Exmoor is a stunningly beautiful part of southwest England featuring ancient moor land and rugged coastline. Although Exmoor was once a Royal hunting ground, it was eventually designated a National Park in 1954 and today the park receives around 1.5 million visitors per year, many of whom come to enjoy the ancient monuments, conservation areas, and pretty towns and villages.
The Exmoor National Park is famous for its colourful scenery. In early spring the woods are abloom with bluebells and snowdrops, and in summertime the moors slowly turn into a sea of mauve and purple heather. By the time autumn chills the air, the ancient forests and woodland are alive with rich russet colours and if you are very lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of rutting stags. Winter can be harsh on Exmoor, but the moors are no less beautiful for being covered in a thick blanket of white snow.
There is no shortage of attractions for visitors to see and do in Exmoor. If you want to explore on foot or on horseback, the area is criss-crossed with walking trails, bridleways and footpaths, including the Coleridge Way, that take in stretches of the coastline as well as ancient river valleys.
Inland attractions include the magnificent Dunster Castle with its priory and gardens, and for a taste of Exmoor heritage, a visit to Tarr Steps is essential. There are several National Trust properties in the area including Arlington Court and Knightshayes Court. The Exmoor coast also has plenty of other attractions including the tranquil village of Porlock and the nearby nature reserve and harbour of Porlock Weir. The larger towns of Minehead and Barnstable also have plenty to offer visitors including shops and other amenities.
For families, there is Tropiquaria, the Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, and the Falconry and Animal Farm, plus the delights of the steam powered West Somerset Railway. Or if the weather is less than perfect, Splashworld at Butlins in Minehead is a sub-tropical indoor watery paradise.
Whether you want to relax for a week or two in the tranquil peace and quiet while enjoying the sea views, or you would prefer to explore the countryside on foot, horseback, or mountain bike, Exmoor has more than enough to keep even the most discerning of visitors happy.