Minehead, Exmoor National Park

Minehead, Exmoor National Park
  • Top UK seaside resort by the eastern border of Exmoor National Park
  • Superb local beaches. Minehead Beach is a huge expanse of sand at low tide. Head a little further east for the massive Dunster Beach. Bossington Beach and Porlock Beach are to the west
  • Take a trip on the West Somerset Railway. Visit the stunning village Dunster and its National Trust castle
  • Enjoy coastal walking. The 630 miles South West Coast Path starts/ends at Minehead. Follow the South West Coast Path west to Bossington Hill for immense views over Porlock Bay
  • Drive the A39 across Exmoor National Park. Stop at Porlock and Lynmouth
  • Main photo: sculpture marking the start/end of the South West Coast Path


Major seaside resort and Exmoor gateway town on the eastern border of the National Park

Minehead is a major Westcountry seaside resort. The huge, low tide sand beach gets packed in holiday months. Pretty harbour sits below the bulk of North Hill. Start/end of the South West Coast Path and West Somerset Railway. Dunster village nearby.


Best things to do in Minehead

To help you choose Minehead, we've listed some of the local attractions below.



Minehead Beach. The most popular family beach in this part of the Westcountry. Huge expanse of sand at low tide.

Dunster Beach. Sand and stone. Massive low tide beach with plenty of parking. Big views across Blue Anchor Bay.


Coastal walking

Minehead is at the start/end of the South West Coast Path. Walk the Minehead to Porlock Weir section. You yomp over a huge whaleback hill that drops down to a beautiful, sweeping bay. Superb coastal and moorland views. Highlights of this section include the statue at beginning/end South West Coast Path in Minehead, the views from Bossington Hill across Porlock Bay and beautiful Porlock Weir. It's about 9 miles.

Walk part of the West Somerset Way. This runs east to Dunster Beach. From there, visit Dunster and the National Trust's Dunster Castle.


Boat trips

Teddie Boy Charters. 'We offer fishing trips & coastal cruises from picturesque Minehead Harbour situated on the British Channel between Watchet and Porlock Weir.'

Paddle Steamer Waverley.  'Pleasure Steamers have cruised on the Bristol Channel since Victorian days and Waverley carries on this great tradition.' Special trips in the Bristol Channel. They publish sailing times on their websites.

MV Balmoral Excursions (Cruise Porlock Bay). 'Originally built in 1949 and now for over 65 years, the MV Balmoral has been welcoming passengers on board and taking them on spectacular cruises around the great British coastline.' Special trips in the Bristol Channel. Again, they publish sailing times on their websites.


Visitor attractions

West Somerset Railway. Runs from the east border of Exmoor at Minehead and then Dunster to Bishops Lydeard below the Quantock Hills. Super family attraction. It's fun to walk the coast path between Dunster and Minehead and then catch the train back.

National Trust's Dunster Castle and Dunster Estate. One of Exmoor's most popular visitor attractions, Dunster Castle dominates the village. Essential visiting. Find the Dunster Douglas in Dunster Estate which is the tallest tree in England. Follow the A396 south west of Dunster and you come to a skinny road on your left that takes you to a large car parking area in Hats Wood. Various walking trails take in the Dunster Douglas.


Pretty villages

Dunster. Stunning, historic village on the eastern border of Exmoor National Park.

Selworthy, Allerford and Bossington. Selworthy, Allerford and Bossington are villages located in an arc at the base of Bossington Hill.

Porlock. Famous Exmoor village situated behind the magnificent Porlock Bay.

Porlock Weir. A favourite Exmoor destination on the coastline of Porlock Bay. Celebrated beauty spot with amazing views.

Lynmouth. Iconic Exmoor, and UK, coastal village.

Lynton. Village rising high above Lynmouth offering some of the finest views in the Westcountry.


Food and drink

The Old Ship Aground overlooking Minehead Harbour.

The Quay Inn by the South West Coast Path sculpture.



Dunkery Beacon. The highest point on Exmoor. Glorious views. There are plenty of parking places on the moorland road that crosses Dunkery Hill including one pretty much below the beacon.



National Trust's Dunster Castle. As above.

English Heritage's Dunster Yarn Market, Butter Cross and Gallox Bridge. Impressive octagonal market hall dating from the 17th century in the heart of Dunster with views to the National Trust's Dunster Castle. After you've experienced the Dunster Yarn Market & Butter Cross, wander down to see Gallox Bridge used by packhorses to bring wool to market.

Further away, Cleeve Abbey. Cistercian abbey by the east border of Exmoor. English Heritage state that Cleeve Abbey includes 'the most impressively complete and unaltered set of monastic cloister buildings in England'.


Activities and adventure

Exmoor Cycle Hire in Minehead.

Exmoor Riding by Porlock. 'We are situated within the grounds of Exmoor Owl & Hawk Centre, just one mile from Porlock, and five miles west of Minehead.   We have access to hundreds of miles of off-road riding through woodland and over moorland, with spectacular views to the sea and across the moor to Devon and Cornwall.  Some of the best riding countryside in the world!  The countryside is challenging, and so we are unable to take novice riders.'

Horse riding at Burrowhayes Farm by Porlock. 'We organise escorted rides of mixed abilities in the glorious Horner Valley and on the open moorland of Dunkery, Ley Hill and Selworthy. So everyone can enjoy to the full the beauty of Exmoor with the added thrill of being on horseback.'

Exmoor Adventures. With such a spectacular coastline, try sea kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing and coasteering with Exmoor Adventures based in Porlock


Beauty spots and views

Bossington Hill to Porlock Bay. Enjoy the amazing views across Porlock Bay from Bossington Hill.

Dunkery Beacon. Huge views from Exmoor's highest point.