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Watersmeet Hotel

Hartland Abbey

Hartland Abbey was built in the 12th century, remaining as a monastery for 400 years and passing through the female line three times, never having been sold. It contains collections of pictures, furniture and porcelain which have accumulated over many generations. It has a friendly and lived-in atmosphere, so often absent in many of our nation’s historic houses, a point continually remarked upon by those who visit us. Gertrude Jekyll was a frequent guest at the Abbey and was instrumental in helping Lady Stucley, create the intimate paths and small terraces of the Baronet’s Bog Garden.

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Exmoor’s Coastline

Exmoor and West Exmoor's Dramatic Coastline

Just five minutes drive from the Watersmeet Hotel and you'll find yourself in the wild, untamed beauty of Exmoor and Lorna Doone country. The awe-inspiring natural beauty of North Devon combines the dramatic, precipitous coastline with distinctive unspoilt countryside. Here you will be able to see red deer, buzzards, falcons and wild ponies as well as just marvelling at the sheer beauty of the landscape.

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Lundy Island

Lundy Island

Lundy Island lies off the North Devon coast in the middle of the Bristol Channel - '‘next stop America' as the saying goes. It is 3 ½ miles long and just ½ mile wide and its landscape is utterly spectacular and its waters clean and clear. There is an abundance of flora and fauna and, dependent on the season, you could see basking sharks, seals, puffins and lots of sea birds. If you have never been before it is certainly worth visiting whilst staying with us. Boats trip are available from Ilfracombe, which is just 15 minutes drive from the Watersmeet Hotel.

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Coastal Stroll

And finally ..... We Recommend a Short Coastal Stroll for a Quiet Pint!

This probably doesn't belong in our 'activities' section as such - but on a sunny afternoon or evening we really recommend you make the short walk along this stunning piece of coastline to the village of Mortehoe. This former Victorian seaside resort hasn't changed much over the years and there's a wonderfully authentic village pub that serves local Devon ales.

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Boat Trips

Boat Trips

In Ilfracombe you can join the Ilfracombe Princess for either a Seal Cruise or an Exmoor Bird Cruise. The Seal Cruise takes you all the way from Ilfracombe Harbour around Bull Point Lighthouse, past the Watersmeet Hotel (please wave) and around into Woolacombe Bay. Porpoises and seals are sighted regularly in these waters. The Exmoor Bird Cruise is particularly recommended for keen bird watchers. It offers fantastic views of Exmoor including the evocatively named Hangman Hill and old silver mines. Don't forget to bring your binoculars. Both cruises are a fabulous way of viewing this stunning coastline from the seaward side.

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Tapeley Park

Tapeley Park - as seen on Channel 4's Country House Rescue

The stately home of Tapeley is recorded in the Doomsday Book and is the ancestral home of the Christie family. It is situated on the banks of the River Torridge near Bideford and has the most magnificent views of the Bristol Channel and Lundy Island. The gardens are particularly lovely with an Italianate terrace, ornate Summer House and lake with summer flowering water lilies. Tapeley is a treasure hidden deep within the North Devon countryside and is well worth a visit. Tapeley Park is less than an hour's drive from the Watersmeet Hotel..

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Arlington Court

The National Trust's Arlington Court

Arlington Court near Barnstaple is just 40 minutes drive from the Watersmeet Hotel. It is a Regency manor house, which was home to the Chichester family. It's a real hidden gem and contains a fascinating collection of treasure. The 19th century gardens are quite beautiful and the walled kitchen garden supplies the tea room with fruit and vegetables. Arlington Court is also home to the National Trust's Carriage Museum.

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Lynton & Lynmouth

Visit Lynton and Lynmouth

These famous Victorian seaside resorts are situated on the dramatic North Devon coast within the Exmoor National Park. They are 50 minutes drive away from the Watersmeet Hotel and are most certainly worth a visit. If you're visiting us from the north it's well worth taking the time to make one of your journeys along the North Devon coast road (exiting the M5 at Bridgewater) and taking in these timeless and fascinating coastal towns, which are totally unique and very special indeed.

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Visit Mortehoe

Visit Mortehoe and Woolacombe - North Devon's Timeless and Unspoilt Seaside Resorts

Just a short stroll along the coastal path is the timeless village of Mortehoe. It was once a quiet Victorian seaside village and, actually, hasn't changed that much since. It has an eclectic collection of period properties, a 'village store' a lovely old church and a couple of traditional pubs where you can enjoy local ales.
A few minute's walk around the bay in the other direction is the bustling seaside resort of Woolacombe. There's something nostalgically charming about Woolcombe - it has retained a 1950's air and is a great place to buy an ice cream, eat fish and chips or buy a boogie board. The award winning beach is over 3 miles long - so there's always enough space for everyone!

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Family Hols

'Famous Five' Style Family Seaside Holidays

There can be no better spot than the Watersmeet Hotel for a healthy and relaxed family holiday. It's a place where your children can enjoy fresh air and freedom and those simple pleasures of holidays of yesteryear.
On Combesgate Beach, directly below the hotel, children can go rock pooling, shrimping, paddling, boogie boarding or play beach games. Our teenage guests are always keen to try their hand at surfing, or even coasteering, and in Woolacombe Bay you'll find one of the UK's top water sport schools.

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Local Wildlife

Bird Watching and Wildlife Watching

There's plenty of exciting wildlife to see around Mortehoe, Woolacombe and this corner of North Devon. From the coastal path you can see numerous seabirds. There's a seal colony at Morte Point and in the summer months you may even see dolphins swimming in close to shore as well. On Exmoor there are the wild ponies plus plenty of opportunities to see birds of prey. You can join a wildlife cruise at Ilfracombe or take a day trip to wild and remote Lundy Island where you might get a chance to see basking sharks and puffins.

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Explore

Explore North Devon

There is so much to see and do is this fascinating corner of North Devon from visiting the famous Victorian seaside resorts at Lynton and Lynmouth to taking a boat trip to the remote Isle of Lundy - known for its abundance of flora and fauna.

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Horse Riding

Horse Riding in the Surf on Woolacombe Beach

Imagine cantering through the surf along the 3 mile strand of Woolacombe Bay. It's an invigorating and adventurous experience and another way of exploring this fantastic coastline. We can arrange hour long treks at the local riding stables in Woolacombe, which are approved by The British Horse Society.

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Walking

Walking - the South West Coastal Path from our doorstep

The South West Coastal Path runs pretty much past the doorstep of the Watersmeet Hotel. Whether you head north in the direction of Mortehoe or south towards Woolacombe Bay there are fantastic walks, long and short, affording breathtakingly beautiful scenery. We particularly love the walk to Bull Point Light and around the promontory of Morte Point often lashed by wild Atlantic waves. After just a few minutes’ drive you'll find yourself surrounded by the wild, untamed beauty of Exmoor and Lorna Doone country. With its dramatic scenery and abundant wildlife it is a paradise for lovers of the countryside. We have lots of information about local walks at Reception and can help you choose the best walk for you.

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Surfing

Surfing - Learn to surf at one of the top surf schools in the UK

Combesgate Beach and Woolacombe Bay, both of which are on our doorstep, have been voted two of the best surfing beaches in the UK - rivalling Newquay Bay and Watergate Bay. In Woolacombe we are very fortunate to have the Nick Thorn Surf School - a highly acclaimed centre of surfing excellence. If you're new to the sport why not take the opportunity of learning to surf at one of the top surf schools in the UK. You can sign up to a group, or a one-to-one lesson, and you can expect to stand comfortably on your board by the end of a two-hour session.

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Golf

If you’re a keen golfer you might like to know that two of the country's finest links courses are on our doorstep. The Saunton Sands Golf Club was established over 100 years ago and its two Championship courses, the West Course and East Course, have been listed in Golf World, and Golf Monthly magazines' 100 Best Courses in the UK.

We can arrange for you to play the West and East Course, both 18-holes, on different days, or alternatively, in the summer months it's possible to play them both on the same day. There are plenty of things to keep non-golfing partners busy too around Mortehoe and Woolacombe.

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