With the popularity of ‘staycations’, British seaside resorts are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps to appeal to all ages and the traditional seaside resort of Minehead is no exception.
The elegant gardens and buildings of its Victorian hey day sit comfortably alongside more modern attractions and refurbished boutique style hotels. The town has a selection of innovative restaurants and bars, all combining to offer a resort that appeals to visitors of every age.
But some things never change and a good old fashioned stroll along the promenade is guaranteed to blow the cobwebs away whatever the weather, and on a clear day you can enjoy far reaching views across the Bristol Channel to Wales. The western end of the promenade brings you to North Hill with access onto Exmoor and the South West Coast Path where keen walkers can enjoy some invigorating trails through ancient woodlands. The long stretch of sandy beach continues to be a magnet for families who happily while away sunny summer days building a sand castle or two and keen sailors will enjoy the harbour area where a trip on the paddle steamer, Waverley, during the summer months, is a must. Like many other seaside resorts, Minehead boasts some stunning gardens showcasing colourful displays throughout the year. Blenheim Gardens doesn’t disappoint and as well as 6 acres of Spring and Summer bedding, you will also find a cafe, putting green and a calendar of seasonal events.
Top of the tourist ‘to do’ list is the West Somerset Heritage Railway which runs some lovingly resorted steam engines from Minehead to Bishops Lydiard via attractive seaside towns and hamlets such as Dunster, Blue Anchor and Watchet.
Minehead is the terminus for the line and the bustling station is situated alongside the seafront. The Turntable Cafe is popular with visitors and locals for drinks and snacks and the Buffer Stop Shop sells an array of railway memorabilia. Railway enthusiasts will enjoy watching the Turntable, installed in 2008, which enables engines to be manually rotated. Look out for special heritage and gala days that run throughout the year, details can be found at West Somerset Railway.
A few miles along the coast is the pretty village of Porlock with a good selection of shops and restaurants strung along the busy High Street. Porlock Weir is just 2 miles from the village and is picture perfect with a convenient harbour wall where you can sit and while away an afternoon.
Dunster is another timeless village just outside Minehead, famous for its Castle, now owned by the National Trust, historic Yarn Market and Tithe Barn.
Wherever you go around Minehead you will find tea rooms beckon offering delicious cream teas and the Periwinkle Tea Room at Selworthy is one of the best. Selworthy is a picturesque chocolate box hamlet on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate and well worth a visit.
Staying in Minehead gives you a great base to explore all the area has to offer and is a perfect combination of coast and countryside. The newly refurbished Beach Hotel is very good value and conveniently located alongside the railway station. As well as offering attractive and comfortable guest rooms, the Tourist Information Office is conveniently situated within the hotel.
For more details of Minehead and the surrounding areas visit www.minehead.co.uk.