Dominated by its ancient motte, Bampton has a rich history that is thought to date back to Roman times. The motte stands above the town and offers visitors wonderful views of both Bampton and the surrounding countryside.
Today, the thriving town is home to around 100 listed buildings and structures that date back as far as the early 17th century. There is a brilliant selection of shops, four pubs and a choice of restaurants as well as all of the essential amenities including a pharmacy, post office, bakers and local green grocer.
The town has been famed for its commitment to floral displays having won several Britain in Bloom national awards and even a world title in 1999. The last Thursday of every October sees the local community host the annual Bampton Fair, a tradition that dates back to the 1200s and is one of the oldest surviving Charter Fairs in the UK. Formerly a gathering for selling livestock, today Brampton Fair sees the streets, church and pubs packed with stalls, music, workshops and a funfair.
With great access to Exmoor, the Blackdown Hills, the Quantocks and the North Devon and Somerset coast, Brampton is a brilliant destination for walkers and dog owners who want to get out and explore this stunning region. The nearby harbour of Watchet is just a short drive away and well worth a visit for its maritime history and great range of independent shops, while the sandy beach at Minehead is the perfect place to head on a hot summer’s day.
Whether it’s a lazy week of cafes, pubs and shops, or an action packed holiday of walks, bike-rides, water-sports and adventure, historic Bampton provides a great destination for those looking to escape the 9-5.
Open seven days a week from April to October, Dulverton’s Guildhall Heritage and Arts Centre gives visitors a taste of old Dulverton, a main exhibition which changes either annually or every two years plus a varied programme of short term exhibitions. There’s also a gift shop for crafty souvenirs.
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Dating from 1106 Tiverton Castle was once home to the powerful medieval Earls of Devon and today is a fascinating mix of the remains of the medieval castle and a 17th century country house, all surrounded by beautiful gardens. Open to the public from Easter Sunday to October 31st.
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Buy 1 full priced adult tickets and get one free with your Toad Hall Cottages Discount Card
The Bear Trail is a fun outdoor obstacle trail where you can leap over muddy bear pits, whizz down zip wires and crawl through tunnels – it’s the perfect day out for the whole family. The course is suitable for all ages from toddlers upwards and for very young children theres a 'cubs' corner' with lots to keep them occupied. Free parking, a cafe and picnic area round off a great day out for everyone.
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A small falconry centre with owls, hawks, falcons and eagles all set in beautiful Devon countryside. Learn more about the fascinating world of birds of prey in a range of day and half day experiences along with handling and flying the birds themselves. Pre booking essential.
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On a wooded hill with an impressive medieval gatehouse, the National Trust’s Dunster Castle is on a site that predates the Norman era. It has spectacular views towards the Bristol channel, the Quantock hills and the moors of Exmoor. Tours are available, there’s a shop, paid parking and Dunster village is filled with lovely places to eat.
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Named after the old railway bridge that used to stand beside it, Bridge House is a popular pub serving classic British dishes utilising the fantastic range of quality ingredients the area has to offer. On summer days enjoy a drink or meal in the lovely walled garden or on winter evenings cosy up inside by the log burner.
Bridge House, 24 Luke Street Bampton Devon EX16 9NF. (T: 01398 33 2138)
The Swan is the oldest pub in Bampton with an interesting history dating back to 1450. Lots of period feature remain but the pub has been updated for the 21st century to provide a contemporary, stylish place to enjoy a great meal or a pint of local ale. Expect pub classics done really well, popular Sunday lunches and an extensive wine list to match.
The Swan, Station Rd, Bampton, Tiverton EX16 9NG. (T: 01398 33 2248)
A lovely café with great reviews offering freshly prepared home cooked food in a warm, family friendly environment. Pop in for breakfast or lunch or book one of the exclusive evening meals.
Toucan Café Bistro, 2 Brook St, Bampton, Tiverton EX16 9LY. (T: 01398 331777)
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Visited the Toucan before leaving for home on our last day of holiday and had an excellent breakfast with very good friendly service. Went home with warm cheese scones from the Aga which were delicious. Well done Steph and John; you have it just right. Pauline & Drew
You won’t regret stopping off at this family run shop, café and deli in the heart of Dulverton with its great array of local produce and gifts. Relax in the outdoor courtyard with a coffee or something from the café menu, or stock your cottage fridge with delicious local cheese, meat, drinks and lots more.
The Tantivy Traditional Shop, Café and Deli, Fore Street, Dulverton, Exmoor, TQ22 9EX 01398 323465:
Winner of multiple awards, Woods serves inspiring menus championing local produce in a relaxed, stylish setting. Pop in for a drink at the well-stocked bar, or settle around the log fire for some banter with the locals after your meal. Well behaved dogs and children welcome and there is a pretty courtyard garden for sunny days.
Woods Bar & Restaurant 4 Bank Square, Dulverton TA22 9BU (T: 01398 324007)
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Well worth a visit. Staff very nice but food excellent! My only wish is it moved nearer to my home. Very reasonable for the quality of the food. Highly recommend!
Really excellent food in a very dog friendly pub/restaurant, with a lovely atmosphere Very fair prices, good selection of drinks and some unusual dishes to choose from. Advisable to book for the above reasons---
Long sand and shingle beaches peppered with alabaster rocks that are perfect for finding fossils, Blue Anchor Bay and Dunster Beach in Somerset are adjacent to one another, and are beautiful places to while away the afternoon, whatever time of the year. Dogs are allowed on the beaches all year round, which is a novelty, there are toilets close by, and a pub as well for those lazy lunches after a morning’s stroll. The West Somerset Railway comes close to the beach, adding an extra layer of interest, and there’s plenty of parking close to both of them as well, which is always a blessing. The beaches are tidal and can get a little muddy at low tide, so careful not to slip and don’t get caught out when the water comes in!
Perpetually featured amongst the best beaches in the area, Minehead Beach is in one of Somerset’s busiest holiday areas. Divided into two sections, The Strand is a wide sand and shingle beach that faces North-to-North West, it looks out across the Bristol Channel towards Wales. Terminus meanwhile is the north-facing part that was almost completely washed away in the early ‘90s. After a multimillion pound project, a sea wall was completed. Today it’s an excellent spot for swimming, kite-surfing and windsurfing. Dog restrictions apply in the summer and there are cafes, restaurants, toilets and shops all close by.
After 30 miles of Exmoor coastline that’s predominantly cliffs, at Porlock the land flattens out and a unique mile long shingle ridge and an inland salt marsh have formed. It’s a short walk from there to the centre of Porlock, where there are lots of marked footpaths to explore. Porlock Weir Beach itself is a pebble beach that welcomes dogs all year round. It’s a prime spot for swimming, fishing, surfing and sailing, and there are cafes, restaurants, toilets, pubs and shops close by to explore. There is pay and display parking close to the beach, so don’t forget your change when you visit, and you will be pleased to know that the water quality is reputedly excellent.
A shingle beach that arcs out into the sea from Lynton, Lynmouth Beach is a popular spot for surfing, but there’s no lifeguard cover so be careful when you go! The area is known for its excellent scenery and pleasant walking along the sea front and along the banks of the Lyn River which flows between the two towns of Lynton and Lynmouth. There is also a cliff railway from Lynton down to the sea front. At Lynton there is a smaller beach with rocks at low tide, while Lynmouth Beach is longer and sandier. Lynmouth has level access all the way along, and there are several car parks in the town as well as road parking by the river and beach. Toilets, cafes and shops are close by, but there aren’t any activities available, it’s all about enjoying the scenery!
On the South West Coast Path, Wringcliff Beach is within walking distance of the little town of Lynton and a number of secluded bays along the coastline. The beach itself is a secluded bay surrounded by high cliffs with a steep access path, making it a tricky one to visit if you have small children with you. Of course, because it’s a little difficult to get to, it’s also wonderfully peaceful with incredible views to enjoy. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year around and it’s perfect for adventurous walkers. There’s parking is in the valley of the rocks which is accessed and signposted through Lynton, but once you’re there it’s not that easy to reach toilets and restaurants, to if the weather permits, take a picnic and enjoy the day!