this information handy.  If you’re keen to come and ride the Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway, and are looking to book a trip, we have a wealth of lovely self-catering holiday cottages in the area.  Have a look at a few options below…

Click here for more information on the above and to see over 140 cottages available across Exmoor 

lynton lynmouth cliff railway


Related posts;

Our Top 10 Things to Do on Exmoor

Exmoor Places to Visit & Village Guides

All Things to Do across Exmoor

Lynton | A Visitors Guide


lynton lynmouth cliff railway