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Having two cracking pubs in the harbour area is reason enough to wander down that way and the harbour itself is well worth the visit too. In its heyday Minehead was quite an important port (a couple of hundred years ago) and in more recent times (a hundred years ago when it had a proper pier) was a major day-trippers destination from South Wales, across the Channel.
These days it's mostly used by small leisure craft and a couple of day fishing boats and there's always some sort of activity happening. During the summer there are occasional visits by the steamers Waverley and Balmoral but that's during the summer - HA!
Written May 16, 2012
I suppose it must have been the British weather that encouraged the construction of amusement arcades at the popular seaside resorts - somewhere to shelter en masse and whilst you're at it get fleeced by the gaming and entertainment machines.
But each to his/her own and here in Minehead you'll find a couple of suitable light-flashing, disco-booming arcades to hang when its raining. These are strategically located across from the beach promenade and do have a few saving graces such as the mini go-karting place and the indoor market with its cheap, but useful, bits and bobs.
Written May 16, 2012
Although Minehead isn't one of my favourite places in mid-summer it does have a good beach. This curves for about a mile and is mostly sandy with patches of shale and shingle. It is though tide-dependent as the tidal range here, as with the whole coastline of the Bristol Channel is the second largest in the World - high tides can occasionally exceed 13 metres. However normal high tides (about 7 metres) leave pleanty of sandy area to enjoy and the beach promenade bbehind the sea wall also makes for a pleasant stroll.
The beach is family friendly and note that there is a dog ban between May 1st and 30th September.
Written May 16, 2012
It had been a bit of a coin toss whether I was going to have lunch at the Old Ship Aground or the Quay Inn and the deciding factor had been that the Old Ship's outside tables had been fully occupied at the time I was ready to eat.
The Old Ship is another characterful, family-run, pub and is located next to the harbour which on a stunning April afternoon made for an ideal spot (once the lunchers had come and gone) for a post-prandial beer before getting my bus back to Lynmouth.
As with the Quay this is a friendly place with a good selection of ales and a proper public bar (once again with barstools) and although I've never had a beer in the evenings here - cos my last bus leaves about 5 pm - definitely has a John pub feel to it.
Also as with the Quay Inn the Old Ship offers well-reviewed accommodation in a great location.
Written May 16, 2012
Address: Quay Street
The railway first arrived in this neck of the woods in 1862 with the completion of the goods line linking Taunton to Watchet for the transportation of iron ore to Watchet harbour to be shipped across the Bristol Channel to Ebbw Vale in South Wales for smelting.
It wasn't until 1874 that the line was extended to Minehead which contributed majorly to the town's burgeoning tourist industry. The original company running the service was the West Somerset Railway which became incorporated into the Great Western Railway conglomerate.
In 1948 the whole caboodle became the nationalised British Rail which despite the opening of Butlins in 1962 eventually decided that the line was uneconomic as a year-round operation and closed it down in 1971.
Almost immediately after its closure a working party headed by the local businessman and rail enthusiast began to investigate the possibility of running the line privately. Unwilling to allow the prime site of the station to become privately owned the Somerset County Council bought the land and subsequently leased it onwards to the newly reformed West Somerset Railway Company who restarted services as a "Heritage Railway" in 1976.
This is now the longest heritage line in the UK with over 20 miles of track between Minehead and Norton Fitzwarren. The railway runs year round but most scheduled services take place between March and October with up to four trains, steam and diesel, shuttling between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard.
There are a variety of ticket options, including singles, returns and day rovers but simply watching the trains and the activity around the station is free - website has current prices and timetables.
Written May 15, 2012
Address: Warren Road
West Somerset Railroad
A nice Steamtrain trip from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and back. The total duration is 1.15 mins.
I advice you to take the WSR Rover Ticket, which allows you to leave the train and board the train on any of the 10 stations along the way.
WSR Rover ticket is £ 10.50 a person.
5-15 years travel at half fare and under 5's are totally free.
Seniors get 20% discount.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: The railway Station, Minehead, Somerset TA24 5BG
Phone: +44 (0)1643 70 49 96
Butlins Holiday Camp, known all over Britain for its family holidays and entertainments.
A good fairground and cinema available on site and was very impressed by the inclusive food hall which really does cater for every need and the nightime entertainment for all the family and really gets into the swing later on.
Even though there is everything in the camp, I felt compelled to leave and get to know the real minehead..
Butlins is great to satisfy most appetites and even though certain extras can be expensive it is worth doing once..
Other places to visit include:
- Exmoor National Park, Falconry and Animal Farm
- Wookey Hole and Cheddar Gorge caves
- Tropiquaria wildlife park
- 13th-century Cleeve Abbey monastery
- Golf Course – next to the Resort and with special rates for Butlins guests
- Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park
- Dunster Castle and village
Written Sep 16, 2005
Phone: 01643 703331
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